Books by Kristen Ethridge: Love, Laughter and Happily Ever After

Four Covers June 2014

Treat yourself to Love, Laughter and Happily Ever After with a story by Romance Writers of American Golden Heart Nominee Kristen Ethridge. Click here to purchase Kristen’s books now!

My inexpensive DIY space-saving treadmill desk solution

A lot of people are interested in treadmill desks these days, but they need a solution that gives them an inexpensive space-saving treadmill desk. Most solutions sold on the market these days take up a lot of room and are very cost-prohibitive. But I’ve found an inexpensive, DIY-based space-saving treadmill desk that I love. Every time I tell someone about it, they want to know where they can get it, so I’m going to share it with you today!

A few years ago when I was dealing with severe health issues and was looming closely to having a spinal fusion, one of the things I missed most was being able to simply move. Once I had my health issues behind me, I started to invest in myself. I told my husband I could either continue to pay for therapy that took me away from my day job and my writing and gym memberships that I should use but never actually did—or I could make a one-time investment in the equipment I needed and keep it here at my home office.

Treadmill desk down 1 One of those things I really wanted was a treadmill desk. Since I’m a fully-remote worker in the day job, there are many days when I never even leave the house. I don’t even get in steps walking across a parking lot from my car or walking down to a cafeteria for lunch. And quite frankly, it was killing my spinal health.

However, I’m a very petite person, so a lot of desk solutions don’t work for me—I even have a children’s sized desk as my regular desk because an ergonomic audit revealed that at 5’3” or so, I am too short to use a typical adult desk (designed for people 5’7”-6’0”) in a way that would support my ergonomic health. In addition to my personal needs, I also have space limitations in my home office. A giant treadmill and stationary table desk were not going to fit anywhere in my house. And a price with a comma in it was not going to fit in my pocketbook.

But I’ve never been one to let limits like that stop me, so I got to work doing research into DIY solutions that others had used. In the end, Amazon made it easy to put together a fantastic space-saving solution that cost me about $300.

The first breakthrough came when I found this folding treadmill. It doesn’t have fancy incline features or anythingWall mount desk folded 1 like that—but I don’t need fancy. I just need to walk at a steady pace. I had seen where some people even took the handlebar off the front, but I didn’t need to do that. The handlebar worked fine with my final setup. All I needed to do was not install the control panel on the handlebar. I just let it hang down and then I rest it on a shelf on the desk part of my setup.

Level treadmillThere is a slight incline that I didn’t like, but I solved that with two bricks from Home Depot and a towel under the back bar. The bricks are the perfect height to give me a flat surface to walk on. The treadmill easily folds up—I can do it one handed—and secures with a locking pin. It takes less than a minute for me to get everything set up.

And did I mention the treadmill is pink! Amazon does sell other color options…but why wouldn’t you want a pink treadmill?

The only negative about the treadmill is that it turns off after 30 minutes, but I find this helps me keep track of how long I’m walking. I usually walk about an hour at a time. I did find some reviews that said if you’re very tall/have a long stride, or you’re over a certain weight, this might not be the treadmill for you.

Side view folded upFor the desk part, I used a wall-mount desk. I work on a laptop, so there’s not a lot of weight (and the way I have it set up, the handlebar from the treadmill provides extra support when I fold out the base of the wall-mount desk). I found this one on Amazon that is a simple design and seems to be the most space-saving of the options that were on the site at the time I put this together.

The great thing about the wall-mount desk is that it gave me the opportunity to put the desk at the height where I need it from an ergonomic standpoint. I’m able to hold my arms in the right position with this solution and I’m in a good spot for looking at the screen.

When I’m through, I move my laptop back to my regular desk, fold upFront view folded the wall-mount desk, then fold up the treadmill. The whole setup, when folded, sticks out about a foot and a half. It is about two feet across.

BricksI’ve tried my regular tennis shoes and a pair of Vibram shoes while I’m walking. I’ve actually decided I like walking on my treadmill desk best in these. I don’t get fatigued because I’m walking slowly for a set period of time, but it gives me the chance to use my full foot and my toes and get a feel like barefoot walking. I rotate through—and you need to do what’s best for you—but I find myself coming back to the socks again and again.

