Lavender and ground cover

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We bought this house a little over 2 years ago, and we’ve been working hard to fix up every inch of it.

Our project this summer was the great outdoors. Or at least, our small portion of it. So we took down the old, ugly fences and built new ones. Then we bought tons of plants and planted our little hearts out.

One area we planted is a 10 ft wide strip of land located between our backyard and the street. It’s an odd little strip of land that leads nowhere but to our backyard. It was overgrown and ugly but before we planted anything I went to the permitting office to get the proper permit.

I’m a bit of a rule follower. I look up ordinances and laws and follow proper procedure. But that’s just me.

After waiting for nearly 4 hours I was told that the area was our planting strip, and therefore our responsibility. They said, “No permit needed. YOU MUST maintain that area.”

I wish they had given us a permit anyway, because the neighbor behind us, well, let’s just say he’s not cooperative. As soon as he heard we had plans to make the area pretty he began parking both his car and his trash cans there.

Skip to yesterday. While we were working in our backyard, the neighbor, his wife, and grown daughter popped over to chat.

First out of the daughter’s mouth was the accusation that I had been aggressive with her dad. Later in the conversation I discovered that he thought I had knocked too hard on his door one day, a year ago. I guess my super strength got away from me, because it had felt like a normal knock.

But wait, there’s more. The daughter then accused my family of targeting them because we’re racist. She also claimed we had made her parent’s home too unsafe for her to bring her two small children by for a visit.

Huh? In the 2 years we’ve lived here we’ve talked to the man maybe half a dozen times. I thought it was all pretty friendly. So either my very voice sounds threatening to him or it’s all about the planting strip. But that still doesn’t make sense, because how does planting ground cover and lavender make us racist or add danger?

The conversation lasted much longer than it should’ve, with the man repeatedly saying we needed to compromise. His version of compromising meant we would do exactly what he wanted.

But wait, there’s even more. We were then accused of stealing from them, and by the end of the conversation we had also been called crazy and childish.

To round it all out, they ended the conversation by saying they planned to sue us.

I still don’t know over what.

And all the while the man kept saying, “I want to be a good neighbor.”

Too bad he doesn’t know what that means.

Fixin’ up the house

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Every summer we do something to make our house better. This summer one of our projects is the front fence.

It took a whole month to decide on the style of fence, to design it, and to make all those little decisions that would make the fence our own. Luckily for me, my husband enjoys doing things like that so all I had to do was make a few suggestions here and there.

Then we built it. From scratch. Nothing came prebuilt, not even the flower boxes.

Here’s what the old fence looked like:

Not much to it and the neighbors said it had been there at least 30 years.

Here’s the fence we built.

I like it much better.

When an author gives you a book…

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…Please, please, please let her know you read it. Or you started it and didn’t like it. Or you’re planning to read it in ten years, when you’ve cleared out every other book you have piled up in your living room waiting to be read.

Whatever you do, don’t just say nothing, as if you don’t remember that the book exists.

Authors act tough, but in reality they are fragile creatures. They’ve sweated long hours and bared their souls to create that book.

The worst thing that could happen to it would be for it to fade away into obscurity. Because if the book is invisible, so is the author.

Silence is torture.

Which is why I was so happy when my sister called to talk about my newest book, Time Without, the other day. She chatted about the story, said how she would have ended it, and suggested a few new characters for future stories.

I appreciated every minute. To have her call and chat about the book was the best gift she could have given me.

Too often I give copies of my books to friends and family and I never hear another word about it. It’s as if when I hand them the book it slips sideways into a black hole and is sucked away forever, never to be seen or heard from again.

I don’t know if they read it and hated it, or simply threw it into the trash.  ‘Cause it must be one of the two or they’d have some sort of comment to make.

In the past I tried asking what they thought of the book, but that was so awkward I vowed to never do it again. It felt like I was on a fishing expedition for compliments, and I’ve never really liked compliments.


There are drawbacks to being a writer. I can’t help but imagine all the ways a reader might dislike my books. The book’s too long, too short, not exciting enough, too exciting, blah, blah, blah. You name it, I’ve probably thought it. And to make matters worse, my imagination never sleeps, even when I do.

So when an author gives you a book, read it or don’t. But whatever you do, respond! Throw that poor author a bone!

A crisp new novel

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My newest novel, Time Without, has been out about a week now.  I’m so excited!

There’s nothing like the thrill of a freshly published novel. So invigorating!

There was one troubling hiccup, though.

One of my daughters wanted to be supportive (thank you, sweetie!), so she bought a copy of Time Without on Amazon, even though she knew I’d give her one.

When it arrived she showed me what she had been sent. The book was tattered, torn, and dirty.  The box it came in appeared to be in great shape, so it wasn’t a packaging issue. But in no way did the new book she paid for look new.

She was so disappointed! And so was I.

I could replace her book easily enough, but cringed at the thought of some unsuspecting reader out there receiving a similarly beat up copy. Ugh!

