Monday, July 24, 2017

It’s Here! Humanity’s Hope Is Finally Here!

Humanity’s Hope is finally available in ebook form—and it came early! Originally, it was supposed to be released on July 27th, but the process went swimmingly, so it’s now on Amazon.


I’m super excited for the book to finally be out. I’ve been chomping at the bit to share Caleb’s story for a long time. This book is the first in the Saving Humanity series.

In addition to this new release, I also figured out how to reduce the prices permanently on a few other of my young adult books. I’ve been meaning to do this for a while, but kept forgetting. I get distracted very easily.

Anywho, for those who are interested, you can now get the Road to Salvation series ebooks for just under $4.00. This isn’t a special. This is their new, permanent pricing. The books include The Appeal of Evil ($1.99), Dealing with Devils ($0.99), and Good Intentions ($0.99). 


My writing has been a bit of a roller coaster recently, so having these upswings makes me feel really good. I’m still plugging along on the third Ifs book, and I have a narrator working on the audiobook for Life After the Undead. I’m getting a lot accomplished.

As usual, I want to thank all you amazing readers for supporting me throughout my career. Without you, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Want to Be More Productive? Develop a Schedule

I love my schedule. I thrive in a structured environment. As someone with anxiety, a schedule helps me feel in control and able to control my panic. It also helps me get me work done.

For a long time, my goal was to be able to work from home. I was able to get a job that allowed me to do that last summer, then after a few months, things didn’t work out. However, before finding another office job, I worked as a freelancer. After moving to Nebraska, I find myself freelancing once again.

The month leading up to the move was chaos. I didn’t have a schedule per se because my days were focused on packing and cleaning my house and maintaining my sanity. As I look back on those days now, I think I probably would have been more successful if I had developed a schedule.

Are some of you groaning out there? Do you think I’m weird/crazy/Type A because I do better with a schedule? When I say the word “schedule” or “structure,” you probably think I’m not having any fun and it’s all work, work, work. For some people, having a schedule takes the spontaneity and spice out of life.

Well, that’s fine. Schedules aren’t for everyone, but life wants a schedule. It’s made for structure! There are benefits to having a schedule. And I don’t handle spontaneity or spice very well.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I can be flexible with my schedule when I need to be, and my days aren’t exactly predictable. Some days I get more work than I expected, and other days I don’t get work at all. That can throw off all my plans. What do I do then?

When I talk about having a schedule, I’m really talking about having a general guideline for the day. I make myself get up at a certain time, otherwise I’ll lounge around all day. I make myself exercise, which is incredibly important because I really enjoy dessert and I need a dose of endorphins. I also make it a point to end my days at a certain time, usually around 5:30, so I can make dinner for the family.

This part is incredibly important. If I don’t set boundaries, especially as a freelancer, I will be working all the time. I don’t want to do that (I’ve done it before, and it was no fun), and my family doesn’t want me to do that either. Once I’m done working for the day, I have my evenings to do what I want—and that usually means something fun.

If I have work, I get that done first. Since I’m freelancing at the moment, I prioritize what needs to be done by what is due first. If I don’t have work, I figure out what things I need to do around the house (laundry, clean, etc.) and get those finished. If I honestly have nothing to do, that’s when I allow myself time to read.

But, wait, you say, what about your writing? Writing is part of my daily schedule. When I’m done with my work, I sit down and put words on paper. I’ve always done this—even when I had an office job. Most of the time, my writing was scheduled for the evenings and weekends, but it was still scheduled.

Again, I realize that all of us are different and what works for me might not work for you. My point is that if you want to get things accomplished during the day, you have to set aside time to get it done. The world isn’t going to stop for you to work, and things will always pop up to keep you from getting stuff done. If you have a schedule, you have more of an obligation to get things accomplished.

Try it for a week. Set some general guidelines for your day and stick to them. Get up at a certain time every day. Set aside time to exercise—even if it’s for only 20 minutes—at a time that’s convenient for you. Set your end time for work and stick to it. I’m telling you: you might be surprised at how much you get done.   

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Boys Are Back!

We picked the kiddos up over the weekend, so everyone is home and recovering from their adventure. So far, things have been normal, and by that I mean not quiet. But I expected that. I don’t doubt we’ll be spending the next few days readjusting to life without grandma and grandpa.

On our way home from picking the boys up, we stopped at the Archway at Kearney. We’ve driven by it multiple times, so we decided to check it out.

It was pretty cool. It’s a museum dedicated to the history of travel. Apparently, Fort Kearney is a place where all three trails (the Oregon, the Mormon, and the California) converged before heading their separate ways. Fort Kearney was the gateway to westward expansion.

