Category Archives: Uncategorized

I didn’t steal the ruby slippers, but they’re coming closer to finding who did!

I’ll be signing copies of Stealing the Ruby Slippers and Finding the Ruby Slippers at the Judy Garland Museum during Wizard of Oz Festival in Grand Rapids, MN on June 12. Ahead of the festival, I did a little interview with the museum and learned that there is a dive planned for two days during the festival— and they think the missing shoes will be recovered! You can read the whole interview here. From everything I had heard, I thought the shoes had been thrown either in the Mississippi or Pokegama Lake, this was the first I’d learned that they might be in a mine-lake. (Although, to be fair, the mine they’ve referenced, Tioga, is also the name of a beach on Pokegama, so I don’t know that I would have known there was a mine-lake associated with it!) I’m hoping to get to attend the dives, and will keep you posted if I do!


Get The Thief Audiobook and a bunch of free extras

the Thief Audio Book RGBThe Thief and The Damage are becoming audiobooks!

You can check out an interview I did with the narrator in the April edition of my newsletter. He’s awesome, and he’s done a great job bringing my characters to life.

This process has been a blast, and I want you to check the new versions out. To sweeten the deal, this summer, when you download either of my books through Audible or iTunes, email your receipt (even free downloads with your Audible subscription count!) and I’ll send you the either free digital versions of either of my books or at-cost physical copies!

Check out all the details here.

Where did May go?

It’s the end of May already, and we’re gearing up for summer here. My husband and I made the decision to save the money and keep the kids home with us, which means learning to work while they’re here, and also rearranging schedules so we each get some concentrated time.

I’ve been spending a lot of May in a really reflective mode, which makes it a bit ironic that I haven’t been blogging. I’m taking on more responsibility in my day job, which I’m excited about and thankful for, but it’s taking up a lot of my mental capacity. And there’s something about spring in Minnesota—I don’t want to work. I want to be outside. Which isn’t necessarily all bad. It’s caused me to really reflect on my goals and activities and realize some of them just really aren’t that important. You saw that a bit with the May Goals Reflection, but I’ve let things go a bit more too. I can’t do it all, and I have to do some things that aren’t entirely fun, but I don’t have to do everything. I’m learning to say no, little by little. Even to myself.

How to Write a Novel Without Even Realizing It

A little over a month ago, I started a new job at NoiseTrade while basically everyone else at the company, including my favorite husband and co-parenter, was at SXSW Music Festival in Austin. While the job, overall, is structured in a way that still allows me a lot of writing time, that week, it didn’t. I get a little…hard to live with…when I’m not writing, so I was a bit desperate. I took extreme measures. My good friend and amazing mentor Charlotte gave me the opportunity to write about it on her blog. Check it out here. 

Ruby Slippers News

the Thief ePub Cover The Damage eBook

We’re approaching the one year birthday of my first book, Stealing the Ruby Slippers, and like any “baby” he has grown up and is taking on a life of his own. In May he and his sister, Finding the Ruby Slippers, are going together to the courthouse to legally change their names. Henceforth to be known as The Thief and The Damage, they’re also getting a new voice…literally. In May The Thief will be available in audio for purchase from all the usual suspects (Audible and iTunes.) I’m hoping it will also go into library catalogues, but because of the deal I have with ACX I don’t have as much (any) control over distribution and pricing as I normally do. (If you don’t have an Audible account, don’t sign up…yet. You get one book for free when you sign up. Wait until mine is up there are get it for free!)

Details are still being worked out, but for now, let me just say: there are going to be some pretty sweet promo packages that I will be offering to those of you that decide to buy the audio version. And for those of you who have the original covers/titles…there will be options for cool name-change stickers that you can put on your books, fridge, or mom’s car. Whatever floats your boat.

More will be on as details develop.

It’s been a beautiful day so far

"Snow crystals" by Unknown - Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - night I spent a few hours (while watching The West Wing) researching non-phone alarm clocks. I got to the fourth page of google and found only 4 actual sets of results, the rest were all  recommendations for the best alarm apps for your phone. Not what I wanted.

