Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A No-Time-To-Cook Recipe to Say Thanks

I can’t tell you how grateful I am for all of you who’ve reached out to let me know you’ve been buying my books for your friends & family for the holidays.
Here is a picture I took yesterday of my rock star realtor (from seven years ago). She swung by to have me sign copies of The Disappearing Key she bought as gifts for her dear friends. So meaningful to visit with her!

As a way of saying thanks, I’m giving you one of my favorite in-a-hurry, life’s-too-crazy, hardly-have-a-minute-to-breathe-nonetheless-cook recipes. I forget where it originally came from, but I hope your family enjoys it as much as mine does!

Yum Pasta
12 oz. linguine pasta

1 15 oz. can of diced tomatoes

1 med. sweet onion (cut in ¼ strips)

4 cloves of garlic (or I use tablespoons of the wet in a jar)

¼ tsp. dried oregano leaves

4 ½ c. vegetable broth

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Fresh basil leaves (10-12)

Parmesan cheese (as much as desired)

Place pasta, tomato, and sliced onion in large pot (with herbs + garlic). Pour in veggie broth. Sprinkle on red pepper flakes & oil. Cover & bring to a boil. Keep covered for 10 min. or until pasta is cooked. Stir in basil and parmesan. Yum!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Raising Imaginations


I’m passionate about encouraging my children to imagine possibilities. Even Albert Einstein knew the value of using your imagination. “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”

That’s probably why I loved this picture I found on Pinterest. {from the art mommie blog}

As parents we can find specific and creative ways to ignite the imaginative sparks in our children. I love the idea of cutting out a portion of an image from a magazine and letting my girls fill in the rest.

I just so happened to read the following quote from Flannery O’Connor yesterday as well.

“A good story is literal in the same sense that a child’s drawing is literal. When a child draws, he doesn’t intend to distort but to set down exactly what he sees, and as his gaze is direct, he sees the lines that create motion.”  

Let’s get out there and create motion, people!


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

6 Things Writing Has Taught Me about Life

I always find it a little crazy when life imitates my art. An event will play out and I’ll think, Hey, I wrote about that years ago.

Know what else is crazy in the coolest of ways? How I’ve learned things in my career as a writer that have spilled valuable insights over into the rest of my life.
Here are just a few…

Edit as I go
I used to be a yeller. Yep, catch me in the midst of a fight fifteen years ago and I had no qualms about slinging shouts. Not anymore. I’ve grown to see how ineffective yelling is. And as with writing and understanding the importance of editing, I like how I’m able to change as I grow.

Help with letting go
I have three girls. They started out as babies. Sort of how it works, doesn’t it? But they’re rapidly aging. And there’s nothing I can do to slow down the process.

When I publish a book I feel like I hand the story baton to my readers. Or as though I send the novel off like pushing a toy boat on a windy day across rippling waters. I let go.
I’ve tapped into this same mindset at certain moments as a parent. Thanks writing. I owe you for your help with this one.

Remaining open to learning & change
In case you’ve been asleep for the past ten years, a lot has changed in the publishing industry. Independent publishing no longer has the reek of Limburger cheese. In fact, it’s widely respected when done with great consideration, knowledge, and planning.

Newsflash: I’m not always going to be right as a parent. Truth be told, I get it wrong about 78% of the time. You’re thinking why on earth would I share this, aren’t you? Well, I’ll tell you why. Because I’m passionate about learning, about paying attention, and about riding the waves as a mom and member of society. I want to make a great impact with the little time I have here. In order to do that, I must be receptive to what works. And what doesn’t.

Managing expectations
I used to think every holiday had to materialize like a Normal Rockwell painting. In other words I wanted the perfect life. Somewhere along the way I realized that’s a farce. (My kids would laugh if I read that word out loud. Oh, language.) Things get messy. Feelings get hurt. Clothes live on my bedroom floor. Instead of promising myself every morning I’ll clean the entire house, tackle 50 pages of my novel, and write Congress letters about everything that’s troubling me, I get real.

As a writer I know how much time it takes to build an audience—to find my peeps. I’ve learned how to apply this throughout the rest of my life, mindful not to set myself up for disappointment unnecessarily.

