Friday, April 27, 2012

A Stranger's Kindness

The Read Cat Bookstore in Clearfield has been an amazing source of comfort for thousands of residents living in Utah.  Although the economic times have been tough, people always knew they could go there for good conversation and reasonably priced books. Through this bookstore, many children have developed a love of reading. Residents realized they could still afford to buy quality books.  The place has the most helpful staff and wonderful selection of new and used literature, but unfortunately they are closing their doors and moving far away.
    I first met the owner, Eric, when I was struggling to get my name out there.  Although he had nothing to gain, he generously helped me and never asked for anything in return.  He gave me a signing and taught my nine-year-old daughter how to take pictures during the event--she'll never forget his kindness. 
    After a while, the beginning of a successful writing career, many local speaking engagements and 24,000 followers later, I'll be back at THE REaD CAT BOOKSTORE for its last day of business at this location.
    Another author, Melynda Fleury, will be appearing with me. My husband and I are scheduled to play Celtic music--here's a sample of that:
Famous 4 a Moment.  
    We'd love to see you there and sign some books, but most of all, I hope we'll bring in some business for the owners of The Read Cat.  We're really sad to see this store go.

    Do you even know how hard it is to get that first book signing--to have someone give you a chance?  Well, that's what they did for me.  The kindness of a stranger . . . It's something I'll never forget.  Because of Eric and his generosity, I was featured in the newspaper.  It was the start of some exciting things.  He probably had no idea how much that act of kindness jump-started my dream of being a successful author.   

    The Scribe bawled when she found out that they're closing.  She loves their books AND their genre signs!

Here are some pictures of me at the last signing:



    Thank you, Eric!

Thousands of books will be on sale for $1--including hardcovers.  As written before, there will be live Celtic music.  I urge you to come out and help show our gratitude for this local owner who has done so much for his community. 

The REaD Cat Bookstore
189 State Street 
Clearfield, UT 84015
Saturday April 28th 12 - 3pm


I have two really big signings tomorrow in Clearfield and SLC, UT! You can check out my signing schedule HERE if you're interested. I'm especially excited to sign at THE REaD CAT BOOKSTORE.  All of the books in his back room are on sale--many for only $1
    Anyway, I'd love to see you there!

    Now, take it away, Fishducky!


(I wish I could take credit for this, but it was sent to me by my friend, Barbara.  Thank you, Barb!!)

    I have been in many places, but I’ve never been in Cahoots.  Apparently, you can’t go alone.  You have to be in Cahoots with someone.
    I’ve also never been in Cognito.  That’s okay,I hear no one recognizes you there.
    I have, however, been in Sane.  They don’t have an airport; you have to be driven there.  I have made several trips there, thanks to my friends, family and work.
    I would like to go to Conclusions, but you have to jump.  I’m not too much on physical activity anymore.   
    I have also been in Doubt.  That’s a sad place to go and I try not to visit there too often.
    I’ve also been in Flexible, but only when it was very important to stand firm.
    Sometimes I’m in Capable, and I go there more often as I get older.
    One of my favorite places to be is in Suspense!  It really gets the adrenalin flowing and pumps up the old heart!  At my age I need all the stimuli I can get!
    I may have been in Continent, but I don’t remember what country it was in.  It’s an age thing.
    And a few of my own:

    I was in Advertently once, but I went there by mistake.
    I’m never going to be in Cinerator again; it was much too hot for me.
    I loved being in Terior; they had such cute dogs.
    I have been in Conceivable, but not since I went through the change of life.
    I begged the authorities to let me in Vain, but nothing I said would sway them.
    You wouldn’t want to be in Nocent; the people are so poor.
    I can’t even discuss the time I was in Laid; this is a PG post!   
Today is one of the many National Mental Health Days throughout the year.  You can do your bit by showing this to at least one unstable person.  My job is done!
    I hope everyone is happy in your head.  We’re all doing pretty well in mine!
My brain seems to have stopped functioning.  My attorney husband would say that’s assuming a fact not in evidence.  How about a few cartoons?



Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Scribe and a Scheme

    If I know one thing about the Scribe--my oldest daughter--it's that she's a hoot.  She's ten and so smart.  At the beginning of this week she came home from school with three forms in her hand.  "I'm having a fundraiser," she said.
    "What?" I asked.  "You know what a fundraiser is?"
    "Yeah!  I'm raising money by having an art contest.  I'm charging fifty cents an entry and I've already made over thirty bucks.  It's amazing how fast quarters add up."
    I just gaped at her.  She has more cash than I do!  At that point my phone rang--AND KEPT RINGING--for the next few days.  "Hello," the kids calling would say.  "I need more information about the Scribe's art contest."  
    Once a mother even called.  "Your daughter stopped by my house.  Now, what is this fundraiser for?"
    "Honestly, I don't know," I said.  A few minutes after that, I turned to the Scribe.  "What IS the fundraiser for."
    "Myself," she said and walked away.
    "Oh no you don't!  Get back over here.  You can't hold a fundraiser for yourself.  What are you offering as the prize anyway?"
    "That?" she asked.  "Five bucks AND I told the kids they could be on the cover of your next book if they win."
    I was silent for a while.  Stunned really.  "Why did your teacher let you make those sign-up forms?" I groaned.
    "That's the great part.  We've had a sub!"
    Unfortunately, this didn't end well for the Scribe.  Yesterday her real teacher found out and had my entrepreneur give all of the money back.  I was happy about that consequence.
    "Mom," the Scribe said.  "Why do I always get in trouble?"
    "It's because you didn't ask about the cover first.  You have to ask about these things.  Plus, getting money for yourself from a fundraiser, well that's against school policy."
    "I'm not like anyone in this family," she said.
    I smiled, remembering something I did in fifth grade.  "Oh yes you are.  I was always hatching crazy schemes."
    "You were?"
    "Yep.  Do you want to hear a story about how I tricked the boys into letting me play baseball with them?"
   She wiped her tears and nodded.
    "All right, well one day . . ."

On a side note,
    The three talks yesterday went well.  I was pretty tired toward the end, but it was a great way to get the word out about the signings this Saturday.  Here's where I'll be:

Saturday April 28th 12 - 3pm Playing Music & Signing at the

189 State Street  
Clearfield, UT 84015
Saturday April 28th 6:30 - 9pm Playing Music & Signing at 
361 N. 300 W.
Salt Lake City, UT

For more info about my signing schedule, please go here:

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Date With Miss Priss

    If you're here for the $300 giveaway, please click this link: CASH.

I had such a blast being interviewed on the radio last night.  Thank you to everyone who listened, especially Brenda, Candiss, Fishducky, Jenn, Melynda and Odie--who sent me the sweetest messages after the show.  If you missed it and would like to hear the recorded version, please go HERE or listen below.

Listen to internet radio with Journal Jabber on Blog Talk Radio

   I'm talking to three groups of children today.  It should be great.  But that leaves me with little time to blog.  
    So, for fun, I decided to repost one of my favorite blogs from last year.  
    Some background on this story . . . my journal (The Golden Sky) hadn't been published yet. I'd given it to two beta readers in the neighborhood and everyone started reading/passing it around.  Okay, here goes . . .

A Date with Miss Priss

    Miss Priss asked me out for a lunch date . . . I was horrified.


    If you've learned anything about me, anything at all, it's that I'm not a snooty, snobby priss.  I'm just not.  I'll pose on a toilet.  I'll jump from an airplane.  I'll be nice to anyone because most people are pretty amazing when you take the time to understand who they are inside and where they're coming from.
    Now, the type of people I can't handle are the snobs and too-goods!  That's why when Miss Priss asked me out for lunch, I was really nervous.
    What happened is that a couple ladies in my neighborhood read an advance copy of my book The Golden Sky (that's coming out in November).  Well, the ladies liked it so much, they asked if they could pass it on.  I thought that was great, so they passed it AND passed it, until people I don't even know read my book.  That would be fine, and is except that my book is actually MY JOURNAL.  Sure, I've edited it, added dialogue here and there, but the fact remains that the book is my journal from a time when my son died and my marriage failed.  It's like prying open my ribcage and watching what makes my heart beat.  It's a lot to share, but for Zeke, for others who have lost and grieved, it needs to be done. 
    A couple strangers came up to me last week and said, "Do you remember that time when your dad had cancer?  I really related to your feelings."
    "What?  How did you know about that?"
    "Oh," they smiled and nodded to each other, "we both read your journal, The Golden Sky."
    So, they knew everything about me.  I realized that was something I needed to get used to, I just didn't expect it to happen before the book even came out.
    Anyway, what happened is that Miss Priss read my journal and wanted to have lunch with me--grace me with her presence.  She is the snootiest, prissiest woman in our city.  If you can picture her wearing fur--in the summer--do it.  If you can picture her wearing boots--do it.  If you can picture her with a fake nose AND fake boobies--do it!  If you can picture her sky diving and using so much hair spray her hair wouldn't move--that might be going too far.   