The exhibits were pretty cool. They have these devices with a speaker that narrates the story as you walk though. Throughout the area, there are cards with chips in them so you can get more information about a display. It was a nice break from being on the road—even though the museum was dedicated to being on the road.



I’m very happy my boys are back. Soon, sports and school will start. Until then, I’m hoping we get to have some more fun and visit some other cool places. We have a few on our list…

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Diversify Your Marketing Campaigns

Sometimes, I think “marketing” is a bad word. It’s one of those things that we as authors (and business owners) have to do, but it’s hard to do. I certainly don’t market myself and my works as much as I should. I’m pretty good about talking about marketing and marketing for other people, however.

I think the reason marketing is so hard is because we have to talk about ourselves, and most of us were taught that it’s not polite to talk about ourselves. When we market, we’re supposed to talk about how wonderful our product is and how great we are for developing it. It can be difficult to do that, especially if we don’t want to come off as bragging or being self-centered.

It’s also incredibly difficult to be heard and seen in a sea of others who are marketing their products. Consumers are so desensitized to calls of “Buy My Stuff!” or “Check This Out!” that they don’t notice the calls anymore. I’m exactly the same way. I get so irritated with ads, I tune them out. When I watch TV, I even go so far as to mute the commercials.

That’s why it’s so important to find a way to market your product but do it in a way that doesn’t feel like you’re selling something. That’s where branding comes into play. It’s a unique way of showing off you and your product without actually shouting “Buy My Stuff!” to the consumer.

There are a variety of different ways to brand yourself, and I’m not going to get into them in this post. What I want to focus on instead are the different venues you can use to market yourself and your product.

We’ve all been told that the best way to get your stuff out there is to be online. You have to have a blog. You have to be on social media. You have to send newsletters. You have to belong to discussion groups.

The list of “have tos” goes on and on. And while you’re being told you have to do all these things, millions of others just like you are being told the same thing. If all of us are going to be on the sites we have to be on, how do we stand out from the crowd? Of course, that’s the real challenge.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be on these sites, you should.  It still gives you a chance to be heard and seen, even if it’s by a small percentage of people. And who knows, maybe you enjoy being on social sites, so by all means, do something you enjoy.

What you need to keep in mind is that while social media has its benefits, it also has its downside, the most prominent being that it doesn’t reach a large percentage of your intended audience. There are so many people on Facebook and Twitter, they have to limit the amount of people who see your feed. If they didn’t, mass chaos would ensue. Either that or our heads would explode from the sheer amount of information in our feeds.

When marketing your product, it’s important to keep in mind that using different mediums targets different audiences. There may be some overlap from the different mediums, but for the most part, you are probably reaching new audiences. That’s why it’s important to diversify your marketing campaigns.

When I worked as an ad rep for my local paper, one of the biggest reasons people didn’t want to advertise in the paper was because it cost money. Why would you spend money when you could get free advertisement through social media? It’s a totally fair question.

It’s hard to justify spending money on something that may or may not get you a return on that investment. It’s much easier to take the low-risk alternative. But, as I mentioned earlier, you might not be reaching all the potential clients through social media posts. Technically, you might not reach them through a newspaper either, but you would at least be expanding your potential customer base.

What makes marketing successful is having a variety of people see your campaign. You can only reach so many people through social media or through a local paper or even on the radio. But when you develop a plan that incorporates all of these mediums, you increase your chances of being seen.

Marketing is tough. It’s hard to know what is going to work and what isn’t going to work. It’s challenging to invest money in something that may or may not see a return on that investment. However, if you run a business—even if that business is being an author—it’s worth it to develop a marketing budget and expand your reach to different mediums.

Monday, July 10, 2017

It’s Been So Quiet

Since last Wednesday, the boys have been with their grandma and grandpa. And my house has been so quiet. I both enjoy and hate those times.

As you can imagine, I enjoy not having to yell at my kids. It’s nice not to constantly tell them to stop fighting and if they can’t figure out how to share no one gets the ______ (fill in the blank). The doors aren’t slammed every time they go in and out of the house, and the dogs aren’t barking every two seconds because one of the boys is messing with them. (They’re just barking every two seconds because someone walks by on the sidewalk in front of the window.)

But on the other hand, I also don’t get to hear them laugh or have fun with one another. They aren’t here to tell me stories about the video they just watched on YouTube or what they saw on their bike rides. Sure, I call them and hear about their day, but it’s not the same as having them in the same house. If you’re a parent, you know the love/hate moment I’m going through.

