Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Wednesday list...something new edition

Hello! Happy Wednesday! It's been a while (see: launching a book, traveling, enjoying the holiday season).

I'm going to try something new. I'm going to try transitioning this blog into an email newsletter. To be honest, I'm a little nervous. When you've been doing something one way for so long, change is hard. What if it's an epic failure? I decided that even if it doesn't work out exactly the way I hope, at least I gave it a shot, and let's be real -- the world's not going to end either way.

So what does this mean for you? If you like reading my blog posts about books and tv and music and movies and podcasts with the occasional creative writing, then simply subscribe here:

That's it! It'll be basically like getting the blog delivered directly to your email once a month. If that sounds like something you want to do, click on the link below and subscribe:

Now, here's my disclaimer: I'm just getting started using this new platform, so if you're having trouble subscribing, comment on this post and I will continue to try and figure things out! Thanks for being patient with me through this process, and I hope you hit that subscribe button!

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Special edition Tuesday release edition!

Hello, friends! Today is the day, the official release date of You Again! What a strange and also exciting day. Sometimes I like burrow inside my own brain and think deep thoughts and feel deep feelings, and I'm sure you can imagine that a day like today is the ideal environment for emotional burrowing. To be honest, what I mostly feel  today is thankful -- thankful for the opportunity to publish a novel. Thankful for family and friends who are so supportive and kind. Thankful for a publishing team that is patient and smart and really good at what they do. The other thing I feel today is anticipation mixed with nervousness -- about people actually reading the story I wrote, and about building and keeping momentum for my writing. I would love for You Again to be the first of many novels written, and of course I'd love for it to be the first of many novels published. So I'm trying to enjoy today with an eye for the future and big picture, paying attention to smart teachers and people who are a few steps ahead of me. And I'm trying to keep in mind the advice I've heard quite a bit this year in articles and on podcasts about writing and business: each person's journey is their own. Gather tips and advice and wisdom from those with proven experience, but filter it all through your own way of doing things, your own circumstances, personality, quirks, and needs. Go at your own pace. Do good work.

Anyway, if you're here you probably follow me on Facebook or Instagram too, but JUST IN CASE, a little reminder of book details: you can get it on Amazon or Barnes and Noble online. If you live in the Houston area you can get it from me at my launch party Thursday, November 7 (6-8 p.m. at Barbarossa Coffee on Louetta Rd) or really anytime. You can also buy it at book signings in Wilmington, NC and Independence, MO. For all the details, go to If you happen to have a favorite bookstore you like to buy from, just ask them to order it!

Now. Even though that is my big news for the day, it's been a while since I posted a list of things on my radar and I think it's time, don't you?

1. What I'm reading...
I just finished The Jane Austen Project by Kathleen A. Flynn. The premise is that in the near(ish?) future, someone figures out time travel and send back two people to 1815 with the aim of getting copies of Jane Austen's letters to her sister and a lost manuscript called "The Watsons" that she burned most of before her death. It was fascinating, engrossing, and entertaining. I loved the author's imagining of Jane Austen and her family, and thought she did a great job depicting modern people trying to fit into Regency England. It's probably not for a Jane Austen purist, but definitely for anyone who likes historical time travel fiction. (content note: there is one short, slightly open door sex scene). I'm also re-reading The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan as an audio book. I wanted to have an audio book I could listen to in fits and starts or when I'm frequently interrupted, and since they've begun casting the Amazon t.v. series, I figured it was a good time for a revisit. Finally, I'm reading a fantasy review book that's taking some effort to get into, but I'm hoping it'll pick up soon if I  can get some momentum.

2. What I'm listening to...
I am currently OBSESSED with the podcast Dolly Parton's Amercia. For one thing, I really enjoy Dolly Parton's music, I think she's an incredibly talented song writer, and I think she is a fascinating person, artist, and business woman. All that to say, I'm predisposed to like this podcast. Fortunately, it's also really well done. There are rabbit trails, deep cuts, and interviews with Dolly herself. The only down side is that I have to wait a week between episodes!

3. What I'm grateful for...
See giant paragraph above regarding book launch day!!

Unrelated, modern medicine gets a bad rap in some circles these days (maybe that's just my circles), but this week I'm definitely grateful for modern medicine. I'm also grateful for COOL WEATHER! FINALLY! Walking to school, playing in the park, eating outside, running and not feeling like I'm going to melt...all of it is fantastic.

