Goodnight Sweet Princess, and Choirs of Jedi Sing Thee to Thy Rest


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Gone but not forgotten…


Much like millions of other people, I was rocked to my core at the end of December by the death of Carrie Fisher.  Her passing capped a year-long litany of loss, starting for me personally with the death of Glenn Frey.  But Carrie’s death was perhaps the most impactful for me.  Maybe because it came right at the end and was the straw that broke the camel’s back.  Maybe it was because she was only three years older than me.  Maybe it was because she was the first woman who showed me, at a very impressionable age, that a woman could be both strong and feminine, soft yet tough.  That a woman could carry a blaster, rescue herself and one-up even the most hard-hearted mercenary, all while saving the galaxy.

In addition, although Ms. Fisher had a tumultuous personal life, she weathered it all with a wry wit, re-invented herself to meet the changing times and at every turn of the road managed to stay true to herself.  She was, unabashedly, her own woman.  Plus, her relationship with her dog, Gary, touched my heart in ways few other things could. I mean, how could you not love someone who loved that sweet pup?

I posted, when I was able to form coherent thought again, on Facebook, absolutely heartsick:

Facebook post for Carrie Fisher.png

Hoaky, yes, but it was my cheesy homage to a woman I greatly admired.

And then, later in the week, someone I know shocked me to the core again when they asked me why I was so devastated by the death of a woman I’d never even met.

I had no words at the time to explain to this person that even though you may never have met someone, they can still have a profound impact on your sense of self. Strangers, even those who have been gone from this earthly plane hundreds of years before you were born, can teach you about life, strife, honor, courage, and selflessness.  We meet these people on the screen, in books, through recordings, or via storytelling and we connect with them – or at least our perception of them.  Something touches us deeply and we feel a resonance.  And that resonance carries us forward, becoming a seed inside us, part of who we are.  They become personal heroes, icons, representations in our psyche of the essence of the role or attribute we associate with them.  They become that the ideal or perfect model of something, like an object from Plato’s Ideal realm.

And then that person, who is now so much more than a person, dies.  And we (or perhaps I should just say I) feel bereft.  The earth shakes.  The foundation crumbles and for a moment, the fragility of reality comes crashing down and that thing, that ideal, dies too.  If our heroes can die, then so can we mere mortals.  All is impermanence.  The rock we cling to is now dust and we no longer know how to stand.

Of course, in time, we pick ourselves up and hopefully, using that seed inside us, learn to stand on our own, building up that rock inside us as memory and guiding light.  But the grief is real, even if the person was not personally known to us, was not someone we sat down and had coffee with.  The grief is very, very real.

I am still reeling.  But I have seen enough heroes cross over to the Summerland this year that I am learning how to find my balance more quickly. Perhaps that is the lesson here.  To learn to get up faster from the vicissitudes of life, so that we can make the most of what ever number of days we have remaining.  Because clearly, if 2016 has taught us nothing else, every day, every bloody stinking glorious precious day, has to count.

Requiescat in pace, Carrie.


And to the rest of you,

Illegitimi non carborundum.

What Weight Do You Normally Fight At?


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I’m ba-a-a-a-ack!


Greetings fellow Earthlings!

As some of you know, I took a rather spectacular fall just before Thanksgiving. Face-planted onto concrete right in front of a bunch of people from the Evil Day Job.  It was spectacular.  Blood everywhere, broken bones, including my hand and nose (and my pride), sprained things, even had to have stitches. I looked like I’d gone a round in the ring with Mike Tyson. Worst part? I spilled my entire large Coca-Cola, my special treat for that week!

I’d include a picture but you might bust something laughing – or try to blackmail me. Anyway, sorry to have been MIA for so long, but I’m back (just when you thought it was safe to go back on the internet!).

