My Love Affair with 2014

Dear 2014,

I love you.

I know it’s still early in our relationship, but I feel that we get each other. Please don’t think I’m one of those girls that is going to start naming our kids just 11 days in, but there is something different about you. You’re different from all the other years.2014 year

Don’t get me wrong, 2012 and 2013 were good to me. I mean 2012 brought the publication of Phoenix and the realization of a lifelong dream. And, 2013 gave me a chance to share Amanda, Alex and Shiloh’s stories with so many people, the release of the audiobook version of Phoenix and the amazing award from the Texas Association of Authors.

So, what is different about you, 2014? Why do I feel that we have a special connection after barely getting to know each other?

It’s promise.

I already know a few gifts you’ll be bearing this year. Pardon Falls (finally!), writing that story that’s been whirling around in my head for the last six months or so, participation in a writers’ academy this summer that can’t get here soon enough and book events in Houston and San Antonio.

2014, you may be the one. Keep it up and I just might bring you home to meet my parents.




Eternally Grateful

gratefulI usually skip most of the Facebook memes that go around (honestly, I don’t think there are 10 things you don’t know about me …). And, one of those I skipped this year is the November daily musings on what we are grateful for. It’s not that I am not grateful – I am! – but not just the month of November. So, I’ll kill two birds with one stone and share 10 things I’m grateful for.

  1. My Parents. Not only did they give me life, but they taught me how to live my dreams with respect for others and integrity.
  2. My Sister. For still speaking to me after sharing a house with me during my teenage years, but also for being so supportive.
  3. My Husband. It’s hard living with a writer. We get cranky for what appears to be no reason, but in reality it’s a stupid sentence driving us crazy. Not only does he put up with my mood swings and lack of cooking skills, but he stood by me while I chased my dream of writing.
  4. My excellent publisher. I only wish that every writer has someone like Robyn in their corner when it comes time to bring their work into the world. She is fiercely loyal and always willing to be there for me whenever I need her.
  5. My Writing Buddies. Carol, Jayna, Chrissy, Jeff, Susie, Bryan, Joe, Bethany, Claire, Scot, Nanon and oh gosh, I know I’m forgetting someone so please forgive me … But you guys are my biggest cheerleaders, but also the first to call me on my BS. Writing is a really lonely hobby/sport/profession/obsession, but I couldn’t ask for a better family of friends.
  6. My Muse. I know I’m lucky to have not only the ability to put together words that paint pictures, but I feel truly fortunate to have whatever it is that whispers stories in my ears and gives me glimpses of people who feel as real to me as anyone I meet on the street. I may get frustrated with my Muse when she gets distracted or plays hide-and-seek with me, but she is the heart and soul of my writing life.
  7. Readers. It’s been a year since Phoenix came out and in that time I’ve made new friends and caught up with old friends – all people who have been so kind as to spend their hard earned free time and money to read my work. I still pinch myself when someone says that they read Phoenix and fell in love with the characters. Thank you for so much.
  8. My Dog. Charlie has taught me so much in the year since we adopted him, but 2013-09-30 17.48.33-2mainly patience and flexibility. He is nothing like my last dog, Katie; and I love him so much for that. The lessons he’s taught me are so invaluable to writing – just because one book was relatively easy to raise (or write), doesn’t mean the next will be … But when you accept him (and the book) for what he is, the pay off is immeasurable.
  9. My Health. I know this may sound superficial, but I am so thankful for a strong and healthy body. Sitting and writing doesn’t take a lot of physical strength, but lugging books to events and standing for hours on end talking to readers sure does.
  10. My Mistakes. Mistakes are wonderful. Mistakes prove that you took chances. Mistakes teach. And, a mistake is ten times better than regret. Sure, some mistakes are worse than others (and much less public than big bangs in the 80s …), but I wouldn’t be the person I am today without making a few mistakes along the way.

This is just a fraction of what I have to be thankful for every day of my life. What about you? What are you thankful for?

P.S. Wine and Coffee are ranked 11 and 12 … because you know I didn’t forget them. :-)

Why I Suck at Blogging

YouSuckWow. It’s been more than two months since my last blog post. So long that when I went to the site to type this, I was afraid I forgot my password.

Yah. Not good.

It’s not that I don’t understand the value of having an active blog. I know that it’s important for my writing career to keep my name out there and the web hits up. And, it’s not that I don’t have anything to say. I’ve composed a thousand blog posts in my head while driving to and from work, but until technology can reach the point where Siri can read my thoughts, those posts are still sitting in my head.

So, if I haven’t been blogging, what exactly have I been doing the last couple of months? Well, in no particular order …

  • Received edits from my awesome writers group on Pardon Falls.
  • Worked my butt off at my day job.
  • Sold books I’ve written.
  • Researched books to write.
  • Went on vacation.

    The grave of someone who is still very much loved at the Terlingua Ghost Town cemetery.

    The grave of someone who is still very much loved at the Terlingua Ghost Town cemetery.

  • Entertained my high-energy, two-year-old Lab. I’m waiting for the puppy stage to end any day now.
  • Discovered I can still hula hoop.
  • Read some outstanding manuscripts as part of Greater Fort Worth Writers’ beta manuscript program. There are some great books coming out soon!

    My excellent publisher, Robyn Short of goodmedia press, with me at the Texas Association of Authors awards dinner.

    My excellent publisher, Robyn Short of goodmedia press, with me at the Texas Association of Authors awards dinner.

  • Rode a horse for the first time in 20 years … and didn’t fall off.
  • Attended the Texas Book Festival in Austin where I received the award for Best General Fiction of 2013 for Phoenix from the Texas Association of Authors.
  • Making said edits to Pardon Falls so it can be ready for public consumption in 2014.

Whew. I’m sure I’m forgetting some thing, but, well, you get the idea. My UP band already chastises me for not getting enough sleep (Editor’s Note: If you know me in real life and are questioning that statement, it’s true, even I am not getting enough sleep these days), but I promise that as soon as these edits are done, blogging will become a priority for me again.

Pinky swear.


First Day of School

As I sipped my coffee this morning, browsing through Facebook at all the back-to-school pictures, I recalled that feeling of mixed anticipation and trepidation. How I yearned to impress new friends, but in reality ended up embarrassing myself in such a manner that I am still teased today. (Exhibit A: The time I burned my a** by sitting on a curling iron.)

Ahem, I digress …

First Day of SchoolI realized I share something with those wide-eyed children wearing backpacks filled with No. 2 pencils.

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Reading Room with Matthew Bryant

My guest in this week’s Reading Room, my good friend and GFWW buddy Matthew Bryant, has a very special distinction. Not only do our debut novels share a birthday (must read Towers – it’s fricking awesome!), but my dad reviewed Towers on Amazon before he reviewed my novel. (Editor’s Note: Yes, I realize it’s cheating, just have to give my dad a hard time)

So sit back, let Matthew entertain you as he so often does in our writers group meetings. And, then buy his book.

Oh he just looks sweet and innocent. But inside lurks an evil genius.

Oh he just looks sweet and innocent. But inside lurks an evil genius.

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Reading Room with Susan Sheehey

Every writer works hard. But I would bet that few work as hard as my friend, Susan Sheehey. This girl not only busts her butt with her own work, but she’s incredibly generous with her time when it comes to her writing buddies. That’s why there was a collective squeal of delight last week when Susie’s debut novel, Audrey’s Promise, came out a week early on Amazon Kindle. (It’s AWESOME!!!! You must download. Now!)

Is this not the most beautiful cover every? And yes, the book is just as awesome.

Is this not the most beautiful cover ever? And yes, the book is just as awesome.

So show Susan some love for her big heart and awesome book with some kind words below. Or, I will beat you up.

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Reading Room with C.A. Szarek

You know who’s a rock star author? This girl. No, not me, C.A. Szarek, my guest in this week’s Reading Room talking about her latest release, Collision Force. This isn’t her first book release of 2013, it’s her second (and she’s got two more in the can). That’s just one of the many reason’s she earns her rock star status.

And, to further her rock star status, C.A. will be giving away a copy of Collision Force (Editor’s Note: It ROCKS!) to one lucky commenter.


What role has books and reading played in your life?

Oh gosh. So much influence. I have been a reader since I learned how. And I started writing when I was about seven or eight, with poetry. Novels started in my teens, the first one about fourteen. When I was a kid, I always had my nose it a book. That hasn’t changed, except I write so much I don’t get to read as much as I’d like.

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Goodmedia Press Publisher Talks Best Indie Books

summer_readingMy excellent publisher, Robyn Short of Goodmedia Press, will be on Fox’s Good Day Dallas Saturday morning talking about the growth of Indie publishers, as well as some of the best Indie books of the summer for any reader. Rumor has it, a Phoenix may be in the midst as well as my writing buddy Jeff Bacot’s novel On the Hole.

Watch Good Day and then spend the rest of the weekend locked away in a good book.


Reading Room with Clover Autrey

Before authors started making stuff up, we were readers. To celebrate Independence Day (and Independent Authors Day!), I’m launching a new weekly feature – Reading Room – to celebrate our roots are readers. And, I’m excited that my friend Clover Autrey has agreed to be my first victim, er, guest.

The lovely Clover Autrey

The lovely Clover Autrey

Say hi to Clover …

Was there a moment when you decided to become an author?  If so, was there someone or something that sparked that?

I remember at a very young age, swinging outside on my grandparents’ large set while daydreaming and I had the sudden thought that being a writer would be the best job ever. That thought never left me. I still think it’s the greatest job ever.

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Picking Scabs

I know the “ewww” factor will be high on this title, but it’s meant to make you uncomfortable … because if you are an author and you want your readers to feel exactly what your characters are feeling, you’re going to have to bleed.

Yes, it's going to hurt. But shake it off ...

Yes, it’s going to hurt. But shake it off …

The other day in my awesome critique group, I told one of my friends that he just scratched the surface of emotion in a piece … the he just picked at the edge of the scab when he really needed to pull it off. Driving home that day, I realized I needed to heed my own advice for a scene.

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