Because it’s been so quiet, I’ve had lots of time to get my writing done, and I’ve taken full advantage. I still feel like the story is taking f-o-r-e-v-e-r to write, but I have to keep reminding myself that I’m not in a race and progress is occurring quite nicely.

I’ve also had time to catch up on my TV shows and start a new series. Has anyone else seen Snowfall on FX? It’s incredibly fascinating.

I’m enjoying the quiet while I can (and as much as I can). My boys will be home soon enough, then everything will be loud once again.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

The Holiday Threw Me Off

I hope everyone who celebrated the 4th of July had a fantastic holiday! I had a great time hanging out with my family, and my fabulous mother-in-law came out to visit. The boys got to light off fireworks for about a week, so they were super excited. Personally, I was not sad to have the fireworks end—and neither were my dogs!

Normally, I post on Wednesdays, but the holiday threw me off this week, so you get this post on Thursday. I thought about not posting anything, then I decided to throw some words onto the page.

Exciting things are happening around here. I’ve been working on the third installment of The Ifs series. It’s still going fairly slowly at the moment, but at least it’s going. For a while, I wasn’t doing much work at all—and that was incredibly depressing. Slow or not, I’ll take what I can get.

Humanity’s Hope is scheduled to come out at the end of the month. I still don’t have a date yet, but from the way the publisher was talking, it shouldn’t be long. When that happens, all my other zombie books will go on sale. Don’t worry, I’ll remind you when that happens.

It’s hard to believe that it’s July already. In a way, summer is half over. I hope you have or are on track to accomplish everything you want to accomplish. My only goal was to start writing again, and I have.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Fun at the Zoo

Last week, I had the opportunity to take my boys to the Omaha zoo. It was amazing! We had so much fun and saw so many animals I didn’t even know existed! Of course, now I can’t remember their names, but one seemed to be a combination of a squirrel, kangaroo, and mouse. There was even a squirrel that reminded me of my smallest dog. We called it the Siggy Squirrel.


There were even baby animals there. A sweet, adorable 5-month old gorilla, a giraffe, and a baby sea lion (I didn’t actually see this one, but my oldest did).

We walked through a butterfly pavilion—which I had never done before—and it was super cool. There are some really beautiful butterflies out there.


There was an aquarium and an exhibit dedicated to creatures of the night. When we went through this particular exhibit, there were some pools on the floor. They didn’t have any barricades around them, but they were next to the path. My oldest was making a beeline for one of them, and I grabbed his arm before he reached it. I had no idea if there was glass over the top (it didn’t look like it), and I wasn’t going to find out the hard way if there was or wasn’t.

As we were looking into the pool, a shadow passed by on the opposite wall, looking exactly like a shark (I’m sure it was probably one of the fish swimming close to the light), but it freaked my son out a bit. I thought it was super cool.


My kids even convinced me to get on the Skyfari, and I am NOT comfortable on chair lifts. I kept a tight grip on the bar and anxiously awaited for my time to get off. The chair went over some pens, so we saw some animals, but I was focusing on not losing my mind.


I took my hand off just long enough to take this picture of us. 

Zoos are both awesome and sad. It’s great to be able to experience and see animals that we might not ever see, but it’s sad that they have to be kept in cages. All in all, though, we had a great day together and created some memories. I look forward to going back.





Have you done anything exciting so far this summer? If you’re going to celebrate the 4th of July, I hope you have an awesome day and stay safe!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Getting Back into the Writing Groove

I did something this weekend I’ve needed to do for a long time: I started a new story.

It felt really, really good to put the pen to the paper and do something creative. I have been so busy with packing the house, selling the house, and then moving that there wasn’t much time for anything else. We’re getting settled now, so I’m getting back into a schedule.

It’s always hard starting a new story. I’m working on the third Ifs book for my boys. I have the basic idea of what is going to happen, but it’s always a surprise to me how the characters get there. I worry a lot when I write. I worry I’ll run out of ideas part way through the story. I worry the story will be terrible. I worry I won’t be able to finish. Some days, those worries make writing challenging, so I have to find ways to push through.

Per my children’s request, this story will have zombies in it. Like me, they are incredibly fascinated by the creatures and want a book just for them with the undead. I’m sure they are excited to see how the characters named after them will fight them off and be victorious. To tell you the truth: I’m excited to see what they’ll do too!