On the plus side, I’m once again able to type (and write), and Book Three in the Coffee and Crime Mysteries is due out in early spring, so there’s that to look forward!  I think this is the best Ellie book yet.  THings heat up for her both in town, with Charlie and even in terms of the death of her parents.  Lots of fun!  And the cover!  Oh, the cover.  My cover artist, Raven Blackburn, has knocked it out of the park again.  I’ve shared it on my Facebook page and here’s a sneak peek for all of you as well!


Anyhoo, now that my tippy-tapping fingers are back in action, you can look forward to more idle ramblings, pithy musings and giddy babblings soon.  Oh, and as always, the peasants are revolting.


Illegitimi non carborundum!

Selling Books—The Struggle is REAL but Not New & What to DO!

Another great post from author Kristen Lamb. As a marketing professional in my “day job”, this hit home. THe post also gave me that shot in the arm I needed after looking at last year’s sales numbers. So no worries… I’m not giving up yet! Read on and I guarantee you will find yourself nodding your head.

Kristen Lamb's Blog

I know a lot of authors feel overwhelmed in the digital age of publishing and that is perfectly understandable. But today I would like to pan back and maybe offer a refreshed perspective to keep you pressing.

Today we face the challenge of creating a brand. But you might be thinking, “What exactly is a brand?” There is a lot of misinformation floating around so that is a reasonable question to ask.

A brand is the power of a name to drive sales. Our name alone compels action.

No easy task. Overcoming inertia is critical for any author who wants to make a living doing this writing thing. In an age of instant? This is going to take a while, but hopefully I can help 😉 .

But first…

The Struggle is NOT New


Publishers have always struggled to help authors create a brand. This is NOT a new thing…

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Generation Author Snowflake & The High Cost of Instant

Food for (really good, introspective) thought for 2017. Check out Kristen Lamb’s new blog on Generation Snowflake.

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of David Rogers Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of David Rogers

Technology always changes our reality and there are inevitable growing pains that go part and parcel with any innovation. Every meaningful advance always has social consequences.


From the Gutenberg Press to the Model-T to electric lighting humans have had to adjust, shift and learn to balance great benefits with never before encountered consequences.

With the digital age? Here we go again.

As I’ve mentioned before, as early as 2004 when I was puttering around a site called Gather, I saw what social media was going to evolve into, that we were looking at likely the largest shift in communication since the Gutenberg Press. I knew even then that this was likely going to be the end of publishing as we had known it for well over a hundred years.

But I would be lying if I said I didn’t have…

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How Carving a Pumpkin Can Change Your Life


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Yes, it’s true.  Carving a pumpkin can truly change your life.  Especially if you’re using a really sharp knife and it slips…

But seriously.  I spent some rather unproductive time last night attempting to create a pumpkin masterpiece.  Now, we ALL know I have no artistic ability whatsoever.  I can draw neither a straight nor curvy line, cannot paint, cannot sculpt, and am not in any other way artsy or craftsy.  I wasn’t only a pariah in gym class… art class was my second least favorite subject.

And yet, as Halloween is my favorite holiday, each year I desire to create that perfect, most sincere Jack-O-Lantern.  In my mind, I am imagining this:


And each year, I pretty much end up with something like this.


This year, I finally figured out how it happens.  It’s all about revision.  Yes, there, I said it.  A dirty little writer word.  See, what happens is that I keep feeling unsatisfied, so I keep trimming and deleting and refining and modifying, until… well, it’s like cutting your own bangs, isn’t it?  You want them to be even, but you’re not a professional stylist, so you keep making tiny adjustments when you find they’re not quite right on that one side and then you look in the mirror and you find you’ve got this:


Yeah.  Stories, bangs, pumpkins, it’s all the same.  And it doesn’t stop there.  For me, anyway, since nothing is ever perfect, and I’m one of those people who need to fix/manage/control my world, I try to tweak everything.  Constantly.  Like, to death.

