Maybe it’s morbid but it motivates

I never feel my age until I overdo it. So I should just avoid overdoing it, right? The problem is it seems to take less and less for me to overdo it. Of all of life’s jokes I think this is the cruelest. Well, at least the pain lets me know I’m alive.

I’m not ready to slow down. Yes, I’ve lived a few decades, four to be exact, but my brain is still as fun-loving, happy-go-lucky as my teenage years. There are days I almost get a shock when I look in a mirror. “Who in the heck let the old lady in here?”

I swear it’s my kids. They’ve gone and hit the fast forward button on me. This slipping away of time does help me to stay focused though. On days when the busy world tries to crowd in on my writing time, my slightly morbid thoughts of not knowing how many days I have left on this earth steers my butt back toward the computer. My mind is full of so many ideas for novels. I would hate to leave here without getting them all down.

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Stuffed Souls needs your help

Thank you to all who have read my latest book, Stuffed Souls. The excitement I keep hearing is wonderful, but I do have a favor to ask. Please go to Amazon.com or goodreads.com and leave a review, or even better, both. I know it’s a pain and you have busy lives, but public reviews help others feel more comfortable about buying books from unknown authors. I can’t do this without you. Buyers want to know what other readers think about the book. I know I look through reviews before purchasing a book. You can help other readers in a way I really can’t. Of course I love my book, I wrote it!  Sadly, that bias alone means most listen when I say it’s a book worth reading. It has to come from others.

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Stuffed Souls insights: surrounded my people smarter than me

My latest novel, Stuffed Souls, stretched my imagination in so many ways. I like to keep my books as plausible as possible but my imagination had taken me down a road of Voodoo and intubated bodies—subjects I knew very little about. The Voodoo side of this struggle my mom helped me solve. “Just make up your own rules. It doesn’t have to be real Voodoo as long as the book is consistent.” Her advice set my mind at ease since I wasn’t comfortable with the idea of an in-depth study of the religion. I found the few things I’d gleaned from scrolling through internet scary enough.

The second issue of medical terminology and intubated bodies fell to my sister, Allison. I leaned heavily on her nursing background to help me navigate plausible ways to keep bodies alive. Sometimes she gave me way more information than I could ever possibly need, but her willingness to bat ideas around with me helped me overcome many plot obstacles that cropped up.

This book is such an interesting take on the bully issues in society, but I couldn’t have written it without their help. My mom is gone now, having passed away, but Allie is still here. Thank you for coming along on this twisted suspense novel with me.

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Oh my sweet Google, let’s make this all about me.

This is an ode to Google. It’s a powerful tool that shows me locations and even helps me answer weird grammar questions. I stumble across those grammar conundrums all the time, but with Google, my writing ideas become clear for my readers. It’s like having endless amounts of knowledge always on standby. How in the world did we ever get along without him or it’s female counterparts (Alexa, Siri) before? Seriously, I’ve forgotten. Mr. amazing (Google) even helped me figure out what was wrong with my dishwasher this week. Is there anything he can’t do? After I explained my dishwasher’s symptoms to him, he, like the magical know-it-all he is, gave me solutions in the order of most plausible culprits. I bought the first part he suggested replacing, and what do you know, it works again! Oh thank you Google, but if anyone asks, I’m taking all the credit. 😉 It’s nice to puff my chest out and feel super smart every once and awhile.

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Teenage girls!

What is it about junior high that takes once sweet kids and turns them into snarling monsters bent on picking each other apart? My eighth grade daughter is in the throes of this swirling insanity and comes home almost every day with complaints of things other girls don’t like about her.

“They don’t like my deodorant. They say it smells like baby power.”

Okay…when did baby powder become a bad smell? I, for one, like baby powder, it’s better than how our bodies smell with no deodorant at all. The girls keep making fun of my daughter, gagging while she’s getting dressed after P.E. class. I’m tired of hearing about it so I get her a different deodorant.

Now these same girls—bless their wretched souls—have decided the swimsuit lines on my daughter’s back are worthy of their ire. Ew…heaven forbid!

Uh…right about here I’m rubbing my temples because of the sheer stupidity of this complaint when my daughter says something I consider even worse.

She says, “Nothing I do makes these girls like me.”

“Whoa. Stop right there. First of all, you shouldn’t be living to please these girls. Why do you care what they think? Trust me, they’re just as lost and hormone-y as you are.  And Secondly, I’ve told you a thousand times, you can’t make anybody do anything. They have to choose to like you. Even if they never do, does it really matter? Your value comes from within—not from them. I know it’s hard, and mean people really do suck, but they can only affect you if you let them. Just as they make their choice you get to make your own. Don’t squander that on people who don’t lift you up.”

This parenting thing makes me feel like a broken record. Only time will tell if I’m getting through to her.

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Stuffed Souls update: Be still my heart a boy has joined the ranks

I’ve been writing for more than a decade now but my oldest, sixteen-year-old son has never shown any interest in what I write.

“They’re just too chickish for me,” he says.

Well…you can’t please everyone and my main focus group is girls, so it’s hard to be offended by the comment. My thirteen-year-old daughter on the other hand inhales my novels the moment she sees a copy in our home. She goes on and on, telling her brothers and everyone else how amazing they are. Her excitement is a major motivation to keep writing, but to my shock I caught my oldest son reading my latest novel, Stuffed Souls, last week. He made eye contact with me over the open book in his hands but said nothing, so I kept walking. You don’t want to jinx these things. On Friday my son stuck his head into my bathroom where I was getting ready for the day.

“You’re really twisted, Mom.”

“Oh really?” I kept right on applying my mascara. “And why’s that?”

“Your Stuffed Souls, I can’t believe you made that up. It was really good, but crazy. Are your other novels like this?”

“Hmm…They’re such different plots it’s hard to compare them, but I don’t write snooze-fests. I like fast moving stories with unpredictable plots so that’s how I try to always write. I guess you’ll finally have to pick up the first book of the Rory’s Choice series and find out for yourself.” Dare I hope he’ll become a fan too? I don’t know those “chickish” parts might be too much for him. 😉

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Stuffed Souls: a scene that almost didn’t happen

If you’ve gotten your copy of Stuffed Souls already and sucked it right down, I have a fun fact for you. The opening scene of Chapter twelve wasn’t in the original manuscript. I had glossed over the truck ride with Elam to get to the juicer, emotional, roller coaster ride of Jessica and Travis. If you don’t know what that means, you’re missing out. Get the book and read it. Oh looky…here’s a link.

Anyway…my editor, Mary Einfeldt, was like I don’t think so, I want to see what happens in that truck ride. It took me a couple of days of thinking to come up with a plan, but when I started fleshing out the scene I had to stop several times just to chuckle at the visual I could see in my head. What had I been thinking? Not only is the opening scene in chapter twelve hilarious, it gives the reader an even stronger insight into Elam’s character traits. I’m so glad I took up the challenge the editor placed before me. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; the best editors are the ones who push more than applaud your work.

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