Polar Vortex Redux

It’s finally winter. Really and truly winter. We’ve gotten around 6 inches of snow today in Lansing, Michigan, give or take, and expect a little more tomorrow. Starting Tuesday night and running through Thursday morning we are set to have wind chills down to around 40 below zero, with some Midwest cities likely to be colder than Antarctica and frostbite possible on exposed skin in as little as 5-10 minutes.

So yeah. Winter finally made an appearance.

You know what else was late in coming? Last week’s episode of Your Face Is Crooked. I blame it on tech issues, followed by severe illness for a couple days, and then the need to recover and catch-up on work and home stuff. Oh, and throw in another book event as well!

At any rate, just like winter arrived today, so has the next episode, in which I am made to look the fool because I didn’t know anything about alcohol until I was in my late thirties.

Enjoy!

Opening the Door to 2019

If you follow me on social media, you know that the past week has been on the busy side, and that it’s not over yet. Christmas celebrations on both sides of the state, time with friends in different cities, my wedding anniversary. Now New Year’s (though we blessedly have zero plans) and my birthday rapidly approach.

And…release day. We Hope for Better Things will be out in the world on its own, like a young bird finally pushed out of the nest into the cold air of the unknown. Today’s podcast is about what that feels like.

That’s little first-grade me in the picture, reading. And for the past few months, I’ve been reading a lot.

 

 

 

 

These are all books that will release in 2019 like mine, with the exception of the first, which is already out, and I’ve enjoyed reading each one of them for different reasons.

Reading has always been important to me. I cannot imagine my life without books. And in the past eight or nine years, writing has been just as important to me. So as I consider what 2019 will bring and make goals for myself, reading and writing figure heavily.

It’s hard to believe we are entering the last year of the twenty-teens. The last year of my 30s. The last day, today, that I will consider myself an unpublished author or an aspiring author. 2019 is sure to bring with it a lot of excitement and opportunity, some stress and probably some overwork, and certainly some disappointments or failures. But one of the things I am sure it will bring in spades is more great books to read, more stories to write. And what book-lover could ask for more?

Thanks for coming along this journey to publication through the storytelling vehicle of this blog. Some of you have been here since 2012. Some came along with me to this space from earlier blogs, starting way back in 2008. Ten years! Ten years of reading my words, looking at my photos, watching me sew, seeing my son grow from a baby to a fifth grader…it’s nuts how quickly the time slips by. And it’s exciting to think about what the next ten years will bring.

I’m so grateful to you for reading this blog and my newsletter.

I’m so grateful to those of you who will read We Hope for Better Things.

I’m so grateful that I get to do what I love and that what I love to do can offer you some pleasure, comfort, laughter, or maybe just a moment to slow down and think.

May the Giver of all good gifts bless you in the coming year with faith, hope, and love. See you in 2019.

Before Starbucks: Remembering the Late-Nineties Independent Coffeeshop

Starbucks may have been founded in the 1970s, but it didn’t make its way around Michigan until the early 2000s. Before that, the quirky local independent coffeeshop was the only game in town.

Here’s a little taste of the long-gone coffeeshops that fueled my late teen years in the late Nineties.

NaNoWriMo Success, a Goodreads Giveaway, and the Return of #Debut19Chat

The past week has been busy in a good way.

I topped 50,000 words in my newest novel manuscript and won National Novel Writing Month for the second time (the result of the first time will actually be my second novel, coming out in September, and which has a shiny new title I can’t wait to share with you).

I finished up several PR items my publicist needed in order to spread the word about We Hope for Better Things.

I actually did my very first interview with a writer for a magazine!

I made much progress on an advance reader copy of The Patricide of George Benjamin Hill by James Charlesworth, another author who will debut in 2019.

dusted. I actually dusted.

I decorated for Christmas.

I did some laundry (finally).

I prepped food for a church potluck.

I started my Advent reading, Wrapped in Grace by Deana Lynn Rogers.

And #Debut19Chat is running again on Twitter, with new questions and answers to get to know 2019 debut authors and their projects.

Now I sit back a moment and consider the reality that 2018 is racing to a close and I have a very busy year ahead of me, in which I have two books coming out (one in just a month!), two books in the process of writing and revising, and I’m directing my beloved WFWA writing retreat.

If you want to keep up with what I’m doing, including my book launch events, speaking and workshops, my podcast, and more, you can get my newsletter in your email inbox by subscribing here.

If you want to enter to win one of ten free copies of We Hope for Better Things, you can enter the Goodreads Giveaway here!

And if you want to listen to me riff about the cute online animal videos I would have attempted to make as a child had the technology been available to me, click here to listen to the latest Your Face Is Crooked podcast episode. Or click the graphic below, which is my husband communing with a goat.

 

Snow Day, More Podcasting, and Looking Forward to Release Day

It’s the first snow day of the season today. Rain turned to snow overnight, making for nasty driving conditions. We woke up to about four or five inches, and it’s still snowing. We managed to get the patio furniture covered and get some firewood inside before it all started coming down.

Sleeping in, fresh cinnamon rolls for a late breakfast, and a snug day inside our little brick house. Snow days aren’t so bad. And now that the boy is ten, I actually get some work done as well.

This weekend I edited and scheduled the next several weeks’ worth of the Your Face Is Crooked podcast (including this week’s episode). Today I will record a new outro to add to the end of each episode. We’re just about five weeks away from the release of We Hope for Better Things, and starting in January, I’ll no longer be telling people about how they can pre-order it. Instead, you’ll actually be able to buy it outright! (A great use of all those Amazon and Barnes and Noble gift cards you’ll be getting at Christmas.)

I’m excited and nervous (mostly about my two live events which I’m kind of dreading). I’m trying to decide just what to do on release day to keep my mind off it and avoid constantly refreshing Amazon to see where it ranks. Since it comes out on New Year’s Day, I guess I’ll be taking down the Christmas decorations and cleaning the house. It’s a glamorous life, but someone needs to live it.

For today, I’m working. And writing. And cooking my own Thanksgiving dinner because every year we go to someone else’s house and so I never get any leftovers. If you find yourself at home today because of snow (or if you’re one of those unfortunate souls stuck at an airport because of it) you might want to check out the Your Face Is Crooked podcast. Each episode is short and amusing and maybe they’ll brighten your cloudy day a bit.

Here’s this week’s ep:

Space Invaders

As an introvert, I don’t typically start conversations. And I almost never start them with strangers (unless I’m trying really hard to be approachable). So I’m always taken by surprise and always a bit uncomfortable when strangers start conversations with me out of the blue.

First, they may not know it, but they have actually interrupted a conversation I was already having…with myself…in my head.

Second, I find that to me personal space is more than just physical. It’s aural. And if there have been no formal introductions or good manners have not dictated the talking (as in the cases of telling to the person behind the counter your coffee order or saying excuse me when you bump into someone) it almost feels inappropriate, like when you watch that brief ungloved hand touch in the Kiera Knightly version of Pride and Prejudice and somehow that’s the sexist thing in the whole movie until she catches sight of Darcy striding toward her in the morning light after the countess visits her, and then they ruin it in the American version with that stupid sappy tag on the end with them sitting outside by the reflecting pool at his house…

ANYWAY.

That’s what this one is about…