Both Chris and I use our phones to wake up. We both spend time in bed looking at social media, reading blogs or news or email. None of this stuff needs to be happening in bed. Last night, we both put our phones on airplane mode when we went to bed, and woke up without flipping open the email right away. Small improvements.

Have you ever done the ‘Ideal Day’ exercise? Basically, you sit down and write out, from the moment you wake up in the morning, what your ideal day would look like. The things that you choose to include (and omit) are enlightening, and help you realize what is most rewarding about your day to day. Although few have the opportunity to truly live out their ideal day everyday, it still gives you something to shoot for.

I’m in the unique position that I can structure my days, with a few exceptions, however I want. My kids’ school starts at 9:10, so if I want to sleep until 8:30, theoretically, I could. I work from home, for myself, so as long as I’m hitting my deliverables, I could work at my desk, on the couch, at a coffee shop, or even from bed. I can eat whatever I want whenever I want, limited only by my grocery shopping, or lack there-of. I can listen to music and wear my pajamas. If i want to leave in the middle of the day to walk the dog, I can.

But do you think I live out my ideal day on a regular basis?


Want to know why?

Me too.

I have the freedom and the options, but I so often choose not to exercise them. I think this a problem for a lot of people. We feel like we don’t have choices when, in reality, we do. We’re just not making the right ones. I think a lot of the oppression and stress I feel are self-created.

I don’t have a solution, other than to keep trying. Today, that meant going for a short run before Chris had to leave to teach, then going to yoga after the kids went to school. I want to run more and do more yoga. So I did. And I’m still getting all my work done. I hope that tomorrow I’ll be able to set out my daily priorities and make a plan to achieve them again. But if I forget, I’ll try again the next day. I just have to remember to make the conscious choice. Every day.

Also, lest you think my attitude is because of the gorgeous sunshine and warmth here in Northern Minnesota, I feel like I should tell you: it’s snowing. On April 21. Apparently, my calendar is broken and it’s actually February or March.

How’s your day been? What do you use as an alarm clock?

Where the heck have you been?

I feel like this is my quarterly apology for neglecting my blog. Each time I do one I swear I’ll be better and not have to do one again, and then…here I am.

Last week AWP (Association of Writers and Writing Programs) had their annual conference here in town, and, as a currently-on-hiatus-student of an MFA program, I was able to get in for almost free— $45— which is incredible for a three day conference. The first day I was a bit disappointed. The “Panel” discussions were way too academic and non-interactive for my tastes, and I heard several people say derogatory things about  self/independent publishing. The more I’ve learned about indie vs. traditional publishing, the more happy I’ve been with my decision to go indie. But I do definitely feel the need to constantly defend my position. So, I left the first day feeling incredibly defensive, and defeated (you get told you’re wrong enough times, you might start to believe it.) The second and third days though, I had a great time. I went to a bunch of incredible craft workshops—because writing is writing regardless of how it’s published—and met some cool people at the book fair. Plus, I got to have dinner and drinks with friends and it was great.

The other thing that’s been taking up most of my time is my new job with NoiseTrade. I’ve been working on the books side for several months, but just took on a new roll, and learning to balance the time I need to spend on that with the time to devote to my own stuff is hard. It’s getting better though, and I’m confident that by the end of the week I’ll have a good system in place (this is truly going to be my first “normal” week since starting in the middle of March.)

All that to say, I’ll be back next week with a new Book of the Week (I have several on deck and ready to go) and I’ll, hopefully, get back on my regular schedule at that point.

What do you do when you feel overwhelmed by work and life? How do you balance things?

Book of the Week- We Were Liars

Book of the Week for March 30 – April 5

We Were Liars

We Were Liars

Why it’s interesting:

I picked this book up because Books and Bars is reading it and it looked good.

Oh. My. Goodness.

I couldn’t put it down. I got it from the library Friday, started it Saturday, and would have finished it the same day, but I was on my anniversary trip with Chris so I had to pay attention to him, at least a little bit. I finished it right after we got home on Sunday.

I can’t tell you anything about it, except it was amazing.

The blurb:

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

Did you like this book? What are you reading right now?