   She wanted to meet at "The House of Tea," but I said that wouldn't work out.  "How about McDonald's?" I asked.  "You have a little boy too, right?"
    "Yes, I do.  He's quite charming."
    "Perfect, then I'll see you at McDonald's at noon."
    I thought about doing my hair.  I thought about retouching my makeup from the day before, but that fancy woman had already seen into my ribcage.  She didn't need to see my cherry lipstick too!  So, I packed up my two babies (who are one and three) and headed over to McDonald's.
    When I got there early, the lady was already there.  She'd found a table and sanitized the whole area for us and her boy.  "He's darling," I said.  "Oh, and it's so nice to meet you.  I think I've seen you around, walking your poodle."
    She has a giant, black poodle who has nicer jumpsuits than I do.  I don't mean to sound jealous.  I don't mean to sound that way even though I am--that poodle has really nice curls.
    We talked about my journal after that.  She had all sorts of questions for me about why I didn't have an abortion.  Why I gave Zeke a chance.  How long he lived.  What it felt like when he died--ug.  She said the ending was very heartwarming; the second half of my book made her laugh and changed her life.
    That was amazing feedback, really and things went quite well, until we finished talking about the book.
    "Do you prefer the Ferber method?" she asked.
    "Ferber?  What's that?"  I suddenly felt like the family bumpkin, the one-eyed uncle everyone hates at Christmas.
    "Ferber, the method of getting your child to sleep at night."
    "I've never heard of it."
    She gasped.  "How do you cope?"
    Quite easily.  "I guess, I just put my kids to sleep, on their own schedules."
    "Well, I've never."  She put her thickly jeweled hand up to her expensive sweater-vest.  "Oh, Humphrey.  Humphrey?"
     Her kid's name was Humphrey?  Sure, that's a fine first name if you're last name is Bogart and you're as sexy as hell, but that's not the best first name in the world.
    "Oh, Humphrey, come count for this . . . nice lady."
    He counted then, as I thought about the way she'd said "nice."  My journal had made me worthy of her presence, but my Ferber ignorance made me fall quickly.
    That kid counted, boy could he count.  He went all the way to one-hundred and I got to listen to the whole thing.  The Zombie Elf, my three-year-old zoomed around him as he counted.  "Faster.  Faster," my boy said.  "Go faster.  Boom.  Boom.  Punch the bad guy in the nuts!"
    Miss Priss gasped again.  If I had a dime for every time she gasped--she was really good at it, no kidding.  Humphrey looked at her and giggled.  "Nuts!  Butt nuts."
    You would have thought someone got hit by a train.  "Hum-phrey!  Don't say n-u-t-s.  And I told you, we say 'bum.'  Not b-u-t-t.  'Bum.'"
    She patted her child on the "bum" and told him to go play, but all three of our children wanted to stay by the table.  She turned to me.  "I don't mean to be rude, but I can tell you haven't implemented the Ferber system.  Children who don't sleep good, aren't as intelligent as children like . . . well, Humphrey."
    At that moment, at that very instant, precious Humphrey burped.
    The Zombie Elf turned to him and said, "Oops, you farted!  Humpy fart!  Humpy Fart."
    I tried holding the laughter in, I swear that I tried, but so much joy bubbled inside.
    I wiped the skin near my eyes and tried to keep from laughing.  But it was getting harder by the minute.  Miss Priss had blanched like a bad vegetable.   Her eyes bulged like a frog.  Her lips pursed.  (All those cliche' things.)  I kept imagining what that lady would look like without any makeup and without her "Ferber" method.  I giggled and took a big-old swig of my coffee.
   "Is that . . . coffee?" She cringed.
    "Why, yes.  Yes it is."
    "Well, in my religion, we've learned how bad coffee is for you.  In my household, we've learned that 'butt' and 'fart' are bad words."
    The Zombie Elf smiled when he heard her say the words.  I looked from him, to the woman.  "Well, in my religion, I don't really give a damn.  Get over here,"  I motioned to my boy.  I knew I shouldn't do it.  I knew it was a bad idea, but I couldn't help myself.  Sure that lady read my journal and gave me an amazing compliment, but even Jesus turned over tables at a temple.  I couldn't stand it anymore, not ANYMORE.  I hugged The Zombie Elf.  "It's not hot, baby," I said, and I gave him some of my coffee.
    Miss Priss choked on her fruit punch.  She'd had her pinkie out as she drank it, but when she saw my action, she nearly died coughing.  I know I'm terrible and I may spend eternity with Nixon in Hell, but it was one of the best moments of my life.
    "I hate to eat and run, but I really should get going.  My kids are on quite a schedule after all. Their own schedules." I smiled, shook her hand, and then watched as she immediately cleansed her hands with a baby wipe.  "Thanks for reading my book and for your feedback."
   "No problem," she said.  "It's just interesting how one can read and expect the characters to be completely different from their representation in movies and . . . even in real life."
    She'd referred to me as a character.  A CHARACTER?  Didn't it occur to her that I'm a real person!

