Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Choose Words and Make Mayhem

A few years ago, Rajani LaRocca  and I met at a writing retreat. After realizing we had way too many things in common to be coincidence, we became friends. 

Since then, I’ve watched her work hard at her writing and keep finding opportunities. In 2017 she trusted me to read one of her last drafts of Midsummer’s Mayhem. I loved it! 

Rajani’s hard work and talent finally came together.

And now I’m proud to show off Rajani’s cover!!! 
(Look at all that purple!)

Inspired by A Midsummer Night's Dream, the story follows an 11-year-old Indian-American girl whose dream of winning a celebrity chef-judged baking contest stirs up trouble when she bakes with a mysterious boy from the woods and people around her start acting loopy. Publication is scheduled for summer 2019.

Check out her book on Goodreads

Recently, I read a blog called “Space Between,” featuring Rajani, and the host of the post, Julie Ditchburn Patton, suggested choosing a word to frame the upcoming year.

Her advice was simple:

1.       Decide what your goals are for the year. The more specific you are, the better.
2.       Think about what character traits or verbs you’re going to need to reach those goals.
3.       Choose your word(s).
4.       Write the word(s) down and post somewhere you’ll see them every day.

This summer, I attended Highlights Whole Novel Workshop  run by Sarah Aronson and Nancy Werlin. I love Highlights, and this has been my favorite workshop by far. It was life-changing. I worked on a novel I’d written years ago but had been stuck on how to revise it. Based on Nancy’s feedback, along with my Braintrust group, I had huge epiphanies. I’m currently on revision 3.

While I was there, I also spoke with Jim McCoy, who is a life coach. Truthfully, I hadn’t thought I needed one. After all, I’m a teacher, I write. What more did I need?

When I told my husband about the life coach opportunity, he said, “You could use that.”


He was right. I’d been giving up on my manuscripts too easily, stopped querying too early. 

I could use a life coach. 

Jim asked me about my fears. He helped me find perspective and language to use. We came up with goals moving forward.

So in that spirit, I’ve tried Julie's method.

My Goals:

Find learning opportunities
Continue to perfect craft
Pursue connections
Keep querying and tweaking

My Character Traits:

Inquisitive (always)
Persistent (working on it)
Fearless (sometimes)
Brave (mostly)


continuing firmly or obstinately in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.

tenacious, persevering, determined, resolute, purposeful, dogged, single-minded, tireless, indefatigable, patient, unflagging, untiring, insistent, importunate, relentless, unrelenting

continuing to exist or endure over a prolonged period.

I chose:
1. continue firmly or obstinately in an opinion or a course of action in spite of difficulty, opposition, or failure.

And when I think about it, that’s what Rajani’s done too. Like me, she balances a full time job, parenting, and squeezing in everything writing-related in the margins. And she does it with good humor and sincerity. And now here she is with a middle grade novel coming out on June 4, 2019, along with a picture book, etc. Her word is “Savor.” 

What’s your word(s)? 

Maybe I need to order the mug  with this logo 
for my writing mornings.

Friday, November 24, 2017

The Clock is Ticking

See my book on the bottom left!

I'm not a big fan of promoting myself. But Vine Leaves Press made an offer I couldn't refuse:

Promoting lots of Vine Leaves Press authors!

I've read quite a few of these books, and I'm always impressed with the beauty of the thought-provoking writing. It's what makes me so proud to be a Vine Leaves author.

Selected ebook #VLP titles $0.99 AUD w/ coupon code, Friday, November 24-Monday November 27, Coupon Code: vlpcyber, enter at checkout. Go to vineleavespress.com.

Here are direct links to these fabulous authors' ebooks
(short story collections, historical fiction, memoir, poetry, and prose)

Dylan Doyle Debelis https://gum.co/garagedebelisvlp

Take advantage of this Black Friday to Cyber Monday sale.

