Saturday, December 20, 2014

End-of-year Reflections

It's natural to approach the holidays with a certain wistfulness--a looking behind, a looking ahead. An assessment, a taking stock.  Where have I been and where am I going?

As I glance backward at this past year, it's been busy, challenging, surreal, and overall amazing.  Publication-wise, my first novel, Painting the Moon, was published via Red Adept, an incredible group of professionals and experts.  My friends and family have been more supportive than I'd even dreamed.  I even had a book party launch in July, complete with book posters, a signing, and a cake with my cover on display!

As well, I've edited two books, and Book 2 in the series will soon be released (March or April).  I can't believe I just typed that sentence.  Especially after 20 years of rejections (for various novels) with frustrating close calls and heartbreaking "almosts."  But then, finally, came a "YES!" and away we went.

Also, this holiday season, I'm still feeling the tangible grief from my father's passing in September of 2013, and this will be my second Christmas without him.  And though he never got to see my novels in print, he read all three in this series and was aware that my dream of getting published had finally been fulfilled. That's special to me.

Looking ahead, I see busy days as a full-time writing teacher and full-time author.  I'm thrilled by the hopeful possibility of publishing Book 3 in future days, as well as writing Book 4 during my summer break.  Busy days.  Good days.  Blessed days.

So, this holiday season, wherever you are and whatever your life looks like, even through the ups and downs, I wish you peace and comfort and joy.  And good days ahead.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Book 2 Update

Whew!  I submitted my final line edits to the publisher last week.  Feeling really good about them, thankful for my editors and their suggestions. 

Although I don't have a release date yet, it's looking like the book will be released in Spring of 2015.  I can't wait!  This whole experience is so surreal.  And, especially during this Thanksgiving week, I feel nothing but gratitude.  After years of waiting, of writing, of submitting, of sustaining rejections, I can't believe it's finally happening.  Two books released in a year's time.  

Someone pinch me!

And really, talking about Book 2 is just a hidden excuse to post my beautiful cover again.  The folks at Streetlight did such an amazing job.  I just want to crawl in and live there for awhile...

Monday, October 13, 2014

My Article Got Published!

I just got word that an article I submitted to the "Guide to Literary Agents" blog (part of Writer's Digest) was posted yesterday.  

The inspiration for my topic came as I was editing Painting the Moon. I'd written the novel a few years back, when texting wasn't so rampant or important to people.  But now, it is.  So I needed to update and modernize some of the scenes---add some technology!

Anyway, here's the link to the article.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Cover Reveal!

My publisher just unveiled the cover for my new novel, Finding the Rainbow.  


I had no doubt that the team at Streetlight Graphics would do an amazing job.  Also thanks to Michelle, Kris, and Lynn, for making this cover a reality.  I particularly love the colors and that big beautiful English estate.  And the rainbow.  Okay, I love all of it.  :-)

And just look how perfectly it goes along with Book 1's cover:

Publication date for Finding the Rainbow, TBA.  I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Update on Book 2

I spoke with my publisher today, and things are on track for Book 2 in my Chilton Crosse series!  Here's what I know:

Title:  Finding the Rainbow

The cover art has been discussed (I cannot wait to see what the geniuses at Street Light Graphics will come up with!), a blurb is being formulated, and I'm heading into line edits this week (I've already finished content edits).

So exciting!!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Hometown Paper!

I grew up in a West Texas town called San Angelo, from age six to twenty-one.  I haven't been back for years, but a piece of my heart is still there.  Those were my formative years -- church and school, choir and band, summer camps and holidays.  In that town, I discovered my love for writing.  In that town, I listened to sermons and lessons from Sunday School teachers that have stayed with me.  In that town, I made friendships that are still valuable to me today.  At twenty-one, I moved away, but San Angelo will always remain important to me.  

Those childhood and teenage memories are deeply imbedded.  Which is perhaps why I leaned on some of them to write Painting the Moon.  Though the character of Adam isn't based on anyone specific, there were some important friendships I formed in San Angelo that I remembered as I wrote Adam and Noelle's flashbacks.  Deep late-night talks about God and life, study sessions that lasted for hours, campfires or New Year's parties or school dances, laughing with friends until my sides ached.  All these things impacted me in a powerful way, so that when it came time for me to write Adam and Noelle's teenage friendship, it was easy.  

And, maybe in a subconscious way, little pieces of my own hometown filtered through to Chilton Crosse (the Cotswold village in my novel).  That close-knit feeling of home and family--the sense that your neighbors care about you, have your back, will be there in a pinch.  Those strong, deep roots of family and friends. 