    So, I survived a date with Miss Priss.  I learned about the Ferber method.  I realized that my son has the words "burp" and "fart" confused.  I got called a "character" and my son drank coffee.
    Sure, he didn't go to sleep until three hours past his bedtime.  Sure, I wanted to punch Miss Priss and her fat poodle when I saw them walk by my house later, but all in all I think it was a pretty good day.
    I learned that sharing my journal won't always be easy, but it's still worth it.  Even snooty people, like Miss Priss, need to realize how real characters--people--can be.  Sickness and heartache may come to anyone regardless of creed or status.  Pain is impartial.
    It's a terrible, horrible thing to lose someone we love, or be affected ourselves, but it can also give us the chance to shine strong and beam through adversity, grab life and live it to the fullest.   All of us, no matter what, have the chance to survive hardship, and enjoy the peace that can come after the storm.  That peace surpasses understanding; it is the grandeur of The Golden Sky.

What would you do with three-hundred dollars?!

In 2011, The Golden Sky by EC Stilson became one of the hundred best-selling books about loss on Amazon! Wayman Publishing is now excited to announce the release of Bible Girl—the prequel to The Golden Sky. This is the amazing true story of a hilarious girl trying to find her way through the teen years. Bible Girl was just accepted into the Barnes & Noble catalog and will be .99 for a limited time HERE.

Please join voiceBoks, Giveaway Promote, Good Steward Savers, Terri's Little Haven, and Linkie's Contest Linkies in promoting this wonderful book launch. Here's a little blurb about the book:

The book practically cried for me to spare its life, and for a moment I thought I'd rather burn in Hell than lose something my brother had given me in love. The pastor nudged me, though, and my heart turned to ice.

I thought of all those hours my brother had read to me. I thought of all that time he'd invested.

I couldn't throw it into the fire; not the last book of the trilogy. That funny little dwarf stared at me from the cover. Then, I closed my eyes. I stepped so close to the flames they almost ate my skin. I tore the book in front of those kids. I put on quite a show throwing in a section at a time because I couldn't stand sending the whole thing in at once. When the last pages went up in flame, and the dwarf on the cover curled with death, I dropped to my knees and cried. The kids all hooted and screamed in ecstasy, thinking I'd been freed, when the ropes of religion had just twisted tighter.

Elisa isn't your regular nerd. She's not the kind of person who quotes Monty Python, or has a periodic table tattooed on her butt. No she's a different sort altogether. She carries a duct-taped Bible, wears bright-orange polyester pants, and dyes her hair with red Kool-Aid.

Although she tries slipping by apart from the crowds, it doesn't help that her best friend happens to be the "Boarder," one of the cutest and most popular boys in school.

It isn't until Elisa realizes she's surrounded by hypocrites that her foundation starts crumbling. She doesn't know who to turn to. That's when she meets a mysterious man. But maybe she shouldn't trust him after all.

Will he help her, or make things even worse than they were before?

