Plum woman and her mother follow dreams to be published

| Wednesday, July 16, 2014, 9:11 p.m.

Lisa Hamer Jenkins and her mother, Arden Hamer, both experienced memorable events in 2010.

Jenkins, 41, of Plum ran her first 5K race. Hamer, 66, of Murrysville, a professor at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, started a blog on study tips for students in her critical reading and critical thinking course.

The past year also was noteworthy for Jenkins and Hamer. The mother-daughter duo had their writings published. They have scheduled a book signing for 2 to 4 p.m. on July 26 at Love ‘N Spoonfuls Frozen Yogurt in Plum.

Jenkins, a social worker, in “Inspire! Women's Stories of Accomplishment, Encouragement and Influence,” told the story of her journey to a healthy lifestyle, losing weight and running in 43 5K races as well as completing a half marathon last year in the annual Pittsburgh race.

The book that comprises the stories of 25 women including Jenkins' was published in June.

Hamer took a compilation of her study tips for students and wrote “First Semester Success” for freshmen. The book was published last October.

Both women have a passion for writing.

Jenkins began writing when she was in second-grade.

“I would write stories for the holiday,” Jenkins said.

“One Thanksgiving I wrote a play. It has been a dream for me to be a published author.”

“I have a box in my house that is full of Lisa's writings,” Hamer said.

Jenkins said last fall she began working on the story of her evolution to a healthy lifestyle. Jenkins met Beth Caldwell, founder and executive director of Pittsburgh Professional Women.

“She was looking for authors,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins said the book is available online through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Hamer said she decided to write “First Semester Success” after watching some new college students struggle.

“Too many freshmen don't know how to study or learn,” Hamer said. “Their immediate choices have impacts.”

The book is available online at, and

Students also can pick up a copy in the bookstore at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Both mother and daughter have plans to do more writing.

Hamer plans to write an article about a 5K-race at Forbes Road Career and Technology Center in Monroeville. Her daughter, Megan Tomley, the school's director of student services, organized the race this past spring.

Hamer also leads a book discussion group at the Murrysville Community Library.

Jenkins wants to work on a book to include tips for those who want to improve their health and wellness.

“So many people start with unrealistic goals,” Jenkins said. “There are fun, simple, small ways to include health and fitness into everyday life.”

Karen Zapf is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-871-2367 or

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