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!


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?

Are you on on my mailing list?

(If you read my other blog too, you don’t have to sign up again. These are basically the same lists.)

Are you on my mailing list?

* indicates required

Your Interests (Check the invisible box to the left of anything that interests you.)

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.

What might you get in a typical email from me?

  • Free previews of new work.
  • Exciting information about the real life Ruby Slippers investigation. (I’m told a break in the case is very, very close.)
  • Giveaway and other contest information
  • Appearances.
  • Buy links: hey, I’m trying to make a living at this. So there are going to be links to buy my books.

You know you want it. Go ahead. Sign up!

So short.

Today’s post is going to be so short. I am just about done with my readthru of the first draft of the sequel, and today is my last “work” day until my kids start school next month.  So I want to get stuff done! That is why I have a Venti Iced Coffee sitting next to me and Foster the People playing on Rdio. 

I want to hear from you. What are your favorite mysteries? Movies or books or real life. Comment and let me know.

Off to read.

Writing Resources: Vol 1

I’m starting a new series on some of my favorite writing tools.

The first is: Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success

When I first started writing seriously a few years ago, I HATED the idea of outlining. HATED IT. I mean, I really, really didn’t like it. I wanted to let the writing flow out of me naturally.

And it did. Lots of it. Mostly it was short stories, scenes from my life that I wanted to fictionalize. Occasionally, it was good. So then I thought I could write a novel. I took those ideas and rewrote them as fiction and added some connections and: voila! a book.

I asked a few people to read it. They were sweet. Looking back at it now, I feel a bit bad for them. But they gave me the encouragement I needed to start another project. By my next project was…ambitious. I started writing it knowing the beginning and the end. But I had no idea how to get from point A to point B.

I’ve been listening to KM Weiland’s podcasts for a long time, and had read her blog posts about outlining. So I downloaded her book, went to a cafe, ordered a cookie and a coffee, and read. The entire first half.

Then, I was so pumped about the story, I called my husband and told him I needed more time. And I started the outline for Home.

I finished the book and the first draft of Home. While I worked on that (I’m actually still working on it!) I started working on the concept for Stealing the Ruby Slippers. You may have read that I completed the first draft in three weeks. If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you know that I’m working on the sequel right now. I am within two or three days of finishing the first draft.

First of all, let me say: these are first drafts. There is a TON of rewriting and editing. But getting the story out is the first step of getting the book done. And there is no way I could write that fast without an outline.

The other thing about outlining is: it’s easier than actually writing. So, if you’re thinking about writing but are afraid to start, do an outline!

I use the “mind-map” outline method to get all of the ideas out, then eventually move it into a linear outline to create chapters. I use SimpleMind so I can move things around, but it would be just as easy to use post-it notes.


You think you don’t like research?

I think there are two types of people in the world: those that love research (me) and those that hate research (me.) Okay. So there is some crossover.

But I’ve been having a lot of fun with the first draft of Finding the Ruby Slippers, and a big part of it has been research. I’ve spoken with the President of the Minnesota Iron Mining Association, a really cool Geologist (btw, if I’m not supposed to capitalize everyone’s titles, sorry. And be happy I pay an editor for my books 🙂 and, yesterday, the DNR.

I also use a lot of websites in my research. Google and I are bestest friends. Today, like the amazing BF it is, Google gave me a picture of Brad pit with his shirt off. Because it knew that was the very best image for me to look at to describe a man’s six pack.

I can’t post the picture here because I don’t own it or have any right to it, but I did pin it on my Finding the Ruby Slippers research board on Pinterest. Check it out. And see if there is anything you can guess about the plot by what’s pinned. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Finding my people

(Did you know I have another blog? Sometimes the material is a little bit repeated (when it’s really big news) otherwise that is usually much more personal than this. Just in case you want more about me.)

utopya2014logoI spent the weekend at Utopya Conference (Their tag line is: The first-of-its-kind convention for women writers of supernatural YA and NA fiction, and their fans! I would add to that there are a lot of romance writers also.) in Nashville. The conference began three years ago and I’ve been, in some form, each year. This year though, I went as an author, with a book out that I was actively trying to learn to promote.

Can I tell you a secret? Promoting a book is harder than writing one. At least for me.

The thing about Utopya is that it is a family. A quickly growing family of nearly a thousand people now, but a family nonetheless. Everyone knows everyone (we have a Facebook group that helps with that) and everyone admires everyone else. It’s amazing to see.

I learned a ton while I was there. I haven’t even processed through all of my notes and to-dos yet. I met some amazing people. But I felt like an outsider. And it took until the last day of the conference to realize why: I am. I started going to Utopya because I knew it’s founder and was friends of friends of people on the planning committee. I wanted to be a part of that community and the love there. And, don’t get me wrong, they welcome me with open arms every year. But…I just don’t have the same fan-girling, tackle-hugging, jump-up-and-down-screaming excitement they have.

It’s kind of like in High School when you have your group that you hang out with and like, but also have that group that looks fun that you want to be a part of. So you wedge yourself in there and they accept you, but it never really feels right.

It’s because it’s not.

I have so much respect and admiration for the women (and men, there are a few) of Utopya. SO MUCH. But I don’t write (or really read) YA/NA Paranormal/Supernatural. It’s not that I dislike it, I like most of it that I read. But it’s not what I crave. (It’s like ice cream for me: it’s awesome and everything, but unless you offer it to me I probably won’t think about asking for it.)

So while everyone else was crying and hugging each other goodbye last Sunday, I quietly slipped out to take my rental car back to the hotel. I spent the afternoon a little sad that I had missed out on the social aspect of the conference. It took me a few days away to realize: I had an fantastic time. But I need to find the conferences for people who write and read what I write and read: mysteries, popular/literary fiction, and there I will find both my readers and the writers and swoon over.

This isn’t to take away from the Utopya experience at all. It is a wonderful conference that I highly recommend (and next year’s tickets are already on sale, for an amazingly low price.) But it is a reminder to myself that I don’t have to change to fit a certain group. I just need to find my group. So I’m going to keep trying to do that.

Have you ever gone anywhere and felt like an outsider? Do you stick it out, or do you leave?


I’ve had two interviews this week!

The first was with Charlotte Rains Dixon of Words Trumpet. Charlotte was one of my mentors through The Writer’s Loft (now MTSU Write) and is absolutely an inspiration to me, to be featured on her blog is a huge honor.

The second is on In Libris Veritas, an awesome book blog that I “met” through Utopya. She is doing a summer solstice festival with lots and lots of giveaways (so check out the whole series, not just mine!)

Finally, today is the last day of the $0.99 Kindle sale for Stealing the Ruby Slippers. Tomorrow the price doubles, so get it today!