Book Cover Reveal: THIAG

Here’s the cover for my novelette Things Heard in a Graveyard (releasing in November):



Love = Feeding

The lengths we’ll go for someone we love, am I right?

My cat Chester (2003 – 2016–almost 2017) had had renal failure for almost six years when he died. To take care of him and to keep his life happy and comfortable, we had to mix Epakitin in moist food twice a day, gave him 1/4 of an antacid once a day in a Pill Pocket or any treat we could trick him into eating, fed him a special kidney diet, took him to vet appointments every so many months to get his blood toxin levels tested, and we had to administer subcutaneous fluids a few times a month. The vet was shocked that Chester lived so long after his diagnosis–and lived happily and comfortably at that.

Another thing I love (not as much as God, people, or pets, so don’t worry 😉 ) is my writing. How much do I love it, though?

I buy/read books to study the craft of writing. I critique others’ works, and sometimes people critique mine. But other than those things, how am I feeding my writing? My craft?

Some things I could do to improve my quality of writing life:

  • Read more (I read a decent amount, but I can always up my reading time and improve the quality)
  • Play. Just let myself play on the page and have fun.
  • Try other art forms, such as painting, clay sculpting, singing (I kid, I kid)
  • Take better care of my mind. There has been so much bad stuff on the internet lately, maybe it’s time to take a break from at least parts of it.
  • Take better care of my body. Better health can mean better spirits, which in turn means better quality of output


What about YOU? What do you love and how do you show it?

Keep your nose in a book,

Kindness in Literature

There’s been a lot of negativity in online communities as of late. And while it’s important to keep up with politics (to a point); and be a social activist, standing up against the lions of injustice…it’s also so very, very much needed to be kind and focus on positive things.

Here, for all our sakes, is a small collection of kindness found in books. The motives could be dissected (no human motive is 100% pure), but I’m not going to do that.

“It’s not enough to be friendly. You have to be a friend.”
― R.J. PalacioWonder

Oh, Wonder. You’re such a wonderful book. This whole middle-grade novel is full of kindness moments and quotes.

The premise: A kid who has looked different all of his life ventures out into the world (the world being grade school), makes friendships, moves people to be kind, and all-in-all inspires others as he comes out of his shell.

While I don’t condone violence, my favorite scene involves Auggie’s best estranged friend, Jack Will, standing up for Auggie. Violence isn’t the answer (he punches another kid for making fun of Auggie), yet his heart was right. That’s what I loved. His heart.

“His love for Frodo rose above all other thoughts, and forgetting his peril he cried aloud: ‘I’m coming Mr. Frodo!”
― J.R.R. Tolkien


Samwise Gamgee from The Lord of the Rings trilogy is a great example of love and kindness in literature. Not only does Sam stay with Frodo no matter what, he even offers to carry Frodo’s burden. And when Frodo won’t let him do that, Sam carries Frodo. Sam is good and is the second being to willingly (if not un-reluctantly) give up the Ring of Power.

“But I feel as if I did know Rue, and she’ll always be with me. Everything beautiful brings her to mind. I see her in the yellow flowers that grow in the Meadow by my house. I see her in the Mockingjays that sing in the trees. But most of all, I see her in my sister, Prim.”
― Suzanne CollinsCatching Fire

Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games not only took her sister’s place in the dreaded arena, she befriended a girl from another district who could seemingly be of little benefit, taking the girl under her wing and ultimately avenging and mourning her as if she had been her own sister.


These are just a few of my favorite kind moments in literature. What are YOUR favorites?

Keep your nose in a book,

(Self) Sabotage!

No need to sing Beastie Boys at me. Please don’t.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way…

Today I’m going to talk about sabotage. More specifically, SELF-sabotage.

A friend once asked me if I was my own saboteur. I think I replied around the lines of “I don’t know.” Because I didn’t. But the more I look at my patterns of behavior, the more I’m noticing that yes, yes I do sabotage myself in many different areas of my life.

When I know I’ll binge eat at night, I fail to eat earlier in the evening so that I’m not hungry then. Then I’m “starving” late at night and fall into that pit. Sabotage.

I buy a pair of jeans a size larger because I think I’m bigger than I am. The pants fall down (a lot) when I’m around home, and I still find a way to think I’m bigger than I am. Sabotage.

When I’ve edited a manuscript but it’s not quite there yet, I go ahead and hit SUBMIT. Because I’m never going to get any better and suck and might as well get the rejection/s over with. SABOTAGE.

The sad thing? I keep doing the above three things. I haven’t learned.

There’s a good book that gives me hope. It’s called RESTORE and it’s by Vince Antonucci. He talks about going to a rehab of sorts and how there are really six or so tools to help get yourself out of a bad habit (and I count sabotaging myself as a habit.) They’re covered in AA, I believe (at least some.) The first one?


Read the book for more explaining, but suffice it to say that by seeing my sin and weakness and turning to God for help, He’s able to do amazing things.