The clock is ticking! (Get it? TIME & CIRCUMSTANCE)

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

In Which I Lie, Twice

Please, visit Crystal Collier's blog.

On it, I play "Two Truths and a Lie." 

See how well you know me.

By making a guess, you enter for a chance to win a signed copy of my book.

Good luck! 

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Moments to Relive and Winners

Thank you again to everyone who agreed to host me on their blogs for my tour for Time & Circumstance. Im overwhelmed with how much support youve given me. I already knew it was going to be a tough time for the tour because of Applied Behavioral Analysis class. It wound up being an even more difficult time for a tour because of the death of a dear family friend, and so I didnt get the word out about the tour as much as Id planned. Im sorry, hosts.

The good news is I just finished the class, and so Im finally getting around to choosing winners. I put every commenters name in Random Name Picker (Winners are listed at the bottom of the post.)

I also want to thank the commenters, especially those who answered my question: “If you could relive any moment in time, what would it be?”

Here are some fantastic answers:

Seeing Lincoln give the Gettysburg Address.

Oh...question...Relive a moment in time...too many to mention, but flying into Paris for the first time I'd like to repeat that. Unfortunately, like all such moments, we only get to do them once.

That's a tough one, if I could relive one moment I think I would choose my first visit to Paris. It went by too fast T_T

As for a moment I would want to relive- maybe my release day for my book. It went by in a magical blur and reliving it would help me try to prolong the excitement. :) 

What moment would I relive? So hard. Probably the last outing we had before my dad passed away. My kids were little and he found such joy in going on rides with them at the local fairground. Lots of fun.

As for a moment I would like to relive- I am not sure. So many wonderful moments. Maybe reading Harry Potter for the first time. I love rereading it, but it would be amazing to read it with the same surprise and awe I had that very first time.

My moment in time would be Woodstock. I’d love to know what it felt like to be enmeshed in so much energy.

If I could relive a day, I'd pick my wedding or the day we adopted my daughter. The first moment I held her was priceless.

I’d save events from my life as a young wife, my daughter as she grew up, and my grandson who is growing up way too fast. I’d take about every four to six months, keep those times in an appropriate container so I could shake them out and relive those moments. 

Best moment -- wishing on a shooting star with my kiddos when they were wee folk. I think they'll always believe in magic because of that night. 

Last year, in the weeks before my mother died, I had the privilege of spending many moments with her, sometimes in complete silence. I used to sleep so well in the same room as my mother. Don't we all? Sometimes, in the quiet moments of my hectic life I relive that time. You never get it back again.

What's your favorite response here? 
Please share your own favorite moment to relive.

And now


Grand Prize Winner: ($25 Amazon Gift Card) Patsy
Signed Book: Nick Wilford

Congratulations! xo


Monday, March 13, 2017

March Madness

My book comes on 3/21, and so blog tour begins today. YaY! I’ve written a variety of posts--from how music influenced me to how the collection came about to the challenge of writing in our new political reality.

Dates and links are listed below. Please visit. If you comment on them, you’re automatically entered to win 1 of 3 prizes.

And if you scroll to the bottom of this post, I’ve written a poem. It’s my birthday near the end of this month, so I figured it would be fun to write something that is also in theme with my book, Time & Circumstance.

3/13    Nas Dean
3/15    Wendy McDonald 
3/16    Judy Mintz 
3/17    Kid Lit Universe 
3/18    Iris Blobel 
3/19    Sharon Mayhew
3/20    Jemi Fraser 
3/21    Denise Covey 
3/22    Marcy Hatch
3/23    Janet Buttenweiser 
3/24    Jessica Haight  
3/27    Alex Cavanaugh
03/28  Unicorn Bell
3/29  My Memories of a Future Life 

Thank you to everyone who has hosted me! xo

Middle Age March Madness

My regrets shadow me—
long in dusk.
And like a bewildered toddler,
try as I might,
I can’t outrun the damned thing.

