Over the years, I’ve heard several authors say they don’t have time to read anymore. That always makes me sad, because a love of reading is usually what got us into this business. It’s easy to see how it happens. Life is busy, and there’s a lot of pressure to produce new words faster. And if you’re an independent publisher too, you have all that work, as well. It’s easy to get overwhelmed.
About six months ago I started putting “Read for fun” on my daily to-do list. I was doing it anyway (I’m self-indulgent that way) but by making it an action item that I got to cross off, I acknowledged it as something that is important to me and a worthy use of my time. At the end of the day it’s a high priority item and an escape from all the ought-to-have-dones. It gives me a chance to learn from other writers, too, but mostly, I read because it’s part of who I am and I refuse to give it up. The hardest part of my recent cataract surgery was not being allowed to read for a WHOLE DAY! (I watched Hallmark movies instead.)
So I hope you’re able to make time for reading in your life, and that my books are at the top of your TBR pile. (Of course!) 😉 And if you’ve already read all my books, I encourage you to check out Teyla Branton’s Imprints series. It’s more mystery than romance, with the heroine using her newly developed psychic abilities to solve crimes.
Last weekend I attended the Tucson Festival of Books (TFOB). I heard some great speakers including Michael McFaul, Dan Lyons, Weston Ochse, Yvonne Navarro, Marsheila Rockwell, Jeffrey Mariotte, Geoff Notkin, and Melissa Koberlein on topics that ranged from “Democracy and the Free Press” to Vampire Wars to cover design.
I also had great conversations with historical novelist Kris Tualla and paranormal romance author Deena Remiel. And then there were the chance encounters with strangers. One man told me about the family history he was writing, another discussed her mystery series featuring disabled detectives, and a third told me about the burgeoning cannabis/hemp industry in Canada.
TFOB (the 3rd largest book festival in the US) gets better every year and it shouldn’t be missed–even if it is a bit like trying to get a drink out of a fire hose. It’s always held during the University of Arizona’s spring break so be sure to put it on your calendar for next year!
Today is a wonderful day! It marks the end of those interminable political ads (at least for the next eighteen months). It’s also a day when U.S. citizens can exercise one of their most important rights.
A hundred years ago, women in the U.S. didn’t have a voice in the laws that governed them. Ninety-eight years ago, in August of 1920 the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was adopted, giving women the legal right to vote for their representatives. This, along with the 15th Amendment, which was ratified 50 years earlier, are part of what protect “We the People” from becoming powerless. Yes, “big money” and foreign propaganda challenge this, but election results have shown more than once that when the voters want change, they can make it happen.
Don’t lie to yourself and think your vote doesn’t matter. It does. If you haven’t already voted, get your ass to your polling place. Thomas Jefferson said, “The government you elect is the government you deserve.” To that I would add, “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain.”
I tend to avoid political discussion here. I think people read this blog to be entertained and read about what’s happening in my book worlds. But I can’t remain silent. In a week’s time we the people get to vote. It is our right and our privilege. Please pay attention to not only what the candidates have said, but how the incumbents have voted in the past. Look at the consequences of those votes and decide if that’s what you wanted done in your name.
The recent tragedy in Pittsburgh reminded me of a poem I read many years ago. Written by German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller, it reminds us of our responsibility to speak up. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum quotes the following text as one of the many versions:
First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
Niemöller recited this poem in several different versions over the years. An early version, that Niemoller said he preferred read:
First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out–
but that version wasn’t acceptable in the U.S. in the 1950s.
Other versions included the Roma, the “incurably sick,” the homosexuals. And before we pat ourselves on our American backs because we didn’t kill 11 million people, there could easily be verses about Native Americans and Japanese Americans.
The Holocaust didn’t “just happen.” It was allowed to happen by ordinary citizens who didn’t see the warning signs or speak up when they did. I’m speaking up. America is strong because we are diverse, not in spite of it. Please remember that when you vote next week.
In the early part of this century (good grief that makes me sound old) I was a member of the Western Society for Paranormal Research. The organizer of the group is a PhD. who taught at the local Community College. I went on several ghost investigations in Bisbee, Tombstone, and Prescott, Arizona. While some of our equipment was the same as they used on Ghost Hunters, our protocol was very different–but we weren’t trying to make an exciting TV show. Sadly, the group disbanded, but while it existed I learned a lot about paranormal phenomena and had a couple of interesting experiences which weren’t easy to explain away. I drew upon some of that as inspiration for VEILED MIRROR.