This giveaway was made possible by the following sponsors:

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

How to join the Journal Jabber Chat Room

     Since I'll be on Journal Jabber tonight (Tuesday April 24, 2012) from 9-10 p.m. eastern standard time--that's 7-8 MST. Here’s a link to the show.  I'll be talking in the chat room afterward; I thought it might be good to let you know how to find the chat room.


    To sign up for the chat room go to the Journal Jabber page and sign in at the top right. The easiest way is to sign in with your facebook, twitter, google, or mySpace ID. Then come back to the link above and sign in to join the chat. Once you sign in, go to the show page and scroll all the way down past the show info and the comments. The chat room won't show up until 15 minutes or so before the show.

It's in less than an hour!  I'm so excited.

I'll be on Blog Talk Radio tonight!

First, before finishing the story about my dangerous anniversary, I wanted to let you know that I will be a guest tonight on Journal Jabber, a radio show hosted by Amy Eye and Cambria Hebert (among other amazing people) on Blog Talk Radio. Amy Eye is a fantastic editor and Cambria Hebert is a published author.  I'm really excited to visit with them. {You can find out all about those wonderful ladies here on their website}
    I will be on their show live tonight (Tuesday April 24, 2012) from 9-10 p.m. eastern standard time--that's 7-8 p.m. MST. Here’s a link to the show where you can listen in live or listen to a recorded version afterward. You can also visit in the chat room during and after the show. I’d love to talk with you. Cambria has some great questions lined up, and I’m so excited to share my work in this new way! I hope you’ll tune in!
    Also, I'm the featured author over at Guerrilla Word Fare--so fun--go there for a chance to win one of my books.  

    Now, onto the story of the day.  This is a continuation from yesterday's post: I almost died!  


    Cade blindfolded me and told me to stay on a hiking trail until I heard the alarm on his phone go off.  Too bad he set the alarm for TEN MINUTES!
    Let's just say I was terrified--scared stiff--worried about being dead as a doornail and all those cliche things.
    It wasn't until someone clutched my shoulder that I really thought I 'd die.
    I talked about this yesterday, but let's go back to being in labor.  A part of my body stretched to the size of a WATERMELON--with five different kids--did I scream then?  No!  How about the time I cut my thumb in half on a table saw?  Did I scream even during that?  NO!  Yet some stranger touched my shoulder and I yelled so loud I could have woke up the Krakon!
    I took off the blindfold and in front of me stood the cutest teenager.  Her face pulsed with concern and she put her hand to her face.  "Oh my gosh!  Who did this to you?  Are you all right?"
    I said the first thing that came to mind.  "Oh," I chuckled with nerves, still trying to get over the fact that I'd screamed.  "My husband just blindfolded me and left me here.  It's no big deal, really."
    The girl gasped and called to some people down the trail.  "I've found someone . . . a girl who was BLINDFOLDED."
    I never knew blindfolding someone was a cardinal sin, but apparently it is.  Three kids ran up to us.  They each looked more concerned than the last.
    "No, everything's really all right.  My husband just left me here . . . alone."  That wasn't the right thing to say, and they just gawked at me.  "I mean, it's our eleventh wedding anniversary.  He told me to stay here until this alarm went off and then I could look up the trail."
    "So he could have time to find a 'place' for you?" a boy said.  "I don't think you should do this.  What kind of a husband leaves his wife blindfolded on a trail?  When I get married, I'll NEVER do something like this to my wife!"
    He had a point.  
    Cade and I have been through many tough times together.  Being homeless.  Starving.  Losing a child.  Oh and that watermelon stretching thing. . . .  But was enough, enough?  Maybe we'd been through too much and now it was time to say goodbye!  Plus, why had he left me on a highly populated trail?  Of course someone would see me and be worried.
    The cellphone alarm FINALLY went off at this point.
    I looked up the trail and smiled to the teens.  "See, there's a note hanging from a tree.  I have no idea what it says, but he has some type of plan going on."
    "Yeah," one of the guys mumbled.
    "Well, I better get going.  Are the four of you doing anything fun today?"
    "Prom.  We went hiking as our day activity.  We never thought we'd find someone blindfolded on the trail, though."  Maybe they'd go out for ice cream next time!
    "Have a great date," I said.  "That's so fun."
    The first girl stopped me, clutching my arm once again.  "A lot of girls die in the woods.  Are you sure you should go?  Can you trust this man?"
    I held up the note I'd pulled from a tree and read it to her.  
You are my constant reminder
of all that is good and beautiful
in the world.
    "I can trust him," I said, then saw a note hanging on the other side of a nearby stream and I quickly crossed and went to it.  The kids shrugged and continued on their hike.  They'll probably never forget that strange encounter.
    So, many notes hung from trees, becoming sweeter and sweeter.  I found myself deep in the forest.  Shadows loomed and birds stopped singing.
Watch your step.
    I read another note.
I'll walk by your side in this life and the next.
    At this point, the notes stopped.  I have to admit I was worried.  Could I find my way back quickly?  I was practically born to hike--Hansel and Gretel had nothing on me--but I'd been so excited, I hadn't paid attention to where I went.  Plus, why had he written about the afterlife?
    All the sudden someone whistled and I jumped--being a pansy yet again.   I looked to the left and Cade sat by a log.  He looked so handsome.  He rested on a blanket where he had sandwiches, strawberries, whipping cream and champagne.  All of my fears melted away.  
    "Did you feel like a pirate?" he asked--that rogue.
    The point is, I LOVE pirates.  When I was a kid, I'd always pretend to be the wild stowaway who charmed the merciless captain and then took over his crew.   
    "Well . . . actually I did."
    "Do you like the notes?"
    I nodded.  "Yeah.  They're blog-worthy."
    "Oh, no you don't.  Those are for your eyes only."  He paused and then grinned.  "I guess you can take a picture of them."
    I put my hands on my hips.  "A picture?  Cade Hirsch, did you plan all of this for the blog?"
    "No," he laughed and threw a strawberry into his mouth.  He reminded me of a Greek god--the kind that blindfold their women BEFORE trying to seduce them!
    I told him about my encounter with the prom committee and after a long visit and much champagne, I finally said, "You left me gift-wrapped on a busy hiking trail!  I could have died."
    "Not you," he said, and followed up with something that just proves he's my soul mate.  "You run better than Steven Seagal.  You would've been fine."  
    And it's true because if you remember my post from yesterday, I'd thought the exact same thing.

