Monthly Archives: August 2014

I couldn’t say it any better

“But if you’re truly in love with the written word, with being a storyteller- if you are a writer in the very catacombs of your heart, you don’t follow another’s roadmap for your career.

You fucking draw your own.

And you never say die.”

—Joe Hart


So I still haven’t gotten the issues with this blog figured out. If you’re experiencing amazingly slow load times, missing basic things like…I don’t know…pictures in blog posts…I’m really sorry. I think I need to transfer the domain away from GoDaddy and I’m trying to figure that out. But my deadline to finish this draft of the sequel is tomorrow, so I have to focus on that.

I was actually planning on skipping posting at all this week because of the above mentioned issues. Then I came across this blog post from my friend and amazing horror writer Joe Hart. You need to read the whole thing. It’s phenomenal. Rather than try to summarize it in any way, I’m giving you the quote at the beginning of this post and the one at the end. But please click over and read the whole thing. Then check out his new book, Widow Town. I’m excited to dive into it.


“No writer, NONE, has sat down and created a masterpiece without toiling away, without chipping out the words that sometimes are moored in the subconscious marble. No writer opens a vein and bleeds a great novel onto the page without looking where the hell they’re going.

Guess what writing is?

It’s renewable wonder. It’s perspective. It’s magic and joy and torment and horror and love and pain and driving without headlights down a highway studded with hazards and pitfalls.”

—Joe Hart

Just a quick post to let you know…

So there seems to be something with this website. You may have noticed how amazingly slow it loads. Amazingly. Sorry about that. I also can’t seem to put pictures into blog posts anymore. So, over the next week or so (I’m not sure how long its going to take) I’m going to need to reinstall it. There may be some downtime. Sorry about that. But when it comes back, it should work much better. Thanks for your patience!


It’s getting ergo up in here

2014-08-18 14.02.24I’ve got some wrist problems. I’m kind of surprised I’ve never mentioned them here on the blog, but I just did a search for “arm” and “wrist” and nothing came up. When I was fourteen, I broke my arm snowboarding. I had five surgeries (six, if you count the way the hospital billing department does, the last two were combined into one procedure but we still had to pay for two) over the course of the next fifteen years, and all in all, I’m not in bad shape. I was originally told I would have arthritis by the time I was twenty-five. It really didn’t start bothering me until my late twenties, and only now do I really have an awareness of it most of the time.

My friend Charlotte posted this really good post about the physicality of writing, something that, as a Pilates instructor, used to be much more aware of in other people. (Can I please remove that speck in your eye? Pay no attention to the log sticking out of my own, I see just fine thank you very much.) But, because of my Pilates background, I have really good posture, I work out, and I even have a treadmill desk. I thought I was in good shape.

Then July happened. Lily and Austin went to school at the same time, leaving me four hours each day to write. And write I did! I wrote the whole draft of the upcoming sequel to Stealing the Ruby Slippers (about 250 Word doc pages.) I also finished redrafting Home (another 247 pages).

Yep. I typed almost 500 pages in three weeks.

On a Macbook Air. (Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my computer. But…)

My wrist has not been happy. It was hurting so bad the last week of the month I was back wearing my post-surgery brace, taking large doses of ibuprofen, and using arnica like it was going out of style. It had swollen to the point that I thought the screws in the plate on the outer bone of my arm (the ulna for anyone who cares) had started working their way out. I was freaking out about finding a new orthopedist here in Minneapolis and the cost of having the plate removed, and the time I would spend (six to eight weeks) in a cast.

When I worked a corporate job, I had an ergonomic keyboard to help keep my wrist happy while typing on and off for nine hours a day. It had never occurred to me that I might need to get one for my home office now that I’m writing full-time. I’ve never had more than two concentrated hours before. I went to Best Buy and Amazon and purchased this one, based on its price and reviews. After just a few hours on it my wrist started to feel better.

And then…we went on vacation. I worked as much as I could, which was two mornings at Starbucks. That was it. Otherwise, I barely got my computer out of my bag. Halfway through the week the pain was basically gone.