If you haven’t read it yet, VEILED MIRROR is a paranormal romantic suspense and the kindle version is on sale this week for only 99 cents. If you’ve already read it, Thank You! Please let me know what you thought of it by leaving a review on Amazon and share your opinion with other readers.
Raised by a father who never recovered from his wife’s death, Beth and Ellie have always been close. So when Ellie’s husband, Chris, dies unexpectedly, Beth flies to her twin’s side to support her through her grief. But Ellie doesn’t accept the sheriff’s finding that her husband’s death was an accident. She believes he was murdered and she wants Beth to help her prove it. Beth is doubtful. Grief drove their father off the deep end, and she fears Ellie may be following in his footsteps.
Then tragedy strikes again, forcing Beth to accept help from beyond the grave to find a killer.
Get your copy of VEILED MIRROR for 75% off the regular price!
I hope that those of you in Arizona managed to attend The Tucson Festival of Books last weekend. I had so much fun. I learned some stuff unrelated to writing, connected with many acquaintances, and rocked to a free concert by the Rockbottom Remainders (which includes musical authors like Amy Tan and Scott Turow).
Marginally related to all that fun, I hurt my foot, but it’s almost better. Now I just have to get over the cold that my generous husband shared with me. Does that ever happen in romance novels? Maybe that’s why the H/h in all the Hallmark movies don’t kiss until just before the credits roll…
I’ve finished the first draft of a new Vinlanders’ Saga novella, DARK WINTER’S NIGHT. It still needs revision and editing, but you’ll see it this summer, probably. Then I’ll be back to work on APOSTATE, book three in the Celestial Affairs series. That’s the plan anyway. My plans tend to be rather fluid. Three months ago, DWN wasn’t on my radar.
If you haven’t yet entered the Prizes for Readers raffle, what are you waiting for? You could win a $100 gift card.
Prizes for Readers is running a raffle for a $100 Gift Card and I want you to have a chance to win. Go to https://prizesforreaders.com/ to sign up. While you’re there, make sure you check out the books by the other great authors participating and vote for best cover and best blurb. Whether you prefer romantic fantasy,shifter stories, urban fantasy, or all of the above, these authors have you covered.
Good luck and Happy Reading!
On this first day of the new year remember: life is short. I don’t say that to be a downer. What I mean is, be alive every moment and live intentionally as much as you can. A lot of what we do everyday is necessary maintenance. We have to work, do the laundry, etc. The rest of the time we get to choose what we do.
Does that make you feel pressured to hurry up and accomplish or experience more? Or does it make you feel like you should relax and watch more Hallmark moves? Does it change your plans in any way at all?
Since I live in the desert I don’t get to build a snowman very often. Doing it is always fun, though, and it’s a perfect example of living in the moment. By it’s very nature, it won’t last, but there’s no one who’s done it who’d argue it isn’t “worth” doing. Sandcastles are the same. And sidewalk paintings. Mandalas drawn with sand. Obviously, for a lot of people, permanence isn’t necessary to make something worth doing.
What do you think? How do you measure what is “worth doing?”
I have a lot to be thankful for: my fans, the opportunity and ability to share my stories, and most especially my family and friends. I hope all of you do, too. I’ve had a few times in my life that things looked rather bleak, but most of the time I can look around and find something to appreciate. I hope that today you can notice what’s right in your life and celebrate it. And I hope you can also brighten someone else’s life today–and every day–even if only with a smile.
All the best, and happy reading!
November is a busy month. Hot on the heels of Halloween I have ten birthdays to celebrate (including mine) and Thanksgiving. But perhaps best of all is TusCon, a three day indulgence in various forms of science-fiction, fantasy, and horror. Films, authors, art, dealers, anime, and gaming fill every moment from Friday afternoon through Sunday.
BTW, to celebrate, I’m giving away NIGHT MOVES: a Short Story Sampler over the weekend (Nov. 10-12). If you come to the convention you can pick up a physical copy, or you can download it from Amazon.