This is becoming my favorite place to work. I’ve gotten to a point where I can fully work at a pace of 1.5-2 mph. I won’t win any races at that pace, but that’s not what I’m aiming for. I can work on my health while I work at my job or work on a book. In fact, I’ve typed this whole blog while walking at 2mph.

What about you? Have you tried working on a treadmill desk? Have you been looking for a solution that fits your space and your budget?

 

A few of my writer friends are sharing where they work too—stop by their blogs and check out their desks! You might find something that inspires you for your own workspace!

Live from The Lighthouse: Why 2 Tim 3:16 promises we can live boldly

all scripture isThanks for joining me at the Lighthouse this morning. The word from the lighthouse this morning is 2 Timothy 3:16 and 17.

Just like there’s a lighthouse on my fictional island of Port Provident, there’s a light that stands tall in our own world—and my hope is to bring you a quick minute of inspiration for your day–this daily devotional first appeared on Periscope, so I’ll be mentioning “hearts” and interacting with live viewers,  but don’t worry if you’re watching the replay–the message is the same!

Let’s get some light in our day!

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correc!tion, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. – 2 Timothy 3:16-17

So from this, we know that scripture is inspired by God, is useful for us to learn from, and equips us for what lies ahead. Think about a favorite scripture of yours. Maybe it’s a Bible verse that you have adopted as a “theme” for a season or for this year. Maybe it’s a verse that you’re currently studying or meditating on. Know that whatever it is, it is the divine, inspired word of God and he laid it down for a reason. As you meditate on it and study it, you’ll learn from it and it’s on your heart and in your mind to equip you for what’s ahead in your own life—when you go out to do good work—God’s work, you’ll be equipped and ready to rise to the occasion to which He has brought you.

Dear Father, thank you for who You are—that You set down Your words of life to guide us thousands of years later. Thank you for the blessing of the words and the lessons you’ve given us, the teachers who have helped us learn from them more in depth, and the minds and hearts you’ve given us to put your purposes for our life into practice right where we live. Equip us for this day and teach us the ways we should go, that we may live boldly in the plans and purposes you have for us. Amen.

Thank you for joining me at The Lighthouse this morning. Please spread the light from The Lighthouse. You can share this link, and this verse of the day is posted on my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/kristenethridgebooks, my Twitter page at http://www.twitter.com/kristenethridge  I’ll see you back tomorrow!

Vision: Get clear on your “why” so you can stay on track

Today at lunch, I read a new Texas Monthly article on Galveston’s recovery after Hurricane Ike. Obviously, this is a special topic with me, as I lived through Hurricane Ike and the recovery and I have my first memoir, Storm Surge, coming out one month from today. In Storm Surge, I share the life lessons I learned from this major hurricane and how they can help you recover from your own life’s storms.

In the Texas Monthly article, they framed up how Galveston had been transformed after the 1900 Hurricane because the city leaders had a vision: they raised every structure on the island and built a seawall 17 feet high along the coast. And it has played a major role in buffering damage in every hurricane since.

The Bible says “without vision, the people perish…” and I believe this is so true, even on a macro-level in our own lives. I’m like a lot of you–I’m busy. I have a full-time job, a full-time writing career, and a full-time family (and we’re adding one more Ethridge to it early next year!) So I can either get focused on what’s important and why I do what I do, or I’ll wind up doing a little here and a little there, but I’ll always fall short of what I want to do because I’m not being realistic about the time I have or what I want to do with it.

So, today, I did a Periscope video where I announced that I have decided to invest in myself and my vision for my life. I invite you to join me in doing the same. This is a great exercise for fellow authors, network marketing professionals, and even stay-at-home moms.

Know your why: why do you do what you do?

Have a vision: how do you want to use your why to impact others?

Set goals: I’m going to lay out the next 18 months–through the end of 2016–so that I can clearly chart what I want to do with my writing and my family and I can set measurable time frames to work in and determine what I need to put front and center, what can stay status-quo, and what I can push off my plate entirely.