I spent about an hour on Saturday typing up notes for a project I’m working on, then this morning hit the RS sequel hard. Two and a half straight hours (I had to get up extra early!) By the time I was done, I knew two things: 1) The ergonomic keyboard was a lifesaver & 2) I needed a better one.

The 4000 was entry-level. The keys were large and required me to pound on them, but the deal breaker was the space bar. It was only responsive about half the time. My post-session spell check was 95% missing spaces today. So, I packed the 4000 back up and took the plunge to Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop System.

It’s glorious. I found a review that said the keys were like those of a laptop, and they are. (Apparently that’s called “chiclet.” I had no idea and I love it.) It’s wireless, which is so much nicer than having cords all over my desk. And the mouse is better. Also, it’s on sale at

I’m a little sad about no longer having a clean white desk (wait– I know that was the goal, but did it ever actually happen?) but am happy to have something I feel like I’m going to be able to type on for the long haul.

Do you consider ergonomics in your workspace? Why or why not, and what adjustments have you made?


Books books everywhere!

As you may have noticed on the Books page, Stealing the Ruby Slippers is now available in all of the major online retailers. Bookstores and libraries can also order it now, and it *should* be available on Oyster and Scribd soon (if you subscribe to either and want to read it, contact them. I’m not exactly how they decide to put books on the service, I just know that it’s available if they want to add it.)

Doing all of this has me thinking even more about both my own reading list and about bookstores in general. I’m reading The Untold
right now and LOVING it. While in Nashville this week, I visited one of my favorite bookstores. I’m really looking forward to a tour of bookstores in Minneapolis when the kids start school. I’ve visited this one the most, it’s in my neighborhood and next to a great coffee shop. I’ve been here twice and love it, and really want to check out this one and this one.

What are you reading right now? Where do you like to get your books? Are you using any of the subscription services?

Family Vacation

Some fun from our life right now:

1) Chris got us last minute tickets to see Foster the People, one of the kids’ favorite bands.

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It was a little loud, but really good. The opener was NONONO, I really enjoyed them. We only got to stay for about five songs before the kids were done, but they enjoyed it. It wasn’t their first club show, we’ve been taking both of them since they were babies. but with the last minuteness of it, we forgot to bring ear protection, so we all ended up with toilet paper in our ears. it worked surprisingly well, especially when supplemented with fingers.

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2) We went to our first Twins game. I’d been as a kid, but that was in the old stadium. The new one is beautiful.

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3) Our summer vacation!

Chris is from Henderson, Kentucky, and since moving to Minnesota last year we don’t get back to visit as often as we’d like. It’s a long drive…fourteen hours…but not as long as the drive from our old house in Franklin, TN to my parents house in northern Minnesota (eighteen hours. Yikes.)

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We spent some time being tourists…

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Taking possible Christmas Card pictures…

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We bring the dogs, and have a special kennel for Picasso to ride in the car. The last time we did the drive, just after Christmas, Picasso would ONLY ride in the kennel, he couldn’t sit still if we left him out in the car. But since then, he has become a much better rider and gets to sit on the floorboard behind our seats.

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Isn’t he cute?

2014-08-08 21.15.19Fun surprises on the radio carried us through the last few miles.

Then, we leave the dogs in Kentucky and drive the three hours down to Nashville and visit all our old friends.

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This time, the friends we stayed with have two little boys, one almost the exact same age as Austin. They had so much fun together!

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St OlafExciting things are coming!

Did you notice I wasn’t here last week? I wasn’t here either. Because I spent the week at the beautiful St. Olaf University Campus in Northfield for Hamline’s Summer Writing Workshop. I got to live in the dorm (yippee!). In the afternoons, I took a Master’s class with Brad Watson. I spent my mornings and evenings doing my homework, a little bit of art, a lot of photography, and a boat load of editing. I finished my second round of edits of Finding the Ruby Slippers and hopefully the final edits to Your Pilates Life. Finding the Ruby Slippers is now with beta readers and Your Pilates Life is with my editor who is doing a final quick check of the formatting. Also, Stealing the Ruby Slippers is no longer enrolled in Amazon’s exclusive program, and will soon be available across all digital formats.

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I promise I won’t spam you. I won’t even email you on a regular basis, only if I have something really important to say. And, trust me, there is going to be some cool stuff very, very soon.