Psssst…Wanna Know a Secret?

I’ve hit a lot of important milestones in my life.

  • I ate solid foods.
  • I learned to walk.
  • I learned to talk and haven’t shut up since.
  • I learned to read and do it obsessively.
  • I learned to print and write in cursive.
  • I learned to tell time.
  • I learned to read music and play the piano…and the french horn…and the trumpet…and now, in a rudimentary way, the guitar (I WILL MASTER THE Bmin CHORD IF IT’S THE LAST THING I DO).
  • I learned to drive a stick shift.
  • I graduated from high school. And college. And another college.
  • I earned a certificate from a night school program.
  • I landed several jobs.
  • I got married.
  • I had kids.
  • I got unmarried.
  • I braved okCupid, tinder, coffeemeetsbagel. I didn’t end up hating all men. (Trust me, that’s noteworthy.)
  • I did my own taxes.
  • I bought a car.

All these things are great. I’m proud of what I accomplished. But, there’s one thing I’ve wanted to do since I learned to hold a crayon: write a novel. I’ve written a lot of poetry and short stories. I’m a daft hand at flash fiction. I can write an essay that would convince you to sell all your belongings and join a circus. What I haven’t been able to do (yet) is come up with an idea for a novel that sustains me past the first 5,000 words or so.

But, 40-something years later, I haven’t given up. I keep buying books on how to write novels. I read them. I try some of the exercises. The latest book in my arsenal is The Secrets of Story by Matt Bird.


I was hooked by the first paragraph:

You’ve just boarded a plane. Your iPhone is loaded with all your favorite podcasts, but before you can get your earbuds in, disaster strikes: The guy in the next seat starts telling you all about something crazy that happened to him–in great detail. This guy is an unwelcome storyteller trying to convince an extremely reluctant audience to care about his story. We all hate that guy, right?

~Matt Bird, The Secrets of Story

I hope Mr. Bird is going to explain how to capture a reluctant audience’s attention and hold it. From the table of contents, it looks like he might. He includes “the thirteen essential laws of writing for strangers.” But that’s not all! He also provides “The Ultimate Story Checklist.” This should help me keep a reader’s attention after I’ve first caught it. I’m really excited about this book!

Now, if I could only come up with a really excellent idea…I’ve already scrapped the idea about the Sasquatch hunter who is allergic to pet dander.


P.S. I’m going to participate in Nanowrimo again this year. While I didn’t get far the last time I tried it, I did end up generating a lot of material that became short stories. Will any of you be participating?





Book Haul


I got a few new books recently, and can’t wait to start reading them!

The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins. From the blurb on Amazon/Goodreads, this book appears to be wholly unique. It’s about a woman, who once was an ordinary American, but then her parents died and she was taken in by a man known simply as Father. She and the other inhabitants of his home spend their time in a great library studying its secrets. They speculate that Father is actually God and the library holds the truth about creation–but then Father disappears leaving the library unguarded…

mount char

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I think everyone in the world has read this one except for me! By all accounts, it’s an excellent book, and it’s also been turned into a movie. The story focuses on a young girl during World War II. She develops a keen love for books and steals and shares them with her neighbors. She sounds a little bit like a bookish Robinhood.


Uprooted by Naomi Novak. Agnieszka lives in a quiet village surrounded by a malevolent wood. Her home is protected by a wizard known as The Dragon. Once every ten years, he demands tribute in the form of a young girl who is to serve him. Agnieszka expects The Dragon will take her beautiful and accomplished friend, but when the time comes, Agnieszka’s expectations are dashed and she is uprooted from her home.


The Girl in the Green Silk Gown by Seanan McGuire. I knew nothing about this book when I bought it. I added it to my collection simply based on my appreciation for the author. Unfortunately, it’s the second book in the Ghost Roads series, so I’m going to have to track down Sparrow Hill Road first. The main character is a ghost–one who haunts the roadways. She’s obsessed with her killer…

Clearly, I need more free time so I can read.

What are some books you’ve acquired lately?

Sunshine Blogger Award


I was nominated for The Sunshine Blogger Award by @PrincessofPages. This award honors bloggers who are creative, positive, and inspiring. I’m honored to be selected for this!

In addition to being a really fun friend on Twitter, @PrincessofPages has a great blog where she discusses the books she’s been reading. I know my list of things to read has grown dramatically since I’ve been following her.


Once nominated, a blogger is required to 1) write a post in which they thank the blogger for nominating them and link back to their blog, 2) answer the 11 questions asked by the person who nominated you, 3) nominate eleven other blogs and 4) give them eleven questions to answer, 5) notify your nominees and display the rules and The Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post.


  1. What’s the perfect day for you? My perfect day involves family and friends and a great meal at a restaurant so I wouldn’t have to cook or clean.
  2. What was your last 5 star read and what made it great? I loved, loved LOVED Lifel1k3 by Jay Kristoff. It was original, fast-paced, funny and packed a punch.
  3. Do you prefer series or standalones? I usually love the first book or two in a series and then get impatient with them as soon as the novelty (pun intended) wears off. I prefer stand-alones.
  4. Do you read multiple books at the same time, or do you read one at a time? I only read one book at a time.
  5. Do you have any book regrets? No, not really. Of course, there have been books I haven’t enjoyed, but I don’t regret trying them. Reading broadly is important to me.
  6. Who are the 3-6 guys in your harem? You can only choose characters from books, and only one character from each book. I couldn’t deal with more than one guy. The mere idea of that stresses me out. That being said, I would tolerate a harem consisting of Westley from The Princess Bride, Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird and Augustus Waters from The Fault in Our Stars.

  7. If you could spend the day with any fictional character, who would you choose and what would you be doing? I’d enjoy spending the day with Lemon Fresh from LifeL1k3. She would be a hoot to hang out with!  We’d crack jokes, oggle some hotties, and drink some kaff. I would avoid eating neomeat though.
  8. If you could only read one more book for the rest of 2018, which book would you choose? A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Iriving. I’ve long claimed this is one of my favorite books, but haven’t read it in ages. It’s time for a refresher.
  9. Do you ever review audio books? I haven’t yet, but that sounds like fun!
  10. What are three non book related things, you want to share about yourself? I love coffee, but drink tea more often. I can bake killer bread. I was born in Wyoming.
  11. If you could choose any books series to be made into a TV series, which one would you choose and who would play the hero and heroine?  I can totally envision Lifel1k3 being produced for the big or small screen. Perhaps Eliza Taylor could play Eve and Bob Morely could play Ezekiel. Maisie Williams could play Lemon Fresh.

I Nominate:

  1. Reading Under the Blankie
  2. Loretta
  3. Reader Voracious
  4. The Bibliophile Empress
  5. Books in the Skye
  7.  There are so many deserving bloggers for this award. I think many of the bloggers I frequent have already received this award. If you haven’t and would like to play along, consider yourself nominated!

The questions PrincessofPages sent me are great, so I don’t feel the need to reinvent the wheel 🙂