winery

I’ve been making up stories my whole life. I still remember being six or seven and writing stories in a marble composition notebook sitting at my (I probably shared it with my sister) kids’ size fake Formica table in my grandparents’ apartment. I dreamed of being an author with my name on the cover of a book, copies filling shelves, and entertaining readers they way I am when a good book grabs on and doesn’t let go.

I’ve published three books, which wasn’t easy, and wrote three others that will probably never see the light of day. Those were my learning the craft books. Give me a one sentence idea I could probably outline a story for you on the spot. Story ideas are my favorite part of writing.

Except recently, I don’t have anymore ideas. They dried up in November like mums left outside without water. I think it started when I stopped sleeping. Then Noodge 2 was diagnosed with a vestibular migraine and missed school the whole month of December. She’s still on the mend and I’m still not sleeping and there are no stories.

My friends tell me the stories will come back. Not to worry. Take some time for myself. But I wonder if I’ve written my last book?

So, how do we know when we’ve come to a cross roads? How do we know the difference between it’s time to make a change and just wait it out? Things will turn around. Or is the absence of a sign, a sign?

I suppose you take each day as it comes. What is meant to be will be. There is also the saying, “In God’s time” which is certainly not my time.

I ask you, how do you handle your crossroads? How do you get quiet and listen for the answer? And when do you say you’ve reached the end of the journey it’s time for a new direction?

 

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It’s the last day to get Welcome To Bibliotheca for $.99 for Kindle.

A little about the book:

Thirteen year-old Gabriel Hunter survived Kata-Tartaroo and wants to go home, which is surprising for a Lesser like him, but instead he and his friends, Owen and Corinna, are forced into another terrifying world – Bibliotheca – where the sun never shines, the temperatures are freezing and the snow pummels you. To make matters worse, Gabriel and his friends have been taken captive by Yugs.

The Yugs will send these three back home, but only if they agree to help with their mission: Enter the Building of Books, a magical labyrinth filled with dangerous puzzles, locate the Command Center, and outsmart the Wolf before he outwits them.

In this fast-paced follow-up to Welcome to Kata-Tartaroo, Gabriel, Owen, and Corinna must rely on each other to save themselves and save the Yugs. Along the way, secrets will be revealed, friendships will be renewed, and Gabriel will learn leaders come in all shapes and sizes. It’s a race against time to see if Gabriel and his friends will solve the puzzles and destroy the Wolf or be left in Bibliotheca forever.

WelcometoBibliothecaFinalHR

Book Two in the Gabriel Hunter Series

Don’t you get a huge charge when you find something on sale? Buying on sale is like getting away with something. Or is that just me who feels that way?

In honor of the release of my third book, Welcome To Skull MountainI’ve put the Kindle version of book two in the series, Welcome To Bibliothecaon sale for $.99 January 9 – 10th. If you haven’t read the second book yet, now’s a great time. It’s too cold to go outside, but the perfect time to make a cup of tea and curl up with a good book.

A little about the book:

Thirteen year-old Gabriel Hunter survived Kata-Tartaroo and wants to go home, which is surprising for a Lesser like him, but instead he and his friends, Owen and Corinna, are forced into another terrifying world – Bibliotheca – where the sun never shines, the temperatures are freezing and the snow pummels you. To make matters worse, Gabriel and his friends have been taken captive by Yugs.

The Yugs will send these three back home, but only if they agree to help with their mission: Enter the Building of Books, a magical labyrinth filled with dangerous puzzles, locate the Command Center, and outsmart the Wolf before he outwits them.

In this fast-paced follow-up to Welcome to Kata-Tartaroo, Gabriel, Owen, and Corinna must rely on each other to save themselves and save the Yugs. Along the way, secrets will be revealed, friendships will be renewed, and Gabriel will learn leaders come in all shapes and sizes. It’s a race against time to see if Gabriel and his friends will solve the puzzles and destroy the Wolf or be left in Bibliotheca forever.

You can get Welcome To Bibliotheca here. Why not get away with something?

 

 

WelcometoSkullMntHRcover - CopyHappy New Year! January is a clean slate. A chance to do everything over, if you want to. I’m always sad to see the holidays go, but I like the chance to start fresh. It’s a time when anything is possible.

This year I plan on having more fun. I allow the responsibilities of life to drag the joy out of everything, including my writing, so this year I vow to make some changes. I’m going to experience more, laugh more, enjoy more.

I am happy to share the new year brings my third book. Book three in the Gabriel Hunter Series, Welcome To Skull Mountain is finally available for purchase and you can do that right here. And to my newsletter readers, don’t forget the special gift if you act fast.

So, what are you goals and hopes and wishes for 2016? I’d love to hear them and we can walk this amazing journey together.

 

Snares 2015I miss being in high school. I do. Well, a part of it anyway. I miss twirling my baton during halftime at football games and marching in the parades. It’s been many years since I wore the silver sequins of my captain’s uniform, but I still have my baton and my twirler’s jacket. I even pull the baton out from time to time and give it a spin. I still marvel in the way it catches the light as I toss it in the air. I loved the sound of the crowd clapping and cheering as we marched on the field. I have those memories tucked away, but sometimes I need to bring them out and dust them off.

