Have you ever wondered if we’re all just practicing normal?
Practicing Normal (978-1-61188-244-5, The Story Plant, June 6, 2017), the latest novel from women’s fiction author, Cara Sue Achterberg, takes the reader inside the minds and hearts of the Turner family as they struggle with the same issues many of us do—managing family life, caring for aging parents, keeping a marriage alive, navigating teen culture, educating a child who is ‘different,’ and wondering amidst it all what the neighbor’s think.
Jacquelyn Mitchard, New York Times bestselling author of The Deep End of the Ocean, had this to say about Practicing Normal: “Does facing the truth beat living a lie? In Practicing Normal, Cara Sue Achterberg has given us a smart story that is both a window and a mirror, about the extraordinary pain – and the occasional gifts—of an ordinary life.”
Achterberg’s character driven, fast-paced narrative delves into underrepresented areas in traditional fiction—Asperger’s Syndrome, depression in the elderly, and hospice nursing. “It was important to me that I get JT, the 12-year-old with Asperger’s, right. I had no experience with Asperger’s, so I did my research and then found parents of children with Asperger’s to read the rough manuscript and take me to task on anything that didn’t ring true.”
The story starts on an ordinary day and soon spirals into chaos as the family finally faces the truth in all its forms. Everett, the father who believes he loves his wife becomes increasingly infatuated with his mistress. 17-year-old Jenna, a master at breaking into her neighbor’s homes gets caught red handed. JT steps out from the cocoon of his family and experiences his first taste of success and reality. And their mother, Kate, wants more than anything to create the picture-perfect family. Instead she juggles her overbearing sister who insists on resurrecting their long-lost father, her mother who lives down the street demanding more of Kate’s time as her health deteriorates, her precocious daughter who skips school and begins a romance with an unlikely neighbor, JT who requires strict routines to manage his moods, and her husband she once adored who she suspects of cheating.
As their intertwined stories race towards a tragic conclusion, everyone’s normal is tested, and in the end, as Kate says, “Maybe normal is relative.”
Achterberg’s previous novels, I’m Not Her, and Girls’ Weekend were national best sellers. She lives in New Freedom with her family where she teaches creative writing, writes two blogs, and has fostered over eighty rescue dogs. Information on all her writing, books, and blogs can be found at CaraWrites.com.
Press Release for Girls' Weekend
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Hey Moms – Want to Run Away? Ever wondered if you were meant for bigger things? Latest novel explores who we are, why we love, and what makes us truly happy
NEW FREEDOM, PA, June 6, 2016 -- Dani, Meg, and Charlotte have bonded over babies, barbeques, and backyards, but when they escape for a girls’ weekend away, they can't bring themselves to return to lives that don't seem to fit anymore. All three thought they would be different. None of them thought they'd be facing down forty and still wondering when life starts. What they do when they realize where they're headed is both inspiring and wildly entertaining.
GIRLS' WEEKEND (The Story Plant, 2016, 978-1-61188-228-5, $15.99) is a fun, yet poignant romp through the universal search for who we are, why we love, and what makes us happy.
If you’re a mom, at some point or another (or maybe every day) you’ve wanted to run away. Cara Sue Achterberg had that urge after relocating to PA, deciding to stay home with three young children and care for their small farm while her husband traveled for his work. When her preschooler threatened to move out over the rules, the school called once again about her oldest child, and her toddler spent his days cutting the whiskers off the cat and poking holes in the couch with a pencil, she finally decided she would run away – on paper anyway.
“Writing this novel gave me the chance to face many of my ‘mom fears’ like- Am I still me? Could I survive if I lost one of my kids? Did I marry the right man? Writing through these worries helped me sort them out without actually having to go through them.” Cara Sue Achterberg is a writer and blogger who grew up in Hockessin, Delaware and now lives in New Freedom, PA with her family and an embarrassing number of animals. Girls’ Weekend is her second novel. Her first novel, I’m Not Her, was a national bestseller. Cara’s nonfiction book, Live Intentionally, is a guide to the organic life filled with ideas, recipes, and inspiration for living a more intentional life. Cara is a busy mom who teaches creative writing and whose essays and articles have been published in numerous anthologies, magazines, and websites. Links to her blogs, news about upcoming publications, and pictures of her foster dogs can be found at CaraWrites.com.
Achterberg is happy to visit with book clubs in person or via skype and she welcomes feedback and questions from readers and new writers. Sign up on her website to receive a monthly e-newsletter that include writing tips and news of her blogs, along with healthy recipes and organic life news.
Press Release for I'm Not Her
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
National Bestseller I’m Not Her, a Remarkably Assured Debut Novel by Cara Sue Achterberg
STAMFORD, CONNECTICUT…Runner up in the first annual AuthorsFirst novel writing contest, Cara Sue Achterberg’s remarkably assured debut novel, I’m Not Her was published by The Story Plant in August 2015 and recently became a national bestseller. Delving into topics such as body image, self-esteem and the economic divide, I’m Not Her makes the perfect Women’s Fiction book club selection.