As of this post, I’ve only gotten two chapters written, but I’m going to keep moving forward. My goal with my middle grade books is to write a chapter a day, which means I will be done with a rough draft in a about two weeks. I’m a little behind, but it won’t take long to catch back up. From there, it’s edit, edit, edit. As my favorite saying goes:


Here’s to writing!


Monday, June 26, 2017

Life’s Terrible Moments

It’s astounding how life can go from being tolerable to completely unbearable in the blink of an eye. One moment has the ability to drive you deep into despair and depression. It stops your world and leaves you with pain.

Every so often, you’ll have the opportunity to look up from your loss, hurt, and suffering to realize that the rest of the world is still turning; they are moving forward like nothing ever happened. You’ll wonder: How? Why?

You know nothing but your devastation. The moment replays itself through your mind, and you question whether or not you could have done things different or better. No matter how much you tried to prepare yourself for the moment, to be ready for the inevitable, the moment still blindsides you.
One day down the road—maybe months or years from now—you’ll find that you can smile again; perhaps even catch yourself laughing. It’ll take you by surprise and make you think you are betraying the moment’s memory, but you’re not. The pain will seem less debilitating, but the loss will always remain. The moment will forever be there. But it won’t control you as much as it did before, even though it will always be a part of you.
You can’t stop these moments, and you can’t pretend like they don’t happen. They are part of life. They are not easy, and they will break you down. They will shape your future and challenge your emotions. Cope as best as you can and know that it’s all right to feel the way you feel.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Humanity’s Hope…Coming Soon

I received word from the publisher earlier this week (or maybe it was late last week; I can’t remember, my days have been screwed up) that Humanity’s Hope will be published by the end of July. I don’t have a date yet, but I should get one soon.


It’s hard to believe that a year ago I signed the contract with Stitched Smile Publications for them to put out my next young adult zombie series. So much has happened since then. It’s crazy!

I’m looking forward for this book to come out. I hope all of you enjoy it as well. As usual, I will keep you informed of when it’s available.

Until then, check out my recently self-published middle grade novels, The Ifs and The Ifs Return. You might just enjoy them.


Monday, June 19, 2017

And the Winner Is…

First of all, I would like to thank everyone for participating in the Beach Reads Blog Hop giveaway. It was a lot of fun. Below are the winners. 

Winner of the signed Road to Salvation paperbacks: Natasha

Winner of the Road to Salvation ebooks: A. Royale

Winners of the signed Life After the Undead paperbacks: Margaret and Angela

Winner of the Life After the Undead ebooks: Penny

Again, thank you all so much for participating!



In case you were wondering, we have made it to Nebraska! We are in the new house and slowly getting things unpacked. It was a bit touch and go at first, but we made it.

Moving is so hard and stressful, but it’s even more difficult when the moving company throws you for a loop. My spouse had called and reserved movers to help us load the U Haul three weeks before our intended move date. They were supposed to be there by 9:30, and at 10:00 I heard my spouse on the phone.

Long story short, the mover forgot to write us down on his calendar. And it apparently wasn’t the first time this happened. We needed help, so my spouse put a post on Facebook for people to come help us—and they did. Movers they weren’t, but they worked hard and got us ready to head down the road.

Thankfully, when we got to Nebraska, the movers were able to help us. According to one of them, he wanted to cancel because he had blown out his ankles. I’m glad he didn’t. That would have been extremely bad.

I’m glad we’ve finally made it, and as soon as the house is unpacked, I’ll get back into some type of schedule. Perhaps I’ll even write. I would like that. I have so many books I need to get onto paper.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Ifs and The Ifs Return

Several years ago, I decided to write some stories with my boys as the main characters. I knew they were going to be middle grade books, and I wanted them to be filled with action and adventure, along with a little danger. At the time, my boys were much younger than their counterparts in the book, and I had a lot of fun imagining how they would behave when they were finally that age.

The characters in the book and my boys share some similarities, but these are also a fiction stories, so I used my imagination. Still, they enjoy these stories and can’t wait for me to write the third book, which is next on my project list, and there will be zombies.

But I digress.

I found a publisher for The Ifs and The Ifs Return, and they were awesome. They asked me to create a different pen name to keep my middle grade books and all my other books separate, so I did. I even published some picture books under my new children’s pen name.

While the publisher was fantastic, the books didn’t do very well. When the publisher offered to give me my rights back, after a lot of deliberation and soul searching, I took them. I figured I would try releasing the books under Pembroke to see how they do.

As many of you know, with the amount of books that are put out on a daily basis, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. And maintaining multiple pen names is incredibly hard. I’ll admit it: I did a terrible job. However, I’m trying to remedy that now. I’m going to see if combining my efforts will allow the books to be a bit more successful.

