Cover Reveal: Once Upon a Lie

Dear Reader,

I am so happy and proud to share the title, cover, and blurb for my new book with you today. Thank you for continuing to support my writing career. I appreciate each and every one of you.

The title of my new book is Once Upon a Lie which will be published on February 21st, 2023. I hope you love the cover as much as I do!

I would dearly love for you to add Once Upon a Lie to your Want to Read list on Goodreads. Here’s the link. Thank you!

Mia Strauss is trying to be a good mother. She’s worked hard to build a stable life since losing her memory at eighteen when the assailant, who shot and killed her famous father, pushed her from the third-story landing of their gold coast mansion. But lately, Mia is losing control and feels she’s being watched wherever she goes. The eyes…they are everywhere. She is trying to keep herself together and is taking more and more of her prescription drugs to quiet the rising panic and anxiety. But when her husband, Alexander, comes home to find her face down on their living room floor, she’ll need to make some drastic changes, or risk losing her girls.

Alexander Strauss, neurologist and professor at Columbia University, can no longer trust his wife. Her behavior and moods have grown evermore erratic since the birth of their twin girls six years ago. She has lost too much weight, covers herself from head to toe in only black clothing, and has removed every mirror from their home. She has a cadre of doctors that supply plenty of medications but don’t help her make any progress. She has become a danger to herself, and their children. It has long been believed that Mia will never be able to remember her life prior to the assault, but Alexander has other ideas. Based on her recent brain images, and the things she says in her sleep, Alexander is confident Mia’s continued amnesia is purely psychological. Whatever the reason, she doesn’t want to remember. He gives her an ultimatum, either she gets real help, or he’ll leave her and take the girls.

Desperate to save her marriage and keep her family intact, Mia signs up for one of the few therapies she’s never tried before–an experimental treatment that hypothesizes psilocybin may help traumatized patients process and recover their forgotten lives. But as Mia makes progress and her history begins to take shape, it becomes apparent that those closest to Mia never want her to remember what happened that night.

And they’ll do whatever it takes to stop the truth from being uncovered.

What’s New? Actually…Quite A Lot.

Anyone who knows me in real life knows that, eons ago, I was a flight attendant for about eight years. I left the career shortly after 9/11, the subsequent furloughs at my airline, and having my children. Beth was two and Matthew was one when I officially handed in my wings for good. It was a wonderful job and allowed me and Rod to travel all over world in ways we never could have afforded. But after having my kids, I knew I just couldn’t be away from home, and them, that much. So when I was called back from being furloughed, I left.

I spent the next fifteen years finishing my graduate degree in school psychology, working as a school psychologist, writing and publishing books, and being a mother who was home when my kids were off school. My kids were always my number one priority and I knew I wanted to be there for them as much as possible…and I was.

This May, my youngest graduated from high school. To say that I have been dealing with a colossal shift in my identity would be nothing short of an epic understatement. And while being an empty nesting woman in the throws of middle age is certainly a topic I could, and maybe will, write about at another time, this post is about something else altogether.

Last February, the airline I used to work for opened up to accepting applications for their flight attendant position. The information came to me from the universe via my mother. ”Hey, I just saw a Facebook ad that _____ is having a hiring event,” she said.

“Hmm, okay,” I said, not really thinking all that much about it. But when we were off the phone, I checked out the career section of their company page and, sure enough, applications were open. I found it interesting, and myself intrigued, but I didn’t really imagine I could or would either do this or have any real chance of being hired. I’m 47, after all. But something did motivate me to update my resume and write a cover letter. I had applied for the job within two hours of hearing about it.

Honestly though, I NEVER expected to hear from them.

In May I received an email: Congratulations! We’d love to meet you for a face-to-face interview.

And reader, I was floored. Also…I was excited in way I don’t think I have been for a very long time. There were many, many, many discussions with Rod, my closest girlfriends, my family, and I won’t go into all that detail but the end result was that I booked that interview, and at the end of the four hour process, I was offered the job. (Conditional, of course, on passing many, many next step criteria. One of which being completion of their six and a half weeks of training.)

So, after many, many, many more discussions with those nearest and dearest to me, I gave a months notice at my current job. I leave for training this coming Monday, July 4th (in case you are wondering, the airlines do not stop for holidays!)

That’s my news. Provided I pass flight attendant training (again) I will be back on the line and flying by August 25th. Airlines in general have very strict social media rules (including blogs) but I will keep you up to date on what is happening to me personally and, when all is said and done, where I happen to be in this world.

Wish me luck!

Colorado Book Award Finalist: The Secret Next Door

I am so happy and honored to announce that The Secret Next Door has been selected as a finalist for the 2022 Colorado Book Award in the Thriller category. Thank you to Colorado Humanities & Center for the Book and to all the judges who give so much of their personal time to make events like this happen for our community. I’d also like to send out congratulations to all the other finalists!

There will be a live reading for the thriller finalists on June 3rd at 7:00 PM at BookBar here in Denver. Unfortunately, this date coincides with the International Thriller Writers Organization national conference in New York, which I am scheduled to attend. But the winners will be announced on June 25th (at an in-person event!) and I will be sure to be there!

Louis Vuitton GM Agenda Flip Through

Hello! Today I’m flipping through my Louis Vuitton GM Agenda set up for March. I’m currently halfway through writing my next book and have high hopes that the rough draft will be completed by the end of March. In this video, I share how I’m staying organized and focused as I work to finish this novel as well as a new tool I’ve created for myself (I’m calling it my Daily Index). You’ll probably be seeing more of this document, and its revision, in future videos. Thank you for watching and please don’t forget to subscribe.

My No-Goals Approach to 2022 (sort of)

My new desk! Still tidying up cords and the rest of the office, but we got this beast through the front door!

I usually start my year off with a litany of promises that I make to myself about how I will be better this year. They are almost always variations on the same themes.

  • I will work out more
  • I will eat less crap
  • I will drink less alcohol
  • I will keep my house spotless
  • I will write more (always, always this one!)

I generally get very excited about doing this because every year I truly believe that this year is the year I will become a completely different person once that clock strikes midnight on December 31st. And often I’m able to maintain this new personality for about 2-4 weeks, then something will come up, or I’ll be tired, or just feel like giving up because life is actually kinda hard and all I want to do is sit on my couch eating Chick-Fil-A with a glass of cabernet while watching Ozark on Netflix.

So it was odd when this New Year rolled around and I found myself unable to feel my usual excitement about all my usual false promises. Would I be entering this 2022 new year without any goals?

Well, yeah I guess. Because we are now over halfway through January and I don’t have any big proclamations written down on either my planner or my whiteboard. I feel okay about this and here’s why.

It’s not as if I’ve stopped working on things. Quite the contrary I’ve actually been pretty busy for the last month. I’m working on my new book, still blogging, still trying to build awareness for my books that are already published. What’s different is that there aren’t any S.M.A.R.T. goals around any of these activities. I’m not promising to hit 1000 words a day. I’m not swearing on my life that I’ll blog three times a week. I’m not sacrificing my mental health to the social media gods in the name of building “my brand”.

I’m just doing these things because I once actually enjoyed them for the sake of simply doing them–and I’m finding that with the removal of all my self-imposed “you should dos” the love is still there. Apparently, it’s been hiding behind my chore list.

I find the same has been true for other areas of my life. I actually haven’t had any alcohol (except for a small, shot-sized glass of sake at a sushi restaurant) since the middle of December. Not because I’ve committed to Dry January, or never, ever drinking again, but because I feel 150% better, physically, mentally, emotionally when I don’t have any alcohol. I sleep better, have more focus and energy, and my mood is stable and positive (in spite of the current state of the world–which I actually feel better prepared to face when all my other systems aren’t crashing.)

And because I feel better, I’ve been exercising more consistently. Not every day. Not crazy pushing myself to the point of exhaustion. But I find that my body wants to move. It craves the exertion of swinging my kettlebell, stretching, and riding the Peloton (best home exercise equipment I’ve ever invested in, BTW). I’m not weighing myself, counting calories, or stressing about carbs this year.

I’m just trying to find a little happiness, peace, a return to joy in all the important areas in my life. So while there are not any measurable goals posted in my house, I am keeping track of the one thing I do want to achieve this year–happiness. I just want to be happy, that’s it, the only goal I really have. And I think I’m starting to figure out the authentic building blocks that make up my own version of personal happiness. Health, love, creativity, safety, security, recreation…the question in any given moment is: Is this something I want to do? Is this something that will make me happy right now?

For example, writing this blog post is making me feel good right now. I’m doing it because I want to, not because I feel like I should for my career.

And it’s making a big difference in how I’m showing up in my life.

Until next time,


New Year, New Book, Same Me

Welcome, 2022! Or at least this is the energy I’m trying to start this year off with despite the fact that I rang in the new year with my very own case of COVID. Which, by the way, seemed to leave a nasty trail of depression-like symptoms in its wake–and I was totally not expecting that. I anticipated the fever, headache, sore throat, congestion…but the residual “I don’t want to get out of bed or do anything at all” even when all my other physical symptoms had passed was surprising. It’s gone now, and I’m feeling much more like myself, but has anyone experienced this? I can honestly say that I really feel it was directly tied to the COVID and not just the fact that it was post-holidays and current-state-of-the-world blues.

Anyway, I’m relieved that it seems to have left with the other symptoms because I don’t mind telling you that being disciplined to sit down and write a book is hard enough without a constant stream of “Who cares?” and “What the hell is the point?” running through your head while you cry into a pillow and contemplate the physical feeling of ennui.

And speaking of writing…I’m writing. After taking a bit of a hiatus over the winter break I’m now back working on the new title. I’m very near the midpoint right now, just under, which probably wasn’t the best place to be when I took the break. There always seems to be a pause in my production right around the 50% mark of every book and I’m not exactly sure why this happens EVERY TIME. Because it’s not like I don’t know what is supposed to come next–the major plot points exist and I had to create a fairly detailed synopsis for my publisher. I KNOW what comes next, but I still always pause-out right around the middle of a new book.

It’s a mystery to me. But I’m back in the swing of it again anyway. Maybe I’ll figure out this weird psychological hiccup during my next book. And maybe I’ll still be just as baffled. Who knows.

I had originally hoped to have the first draft of this new book completed by the end of January–I’m now thinking that will probably be a bit too ambitious, so I’m shooting for the end of February instead.

I hope all is well with you and that you are able to find some joy, peace, and productivity as we break in this new year.

Until next time,