Inspiration for the tale about Carin, a pretty, self-absorbed, underemployed young college graduate and Leann, an uneducated, perennially poor, obese checkout clerk who inexplicably switch lives (and bodies), came from looking around at the people nearby and wondering – what if I were her? Or him?
“I’d imagine my new life,” says Achterberg, “and soon enough it would be my turn at the checkout or doctor’s office. It was a way to pass the time, but as an adult I realize that we can’t really know what it’s like to be someone else unless we’ve walked in their shoes. We all have a story.” In telling Leann and Carin’s story, Achterberg hopes that it reminds us that we can never assume anything about anyone because we’re not them.
A freelance writer and blogger, Cara Sue Achterberg lives on a hillside in South Central, Pennsylvania with her family, three horses, a frequently changing number of cats, and too many chickens to count. Her essays have been published in numerous anthologies and her freelance work has been featured in national magazines. In addition to writing, she teaches workshops on Intentional Living and blogs about her adventures as a foster dog family at https://anothergooddog.wordpress.com/.
For more information about Cara, visit her website, http://www.carawrites.com/. The Story Plant is an independent publishing house built by writers for writers located in Stamford Connecticut. Its sister site, AuthorsFirst, is dedicated to nurturing new writing talent. I’m Not Her is available everywhere books are sold.
The Story Plant (860) 552-9089 firstname.lastname@example.org or Cara Achterberg email@example.com 717-577-6180 CaraWrites.com
Press Release for Live Intentionally Tired of being a standby passenger in this life?
Simple changes for a healthier happier life
YORK, Pennsylvania, December, 2014 – Many of us move through life as standby passengers, allowing the media and the masses to dictate the direction of our lives. When her family’s health and stress level spiraled out of control, Cara Sue Achterberg grabbed a parachute and began a journey to a healthier, happier life for herself and her family.
Presented in a friendly, often humorous and always down-to-earth manner, Live Intentionally: 65 Challenges for a Healthier, Happier Life offers stories, resources, and recipes to help anyone live more intentionally. The book brims with over 65 challenges to the reader to make simple changes that will lead to a healthier, happier life.
Create healthy, delicious, real food made from whole ingredients.
Organize and clean your home simply and naturally.
Raise creative, caring, and competent children.
Grow a garden in the space you’ve got.
Celebrate meaningful holidays without excess or stress.
Live Intentionally: 65 Challenges for a Healthier, Happier Life (978-1503089020, 2014, $15) is a practical guidebook to redesigning your life. Concrete challenges combined with heartfelt encouragement and easy-to-understand ideas, make this book at once practical and inspiring. “There is nothing miraculous, difficult, or complicated about living intentionally. Think about what you are eating. Think about what you are doing. Think about how you are parenting. Think about how you are affecting the planet, your neighbors, and your community. Be intentional.”
Cara Sue Achterberg is a freelance writer and blogger who teaches workshops on Intentional Living. Her writing has been featured in Family Fun magazine, Hobby Farms Home magazine, and the York Daily Record. She lives on a hillside in Southern York County with her family. Links to her blogs and inspiration for teen writers can be found on her website CaraWrites.com.
“An Intentional Life is a life you feel good about – down to your core. It’s knowing you are doing the best you can for your health, your family, and your world. It requires no excuses.” Live Intentionally is available for purchase at Amazon.com. You can find more information about Live Intentionally: 65 Challenges for a Healthier Happier Life and sign up for monthly tips at www.CaraWrites.com.
About the Author:
Cara Sue Achterberg is a freelance writer, novelist, and blogger who lives on a hillside in South Central, Pennsylvania with her family, three horses, occasional foster dogs, and too many chickens to count. She is the author of two books. Her essays have been published in numerous anthologies and her freelance work has been featured in national magazines. She teaches workshops on Intentional Living and creative writing. Cara enjoys running, gardening, hiking, and trying not to fall off her favorite horse, True. You can find links to her blogs and inspiration for teen writers on her website CaraWrites.com.
About the Book:
Ideas, recipes, and inspiration to help you live a more intentional life. Easy-to-understand directions for creating healthy delicious food without breaking your budget; cleaning your home with non-toxic, all natural ingredients; growing a garden in the space you’ve got; raising creative, competent, caring kids; and enjoying meaningful holidays and celebrations. Start living an intentional life today.Live Intentionally (978-1503089020) is available for sale through Amazon.com.
About the Book:
A work of womens fiction that explores what it’s like to walk in someone else’s shoes – quite literally. It’s the story of Leann and Carin and the fall out after a Valentine’s Display topples on Carin’s pretty head and lands her in Leann’s difficult life. More than a case of trading places,
I’m Not Her explores the question of whether appearances or circumstances make
us who we are. It’s a surprising tale about the way the world sees us and the
courses we are on. Published by Story Plant, I'm Not Her is available for sale wherever books are sold.
Review Copies and Media Interviews:
For a review copy of Live Intentionally or an interview with Cara Sue Achterberg, please contact Cara at 717-577-6180 or firstname.lastname@example.org. When requesting a review copy, please provide street address.
For review copies of I'm Not Her, Girls' Weekend, or Practicing Normal, contact: The Story Plant (860) 552-9089 thestoryplant.com
If you would like to receive this information as a Word document, please let us know.