So, without further ado, I give you The Ifs and The Ifs Return, republished under Pembroke Sinclair!


Book 1 in The Ifs series

Landon and Broden are brothers, and some days they DO NOT get along. They spend most of their days fighting, arguing, and plotting ways to get revenge on each other.

Then, strange things start happening… Noises in their room that are not from the cat. Homework that is mysteriously finished. A broken shoelace that repairs all by itself. Clothes that are put in the hamper on their own.

The brothers want to share their weird experiences, but they don’t know if they can trust each other. But when they find out who’s behind all the strange things around the house, they are called to battle with the most unusual creatures and wildest of beasts.

When the battle turns more dangerous than they imagined, Landon and Broden must face their fears, put their grudges aside, and learn how to work together.


Book 2 in The Ifs series

“Gage escaped.”

These are the worst words Broden could hear from his big brother Landon—just one day after they battled alongside Slade’s Ifs and his army of forest beasts. And Landon has more news…

“Gage has magic.”

As the boys are drawn into another adventure with the Ifs, they find out just how powerful—and dangerous—Gage’s magic can be.

Monday, June 12, 2017

The Dreaded Basement

The house we live(d) in in Wyoming had a basement—and every so often, it would terrify the kids. Which was kind of weird because it was a nice basement. It was finished and bright and sunny. There was a long hall that led down to the guest room that was darker because we kept the doors closed down there, but on the whole, it was a nice basement.

If they want a scary basement, they should have seen my grandma’s. That was terrifying. It had the traditional concrete floor and tons of nooks and crannies covered in cobwebs and dust. There were even some random, half-hidden doors to closets. Boxes were stacked up to the windows, so it was dark, and the windows more often than not were covered in cobwebs, making it even dimmer.

The stairs were thin and creaky, and—of course—the basement was where they stored the toys. When we visited, if we wanted to play with the toys, we had to go down there. The laundry room was also down there, and it was on the darker side of the basement. The toys were at least by the stairs so you could leave the door at the top open and have a little more light. If the boys could have seen that basement, they would think nothing of ours.

I’ve often asked the kids why they thought the basement was so creepy, and they could never give me a straight answer. Now, to be fair, there had been a few times when I would turn off the light at the end of that incredibly long hall and imagine a shadow/person at the other end hiding in the darkness, and I freaked myself out with that. But I’ve also freaked myself out going to the bathroom in the middle of the night and imagined that if I looked in the mirror a demon would be looking at me, so that’s not an indicator of anything.

My excuse is having an overactive imagination, and maybe that’s the boys’ too. Seriously, as far as basements go, this one was pretty benign. It was actually cozy and had a lot of space. But I still wonder: what made the boys afraid of it?

Do you have any experiences with basements and their creep factor? What about any other rooms in a house that you dislike? I’d love to hear about them!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Making Progress

For the past week, I have been making progress on both my house and getting my middle grade books ready for self-publishing. It’s been a long, exhausting road (for both), but the end is in sight.

Next week is the big move, so things are going to get crazy for a little bit. I’m hoping to have The Ifs and The Ifs Return available before then, but we’ll have to play it by ear. Until I get my feet back on the ground, I won’t have a lot of time for writing.

But have no fear! I will get back into writing as soon as I can. Until then, don’t forget to take part in the giveaways for your chance to win some books. You can find them on the right side panel.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Text Stories

Recently, I applied for a freelance writing position to write text stories. I made it through the first two rounds, creating two stories, then I got cut from the roster. Not a biggie. They were apparently working with a lot of other authors.

However, I was having so much fun with the process that I created several more stories than just the two. Since I have nothing else to do with them, I thought I would share them with you lovely readers. Here is my first story. It’s called Shadows.


















Saturday, June 3, 2017

Beach Reads Giveaway Hop


Summer is almost here, and that means time to read! Who doesn't like to curl up anywhere with a book and enjoy the warm weather and a different world? I know I do!

In celebration, the Beach Reads Giveaway Hop is hooking readers up with reads for the summer, and I'm happy to participate!  I'll be giving away ebooks of The Road to Salvation series (one lucky winner) and the Life After the Undead series (one lucky winner) and signed paperbacks (open to U.S. shipping only) of the Life After the Undead series (two lucky winners) and The Road to Salvation series (one lucky winner).

The Life After the Undead series (young adult, zombies)

The Road to Salvation series (young adult, demons)

For your chance to win, all you have to do is leave a comment and let me know which of these books would be a favorite beach read!