Vision board and top 20 list: I’m a very visual person, so I’m going to take a few key highlights and put visual representations of them on the cork board in my office. I’m also going to make a list of the top 10 or 20 things that I want to do along the way–when I achieve my goals, how will my life be different? Will I take the kids to Disney for playing quietly in their rooms during designated writing times? My whole family is invested in my goals, so the rewards should benefit us all.

And I’m going to pair this up with some Abundance essential oil. I usually wear it in my diffuser bracelet because I love the scent–it’s got a strong holiday season smell, which always makes me smile. But the oils in this blend are designed to impact our limbic system and our thoughts and actions by helping support our emotions–spruce can help clear roadblocks, orange uplifts the spirit, cinnamon encourages self-confidence, and frankincense is a great oil for meditation and thinking.

Want to find out what I’m going to do and then join in the challenge with me? The great thing about this exercise is it’s something everyone needs to do, regardless of where you are in life right now or what you’re doing. Without vision, the people perish. That’s pretty inclusive language–it applies to all of us!

 

PS…don’t forget that you can preorder a copy of Storm Surge through September 12 for the special launch price of 99cents on Amazon! Click here to get your copy now!

 

Transformation: Using change to bless others

Hi, everyone! I just did my first EVER Periscope today. I’m planning to set aside a few minutes a couple of times a week to talk about themes in my books, things I love, and to foster sharing and support and ‪#‎prayerscope‬ as I connect with readers and others! Kind of excited.

Today I talked about transformation and how you can use change to bless others–plus I shared my favorite Young Living Essential Oil to diffuse when I’m trying to embrace transformational situations.

I thought I’d put together some quick notes from the Scope and a link so you can check it out as well.

Change and growing through it is a pretty constant theme in the Port Provident books and yesterday as I was driving in the car, a song came on the radio that used breathing imagery throughout and it got me thinking about all sorts of things related to change (talk about a rabbit trail!)

In The Doctor’s Unexpected Family, hero Dr. Pete Shipley has an idea of where his life is going. He’s closed one door and he’s waiting for all the dominoes to fall into place to get him to the next phase of his life. We’ve probably all been there…at a job, waiting for the annual promotion/raise cycle…in a relationship, waiting for the ring…right now in the last days of summer, waiting for fall and the new school year. And we’ve probably all found out what Pete found out–sometimes changes don’t happen like we expect them to. There are no raises that year, your significant other ends the relationship instead of taking the next step, or we discover that no amount of new crayons changes the fact that we’ve still got to get up in the morning and put one foot in front of the other.

As I listened to the song, I thought about the simple act of breathing in and breathing out. We take in oxygen and it goes throughout our body and serves a purpose. But when it leaves our body, it’s oxygen no more. It’s been used for a purpose, then transformed by being inside of us. It becomes carbon dioxide. And when we send that transformed experience back out into the world, it serves a completely new purpose and reaches a different audience. Plants use the carbon dioxide we send out to complete their photosynthesis cycle. They use it for fuel and growth. What is changed by being part of us then changes another.

What does the Bible have to say about transformational change? What’s one of my secret weapons for embracing and working through change?

You can find out here in this quick scope on transformational change (linked above or you can click here!) And follow me on Periscope @kristenethridge to be able to catch future Scopes live!

Writer Wednesday: What Romance Writers REALLY Search for on the Internet

blogcarnaugust5-01It’s another Writer Wednesday and I’m excited to be back with my 2012 Golden Heart Firebird friends, this time talking about how we all waste time on the Internet…I mean, research important things which will make the reader experience great for those who dive into our stories.

Since I’ve got a new book out this month, The Doctor’s Unexpected Family, I’m going to be totally honest with you…most of my clicking on the Internet the last five days has involved checking numbers, rankings, reviews and stuff like that. (Shameless promotion…go grab a copy of the book so I can have something to get excited about when I go back in and check this afternoon. Puhlease.)

