A reunion almost eight years in the making

This post is especially poignant for me.  I’ve been writing for over decade, but for almost eight years now the space I had to use was my kitchen table. I began this journey of writing on a beautiful oversized desk, that was once my husband’s but ended up being mine since I commandeered so much of its time. As always, my loving husband didn’t mind. In fact, Mr. Constant Encouragement never minds.

When we had to sell our house in the Henderson, Nevada area I lost my office space. I learned to work in open areas, teaming with distractions. All the while my husband would promise, “One day, you’ll have an office again.”

Years passed, hardships came and went, along with many moves. Without fail, each new place didn’t have a space or a doorway big enough for that big beautiful desk. The poor thing sat in unfinished basements collecting dust, while I trudged on determined to make time for my writing, even if that meant the middle of the night.

Two years ago we moved again, and once again, there was no office space.

“We’ll make you an office here, in this house,” my husband said.

I’ll be honest, as a typical mom, I’m more concerned about making sure my children’s needs are met, but my husband wouldn’t be derailed. Every evening, almost every weekend for the past eight months, he has worked on the basement. It’s crazy hard to do it all by yourself, but being able to be in my own office, sitting at the big beautiful desk for the first time in almost eight years, I’m beyond grateful for his effort.

This desk is where it all began for me. Where I found a path in life that truly fills my soul with joy. Where my first heroine, Rory Olsen, in the Rory’s Choice series, took her first breath in my imagination. I’m so glad to have you back, old friend.

My new office


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An intentional life

Nothing takes away the joy of youth faster than the thought of being uncool. This fear doesn’t hit every child at the same age, but the moment it does, wham—a kid will spend more time worrying about what their peers think than living their life. Why? You only get to be young once. Trust me—you’re aging at light speed as it is. Get out there and live your life—any way you see fit—without breaking laws, of course. I don’t want to see complaints from parents saying it’s my fault their kid is in jail. You have to be smart about this stuff, and you’re certainly capable of doing that.

When you look back on these short teenage years, I want you to marvel more than regret what you did. Whether or not you do will be in large part to your choices, so don’t allow yourself to be put in a box of someone else’s perceptions. Remember, there is no time machine for doing it over again.

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Drop by drop

I stumbled in on my teenage daughter and her friends talking about the future. The theme for all of them was fear. How would they ever afford to go to school? How would they ever afford to get married? How would they ever afford to have children or buy a house? I smiled, remembering how these things once worried me.

Over the years, experience has taught me to treat life like raindrops rather big bodies of water. Think about it, oceans and some lakes are so big you can’t take them all in at once, no matter how hard you try. You only end up overwhelming yourself in frustration. But a raindrop is hardly any water at all. In fact, sometimes you don’t notice when one lands on you. Yet, overtime, those raindrops accumulate, becoming something far greater than you could have ever imagined.

Just like in our own lives, big dreams and lofty goals are not a bad thing. But shift your focus to the small steps you need to take to attain those desires. The further you look to the future the more stress you’ll feel. Stay with the little drops of effort you can easily do. I promise, over time, your life will accumulate into something amazing.

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Stuffed Souls insights

I never thought in all my years of writing I would ever have to explain how to pronounce one of my character’s name. I mean, I’m a big fan of simple straightforward names for my characters. At least, I thought that’s what I was doing when I named Claire’s love interest Elam—apparently he’s not so straightforward. I’ve had quite a few people ask about his name. It’s pronounced E-lum, at least, that’s how I hear it whenever he is in a scene.

He’s so fantastically loyal and in love with Claire, even when her body is unconscious and life support, he made the perfect adult to drag into the plot with the other teenagers in my latest novel Stuffed Souls. A story with heart and depth that keeps you turning the page. It’s a read worth sharing. Tell your friends.

If you click on the picture it will give you a direct link.


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Excuse me while I pull out my soapbox

Well, folks, I’m alive after this last week—but just barely.

I went to Lake Powell with my family to enjoy a nice vacation full of relaxation and fun. For the most part it was. Lake Powell is beautiful and the water is the perfect temperature for jumping in whenever you feel like it.

The night before we came home, my daughter and I jumped off the back of the houseboat to clean up as best as can be done in lake water. My daughter stood on the ladder washing her hair when this crazy storm rushed through the area in a matter of seconds. I’m trying to be patient, treading water a few feet away while she finished, but the swells had gone from not much, to over two feet. Faster and faster the water came. There was no rhythm to it to gage between breaths. No matter what I did I couldn’t stop it from slapping me in the face, and for the first time in my life, I faced the real possibly of drowning. I’m not a weak swimmer, I’ve lapped for years, but this water had turned into a swirling monster bent on taking me down.

With the last of my strength, I kicked my legs extra hard, drawing myself high enough out of the water to yell, “Move!” at my daughter. I needed the stairs she blocked to save myself.

Without even turning around she said, “Just a minute, I need to put conditioner in my hair first.”

Lucky for me, my older sister heard my yell and came out to the back porch of the houseboat. She saw the situation and chucked at me one of the foam noodles there at her feet. The extra floatation saved me, but ooo….it didn’t save my daughter from a severe tongue lashing.

Teenagers, the gist of what she got, I’m going to give to you. And if you’re thinking why, we weren’t there. I’ve observed you guys for far too long not to recognize you’re all guilty of doing this, so ahem…

I get it, it’s hard to stop being selfish. You see the world around you with a very narrow point of view. I get it, you’re growing up and want to make decisions for yourself. So, an adult telling you to do something is the last thing you want to hear. But, these two traits, being selfish and stubborn, are a deadly combination—and not just physically, emotionally as well. Some of the greatest regrets in life can be avoided if you’ll just turn and consider the situations around you before you react.  Soapbox out!

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Bring on the work

One of the greatest blessings about moving closer to family is my in-law’s ranch. Because of our close proximity, my oldest son goes out every other week during the summer to help his grandparents with the endless upkeep that comes with working such a place.

He came home this week looking especially filthy and exhausted. I couldn’t have been happier. He is learning the key to a successful life—a work ethic. At the moment it’s an extremely taxing work ethic, but if he can do something this difficult day in and day out, there are very few things harder in life.

A work ethic is something we all need. And I would implore you to find it while you’re young. It shouldn’t just be about making money. Finishing a job well, whether it be pulling weeds, cleaning house, or in my son’s case, chucking feed bales, brings a sense of accomplishment and self-worth that can’t be found any other way. You’ll also come to realize that anything in life is possible, but it’s not going to fall in your lap. So, get to work and make your dreams come true.

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Stuffed Souls insights: the grill-o-rific brother

One of my favorite things in my latest novel, Stuffed Souls, is the family dynamic of the Lowell family. They put the fun in dysfunctional, making so many of the scenes in this book colorful and hilarious. The oldest brother, Travis, is really the driving force keeping this family together. He is demanding, gruff, and imperfect in so many ways, yet readers love him. He just wants his teenage sister to straighten up and stop getting into trouble, but even when Megan isn’t exactly Megan anymore she can seem to do this. She even ends up kissing his best friend, which makes for a fantastic explosion. It sounds sadistic, but it’s such a funny scene. Pick up your copy of Stuffed Souls today and find out why. Click on the book below for your direct link.

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