Non-Christians: This is a good book.

Christians: This is a good book.

So please pray for me, that I can stop messing up my life when I know God has good things in store for me.

Keep your nose in a book and your pen on the page,

Books I’m reading: May Edition

I’ve been doing a lot of reading and plan on doing a lot more. Books I’m reading (note that these are no recommendations. I’m not liking 100% of these):

  1. Life in a Medieval Village by Frances Giles
  2. Going Wide Unboxed by Patty Jansen
  3. Holly Lisle’s Create a World Clinic by Holly Lisle
  4. Let’s Get Digital by David Gaughran
  5. Magonia by Mari Dahvana Headley
  6. Restore by Vince Antonucci
  7. The Fire in Fiction by Donald Maass
  8. The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart
  9. The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
  10. Why I Believe by Chip Ingram

Earlier this week, I finished reading another Holly Lisle non-fic about creating a culture. Very good intro to worldbuilding. I’m going to have to go back and do the worksheets.

Read broad. Read deep. Read often. Read lots.

Keep your pen on the page and your nose in a book,

How I Survived My Second Book Signing

IMG_20180512_131558590.jpgMe^ (Photo credit: R.A. Johnson)

Don’t let that relaxed, calm, and passive face fool you 😉 I was STRESSED about my book signing last Saturday. I showed up an hour early, with all my stuff and my friend and her son and my mom…because, let’s face it: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Ten minutes in, I was sweating…well, more literally than proverbially. TMI?

How did I survive? What did I do right? What did I do wrong? Buckle up, folks! It’s going to be a bumpy ride.


What I Did Right

  • I reserved the venue (my local public library) five months in advance (before the calendar filled up for 2018)
  • Contacted my baker way in advance (Cross’ Confections. YUM!)
  • Stayed in touch with my baker every so many months, until it got closer; by then, I was contacting her every so many weeks
  • Sent out personal invites to friends and family (you can do e-invites, but there’s something about getting actual mail in the real-life mailbox…)
  • Had swag related to each book
  • Had my help lined up months in advance

If possible, get a free, public venue. I could have asked a church, but some people aren’t comfortable in a religious setting, and you have to pay to rent a room. Plus, if the church doesn’t approve of you book…well, that’s a whole ‘nother dilemma.

Baked goods are optional. I wanted to feed my guests. Did it cost me? Yes (not nearly as much as if I had gone with another bakery, but still.)

Keeping the lines of communication open with your venue and your help/baker is essential. People are busy and sometimes forget to write things down. You are not being a nag contacting them on occasion to finalize or go over plans.

A personal touch can mean the difference between a yes and a no. Want people to come to your party? Make them feel like they’re wanted. Because they are!

Giving away swag related to your book is a fun way to keep you and your work in people’s thoughts. Let’s face it: you have to see/hear of a book several times before you break down and read it.

Putting the burden on your own shoulders alone will break your back.

What I Did Wrong

  • I did not set a budget. This is CRITICAL for any party planner: make certain you have a limit on what you want to spend. Things add up FAST! Whether you’re selling books or Mary Kay, you don’t want a deficit. Come out in the black!
  • I had my expectations set on my last book signing. By doing this, I kept comparing. And when you compare, you tend to get negative. You doubt yourself and your ability to write, sell, or throw a party.


For refreshments, I had my high school friend Beth Cross of Cross’ Confections make three types of macarons (strawberry, blueberry, and I think the green one was matcha with a mint filling), chocolate chip scones, and shortbread cookies. Mmmm!

IMG_20180512_140939602.jpg(Photo credit: R.A. Johnson)

For book swag, I had postcards for Lady Catherine Says

Lady Catherine Says cover2

Lip balms with the cover art for Lady Catherine Says, along with information on where to find the book; postcards for Circus in a Shot Glass with pens attached…

CIASG post cards

Buttons for In a Pickle with the words “I’VE GOT SOME HISTORY TO FIX” printed on them; and bookmarks for those who bought Lady Catherine Says, encouraging people to leave reviews of my books on Goodreads.

With twenty-four people in attendance, I’m calling the official book launch/signing for Lady Catherine Says a success!

Keep your pen on the page and your nose in a book,

P.S. Here’s a link to my radio interview last Thursday: Listen Here!

Me Tackling Fear — On the Radio and in a Crowd

002.JPGMy sister got me a cute shot glass ^ in honor of CIRCUS IN A SHOT GLASS’s upcoming release!

But before I think about CIRCUS IN A SHOT GLASS, I have to finish getting through this week. If all went well (I’m writing this post on Sunday), I was on the radio yesterday and will try to see if there’s a link to the segment on the station’s website. And tomorrow…is my book signing!


It would seem I’m tackling a lot of my fear this week…head-on! I HATE being in crowds and I do not like being the focal point. Oh, and did I mention that I’m TERRIFIED of talking on the phone?

What about you? What are some of your fears? Have you tackled them?

Keep your pen on the page,