Don't forget to check out the other bloggers involved in the hop!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Summer is on the Way!

Woooooooot! I can’t wait for warm weather and having fun with the kids! If anyone is super excited about the upcoming summer, it’s my boys. When we pulled up to the school this morning, the field was set up with the equipment for field day. They couldn’t get out of the car fast enough! There have only been a handful of times throughout the year when the boys were that excited to go to school.

The other magical thing about summer is that there is time to read books. Or, conversely, write them. I’m hoping to get The Ifs (my middle grade books) finished and ready for self-publishing, then get started on the third. My boys have been asking me for a while to write the third book, but I haven’t had time. I’m making time this summer.

Per their request, this book will have zombies in it.

As I was brushing my teeth last night, I was thinking about all the other projects I want to work on in the near future. I can’t decide what I’ll do after The Ifs book, but I have several to choose from—some of which include continuing some of the series I have out. Hmmmmm.

There’s plenty of time to worry about that later! I must remain focused on what has to be done in the near future, which is getting my family moved to Nebraska. After that, I can worry about what I’m going to write after zombie Ifs.

Do you have any fun plans for the summer? A list of books you’re looking forward to reading? I would love to hear about them!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Happy Memorial Day!

For those of you who are celebrating Memorial Day, I hope you are having an amazing day. It’s a great time to thank those who sacrificed to give us the freedoms we enjoy here in the U.S.

I am honored to have grandfathers and a grandfather-in-law serve our country. Their sacrifices and the sacrifices of all service men and women won’t be forgotten.

My maternal grandfather, Bud Lewis.

My grandfather-in-law, Dale Robinson

I’ve been able to spend this weekend with my family and relax. It’s just what I needed/wanted! I’ve been able to catch up on a few movies I’ve wanted to see too. On Friday night, my boys and I watched The Great Wall. We all really enjoyed it. Of course, if you give me monsters and action, I’m pretty happy—and this movie had just that!

On Saturday night, I got to hang out with my sister and her husband, and we watched Alien: Covenant. I liked it. I know it’s not a “traditional” Alien movie, but it was still fun to watch. My boys really want to see it, but they’re going to have to wait a few years. There are some pretty scary parts, and a few of the alien creatures are creepy as hell. I feel like I need to watch this again (and I will!) to tease out the meaning behind it.

I also get to go see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 with my mom, my boys, and my niece and nephew. I’m really looking forward to that. My mom has already seen the film and says it’s good, so I can’t wait to form my own opinion. Plus, Baby Groot!

In addition to spending time with my family, I’ve also been able to get some editing done. I’m rereleasing my middle grade books under Pembroke Sinclair (they were previously released under J.D. Pooker), so I’ve been rereading them and making a few corrections. Next, they’ll get new covers and be ready for the world!

All in all, it’s been an amazing weekend. I’ve had the chance to chill out and enjoy my family. Have you done anything fun and exciting? What was your weekend like?

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Getting Back into the Groove

My schedule has been thrown off for this week. I went to Nebraska over the weekend and didn’t get back until Monday. It’s a long trip to drive there, but that will be the last time I do it for a visit. The next time I go, it will be to move there.

Because my week has been thrown off, I’m not posting as much as I normally do. That will change next week. I’ll get back into my groove. Since I haven’t been posting, that also means I haven’t been writing fiction. I’ve been doing some freelance stuff, but I haven’t been writing for me. That will also change in the coming weeks.

Soon enough, I will have a schedule that will allow me to be productive and creative, and I’m really looking forward to that. I have several projects that are demanding my attention. On the top of that list is getting my middle grade books ready for self-publishing.

I don’t foresee the process taking long, but it still requires time. They need to be edited again, then formatted and fitted with new covers. It’s an exciting process, and I really enjoy doing it, I just have to have the time.

Soon. It’s going to happen soon.

In the meantime, please feel free to keep yourself busy trying to win signed zombie paperbacks. The sign up is in the right hand column. May is Zombie Awareness Month, so I’ve been giving away free books. This is the last one for this month, so don’t miss out. It’s my nonfiction book, so it has some great advice on how to survive zombies.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Re-evaluating My Career Path

When I was an undergrad, I remember sitting in one of my English classes and having guest speakers tell us what kinds of jobs we could get with an English degree. One of the speakers was an editor (she was also one of my classmates and fellow English major), and I remember being a bit jealous of her and thinking, “That’s what I want to do.”