4. A little inspiration...
This blog post by Tsh Oxenreider on The Art of Simple got me thinking this week. I'ts about the importance of defining who you want to be as well as the ACTIONS involved in being that person. Just a little food for thought in your day.

Have a great day, everyone! 

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

A Wednesday list...

Hello! It's been a while since I've posted a classic Wednesday list, so off we go!

1. What I'm reading....
I finished China Rich Girlfriend, which I think I might have actually enjoyed more than Crazy Rich Asians. At least, it was just as much of a fun, fast read as the first book and maybe a little more bonkers. My book club and I decided it felt like reading a novel length version of a gossip magazine. And for something completely different, I just finished Celine, by Peter Heller who's maybe a little more well known for The Dog Stars and most recently The River. I really enjoyed Celine, although it wasn't quite what the experience I expected. It's a mystery that feels like it moves slowly, but then all of a sudden I'm two thirds of the way through the book. The plotting and story are excellent, but the story is more character driven (which is my favorite kind of mystery), and the rich, vivid descriptions made me feel like I was in Wyoming in the fall (which...hello, I'd love to be in Wyoming in the fall).

2. What I'm watching and listening to....
Poldark is baaaack!!! It's the final season, and two episodes in there's enough political intrigue to make my head spin. Also, they've jumped right into a storyline about insanity and mental health, which is a fascinating (and disturbing) subject matter at the turn of the 19th century.

My friend Stephanie also sent me a link to this song: Heavy, by Birdtalker. I don't know anything else about this band, but I could listen to Heavy forever.

3. Something I'm grateful for...
I got to go on a little weekend getaway with some women from church this past weekend, and it was just the kind of refreshing self care that I needed: friend time, alone time, conversation, laughing, eating, etc. I am so, so grateful that I was able to go. Shout out to my husband and in-laws for making it possible!

4. A little inspiration...

Go, sit upon the lofty hill,
And turn your eyes around
Where waving woods and waters wild
Do hymn an autumn sound.
The summer sun is faint on them -
The summer flowers depart -
Sit still - as all transform'd to stone,
Except your musing heart.
                                      ~excerpt from "The Autumn", by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Everything you need to know about my book release

Hello, internet! Well, it's officially October (Texas weather has yet to get on board), and that means You Again releases in ONE MONTH!!! So I'm going to interrupt our regularly (ha! "regularly") scheduled list of books and music and tv and miscellany to give you some VERY IMPORTANT book info.

First, here are the links to where you can pre-order: at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Second, I'm doing some book signings! First will be a launch party here in Houston on November 7. Get the details at I'm also in the process of planning a signing in Wilmington, NC in November and Independence, MO in December. If you think you might want to either the North Carolina or Missouri signing, hold off on purchasing a book online and get one the day of the event!

Third, a summary of this book I keep talking about:
Rosalee McDonnell is a 62 year old widow living in the mid-sized city of Riverton, Missouri. Her life is happy, if also a bit quiet and predictable. One fall morning, an unexpected interaction with a neighbor prompts Rosalee to make some new friends and become more social than she’s been in years. It’s at dinner out with some of these new friends when Rosalee runs into George Barnes, her first love, the man who broke her heart at 17, and someone she never thought she’d see again. As she and George reconnect, their friendship puts a strain on Rosalee’s relationship with her grown daughter, and forces her to face her own doubts and desires. In alternating chapters, Rosalee also recalls the summer of 1973 when she and George met and fell in love, the heartbreak that followed, and the unexpected friendship that helped her heart heal. You Again is a sweet love story with a dash of humor, friendship, and a dose of family drama. It's Taylor Swift's "Our Song" meets Under the Tuscan Sun. Perfect for fans of Kristan Higgins or Jenny B. Jones.

Now, you might say, "I'm not really a reader." or "I don't read romances." That's ok! We can still be friends. BUT chances are you know a reader, or know someone who reads romances. Send them a link! Buy them a copy! (Christmas is right around the corner) If you're on Facebook, like my author page and share it with your friends. Follow me on Instagram. Go to your local bookstore and ask them to order a copy. All of these are great ways to show a little love....even if it's not the book for you.

You Again isn't the kind of book that's going to change the world. It's a simple story about ordinary people living ordinary lives -- but sometimes, that's just the kind of story we need. Sometimes we need to remember about what it means to love, to laugh, to forgive, to say goodbye, and to try new things. My hope is to put something positive out into the world, a little ray of sunshine.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

A Wednesday list...

Hello internet! Hello friends!