     Anyway, I'm excited about that radio show.  
    To recap: I will be on Journal Jabber tonight (Tuesday April 24, 2012) from 9-10 p.m. eastern standard time--that's 7-8 MST. Here’s a link to the show 

   To celebrate the launch of my new book Bible Girl, go here to enter for a chance to win $300!

    Have an awesome day!  And if someone tries to blindfold you on a busy hiking trail, pray there are strawberries involved. 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Our Eleventh Wedding Anniversary—Bible Girl Has Been Released!

   Cade and I have been married for eleven years.  Cade said we're going fishing todayhe ALWAYS catches the fish.  Last night I concentrated on good thoughts about how I'll beat him one catch-n-release at a time!  I think my laughterand the fact that we bring beer and it's the one day I drink A TON of itI think that's why I don't catch anything.  I scare them off, saving them one at a time.
    BUT not today!  I'm going to get more than Cade.  And then we'll have an awesome camp-out.  At least that's what I think we're doing.  I heard Cade whispering on the phone though.  He might have other plans, just like last year when he took me . . . SKY DIVING!!! What could he do to top that?  I told Janie I'm worried he might take me swimming with sharksor visiting live crocodiles.  Who knows what that daredevil has planned?
    Anyway, time will tell.  We're just getting ready to leave now.

    But today is special for other reasons too.  Do you remember when The Golden Sky came out?  Zeke's birthday changed from a sad memory to something I could celebrate.  That bookthe story of his lifehas blessed so many people now.  To think, ten years ago a kid was born and because of him, I found my own calling in life.  I was meant to be a writer.  I was meant to share his story so others could heal from their own losses.
    Well, today the prequel to The Golden Sky has been released!  People are saying that while Zeke's book was sad, gripping and hilarious at times, Bible Girl is hysterically funny and endearing.  It would be great to find out what you'll think of it.  
    I wrote it as a love letter to my husband. Everything in that book is true—about how I fell in love at the age of seventeen.
    Last year, Cade worked so much that he only came home on the weekends. I sent him a couple of chapters each week, and through my words, I felt he was always with me.
    “I got to fall in love with you all over again,” Cade said after finishing the last chapter. The crazy thing is, I felt the same way.