As I continued through my schooling career, I had dreams of also being a fiction writer. I took several writing classes and workshops—and had my dreams of writing crushed. I still wanted to be in the writing world, so I figured editing was my best option. After earning my master’s, one of the first jobs I got was as a document production specialist. It’s wasn’t editing, but it was still working with manuscripts. And my editor friend was my coworker, which was an added bonus.

As time went on at that job, I eventually became a technical editor. My duties included reading reports for the normal stuff—grammar, sentence structure, proper English—in addition to ensuring that the information in the text and tables/figures was the same, that references were cited and included the works cited section, and that acronyms were properly defined.

I loved it. It was exactly what I wanted to do. The work was repetitive, but I didn’t care. I was formatting and editing reports. It was amazing. In fact, to do this day, I still freelance edit for this particular company.

I continued to believe that I wanted to edit and took on roles as a freelancer for indie book companies—doing editing from content to proofreading. I enjoyed that also, but it was a lot of work for very little pay. And by this time, I wanted to focus on my own fiction, so I drastically reduced the amount of fiction editing I did.

I took a job at the university where I was called an “Editor,” although editing wasn’t my only duty, I also wrote quite a bit. Again, it was a good fit for me. When I had the opportunity to work at home as an editor, I jumped. It was my dream job.

Well, without going into details, that job didn’t work out, and it seems since then it’s been a downhill slide. I’ve applied for multiple editing positions, and I can’t pass the editing tests. More often than not, I don’t get the results back so I don’t know what I missed, but I’m worried about my future as an editor.

Getting terminated from my at-home job was quite a blow. I’d never been fired before, so it messed with my self-confidence. Continuously failing editing tests doesn’t help at all. I don’t know if I’m having a mental block and subconsciously failing them or if I’ve always been a terrible editor but good enough to get by. Either way, it’s made me rethink my career choice.

I want to switch my focus back to writing. Of course, I’ll always write fiction, but I want to see if I can be successful getting paid to write other stuff. I’ve been a freelance writer in the past, and I’m finding some places to do it again. It’s strange to think that the reason I originally wanted to edit was because I lost confidence as a writer and now I want to write because I lost confidence as an editor.

On one hand, it feels really good to turn my focus away from editing. It’s freeing to not fail any more tests. On the other, I’m not good with change, so I’m freaking out internally that I’m never going to find a job. I need a sign, I guess, to let me know that I’m making the right decision.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Hope You Had a Happy Mother’s Day!

I hope all of you had a wonderful Mother’s Day! Mine was pretty good. I got to hang out with my family and eat my spouse’s famous smoked pork ribs. Mmmmmmm. Pork ribs. They were delicious!

I also got a new Kindle Fire. It’s a good thing too. I’ve had my other Kindle for a while, and it was getting to the point where I would order a new book and I couldn’t download it because my Kindle was too old. The files weren’t compatible. I’ve been reading on my boys’ Fires, but now I don’t have to!

I also had a garage sale this weekend, which went a lot better than I expected. I was convinced no one would show up and I would have to haul all my stuff to Goodwill—which would have been fine, but this weekend was university graduation, so they were stuffed to the gills with donations. I doubt they would have turned me away, but wow! So.much.stuff!

In addition to the fun, there was a little bit of stress over the weekend, but it certainly wasn’t caused by my family doting on me. No, it was just life. I keep trying to tell myself that everything is going to be just fine with the move, that things will work out the way they are supposed to, that most of the stuff is out of my control, but my brain doesn’t always listen.

It starts playing scenarios over and over and shows me the worst-case scenario, making me freak out that things aren’t going to work out the way they are supposed to. This, of course, leads me to stress out and try to find way to fix the problem—even though there might not be any ways to fix the problem. It’s a vicious cycle that leaves me feeling worthless and exhausted.

I’m trying to take deep breaths and lets thing happen, but it’s not always easy. Most of the time, that’s when I turn my attention to writing. I need to do that again. I’ve been a little busy to put words on paper, but that’s going to change. For my sanity, it needs to be soon.

Here’s to looking toward a great week where amazing and wondering things happen! Are you looking forward to anything in particular? I would love to hear what exciting things are headed your way.


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

How We Define Ourselves as Authors

As authors, we are used to defining ourselves. More often that definition is applied to the types of books we write (whether it is literary, sci fi, fantasy, horror, or any of the other genres) or by what age group we write for (children’s, middle grade, young adult, new adult, adult).

Within the last 10 years (or so), we have also been defined into other categories based on how we are published: whether we are indie, self, or traditional.

