Today we’re participating in a blog tour and scavenger hunt to promote Alex Hughes‘  new novel Vacant, book four in her MINDSPACE INVESTIGATIONS series. This is my current favorite urban fantasy series. There are two chances to be a winner (you can try for both):

1. We’re giving away an ebook copy of any of the novels — your choice. Just comment below to enter the giveaway.

2. In the following post, you’ll find the next clue in a “CLUE-like” scavenger hunt. To win, you have to solve a whodunit mystery. You can find the rules and information you need for that here at Alex’s blog. The winner of the scavenger hunt gets a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble, a signed copy of Marked, and a character from a future book named after him/her. Have fun!


And here are some thoughts from Alex about gratitude and happiness.

by Alex Hughes

One of the things my main character in the Mindspace series is supposed to do as part of his recovery is to choose three things to be grateful for every week. Adam frequently calls out simple items such as gummy worms and sunsets, things most people find trivial. But he is grateful for them, or he tries to be. Small things are sometimes the building blocks you need to notice the larger ones, and Adam is still working on his stepping stones. Of course, some days are better than others.

I’ve been studying habits and happiness lately, and attempting to embrace gratitude in my own life. There’s a story told about Charles Wesley, the founder of the Methodists, which may or may not be true. Wesley is robbed while on the road traveling from one city to another. The thief beats him severely and takes literally all he has. When Wesley gets to his destination, he gets down on his knees and prays to God, “dear God, thank you that I have never ever been robbed before. And thank you that though he took all that I had, I didn’t have much.” I love this story, because it makes me think.

clueIf I was beaten and robbed, I would probably be complaining about my situation, to God or anyone else who would listen. After all, I had been beaten and robbed, two things high on my list of items I would not ever like to have happen. That Wesley takes a moment to find gratitude in such a hard situation makes me pause. How much gratitude do I seem to find even in my good situations? How much do I pause to find the good things even out of everyday, ordinary life, much less the hard times? And yet with every book I read on happiness, from whatever the source and background, every single one comes back to gratitude.

Happiness is appreciating the life you have, I think, and that’s a hard thing, especially for those of us who spend a large chunk of our time in fictional worlds. Looking at the real life, not-so-perfect surroundings and appreciating them for what they are is hard sometimes. I’d like things to be amazing. I’d like for hard situations and challenges not to come up again and again without warning. But, lately, I’m trying to find a reason to be grateful about something there. Because I’d very much like to spend time in happiness, and gratitude seems to be a stepping stone.

What about you guys? What things can you be happy and/or grateful about in unexpected places?


  • John Hulet

    JOHN HULET is a member of the Utah Army National Guard. John’s experiences have often left a great void that has been filled by countless hours spent between the pages of a book lost in the words and images of the authors he admires. During a 12 month tour of Iraq, he spent well over $1000 on books and found sanity in the process. John lives in Utah and works slavishly to prepare soldiers to serve their country with the honor and distinction that Sturm Brightblade or Arithon s’Ffalenn would be proud of. John retired from FanLit in March 2015 after being with us for nearly 8 years. We still hear from him every once in a while.

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