Reference Author Bio
Bios for Cara Sue Achterberg
Cara Sue Achterberg is the author of the two national bestselling novels, I'm Not Her and Girls' Weekend. She is also the author of Live Intentionally, a guidebook to the organic life. You can find links to her blogs and information on her books at CaraWrites.com.
Cara Sue Achterberg is a freelance writer and blogger who lives in New Freedom, Pennsylvania with her family. She is the author of two national bestelling novels, I'm Not Her and Girls' Weekend. Her next novel, Practicing Normal, will be released June 2017. She is also the author of Live Intentionally, a guidebook for a more organic life based on one of her long running blogs. Her essays and articles have been published in numerous anthologies, national magazines, and online journals. Cara is an organic gardener, foster dog mom, creative writing teacher, and occasional cowgirl. You can find links to her blogs and information on all her books at CaraWrites.com.
Cara Sue Achterberg is a freelance writer and blogger who lives in New Freedom, Pennsylvania with her family, three horses, a constant stream of foster dogs, and too many chickens to count. She is the author two national bestelling novels, I'm Not Her and Girls' Weekend. She is also the author of Live Intentionally, a guidebook for a more organic life based on one of her long running blogs. Her next novel, Practicing Normal, will be released June 2017. Cara's essays and articles have been published in numerous anthologies, magazines, and online journals. When not writing or weeding, she enjoys running, cooking, visiting Virginia wineries, and trying not to fall off her favorite horse, True. You can find links to her blogs and information on all her books at CaraWrites.com.
Cara Sue Achterberg is a freelance writer and blogger who lives on a hillside in New Freedom, Pennsylvania with three remarkable children, three horses, too many chickens, a constantly changing roster of foster dogs, three perfect kitties, and a husband who can build, fix, or tolerate just about anything.
She is the author of two bestselling novels, I'm Not Her and Girls' Weekend which were published by The Story Plant. She is also the author of Live Intentionally:65 Challenges for a Healthier Happier Life, a guidebook for a more organic life based on one of her long running blogs. Her latest novel, Practicing Normal, will be released June 2017.
Cara's essays and articles have been published in numerous anthologies, national magazines, websites, and blogs, in addition to local media. She enjoys teaching hands-on workshops on the Intentional Life, healthy cooking, and creative writing. She has also led women’s retreats, facilitated book discussions, and served as a keynote speaker.
Cara grew up in Hockessin, Delaware (and still considers Delaware the best state of all). She graduated from Averett University with a degree in music before setting it aside to follow her passion of training horses and teaching riding. She later returned to school and earned a degree in Youth Ministry from Eastern College, spending many years hanging out with teenagers, leading Habitat for Humanity work weeks, and eating a lot of pizza.
After marrying Nicholas Achterberg, they moved from Maryland’s Eastern Shore to York County, Pennsylvania. Cara switched careers again, reinventing herself as a writer mom.
It wasn’t until her youngest son developed the autoimmune disorder alopecia areata that she began a quest for a healthier lifestyle. Cara wishes she hadn’t come so late in life to the joys of cooking, gardening, and chicken-keeping, but counts herself lucky. Cara is passionate about organic food, clean air, productive gardens, uncluttered lives, and real relationships. She also loves Belgian chocolate, Greek olive oil, and almost any cheese.
Cara admits to having a serious blogging habit. Her blog, Another Good Dog, shares her adventures fostering dogs for the all-breed rescue, Operation Paws for Homes. My Life in Paragraphs is her blog which shares weekly peeks into her writing career. Her longest running blog, Kid Friendly Organic Life, explores every angle of intentional living and served as the testing ground for her book Live Intentionally. Occasionally, she also writes The Mama Load which features her musings, frustrations, and adventures on the journey that is motherhood.
She is currently working on a memoir which focuses on her foster dog experiences, and another novel.
When not writing or weeding (which can sometimes be one and the same), Cara enjoys running, cooking, reading, visiting Virginia wineries, and trying not to fall off her favorite horse, True.
Cara Sue Achterberg is a freelance writer, novelist, and blogger who lives on a hillside farm in South Central, Pennsylvania. She is the author of two bestselling novels, I'm Not Her and Girls' Weekend. She is also the author of Live Intentionally:65 Challenges for a Healthier Happier Life, a guidebook for a more organic life based on one of her long running blogs. Her latest novel, Practicing Normal, will be released June 2017.
Cara’s essays and stories of motherhood have been published in numerous anthologies, websites, and blogs. When not writing, Cara can be found working in her gardens, chasing after her foster dogs, or trying not to fall off her favorite horse, True. You can find links to Cara's blogs, information on her foster dogs, and a schedule upcoming appearances at CaraWrites.com.
(Cara Sue Achterberg, pronounced Care-A Sue Octerberg.)
5 Fun Facts You Didn't Know About Me:
1. I’m a Seminary-Drop out.
2. I can’t sleep past 7am.
3. I can’t start my day until I’ve done the Sudoko and read the obituaries in the morning paper.
4. I am obsessed with thru hiking even though I've never done it and read/watch/listen to every podcast, documentary, and book on the subject.