The lasting effects of hometown relationships became most evident to me last year.  Two decades after I left San Angelo, my father passed away (last September) and the outpouring from San Angelo friends was overwhelming---countless cards and emails and phone calls.  Some even traveled more than six hours, to East Texas, to attend the funeral.  Just to support our family.  I will never forget that.

So this particular article, a hometown article, is very special to me.  Thanks to Chelsea, from San Angelo LIVE!, for the interview.

Link here

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Book 2 - Under Contract!

A couple of weeks ago, I received a call from my publisher.  They've accepted Book 2 in my Chilton Crosse series!  I'm ecstatic.

I'll start edits in the next couple of weeks, and if all goes well, the book could be available as soon as the holidays.

Book 2 focuses on Holly, Frank's assistant at the gallery.  In some ways, this book is lighter than Painting the Moon, more joyful.  Perhaps it's the Jane Austen overtones weaved throughout the plot.  

Here's a little teaser-blurb:

     Life seems nothing more than a quick succession of busy nothings.  ~Jane Austen

This is precisely how Holly Newbury would sum up her life. 

At twenty-eight, she lives in a charming-but-touristy Cotswold village, serving as caretaker to three younger sisters—a rewarding job, but a tedious one.  Soon, though, news of a Jane Austen movie filming nearby creates a snap of change in the air.  The villagers become involved as movie extras, and Holly starts up an Emma book club in honor of the film.  At the same time, Holly's own family drama plays out—her sisters experience heartaches and growing pains, while her widowed father finds new love in an unexpected place. 

The film also brings with it an American screenwriter named Fletcher Hays, who ends up becoming Holly's very own "Mr. Knightley."  But will she realize it too late?

Monday, July 14, 2014

My Very First Book Signing!

So, yesterday, my grandparents, mom, and sister hosted a book party and signing for me.  It met all my expectations.  It was busy, fun, exciting, and productive (lots of books sold!).

More than anything, it was amazing to hug and chat with such supportive people.  My family and close friends.  They're my cheerleaders, my biggest "fans."  Seeing their support together in that room reminded me of how blessed I am--that after years of trying to get published, it finally happened.  

Here are some pictures from the event:

These are my precious grandparents.  They hosted the event at their building.  Love them so much!

Here's the book poster that sat on an easel in the entrance:

Here's the front table -- that's my other grandmother's painting of "Chilton Crosse," the village in Painting the Moon, painted as a surprise for me in 2009.  I thought it deserved a special place at the party! 

And here's the cake!  The decorators were able to scan the book cover and create an edible piece of candy on top.  Isn't it pretty?

The only person missing from the event was my father, who passed away ten months ago with a sudden diagnosis of brain cancer.  He would've been at the party with bells on, happy for me, proud of me, supportive of me.  He read all three books in this series about a year before he got sick.  And before he passed away, he knew I had signed a contract--that I was getting published.  And even though yesterday was incredibly bittersweet because of his absence, and even though I missed him so much, he was still *there,* with us.  

Here's a favorite picture of him:

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

USA Today!

As if getting a book published wasn't already surreal enough, my book's trailer (created by Mary Fan) was just featured in USA Today!  Umm, squeee!  

Link here

Monday, June 16, 2014

Paperback Available!

I don't know if this whole publishing thing felt real until I held the advanced copy of the paperback in my hands.

The book is gorgeous in person--that beautiful cover just pops with color.  And the book feels so weighty and substantive in my hands.  Maybe I'm just old school, but a Kindle just isn't the same thing as an actual book.   ;-)

Click here to purchase the book.  And thank you!!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Hip, Hip, HOORAY!

Today is my book's birthday!  Time to celebrate!  *throws confetti all over the internet*

PAINTING THE MOON is available in e-book format at Amazon,, and Kobo.  It's on sale today for $2.99 and the price will increase starting tomorrow, so get yours TODAY!  

The book will be available in softback format at those same online locations in a couple of weeks. 

Here's the book trailer, to whet your appetite:


After years of rejections, and after months of intense edits, it's time.  Time for me to let this book GO, and toss it out into the world to take flight.  It's no longer just my book anymore.  And that's a weird and wonderful feeling.  

"No matter how much I adore writing, no matter the pleasure my stories give me, it isn't until books are read that they really start to breathe."  ~Kate Morton

Friday, May 23, 2014

Coming SOON!

I spoke with my publisher, and PAINTING THE MOON is in the final stages of proofreading right now!  Next is the formatting, and then it will be published!

Still no set release date, but it could be available as soon as two weeks from now, early June.  The book will be available in e-book first, then paperback about a month later.

I'll keep you posted...

Monday, April 21, 2014

I Have a Book Trailer!!