I may not have control over everything about my books, but I know it reflects on me nonetheless. So I want to state for the record:

I am not, repeat NOT, a dirty, tattered, and torn book type of person.

So whoever played hockey with Time Without and then packaged it up and shipped it to my daughter, get a new hobby. Anyone who purchases a new book should get a crisp, clean copy, not one that is battered and bruised. End of story.


Mission, Method, Result

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The mission: Adapt one of my screenplays into a novel.

The method: Convince my brain that it’s not a screenplay, but an outline. I always outline my stories.

The result: Success! A rough draft ready for rewrites.

A THREE-YEAR-OLD TORI sleeps peacefully with an angelic smile. A mist forms, whisks over her forehead, and blows hair across her face. She wiggles her nose.
The mist blows her hair toward her ear. She scratches her ear and sticks her thumb in her mouth while flashes of red light dance on her face. In the distance is the CRACKLE of FLAMES.
The mist whips a strand of hair straight up toward the ceiling. She slaps at her head and turns over. CRACKLE of FLAMES gets louder and red flickers of light more steady. A thin haze of smoke surrounds three-year-old Tori, masking the mist.
Three-year-old Tori’s hair whips wildly. She opens her eyes, sits up, looks around with fear in her eyes.
Smoke pours in through the open door. It SLAMS SHUT.

In an upstairs bedroom of the oldest house on the block an angel slept. Not the type of angel that hangs out in the clouds and flies around with wings, this angel had too much dirt on her feet to fly and thought clouds were pillows for airplanes. But the smile on her face was certainly angelic, and her grandmother almost always called her a little angel.
The angel’s name was Tori, and she was three years old.
As she slept peacefully in her bed, dreaming the dreams of the innocent, a mist formed over her and whisked across her forehead. Several strands of hair blew across her face, tickling her and causing her to wriggle her nose. But she slept on.
The mist, which seemed to have a mind, next blew Tori’s hair in such a way that the ends danced across her ear.  The hair ballet tickled enough to make her scratch her ear, but then she simply stuck her thumb in her mouth and sighed.
Flashes of red light danced on her face as in the distance the crackle of flames could be heard.
The mist now whipped a strand of hair straight toward the ceiling. Tori, still asleep, slapped at her own head and turned her face to the pillow.
The crackle of flames filled the room, as did a thin haze of smoke. The mist was no longer visible and the entire room glowed red.
Tori’s hair suddenly began to whip about wildly. Finally awakened, the child sat up and rubbed her eyes. As she looked around her eyes widened in fear. Her room looked alien, not at all like the room she had gone to sleep in. What had happened?
“Mommy?” the terrified child whimpered.
Smoke began to pour through her open door. It slammed shut.
“Mommy!” Tori screamed in fear.


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About a month ago I came up with a new story idea.

I planned to write it into a screenplay, and I was rather excited because the leads were sisters. I spent days plotting and planning and talking ideas over with family members.

I almost had the entire plot worked out, including several twists, when my personal life exploded and all my routines were thrown out the window.

Don’t get me wrong, it was the good kind of explosion. But it did have the unintended consequence of knocking most of the plot right out of my head.

Because I did something I almost never do. I didn’t write it down. I kept telling myself that the precious little plot was safely locked away in my head and I could, at any time, write the whole thing out.

Only, now that I’ve got time to write it down, I’ve forgotten most of those little twists that I’d spent so much brain power working out.


So much for knowing better!

I love to make lists. They’re the best way I know to keep from missing any of the details.

I should have taken twenty minutes and created an outline, that oh-so-handy list of story points.

Shame on me!

Happy anniversary!

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Happy anniversary, my sweet hubby! I can’t believe we’ve been married 32 years. Thirty-two! That’s just crazy!

It’s a good thing all those years ago both of us recognized what a good match we are. I shudder to think we might have gone our separate ways.

But then again, maybe we had help. There was that crazy lady who stopped us in the street on our first date to predict our marriage. I was ready to nod politely and walk away, but you talked to her and assured her she was correct.

And one year later, when we got married, she was correct.

I’m not sure if we match so well because we’re alike enough that we can usually find common ground.

Or because we’re different enough that we constantly challenge each other to be better.

Life with you is both adventurous and stable, which shouldn’t be possible but somehow is.

I love you even more than you know. You are my hero, my soul mate, and my best friend.

Time Without

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I just got word that Time Without is good to go!
Which means review copies will go out to reviewers. It won’t go on sale to the general public until mid-July.

But it also means I can let everyone see the cover, so here goes!


In case the back cover text is too small to read:

Vanessa is a strong, independent woman. Or she was, until she awoke in a world strangely changed. And when her husband and father of her children is in trouble, Vanessa realizes it is up to her to figure out what went so wrong in the world.

Vanessa’s journey takes her to the Department of Temporal Adjustment, the department tasked with handling all time travel, where she and her spunky kids go on a hilarious adventure through time—all while traveling incognito.