Book of the Week: Not that Kind of Girl

Book of the Week for March 22 – March 28

Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s “Learned”

Not that kind of girl

Why it’s interesting:

I had a love/hate relationship with this book while I was listening to it. Lena Dunham herself narrates it, which I’m a big fan of, and I so greatly admire her willingness and ability to put herself out there. These are VERY honest essays, sometimes, to my cultured midwestern brain, too honest. Like, too much information. And I kept thinking What do her parents think?

The stuff she writes about (a lot of it is sex…like, a lot…) is stuff that I wouldn’t find offensive if it was fiction. And it’s not so much that I find it offensive, it just makes me uncomfortable. For her, her family, her friends, etc., which is all kind of stupid. It’s not up to me to decide what she should be comfortable with sharing. (The following epiphany came to me while I was lost in the dog park:) Maybe the boundaries I’ve drawn for how much to share (and the reason I don’t write personal essays or poetry) are stupid and arbitrary. I’ve started to consider how I could branch out and do some more of this type of writing. I don’t foresee myself getting over the terror, but maybe I could use a pen name. Maybe just writing more personal essays and poetry in a journal would be the way to go. I’m not sure. But I’m really glad I read this book (and I’m currently listening to Amanda Palmer’s The Art of Asking, and getting the SAME message) because I have definitely arbitrarily decided to close off a part of myself, and its good, if terrifying, to think of opening myself up more.

The blurb:

For readers of Nora Ephron, Tina Fey, and David Sedaris, this hilarious, wise, and fiercely candid collection of personal essays establishes Lena Dunham—the acclaimed creator, producer, and star of HBO’s Girls—as one of the most original young talents writing today.

In Not That Kind of Girl, Dunham illuminates the experiences that are part of making one’s way in the world: falling in love, feeling alone, being ten pounds overweight despite eating only health food, having to prove yourself in a room full of men twice your age, finding true love, and most of all, having the guts to believe that your story is one that deserves to be told.

“Take My Virginity (No Really, Take It)” is the account of Dunham’s first time, and how her expectations of sex didn’t quite live up to the actual event (“No floodgate had been opened, no vault of true womanhood unlocked”); “Girls & Jerks” explores her former attraction to less-than-nice guys—guys who had perfected the “dynamic of disrespect” she found so intriguing; “Is This Even Real?” is a meditation on her lifelong obsession with death and dying—what she calls her “genetically predestined morbidity.” And in “I Didn’t F*** Them, but They Yelled at Me,” she imagines the tell-all she will write when she is eighty and past caring, able to reflect honestly on the sexism and condescension she has encountered in Hollywood, where women are “treated like the paper thingies that protect glasses in hotel bathrooms—necessary but infinitely disposable.”

Exuberant, moving, and keenly observed, Not That Kind of Girl is a series of dispatches from the frontlines of the struggle that is growing up. “I’m already predicting my future shame at thinking I had anything to offer you,” Dunham writes. “But if I can take what I’ve learned and make one menial job easier for you, or prevent you from having the kind of sex where you feel you must keep your sneakers on in case you want to run away during the act, then every misstep of mine will have been worthwhile.”

Did you like this book? What are you reading right now?

Finding the Ruby Slippers is free…in exchange for an honest review



Have you ever heard of NetGalley? It’s a website for media and bloggers to get free copies of books for media purposes: interviews, reviews, etc. In order to be a member, though, you have to go through an approval process, and then another approval process for each book you want to read. Also, from an author perspective, it’s crazy expensive. Like $399 and up expensive.

Story Cartel is like NetGalley lite– it’s smaller and more indie focused, and A LOT more reasonable. Anyone who likes to read can sign up and get books for free. Authors pay $25 (or less if you buy a package) to have a book listed. The caveat is this: by downloading, you’re agreeing to read and review the book within four weeks. When you submit your review, you’re entered into a contest for prizes like Amazon Gift cards. So it’s really a win-win-win.

At least, I’m hoping so!

I’m running my first Story Cartel promotion right now, giving away copies of Finding the Ruby Slippers through April 3. You’ll have until the 10th to post the review and be entered for their prizes. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Here’s the link— check out my book, and the other books on the site (but read mine first!)