    Although this excerpt isn't funny, it describes the whole conflict displayed in Bible Girl.  I'm really excited about this one.

The book practically cried for me to spare its life, and for a moment I thought I'd rather burn in Hell than lose something my brother had given me in love. The pastor nudged me, though, and my heart turned to ice.
     I thought of all those hours my brother had read to me. I thought of all that time he'd invested.

    I couldn't throw it into the fire; not the last book of the trilogy. That funny little dwarf stared at me from the cover. Then, I closed my eyes. I stepped so close to the flames they almost ate my skin. I tore the book in front of those kids. I put on quite a show throwing in a section at a time because I couldn't stand sending the whole thing in at once. When the last pages went up in flame, and the dwarf on the cover curled with death, I dropped to my knees and cried. The kids all hooted and screamed in ecstasy, thinking I'd been freed, when the ropes of religion had just twisted tighter.

    Faced by an uncertain future and surrounded by hypocrites, Elisa feels her foundation crumbling. She doesn't know who to turn to. That's when she meets a mysterious man. But maybe she shouldn't trust him after all. Will he help her, or make things even worse than they were before?


If you'd like to help me promote this book launch, 
please click on this picture for more info.

Winners of the Kindle Fire and Senack Contest Announced!

Last month I held a contest for a kindle fire or $250 cash.  Out of 36,977 entries for The Sword of Senack launch, I'm so happy to announce that we have a winner!  Congratulations to Ben Chino who wisely opted for the cash and even said he'd like to read my book.  What a nice guy.  I'm so glad he won.

    I'd also like to announce the winners for the writing contest.

Here are the stories in the order of success:

(You can expect more from these amazing authors soon!)

    Now, onto the winners of the art contest.  
    Here are the pictures that were picked by our judges.  They're shown from youngest to oldest.  Enjoy.  
All entries were judged according to age AND talent.
    I've listed names under the pictures, but some of the parents wanted their kids to remain anonymous on my blog. 
   Congrats to all of the winners!

   Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket 
I LOVE this one by Miranda!

Meaghan did an AMAZING job.

Here's the Basilisk, from the story that also placed in the writing contest.
Congrats to Carrie!

Click HERE for more artwork by Leetah. 

Fishducky, YOU are phenomenal.  I had to feature this picture because it's magical!

Well, I hope you'll have a wonderful day, everyone.  
    I'm getting ready for another big book launch.  Bible Girl just came out. YAHOO!  Critics are saying this is my best one yet.


Friday, April 20, 2012


Welcome to Fishducky Friday.
   I'll be over HERE at Close Encounters with the Night Kind.  Then this evening the winners of the kindle fire/$250, writing and art contest will be announced.

    Now take it away, Fishducky!

My father-in-law normally parked in his driveway, but he got a ticket—twice—for parking in front of his house during street cleaning time, directly under the warning sign.  He posted a sign of his own on top of the city’s warning.  It read, “Don’t park here, Stupid!”
    My mother-in-law wrote a book (one handmade copy—not published) for each of my kids when they were small.  My daughter’s was “Reader Nameless” (she told me she prefers to be nameless in future posts) because at age 4 she kept begging me to teach her to read.  I hired a college student since I didn’t feel capable of doing the job.  She was reading at about a 4th grade level when she started kindergarten.  Matt’s book was “Me, Matthew”.  I remember one part very clearly.  It went, “Matthew’s mommy got him a haircut.  It was very short.  His mommy called it a crew cut.  His grandmother called it a shame.”
    I had a friend who used to do the New York Times crossword puzzles in ink.  (So do I, but I don’t brag about it.  She DID!)  I bought her several books of the Times puzzles & mailed them to her as a gift.  I actually sent only half of each book.  I tore out the back half—where the answers are printed--& sent those to her husband’s office with instructions to let me know when she found it necessary to ask for help.
    Bud’s friend, Bernie, used to drive him & another friend, Ralph, to law school every day.  Bernie weighed maybe 150 pounds, soaking wet.  The other two weighed 200+, EACH.  Bernie drove a little MG.  The third passenger had to sit on the second one’s lap.  The car, not surprisingly, developed a permanent tilt.
    Two of my favorite things in the world are béarnaise sauce & cash flow—not necessarily in that order.
    My dad passed away while he was in the hospital.  After his death, his mail came to our house so we could take care of his bills.  There was a bill from a doctor for a “short hospital visit” AFTER his death.  Bud called the billing service to straighten it out & was told “If the doctor says he saw him, he saw him!”  (I suppose the reason it was a “short hospital visit” COULD have been due to the fact that my dad was already dead.)  My husband told them to please go ahead & sue us.  He told them he was a lawyer & would love to put the doctor on the stand to explain what he had done for my father at that visit.  We never heard from them again.
    We were treated to a beautiful sight on the freeway recently.  A California Highway Patrolman (the guy who gives you tickets) was on the shoulder, kneeling down by his car & changing a flat tire.  It made US smile, anyway!
    There was a restaurant in Monterey, CA called Neil DeVon’s Steak House.  Bud was stationed at nearby Fort Ord & he & his friends would often eat there.  I’m not sure of my husband’s dietary practices at that restaurant, but one day the manager jokingly (?) said to him, “Lt. F------, we’re happy to have you as such a steady customer.  However, in the future, would you mind bringing your own butter?”  He DID bring in a pound at his next visit.
    We were driving on a side street & my husband said something (not important what) & I told him, “You’re RIGHT!”  He started to pull over as if to park & I asked him why he was stopping.  He told me he had to find a piece of paper & a pen so he could write down what I said, & would I please sign & date it?
Until next Friday----fishducky