Is this middle age madness
looking back?
If a groundhog sees his shadow,
we’re all screwed.
Shoulda, woulda, coulda.

Why didn’t I get grandma’s recipe
for brown bread
and those creamed turnips too?
Better yet,
let’s dish about the speakeasy.

Then all my dumb fear decisions.
Landed, stranded, instead of airborne.
Confidence wasn’t on sale, I guess.

Why didn’t we do this or that
way back when?
Would it have killed me to try?
Seemed so then.
Whatever … it all worked out, I guess.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Writer's Week

I woke up to a nice surprise this morning.I received an email from The Artist Unleashed accepted my writing advice article, and it went live. So here I am to tell you my struggles and how I overcame them. I hope they help you. Please visit  and answer the question, How do you manage your writing time?

Note: I'm going to close comments here in the hope that people visit The Artist Unleashed. 

Two posts ago, Gayle Krause visited my blogCrystal Collier won an ARC of Gayle’s historical fiction set during the American Revolution! I’m excited for Crystal, but a little jealous. Now I’ll have to wait until Twice Betrayed is released to get one for my classroom!

On my last post, I requested for people to host me on their blog, and I’m thankful for how many volunteered. It’s winter break for me this week. This meant I wrote 14 guest posts over 3 days. My blog tour will run from 3/13-3/29 for release of TIME & CIRCUMSTANCE. There will be prizes and hashtags, so you can spread the word (with even more chances to win). 

In addition to writing the guest posts and organizing the tour, I'm using this week to catch up. I have a ton of work for my job, assignments for school, and last night I received an email with the study guide to prepare an exam I’m taking in March for my Master’s degree. I may need to keep reading my own post on The Artist Unleashed to inspire me to keep writing.


Saturday, February 11, 2017

Book Promotion: 5 Pieces of Advice

Vine Leaves set me up with an hour session with a marketing consultant. On a recent snow day we Skyped for an hour. Even though with work, a grad class, etc, I don't feel like I have a second to spare, I have to make many seconds to spare. My book is coming out in 6 weeks.
So far, I've taken five pieces of advice.

First piece of advice:  Consistency between social media platforms is key. I updated my blog to look more like my Twitter, and Facebook profiles and my website. I've got tree branches, more consistent color, and style. What do you think?

Second piece of advice: Plan a blog tour with prizes, contests, and hashtags. I put up a note on Facebook, and a few people kindly volunteered their blogs. Now I've actually got to write some posts!

If you would also like to be a part of my blog tour, I'd love to have you. :)  I can write a post, you can interview me, or other ideas that work for you.

Dates available:

3/21 (taken), 3/22 (taken), 3/23 (taken), 3/24 (taken), 3/25, 3/27 (taken), 3/28 (taken)

Please comment if you're interested.

Third piece of advice: It's important to minimize the number of clicks people have to make to find your book. Rather than just linking to Vine Leaves Press, I'm providing individual links.

TIME & CIRCUMSTANCE ebooks are now available for preorder!

$3.99 AUD (eBook)
Kindle AUS
Kindle US
Kindle UK
Kindle CA
iBooks | Kobo | Nook

If you want to preorder a paperback copy, that's available too.

$12.99 AUD (paperback)
Amazon US
Amazon UK
​Amazon CA
Barnes & Noble

Book Depository
Chapters Indigo

Fourth piece of advice: It's also important to set up local events. I'm trying to connect with the local poetry community like I'm part of the kid lit community. The other day, I attended a poetry book reading. Sure, I hardly talked to anyone, and I left early. But I met a couple of nice poets, bought one of their books, found out from a bookstore how to order books for events, and took a few pictures that I shared on Facebook and Twitter.

Fifth piece of advice: Build relationships online, which I think I already have pretty much covered. I've been blogging since 2009 and attending writing-related events even before then. I've appreciated getting to know you over the years. Thank you for your support.