Category Archives: Referrals

What do you mean it’s spring?

Derek Harper [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

I didn’t take this picture (as you can see by the caption.) But I could have. Snow is melting like crazy here. Last month marked the official first day of spring, and with it we had actual warm weather for a few days, then a small snowstorm, some rain, and, this last weekend, weather so warm (60!) that we didn’t wear jackets and opened every window in our house.

It’s been a long hard winter in Minnesota. There were stretches for days where we tried to avoid going outside for anything non-essential because of the dangerously cold temperatures and wind chills. We also got a ton of snow. Our pipes froze, and our furnace went out. It was a great first winter back.

With the winter also came some huge changes in my life. I started the MFA program at Hamline University in January. It has been an incredible experience thus far and I am so thankful to be a part of such an awesome writing community.

In February I finally bit the bullet and published Your Pilates Life. I’ve been sitting on this book for a very long time (for reasons outlined in the Author’s note at the beginning) and I really wanted to get it into the hands of readers. It’s available for free on Noisetrade and the response has been incredible. In the last week alone more than 100 people have downloaded it! Please check it out and tell me what you think!

I’ve also been working diligently on Stealing the Ruby Slippers and am excited to announce that it will be out in May in both print and digital formats! I’m working with an amazing editor, and I got to see a first look at the cover this week.

I promise I’m going to start posting more regularly. I don’t know what that means yet, because, lets be honest, life is crazy. But…I think I can safely say I’ll be here for sure once a week. I hope to see you too.

What I’m reading: Point of Origin

After the review I posted of her first book, Amanda Havard’s publisher contacted me an offered an advance reading copy of The Survivors: Point of Origin. Of course, I was thrilled! Here’s my review of the book, available one week from today.

The second installment in Amanda Havard’s Survivors series, Point of Origin creates nearly as many questions as it answers. We join Sadie on her quest to reveal the origins of her family, a group of immortals exiled during the Salem Witch Trials. The elders founded a colony in Montana that nobody every leaves. Except Sadie. Never comfortable living apart from the world, and distrusting of the elders, Sadie ran away to live as a human. Her departure set in motion a restlessness among other survivors and now 28 more have left. A vision from Anthony foretells a coming war a between the rouge survivors and the rest of Sadie’s family. She is searching for a way to prevent the war, or, barring that, to find a way to overcome their immortality.

Along for the ride is Sadie’s betrothed (boyfriend is too light, finance is too formal) Everette, and his family, also immortal. Everette and his siblings are vampires, as are those survivors that escaped from the commune. These aren’t the sexy we-only-eat-animals vampires either, they are people killing blood drinkers. A group of shape-shifters also join in the hunt, having nursed Sadie back to health after a battle in Book 1.

Havard does a fantastic job putting us inside Sadie’s head. While on this life-and-death quest, she is also dealing with the intense emotions and confusion of first love. She is unquestionably in love with Everette, but she’s also attracted to her human friend, Cole Hardwick. Where Everette is an immortal vampire, Cole is a normal guy, able to let Sadie live like a normal human, if she so chooses. I was sucked in to the love triangle, enjoying the feelings of falling in love with Everette while at the same understanding the amount of pressure she was feeling. I found myself rooting for both men, as unable to chose as Sadie seems to be. It’s the allure of being “normal” versus the obligation to protect her family.

This is, at it’s core, a mystery, not a romance. While the relationship with Everett and Cole is there, this isn’t a Twilight-knockoff about how hard it is to fall in love with a vampire. There isn’t a lot more I can say about the plot without spoiling it, but I will say this: for a while, I felt like I was watching Lost all over again. Havard ties up just enough throughout the story to keep you going, but she leaves you with even more unanswered questions that you started with.

The one caution I have for the reader: The ensemble cast in this book is huge and sometimes a bit hard to keep straight. I was never so lost that I couldn’t pick it back up, but just know that you need to read this book with your full attention or you may get confused.

What I’m Reading: The Night Circus

I just closed The Night Circus. I loved it, and I think you should go out and buy it. Yes, you. I got my copy from the library, but I will be buying it. It’s a book to savor, with so much beautiful imagery you will want to read it again and again. And then read it to your kids.

When they are children, Celia and Marco are bound to a challenge that neither of them understands. Their teachers give no information, only that they will know when it has begun. It is a test of endurance and understanding of manipulating reality and disguising it as magic. The venue is Le Cirque des Rêves, an intricate dream world of tents and performers traveling and appearing if by magic, and only open at night.

I was able to catch a reading by Erin Morgenstern when she was in Nashville a few months ago, but wasn’t able to fully appreciate the discussion of the book as I hadn’t read it yet. Erin is an artist first, writing was something she tried on the side. She said that when she writes she sees the scenes like movies in her head and tries to capture that on paper. She did an excellent job.

This book took me a long time to read– a few weeks. Normally, I read books in matter of days. But her prose is beautiful, filled with just the right amount of flourishes that I had to slow down and let it fully sink in, but it never pulled me out of the story.

Best writing resolution I have read (so far)

So, I’m a bit behind with my Google Reader.  Right now, I have 410 unread items.  Before your head starts spinning, let me say that I subscribed to something like six blogs today, so right off the top there are sixty posts right there.  And I subscribe to Design*Sponge, which I love, but which posts multiple times a day.  So that right there accounts for…oh…wait…they’ve slowed a bit for the holidays.  That’s only 30.  So, all in all, I’m only behind by about 300.  Luckily, I read fast.  And the kids are finally asleep.

Anyway…on Ask Allison Sarah Jio gives her 2012 writing resolutions.  This one really stuck with me.

Write every day, even if it’s just 10 words: I’ve found that writing is a lot like exercise. If I take too many days off, I’m stiff and exhausted when I try to jump back in. I lack the focus and energy to power through a challenging chapter or scene. But when I open my work-in-progress daily, even if it’s only to write a single sentence and to say hi to my characters, I feel as if I’m still in the story, the rhythm of the project.

Since leaving my day job a little over a month ago, I haven’t written every day, but I’ve written most days.  And let me tell you, I can attest to the fact that writing is easier the more you do it. SERIOUSLY. I promise.

How to be great

This is a really interesting post about a study of violinists.  The difference between the practice habits of the average and the great players makes me think about how to best organize my days between writing, jewelry, etc.,and further how to divide up the writing between working on my books and working on freelance articles. What does it say to you about how to organize your day?

To be elite: Put in the hours, devoting yourself to two sessions a day of complete and deliberate focus. When you’re done, be done. Go enjoy the rest of the day. (And as a side effect, feel more relaxed).