Now, I’m living vicariously through my son and next year I’ll add my daughter to the mix. He’s in the high school marching band. He plays in the drum line and Noodge 2 will join him in the color guard. The marching band just finished their competition season placing 2nd in the State Championship. Many students were disappointed in their placement. They lost by such a little margin. But it’s what the band director said in an email that got to me. I’m quoting him:

What’s most important…do not let the opinion of a few individuals change the feeling that you had when you marched off that field. Scores and placements come and go. Trophies eventually get thrown away or recycled, but that feeling…..the feeling that you get when you are out on that field…playing your horn….performing your work….playing your drum….DOIN’ YOUR DUB STEP…..That will remain with you long after your high school years are a thing of the past.
How right he is. It’s been so many years since high school and I still remember the feeling during my senior year when the marching band and the color guard danced during our performance and the crowd shot to their feet cheering and clapping for us. It was, at the time, the greatest moment of my life. No one had ever clapped for me like that before. I was a part of something far bigger than myself. I loved it.
I envy my son in so many ways. He’s at the start of his life where all things are still possible. He’s making the memories he will dust off when he’s my age. He’ll look back on a simpler time in his life and smile. He is lucky to be a part of something much bigger than he is and excel at it. Second place isn’t chump change.
I love being able to watch him be a part of the marching band. I also love my girl will twirl a flag next year. How lucky I am to be a part of their magical moments. To watch them perform, be able to hold their heads up proud to be a part of this band. To know, they are good at something. To make friends that may last a lifetime. Someone to share the old memories with some day. “Remember when,” they’ll say and laugh.
It’s sad when you realize a stage of your child’s life has ended and they’re onto something else. No more Thomas the Tank Engine trains, no more American Girl dolls. Soon, high school will be over and no more marching band for me to watch and cheer for. My Noodges will be all grown up and onto something else that most likely won’t involve me.
In the meantime, I’ll be at the football games and the competitions. I wear the school colors with pride. I’m supporting my marcher. And when it’s all over and the uniform is hung up, I’ll sneak into the closet, pull out my baton and give it a twirl.
Photo courtesy of morguefile.com

Photo courtesy of morguefile.com

I’m doing this on Facebook today, so I thought I’d do it here too. Give me one word, in the comments section, that describes your day today. Mine: reading.

I’m reading the final pass through of Welcome To Skull Mountain before I send it off to my formatters. From there they will set the story up for the eReader and print versions and then we go live! It’s been a long road (so the word for my writing these past months is ardorous. Love that word) to get to publication with this book. I’m grateful and thrilled to be ready to hand it off to you to read. Look for the book on December 1. (I know, I keep pushing the date out. Should we add frustrating to my list of words?)

So, go ahead, leave me that word that describes your day. Can’t wait to see what you’re up to. It will be fun.

photo courtesy of morguefile.com

photo courtesy of morguefile.com

I think I’ve become a town crier. Here’s what wikipedia says a town crier is:

The town crier can also be used to make public announcements in the streets. Criers often dress elaborately, by a tradition dating to the 18th century, in a red and gold coat, white breeches, black boots and a tricorne hat. They carry a handbell to attract people’s attention, as they shout the words “here ye, here ye.” 

I’m not making public announcements in the streets, though I could be persuaded, but I do announce the time every morning. I bang on Noodge 1’s bathroom door and shout the time so he will get out of the shower and make it to the bus on time. I don’t understand why he spends so much time in the shower, and honestly, I don’t want to know, but I do want him to make the bus so I march up the steps, bang on the door, and cry out the time.

Part of me finds this whole escapade every morning frustrating because in addition to crying out the time for the shower I must announce the time to wake him up. (The only things missing each morning are the gold coat, white breeches and the handbell. Wait a second, I actually have a handbell! Hmm….I might be going about this all wrong.)

I don’t want to be the town crier, though I might want to wear the clothes. I want Noodge 1 to wake up by himself, take a shower without a reminder to get out and oh, I don’t know, wear his retainer without being told. “Is that too much to ask?” I ask.

But part of me, the mommy part who misses her little bald baby sometimes, takes a deep breath and says “enjoy being the crier. You look good in the hat.” You see, in two very short years, Noodge 1 will be in college and I won’t be able to walk into his room and shake him awake or bang on his bathroom door. I’ll miss him terribly and wake each morning wondering if he got off to class all right. I won’t know how he’s spending his time or if he’s getting his homework done.

Noodge 2 doesn’t need me to wake her up, gets ready on time, and has one foot out the door into adulthood already. She won’t step into her brother’s place for me.

After Noodge 1 goes, how will I spend my mornings?

Folding up the breeches, hanging up the coat, tucking away the tricorne hat.

You can bet I’ll never stop ringing that bell!

By the way, Welcome To Skull Mountain, book three in the Gabriel Hunter series, is due out the end of November. More details coming soon.