I'm so pleased with it.  The music, the images -- they capture the tone of the book so well.  A big shout-out to Mary Fan, who put it all together for me.  She did an amazing job.

(Just an FYI - the book will be released in mid-June.  I'll put an announcement on this Updates page when I get a solid release date).

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Exciting News!

My publisher just called me with the fantastic news:  I've been offered a contract for Book 2 in my Chilton Crosse series.  So excited!  So blessed!

Book 2, set in the same Cotswold village, is a cozy romance with Jane Austen overtones.  It will possibly be released by the end of the year!

The exhilaration of getting "that call" for the second time in my life is hard to describe (I know--ironic, coming from a writer).

This is the best way to show it:  a classic scene from Tom Hanks's movie That Thing You Do, where Liv Tyler's character hears her friends' band on the radio for the very first time. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Book Cover Reveal!

I admit it.  I've always judged a book (a real book, not a metaphorical person) by its cover.  If I see a stunning book cover with gorgeous colors or an intriguing symbol or especially a European tone, I'm bound to pick it up.  And if the description and first pages draw me in, it's a sale.  But it's usually always the cover that draws my attention from the start.

That's why, during years of writing, I've looked forward to this day.  The day when I see my OWN book cover for the very first time.  

So, without further delay, here it is:

I love it.  Absolutely love it.  For me, it captures the book's tone perfectly.  It's cozy and British and it looks like a painting.  A painting I want to step into and live inside. 

Here's my book's description: When Noelle Cooke's famous aunt dies, she leaves behind a cottage full of secrets: a locked room, an old journal, a rich history of eccentricity. She also leaves behind an art gallery in financial ruins. Noelle never planned to abandon her life in San Diego, never intended on moving across the ocean, but the idea is irresistible.  

And just when Noelle commits to stay and begins discovering the cottage's secrets, someone from her past reappears—her first love, Adam Spencer.  A barrier stands in their way, forcing her to make a choice.  Will she risk her heart?  Or will she bury her emotions…and lose him all over again?

A thousand thank-you's to Michelle at Red Adept and Glendon at Streetlight Graphics for this book cover.  You both outdid yourselves.  You have one very happy author, here.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

New Book Title!

When the publisher suggested that my book needed a new title, I panicked a little.  I had already spent hours coming up with the current one, and now I needed to go through that process all over again.  Eek!

Choosing a title is hard.  It's a bit like trying to write poetry (which is not my forte).  It involves choosing just the right words, in the right order.  And it requires brevity.  A title can't be too wordy.   I also didn't want it to be cheesy or abstract or overly-quirky.  

So, that night, I spent about four hours skimming through all 400 pages of my novel (I had just gone through content edits, so I practically knew the whole book by heart).  I was looking for symbols, descriptions, dialogue -- a phrase that not only sounded good, but that also had something to do with the themes or tone of the book.

I came up with a list of about 40 possibilities (and also enlisted the help of friends and family, so add about 30 more to the mix!).

(By the way, you know how saying the same word over and over again, or looking at the same word over and over again, can render the word useless/meaningless?   Yeah, that happens a little when you're looking at a list of titles, too).

Next, I spent a couple more hours checking out my enormous list of titles on Amazon, making sure they weren't already taken as other book titles.  Alas, about half of them were (I lost several titles that were in my Top 10).  

Finally, I whittled the rest down to about 20, sent them off to my publisher, and waited.  She was getting the input of a couple of her editors.  A few hours later, I got an email saying they'd all agreed on one title in particular.  Thank goodness it was my top choice.  I'm so excited!

Here's the new title -- drumroll............

Painting the Moon

I think it's simple, but layered, and it feels a little bit quirky.  In the novel, there are lots of "painting/art" references (one of the characters is a famous recluse artist), and there's a scene between the two main characters that involves the moon.

So, I'm happy with the new title.  And more than anything, I can't wait to see it on a cover! 

Getting Closer...

Over the holidays, I went through the tedious-but-necessary process of content edits for my novel.  I approached it with an open mind and was glad I did.  Lots of changes were suggested (mostly regarding the timeline of plot events) and I agreed to all of them.  Hard work, with several "passes" between myself and my editor.  Finally, after several weeks, we had our clean copy.  

My biggest relief was that my editor "got" my book.  Even with her suggestions, she never attempted to change the tone, or the characters themselves.  HUGE relief.  This book, even after content editing, still feels very much like "mine."

And now, off to line edits it goes...

In the meantime, I've had to come up with a new title (that was a challenge!) so it can be sent off for a cover.  

Next will be line edits, proofs, a finalized cover, and...I think that's it.  No release date yet, but we're getting closer.