So I’m trying to teach an old dog a new trick.  Maybe, just maybe, my crappy pumpkin carving, while still probably crappy, is okay.  Maybe the heart and soul that I put into it will trump my relatively paltry skill at carving.  Maybe, by practicing pumpkin carving every day in the weeks running up to Halloween I’ll improve my skill.  Or maybe, just maybe, I need to learn to let what I create be whatever it is and be satisfied with it, knowing that I am my own worst critic and that it probably isn’t anywhere near as bad as I think it is.  (Although in the case of pumpkins, I might have to accept reality… )

I mean, yes, we always want to improve and that’s not a bad thing.  But if we’ve tried our best, constant cutting and trimming and correcting may just end up destroying what we set out to create.  Not just in art, not just in writing, not just in pumpkin carving, but in everything.

So this year, I’m going to go buy another pumpkin.  And I’m going to carve it the best I am currently able.  I’ll even post pictures.  It might not be a masterpiece, but I guarantee it will be sincere enough to make the Great Pumpkin happy.  And for once, this year, I will be too!

Illegitimi non carborundum!

A Pithy Quote for the Day


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I was reading a blog by Maria Popova, who was quoting Ann Patchett from her memoir.  It rang so true for me, as a writer, I had to share it.  You can read the full blog post here: BrainPickings, and I highly recommend reading Ann Patchett’s book (available at Amazon here: This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage).

“For me it’s like this: I make up a novel in my head (there will be more about this later). This is the happiest time in the arc of my writing process. The book is my invisible friend, omnipresent, evolving, thrilling… This book I have not yet written one word of is a thing of indescribable beauty, unpredictable in its patterns, piercing in its color, so wild and loyal in its nature that my love for this book, and my faith in it as I track its lazy flight, is the single perfect joy in my life. It is the greatest novel in the history of literature, and I have thought it up, and all I have to do is put it down on paper and then everyone can see this beauty that I see.

And so I do. When I can’t think of another stall, when putting it off has actually become more painful than doing it, I reach up and pluck the butterfly from the air. I take it from the region of my head and I press it down against my desk, and there, with my own hand, I kill it. It’s not that I want to kill it, but it’s the only way I can get something that is so three-dimensional onto the flat page. Just to make sure the job is done I stick it into place with a pin. Imagine running over a butterfly with an SUV. Everything that was beautiful about this living thing — all the color, the light and movement — is gone. What I’m left with is the dry husk of my friend, the broken body chipped, dismantled, and poorly reassembled. Dead. That’s my book.

The journey from the head to hand is perilous and lined with bodies. It is the road on which nearly everyone who wants to write — and many of the people who do write — get lost… Only a few of us are going to be willing to break our own hearts by trading in the living beauty of imagination for the stark disappointment of words.”  Ann Patchett, This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage

Illegitimi non carborundum!

New Cover!!

Book 1 in the Ellie Gooden series has a new cover!  It’s not up yet on Amazon, but I wanted to give readers a sneak peak!  The cover was done by a wonderful artist named Raven Blackburn.  I cannot thank her enough for bringing my characters and my series to life!  Check it out!  And stay tuned.  Book 2 in the series will be out by July!  If you think Ellie was in trouble in the first book, wait till you read Book 2!

Illegitimi non carborundum!



Q & A with Nan Sampson


Fellow writer and voracious reader Cloe Marrie from Cloe Marrie’s Reads interviewed me the other day.  It was a ton of fun!  Thanks, Cloe!


For the record, please state your name. Nan Sampson   Do you do book tours? Not yet.  I’ve done some fun FB promotions, and will be scheduling my first in-person book signing this…

Source: Q & A with Nan Sampson

Brain to Books Cyber Convention Author Interview – Nan Sampson

Fun little interview I did during the recent Brain to Books CyberCon.  Forgive the corny jokes and puns – or feel free to enjoy them!  I know I did!  And be sure to check out Rebekah’s blog.  It’s a hoot!


Car here. This is a series of interviews I’m doing for my author, Rebekah Webb, for the participants of the 2016 Brain to Books Cyber Convention. ( Since I only interview inanimate objects, I…

Source: Brain to Books Cyber Convention Author Interview – Nan Sampson