I’m also gearing up to start something fun on Periscope. I have several friends who are on there and they’re having a lot of fun doing quick shares about things on their mind and topics that are important to them. I’ve decided I’d like to jump in too, but I’ve had a hard time narrowing down what would be interesting on a consistent basis. But since I write inspirational romance, I think I’m going to try and fill the space with something positive. I want to talk about motivation and inspiration and get some #prayerscope going as part of what I want to create, so I’ve been doing some research for short topics I can put together and share with readers.

And for number three, well, one of my other interests is essential oils and right now, Young Living is having their annual convention. It’s literally 15 minutes from my house, but other obligations have kept me from being there. So, I checked in on Facebook to see what my friends who are in attendance have been posting.

Oh and I paid a bill through my bank. Glamorous.

So there you have it…what romance authors search on the Internet. Book rankings, inspiration, essential oils…and online bill pay. Want to know what other romance authors search? Go visit my friends–they’re sharing their own three most recent searches today. You can find them here:

Historical romance writers – Wendy LaCapra http://www.wendylacapra.com/blog/ | Sweet and Inspirational writers – Kristen Ethridge http://kristenethridge.com/ | Novels with Romantic Elements – Jean Willett http://www.jeanwillett.com/blog-2/ – Natalie Meg Evans http://nataliemegevans.com/#blog | Romantic Suspense – Carol Post http://www.caroljpost.com/blog/ – Sharon Wray http://www.sharonwray.wordpress.com/ | Paranormal writers – Kay Hudson http://kayhudson.com/ – Pamela Kopfler http://pamelakopfler.com//the-diva-blogs/ | Contemporary romance writers – Kat Cantrell http://katcantrell.com/blog/ – Priscilla Kissinger http://prisakiss.com/

 

And if you want to help make me look less neurotic with search #1, here’s the scoop on my latest release AND my first non-fiction book that is up for preorder now (and it’s only 99 cents while it’s on preorder, so definitely get your copy today!)

TDUF New CoverThe Doctor’s Unexpected Family (buy here for your Kindle!)
GRACE FINDS YOU IN THE MOST UNEXPECTED PLACES…

Dr. Pete Shipley is on a mission to save lives and he’s ready to move to another corner of the world where his skills are needed. City Councilwoman Angela Ruiz is a single parent fighting to save her hometown after Hurricane Hope tears through Port Provident, leaving destruction across the community she has sworn to serve. Together, they team up to found The Grace Space, a Christian-based community gathering spot in the heart of Angela’s district, where residents can get food, household goods, and basic medical care while Port Provident rebuilds after the storm.

When Pete’s appointment to an international medical mission comes, will the doctor follow his lifelong dream and leave Port Provident, The Grace Space, and Angela and her daughter—or will he stay with the family he didn’t expect to love and realize he can change the world without leaving home?

Hurricane Hope: One storm changes Port Provident forever…and for good.

 

FINAL Storm Surge CoverStorm Surge: Life Lessons I Learned from Hurricane Ike and How You Can Rise Above Life’s Storms (On Preorder: buy for 99 cents now!)

Not everyone will experience the life-changing tides of a hurricane, but everyone will go through storms in their life– and it’s what we learn along the way that shapes who we become in the wake of adversity.

Kristen Ethridge enjoyed life in Galveston, Texas as an entrepreneur and new parent–until Hurricane Ike came to town on September 13, 2008. One of the most destructive hurricanes to ever hit the United States, Ike forced Kristen to rebuild not just her home and business, but her outlook on life as well. Storm Surge is Kristen’s memoir of the events after Hurricane Ike, paired with the Bible verses and Christian living scenarios that helped to construct the life lessons she learned going through the process of recovery. In this book, Kristen walks readers through her own recovery process and the Biblical truths that can bring comfort, inspiration, strength and direction during even the hardest times.

Kristen is the RWA Golden Heart Award-nominated author of the Port Provident inspirational romance series, and Storm Surge will also give readers a behind-the-scenes look at the real-life story that inspired Kristen’s Port Provident: Hurricane Hope books.