What I'm reading...
We read Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan in my book club a few months ago, and when we were picking our September book one of my friends suggested reading the sequel since all of us had said we were planning to read it anyway. What a brillliant idea! So I just started China Rich Girlfriend  today, and I'm looking forward to a light, fun read (at least, if it's anything like the first book!). I also brought home a giant stack of books from the library yesterday -- not because I have time to read a giant stack, but because I can't help myself! -- and I'm the most excited for Recursion, by Blake Crouch. I don't know much about the story or plot or even the genre, but I've heard it highly recommended several places, so I'm going to give it a shot.

What I'm watching...
Great British Baking Show is back and Jeremy and I have finally started Stranger Things season 3. I also went to the theater last week (my annual both-kids-back-in-school-end-of-summer-closing-ceremony) and saw Peanut Butter Falcon with Shia LaBeouf and Dakota Johnson. Y'all. I loved this movie SO much. It was sad, sweet, hopeful, and heartbreaking all at the same time. It was a layered story that also felt simple and straightforward. Shia was amazing in his role, and the North Carolina Outer Banks setting was captured perfectly. If you get a chance, you should watch it.

Something I'm grateful for...
If you've been around for any length of time you know that my first book releases November 5, and as I start spending more and more time and energy getting ready for that, I am just so, so grateful for book release and everyone who is helping me along the way. I'm also really grateful to have had the opportunity recently to attend a local writers meet up and meet some area writers with a similar point of view, and who were all so interesting, inspiring, and encouraging. Doing something like that with complete strangers is REALLY out of my comfort zone, but it was such a lovely time and I'm glad I talked myself into it.

A little inspiration...
"And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up." Galatians 6:9

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

A Wednesday list...

1. What I'm reading...
I started reading the Montmaray Journals, by Michelle Cooper about a month ago, starting with the first book -- A Brief History of Montmaray -- for my August book club. It's historical fiction, set near England during the late 1930s. I say "near" England because the first book takes place on the fictional island kingdom of Montmaray, located off the coast of Spain, but the sequels take place in England (no spoilers!) and the citizens of Montmaray were originally from England in the Middle Ages. The first book starts off pretty slow, but the setting is so vivid and unique, the story gets a little more complex as it goes along, and the characters flesh out more with each chapter. I loved the second book (FitzOsbornes in Exile) and am excited to start the third book of the trilogy. After FitzOsbornes at War, I'm picking up another sequel: China Rich Girlfriend.

2. What I'm listening to...
I have the new release, Dragons, by Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors on repeat these days. There are songs that are pure fun, some that are thoughtful, and a few that are sweet and romantic. I love Holcomb's Americana-a little-bit-rock-a little-bit-country sound, and this feels like they're best album yet.

3. Something I'm grateful for...
A good start to kindergarten!

4. A little inspiration...
I came across this G.K. Chesterton quote in a newsletter I subscribe to from children's book author Sally Lloyd Jones, and I think it's really thought provoking. I hope you enjoy it too:

“Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.” ― G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

Happy Wednesday!

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

A Wednesday list...

Hello, hi! August is doing its best to smother me under a hot, wet blanket of summer malaise, but so far we survive. Kindergarten starts a week from today, so at the very least our normal routine will get a major shake-up soon. I turned in the final revisions on You Again this week. I feel relieved, nervous, excited. Revising is weird: I started second guessing all of my choices, even the ones that were untouched by editorial suggestions and notes. Who knew I would have the urge to just delete it all and start again! (kidding...sort of).

What I'm reading...
I've had the book A Brief History of Montmaray on my TBR list for so long I forgot where I heard about it or why I put it there. I put it on our list of possible August reads for my book club, so I was really excited when that's the book we chose. It's historical fiction set in the late 1930s in a fictional island kingdom off the coast of England. Irritating characters, a touch gothic, characters clueless in a specific kind of way (living very isolated from the outside world). Not as much resolution as I'd have hoped, but it's the first in a series and I'm definitely going to keep reading.

What I'm watching/listening to....
The second season of Derry Girls is heeeerrrreee!!! In case you missed season 1, Derry Girls is 30 minute Netflix show set in Northern Ireland in the 1990s (during The Troubles). It so perfectly captures the awkwardness of being a teenager, the complicated nature of family and friendship, and all with charm and hilarity. (fair warning: there is a LOT of cursing).

What I'm grateful for....
Air conditioning is the obvious choice here but that doesn't make it any less true.

A little inspiration...
I'm a huge fan of children's author Sally Lloyd-Jones, and she wrote a really thought-provoking blog post recently about creativity and wonder. Here's the link: