Colorado Book Award Finalist Reading: Mystery and Thriller 5/26/21 7:00 PM MT

I wanted to remind you that tomorrow tonight 5/26/2021 at 7:00 PM Mountain time, the finalist for the Colorado Book Awards Mystery and Triller categories will be reading short excerpts from their nominated books and answering questions.

I will be there reading from Her Perfect Life.

The event starts at 7:00PM Mountain Time and you can watch it either on Facebook or on YouTube. Here is the link to register for the free event.

bit.ly/CBA2021_Finalists

And here are the Facebook and YouTube links for Colorado Humanities and Center for the Book where they will be streaming the event live.

https://www.facebook.com/cohumanities/

https:/youtube.comchannelUC4cOF59Ju74mHeiO3M_z1QQ

Hope to see you there!

The Decision

Recently, I decided to leave my career as a school psychologist. Not leave my school, or my district–leave the profession. It’s a career I spent eight years in college for. A career that once felt uniquely suited to my personal strengths. A career I’ve been told by both teammates and supervisors I was exceptional at.

A career that had both meaning and left me with a sense of making a difference in the lives of kids and families.

A career that has caused me more stress, tears, and professional angst than I could have ever imagined. I’m not interested in going into all the details regarding the many circumstances and events I’ve worked to problem solve over the past twelve years in this career but for those of you that work in this field…well, you know.

Having said that, leaving something that has become so much of your professional and personal DNA is not easy. You think of the people you love working with, the families you’ve helped, and most of all the kids who show up at your door whenever they need some help. Making the personal choice to help yourself can feel like you’re turning your back on many others. So. Many. Others.

I’d be lying to suggest that I’ve completely processed this decision. No, that will for sure take some time and reflection. Over the last several months, I’ve spent countless agonizing hours worrying this choice into an enormous cliff that I would have to either fling myself off or continue to throw myself against. Neither option felt easy or right.

Leaving was what I wanted, but staying was what I knew.

I have always believed that the universe gives you clues and that when it’s time for you to make a change in life, you’ll first get a whisper. If you don’t listen, next there will be a nudge. If you still aren’t listening, the universe might come along and shove you down. Eventually, you’re going to get kicked in the teeth. For me, as the school year came closer and closer to the end, I kept experiencing more and more shoves.

I felt the kick in the teeth out on my horizon. It was time for me to leap from my known, albeit exceedingly stressful, cliff. It didn’t seem to matter how scared I was.

However, the moment I made the decision, and actually stepped into the decision by sharing with my partner that this was what I needed to do, the rest of the process of unwinding myself from this life I’ve lived for so many years felt almost like running downhill.

Sometimes just making the decision, and sharing the news with those you’re afraid of disappointing, is the hardest part.

Last Friday was my last day working as a school psychologist. It’s a career I have both loved and loathed. I cherish so many of my memories, and others I’m relieved to see in my review-view mirror. It brought me joy, heartache, fear, accomplishment, victories, advocacy, enlightenment, and pain.

I will miss it.

I’m happy to be free of it.

And I know for sure that it’s going to take me some time to really understand what these last twelve years have meant to me and my life–but I’m also looking forward to experiencing what happens next.

They’re Here! Advance Reading Copies of The Secret Next Door

Book mail arrived and I was so happy to see that, this time, it’s my own book. The advanced reading copies of The Secret Next Door are here. It’s both a joyful and surreal experience to hold, for the very first time, a physical copy of the story you created inside your head.

I don’t think I will ever get tired of those mix of emotions. I can’t wait for you to read this one. Alyson and Bonnie are both complex women but at different stages of life. And while the tension and conflict between them ratchet throughout the book, I’m guessing readers will come to recognize that these women have far more in common than they know.

This one’s for my readers who love a good domestic suspense. It releases everywhere on November 9th.

I’ve been told you won’t be able to put it down. So I hope you love reading it as much as I loved writing it.

Working For the Weekend? Kind of.

It’s Saturday and I’m nothing but grateful to have two days of space. Forty-eight hours of time to utilize as I wish.

And I wish to center my head on things that bring me joy right now.

Which does not necessarily mean lying in bed all weekend drinking tea and reading books…although that does bring me quite a bit of joy, so there will be some of that.

Mostly it’s the freedom to quiet my mind from all the pushing, pulling, must-dos, and obligations that are driven by the needs of others during the workweek. I don’t mind working hard, in fact I generally enjoy really digging in, but there is such a thing and simply too much.

And lately that is the reality–Monday through Friday is too much right now.

And that’s okay, because there is a time limit on the weekday madness. I know precisely the day and time when my nice long break from it all happens. So it’s a matter of keeping the head down and pushing up the hill for just a bit more.

I can do it…I always do.

So what is going to bring me some joy this weekend?

Painting my kitchen. (It’s not really a big chore and it’s something I enjoy).

A few rides on the new Peloton bike.

Getting out my camera and taking some photos.

A long, hot bath with a book and a cup of tea.

Some work on the new book (maybe, we’ll see).

That’s it. I’m going to stay present in these hours and enjoy them as much as possible. I hope that you are able to find some time and space for yourself as well.

Colorado Book Award Finalist: Her Perfect Life

I’m happy and honored to announce that HER PERFECT LIFE is a finalist for the 2021 Colorado Book Award this year in the thriller category.

You can find the link to the full list of finalist here.

You can also attend virtual book readings by the finalists. The dates are broken out by category so you can attend them all, or just your favorites. The schedule is here.

The reading for my category will be held on May 26th at 7:00 (Mountain Time). If you’d like to sign up to watch that, here’s that link. I hope to see you there.

If you’ve yet to get your copy of HER PERFECT LIFE, please consider ordering a copy through our local independent bookseller, Bookbar.

Writing My New Book Longhand

I got about ten thousand words into my new book and decided to make a switch.

I have always written the majority of my books on my computer (and specifically in Scrivener, which I love). From time to time, I would write a scene in longhand if I had an idea while somewhere random without my computer but the bulk of the writing happened with a screen and keyboard.

Just lately though, I find it difficult to make myself sit in front of my computer screen outside of my day job hours. Additionally, I find that my eyes are feeling pretty fried up all the time because of excessive screen use.

It has helped tremendously getting off of social media since I’m no longer tempted to pull my phone from my pocket every five seconds to see what new nonsense I may be missing. But when I think about sitting for more long hours (beyond the long hours I already spend staring at a screen at work) I just can’t.

So I started writing the next chapter in my new book in a notebook. With a pen. Which is obviously a completely different experience from getting into the flow state at my desk but was rather enjoyable just the same.

Plus, my eyes felt like I was giving them a vacation.

So we’ll see how long it lasts. Maybe I’ll only be able to stand writing this way for a few chapters, or maybe the whole book will get finished this way.

Who knows?

Being Pickier About The Books I Read…And Buy!

So I recently finished reading a book that I was certain I would love. It was a psychological thriller with a description right up my reader alley. It has glowing reviews from other big-time authors. A positive review in Publisher’s Weekly. And it’s one of the BIG book club selections.

I thought yes, for sure I’m going to love it. I also purchased this book for two of my book loving friends. That’s how sure all the book industry support made me feel. I mean, how could all this praise and recognition be wrong?

Well…they were wrong.

This book was unnecessarily long.

The main character was terribly miscast.

The scenes, of which many were repetitive and completely unnecessary, were poorly drawn.

Then there was the writing slapdash toward the finish line, as if the author too could not wait to finish this book.

I did not like this book, not at all.

I did finished it. And it had a fantastic concept–great concept, mediocre execution.

And no, I won’t be sharing the title and dogging the book publicly here. As a writer myself I have zero interest talking negatively about a specific book. So sorry I won’t be saving you from making the same mistake I did.

However, I will say that my experience with this book, and several others I’ve read that similarly benefited from a lot of industry support, have made me now cautious, and skeptical, about how certain books get selected. And as a reader, I no longer have any trust in these “list” books.

So as I said in an earlier post, if you see me talking about a book on my blog, you can know for sure that I thought it was excellent and it comes highly recommended by someone who is a little tired of buying and reading books that are all hype and no substance.

Book Recommendation: The Push by Ashley Audrain

So I’ve decided that a few things will change around here when it comes to featuring other books or authors on my site.

From this day forward, if you see a book here it’s because I read it and LOVED it.

I didn’t like the book…I LOVED it.

Because this is how I operate in the real world with my word-of-mouth recommendations to my in-real-life friends. If I LOVED a book I text them about it, email them about it, go on and on about it over a charcuterie board at lunch.

And while I read many books every year, there a only a few that actually capture me in this way and really remind me that, at my core, I’m a reader and lover of great books above all else.

So when I now tell you that the latest book I’ve read, you’ll know that I hand to heart LOVED it.

Today that book is The Push by Ashley Audrain.

Blythe Connor is determined that she will be the warm, comforting mother to her new baby Violet that she herself never had.

But in the thick of motherhood’s exhausting early days, Blythe becomes convinced that something is wrong with her daughter—she doesn’t behave like most children do.

Or is it all in Blythe’s head? Her husband, Fox, says she’s imagining things. The more Fox dismisses her fears, the more Blythe begins to question her own sanity, and the more we begin to question what Blythe is telling us about her life as well.

Then their son Sam is born—and with him, Blythe has the blissful connection she’d always imagined with her child. Even Violet seems to love her little brother. But when life as they know it is changed in an instant, the devastating fall-out forces Blythe to face the truth.

This book hits all my sweet spots as a reader starting off first and foremost with complex characters that kept me glued to the page both wondering and fearing what they will do next. The family history, trauma, and long-term psychological impacts were wonderfully executed and authentic. The thriller/mystery elements turned and turned again and were always born from and driven by the nuanced and multilayered characters at the heart of this fantastic novel.

Ashley Audrain has an amazing talent and I look forward to seeing, and reading, what she does next. Do yourself a favor and move The Push to the top of your TBR pile.

The Spaces In My Head

Since being off of social media for these last few weeks it’s like there’s been new space cleared up inside my head. I have long suspected while never fully realizing how much the constant noise of the collective chatter on social media had taken up residence in my day to day thinking.

Which maybe doesn’t seem like a big deal until you realize that everything in your life: your own thoughts, behavior, desires, goals are born out of your thoughts.

How much of what we do, believe, work toward is infiltrated by the this constant chatter of others? Do we even know if what we think we want is born from our own wishes for our lives? Or is it some amalgamation of what we think we want overlaid by the pursuits and accomplishments of someone we admire?

And why is it we admire them anyway? Really.

I’m not sure I have able been able to answer these questions truthfully because I’ve never really allowed myself the silence and space to remember who is was I once wanted to be. And why I wanted to be it.

Anyway, in case you’re wondering, leaving social media is not something I’m regretting so far. There seems to be more time (for obvious reasons) but also loads more head space and a sense of working from a center of myself that I’d almost forgot ever existed in the first place.

I Quit Social Media

Hi friends! About a week ago I decided to pull the trigger on something I’ve been mulling over for months.

I quit social media.

Specifically Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. I do still have my few videos up on YouTube (I haven’t decided if I’ll let that go just yet.)

I didn’t think it would be that big of a deal but since then I’ve received emails and text messages from friends worrying over a variety of concerns:

Had I blocked them?

No.

Was I sick?

No.

Was I apart of some social media drama/scandal?

No.

Was I dead?

Also, no.

So I thought I should maybe write a quick blog post to explain that I was just tried of wasting so much time on social media. It had become fairly addictive and I realized I was sort of spending the hours of my finite life here on Earth doing something that had ceased to bring me any real joy or true value.

Also, I was getting kind of freaked out by the number of times I would be TALKING about something IRL and then see ads for that EXACT THING (that I had NEVER searched for) in either the Facebook or IG ads.

Which brings me to the ads–which has become the entire point of social media, to buy your eyeballs.

So will this impact my writing career? Probably. But weirdly, I care less about that than I do about disentangling myself and my life from these personal data mines.

Again…I’m not dead. Also, I don’t hate you and haven’t blocked you.