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

How to Get a Book Signing; Entertain the Crowd!

Being a homeless street musician in Hawaii taught me three things. . . . 
     Sleeping under a cold park bench in the rain--even with the one you love--well, that sucks.
    "Homeless Park," as the locals call it, is actually even more dangerous than I once thought.
    AND, last but not least, when you're starving and just need one dollar and six cents to buy a big mac (which was on sale at the moment of my demise) it's time to entertain people and pray for money.  Because if one thing seems to be true, it's that people like to be entertained.

    So, what does this have to do with my "How to Get a Book Signing Series?"  Well, the first two things serve only to intrigue you since my newest book--the story of why I ran away to Hawaii--is coming out this Saturday!  It's my shameless plug--gotta love those.  Click here to add "Bible Girl" to your to-read list: 


    The last thing, though, about entertainment, that's what will make your signing a success.  What's the point of going through all the effort to get a signing AND a turnout, if you won't make it worth everyone's time?
    I won't preach to you about what to do and not to do.  Let me just tell you about my humble experience because it made me happy--just like this shirt AND that poster B & N made (how awesome is that; it's bigger than my face and everything)!

    Whenever a kid from an assembly came to the table, I talked to them for a while.  Cade and I gave them a free CD of our music and then played them a song.  I hope it's something they'll always remember and cherish.  This was a moment for me to impact their lives.  I could give them something fun to always hold dear--something they won't easily forget.  I hope that moment will remind them that they matter.  Maybe they'll even remember my words about pursuing dreams--after all, many people said I'd never be a writer, let alone get a signing!
    I talked to a bunch of kids about the Tooth Fairy since my picture book is called "How to Lose a Tooth."  I hope those kids will get loads of money when the fairy visits them because I actually sold out of this book at the signing.

   When people talked to me about my memoir, I answered any questions they asked about Zeke--his life and his death.  I even cried with one woman who lost a daughter.  She traveled quite far just to meet me and that meant so much.   
    I wanted it to be special for every person, and you know what, it became even more special for me.  I knew if they were willing to visit my table--I wanted to entertain them and give them something worth seeing.

    I'm still amazed with how well the music aspect went.  If things got slow, we simply played a song and people surrounded the table!  It was awesome. 

    Looking at the success from Friday's signing and things I'll do again, I've decided . . .

    #1 I'll continue talking and advertising at assemblies and other speaking events.

    and . . .

    #2 Cade and I will always entertain the kind people who come to meet us.  

    If I can give you any further advice, I'd like to say, Have fun!  Being an author, finally landing that coveted signing, that's special.  Make it special for everyone else, too.  Maybe you're in this place for a reason.  This is your time to bless others!

   If you'd like to sponsor my upcoming book launch, please go HERE.

For info about my signing schedule, please click THIS

    Well, Melynda and I are off to talk at another school today.  It should be fun.  We have a big signing on 4/28 to prepare for.