Writer Wednesday: How living through a hurricane inspired my new book series

When we tore out the drywall in our house after Hurricane Ike, we found a little blast from the past--this 1982 Pepsi can that had been bricked inside of our fireplace!
When we tore out the drywall in our house after Hurricane Ike, we found a little blast from the past–this 1982 Pepsi can that had been bricked inside of our fireplace!

One of the most common adages about creative pursuits is that “life imitates art.” And with the writing I’m doing now, that is SO very true. When it came time for me to go back to Port Provident and catch up with the characters, I knew I wanted to test the citizens of Port Provident and put them in situations that would push them in both their relationships and their faith.

Because Port Provident is loosely based on my former home of Galveston, Texas, there was no question about what was brewing for the residents.

A hurricane was on the horizon.

Hurricane Hope is headed for Provident Island, and I know hurricanes pretty well because I lived in Galveston in 2008, when Hurricane Ike rolled ashore.

Hurricane Hope is basically the fictional version of Hurricane Ike. I took my memories of before and after the hurricane (I wasn’t actually on the island for the hurricane itself—I had a six-month-old and we evacuated the day before) and layered them with experiences of my friends and other Galvestonians to create what I hoped was a very realistic look at going through a major natural disaster.

Second Chance Sweethearts, my July Love Inspired release that follows the hurricane and brings together former high school sweethearts Gloria Garcia Rodriguez and Rigo Vasquez, got four stars from RT and I think the line in the review that made me smile the most was “the scary reality and power of the hurricane is made clear in Ethridge’s writing.” Ha! Mission accomplished!

And what goes better with an actual storm than a stormy reunion? It was a lot of fun to make Gloria and Rigo’s relationship mirror the hurricane. There was a lot of sound and fury as they were forced to rely on each other during a very uncertain time, and then as the water rolled away, they struggled with the realities of rebuilding—in this case, not just the town, but their relationship.

One of the things I knew while I was writing was that Gloria and Rigo’s story was not the end of Port Provident’s story. And one of the realities of the recovery process was that a lot happened in a very short time to us as we lived it. I wanted that for my readers, to share in the experience of walking through a storm and challenges and triumphs associated with the recovery and rebuilding that happens after the wind and the waves recede.

So be looking for the following books in the series in the months to come. I’m inviting my readers to become honorary citizens of Port Provident and to get to know the characters and to walk with them as they grow and experience the rebuilding—not just of their lives, homes and businesses, but of their faith and relationships as well.

But probably the project I’m most excited about bringing out is Storm Surge, my first non-fiction book. Releasing on September 13, the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Ike’s landfall in Galveston, Storm Surge is a memoir that contains short Bible-based lessons based on the life lessons I learned from a hurricane. I wanted to write Storm Surge because I knew that not everyone would go through a hurricane, but everyone goes through storms in their lives, and I knew that the lessons I learned could help others rise above the winds that rock us all.

So I guess you could say that I’m definitely one of those people for whom art comes from life—and I’ve never been more excited about a writing project. I would love to invite you to click the “follow” button over on my Amazon page so you will receive notifications when the next books in the series go live—there will be a pre-order in early July, so I hope that you won’t miss out!

What about you? How have you been inspired to create something based on life experiences? Do you volunteer with a group that helps cancer patients because you’re a survivor? Did you adopt a child because you went on a mission trip and fell in love with the people of the country and wanted to make a greater difference? Did you choose your career because of the impact of a person or event in your life?

I can’t wait to hear how experiences have encouraged you to do more and create more!

My other 2012 Golden Heart finalist friends are also sharing about their natural disaster experiences for Writer Wednesday! Stop by and check out their stories:

Contemporary romance writers Tamra Baumann – Jamie Wesley – Kat Cantrell – Priscilla Kissinger –  Lauren Christopher | Paranormal romance writers Kay Hudson – Pamela Kopfler | Romantic suspense writers Carol Post – Sharon Wray | Novels with romantic elements Natalie Meg Evans – Jean Willett | Fellow Inspirational romance writer Karen Fleming  | Historical romance writers Kathleen Bittner-Roth – Wendy LaCapr

 

You can also find a version of this post on the fabulous Seekerville blog.