Be brave & Take risks
Sneaking two in one, eh? Why yes, yes I am. Takes a certain kind of bravery to do that. Anyway, rejection is the Mr. Miyagi of publishing. It keeps you humble, and challenges your degree of determination. After I endure a humbling event related to my writing, I have a tendency to wax on, then wax off. I jump back up with hands raised, ready to fight.

I can’t take credit for why I’m so stubbornly committed. Part of my wiring perhaps.
Love when that wiring is connected to other areas of passion in my life like my marriage, and parenting.

Spread the love
I used to think writing had to be a solitary act. Well, in a way it is. But in so many beautiful ways it’s fanned out for me. I’m in touch with hundreds of other writers who are devoted to encouraging one another. I meet these writers at conferences and online and I can’t tell you how deep my gratitude goes for them.
Contrasting what I thought my path would be as a writer hunkered in, startled by sounds, and on the edge of agoraphobia to instead readily enjoying the many blessings of connecting with fellow writers, reminds me to express gratitude in every area of my life. I’m thankful for my friends who are vastly different than me. I’m challenged to exude love even when it’s difficult because so very much love has been given to me.

There you have it. Six ways being a writer has seeped into my non-writing life.
Do you feel the overflow of your career spilling into who you are outside of work?


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Unveiling My New Cover

Guess you could call me a fertile novelist. I’m so excited to reveal the cover of a new book I have coming out in February called, THE DELICATE NATURE OF LOVE.
Another nod to Sarah Thompson who did a magnificent job creating this cover.
Continue to visit here and my Facebook page for more details (especially some major promotions I’m having fun planning)…


So, what do you think of my new cover?
*Will be back in December

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Winners of the Key Book Clubs from Coast to Coast...

Congratulations to the Keller book club!

Out of twenty-three (that I knew about) groups who met to discuss The Disappearing Key, over the course of this past year, this is the winning group. Each member will receive an individual key-related gift from me.

Here’s a glimpse at the basket of goodies…

 As I’ve stated before, visiting book clubs in person and via Skype has been a true highlight of my publishing career. There’s just nothing like engaging in dialogue about characters that I brought to life. I appreciate every single group who has chosen one or both of my books to discuss.
And again, Congratulations to the winning crew!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Dresser Project

I had a blast taking on this beauty recently. I bought it for five bucks at a yard sale.
I sanded it down and slapped on two coats of Annie Sloan Old White paint, after staining the top Ebony and coating it with a clear glossy wax.
(Streaks of pink kept bleeding through in small areas, which I learned often happens with furniture from the 30s & 40s. I coated those areas with clear wax & then painted over it as soon as it dried.)
Then I got down to business distressing. I sanded the edges and worked it over good. In certain areas I used a pencil eraser to add in a darker stain (the same Ebony stain as I used for the top).
And here's the end result...

And one with a very curious dog...

Many of you know me as a writer and a mom. But this is a whole other side of me.
I love working with furniture.
Do you have a hobby not many people know about?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Delighting in the Imaginary

I’m reading Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks. It’s books like this that make me insanely appreciative that I’m able to read. And it’s books like this that bring me back to Laura and Gin Gin—my pretend friends from childhood. A witch and a ghost respectively. (I was born on Halloween.) Even though I had three older sisters, I still delighted in and sought out the company of Laura and Gin Gin.

Imagination was encouraged in our house growing up. I hope to pass this love of the possible on to my girls. There’s something electric, beautiful, and freeing when the mind is uncaged. Potential has a heartbeat of its own. I want to hear the pulse of that beat in my house always.

The imaginary keeps finding a way to reinvent itself in my life. To the point it often hopes to be mistaken for what’s real. I’m now referring to my characters. They can be feisty and stubbornly present. They interrupt during conversations, set up camp in my yard, and infiltrate my dreams. But I admit this with a smile on my face. Because stirred up from the dust are electric and beautiful beings my mind has figured out how to free.

So whether I’m daydreaming about shapes in the clouds with my children, characters on a mission in my WIP, or skipping amidst questions that begin with the infamous “what if,” I say long live it all. Long live the imaginary.

“It's true that writing is a solitary occupation, but you would be surprised at how much companionship a group of imaginary characters can offer once you get to know them.” Anne Tyler

Did you have pretend friends growing up? Do your children?