For me, the definitions of each are as follows:
  • Traditional: being published by one of the Big Six publishers and having an agent that represents you
  • Indie: being published by a small, independent publisher that you don’t have to have an agent to submit to
  • Self: being your own publisher and incurring the cost of book covers and editors and using any of the various sites, including, but not limited to, Amazon
Up until the last 5 years (or still to this day, it depends on who you talk to), having the label of “self-published” had a negative connotation to it. Other authors, especially traditionally published ones, looked down their noses at you, like you weren’t a real writer/author because you weren’t traditionally published. Today, some authors still look down at self-pubbed authors, but it seems to occur less often. There’s not as much stigma and more freedom with being self-published.

But it got me to thinking: why is it so important that we place these labels on ourselves?

For the genres, I totally get why. What I’m referring to is why we feel the need to label ourselves based on how we are published. One way is not better than another, and it certainly is not indicative of quality. At one time it might have been, but that’s changing now. And more and more often, even traditionally published authors will self-publish books. Do we still need the labels?

My questions arose while having a conversation with another author. I asked him how he was published, and when he commented indie, I asked if he meant indie publisher published or self-published, and he said he believed self-published and indie were the same thing.

That got me to thinking and wondering about my own biases in the publishing world. I certainly wasn’t trying to imply that one form of publishing was better than the other—I’m also an indie and self-published author—I honestly was just curious which one of the two he was. I’m endlessly fascinated with author’s stories of their failures and successes in the various publishing realms. I enjoy learning new ways to market myself and my books or to hear if there are publishers out there who should be avoided.

But how important is it that we define ourselves by the way we are published?

After all, whether traditional, indie, or self, we face a lot of the same problems when it comes to marketing—or dealing with editors or finding new readers or [insert publishing issue here]. Wouldn’t it be more beneficial to everyone if we just classified ourselves as “published” and help each other be successful?

I have no answers to my questions, and I’m wondering if any of you have thought about this same thing. I would love to hear your thoughts on how authors define themselves through how they are published! Is it good? Is it bad? Should we change it? How would we go about changing it?

Monday, May 8, 2017

It Started with a Souvenir

Every summer for the past few years, my boys have had the opportunity to spend some time with their grandparents. They usually go on fun and exciting adventures, such as checking out the dinosaurs at Vernal.

On one occasion, my youngest was being super sweet and bought me and my spouse souvenirs—one of which was a tiny coffee cup.


I don’t drink a whole lot of coffee in the morning (but darn it all, I need my tiny cup full of it!), so I started using this small cup, and my obsession began. From then on, I’ve been on the hunt for tiny coffee cups. And believe me, they aren’t always easy to find.

I was able to find one while visiting Seattle a few years back. We had gone into a souvenir shop on the boardwalk downtown (I can’t remember what it’s called), and I saw the cup from across the room. I was so excited, I almost knocked over my child to get to it.


My spouse found me one when he visited Minnesota. This cup used to have a wrap around it that said Minnesota, but I didn’t read the instructions that it wasn’t dishwasher safe, so now it’s just a black cup. It still works.


My sister-in-law found me one at Starbucks, and recently, my oldest made me one in his art class. It was the best present ever! Unfortunately, the clay on the bottom didn’t quite fuse together, so there are some holes. He was pretty bummed about that. Honestly, though, I’m not sure I want to use it. I don’t want to ruin it.



Whenever I travel anywhere, I keep my eye open for tiny coffee cups. It’s a fun adventure, and I’m excited to see what tiny coffee cup I will find next.

To put these in perspective, here they are next to a normal-sized coffee cup.


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Talking Zombies and Networking with Authors

I love going to conferences and conventions. They are just the best. More often than not, I am inspired to write and I meet some really amazing people—both fans and other authors. That was true of the WyoCon convention I attended over the weekend.

It was just a small con at the White Mountain Library in Rock Springs, but it was a lot of fun. I did my Surviving Zombies workshop, and it’s always a blast to get the audience involved and to listen to their plans when the dead arise. I love that people take the time to think about how they are going to survive the apocalypse. It’s important to be prepared.

After my presentation, I sat at my table for the rest of the day. There were several participants who ventured by, and I spoke with many of them on a variety of topics, from reading to movies to other conventions. I also had the opportunity to chat with the other authors around me. They were such amazing people.

Going to conferences and conventions feeds my soul. They can be incredibly exhausting, but seeing other fanatics reminds me of why I write. I might not always sell a ton of books (I sold two at the last one and consider that a win), but I get to meet some really cool people. Like I said, it’s inspiring going to these things.

Things have been pretty bleak in the writing world lately—and not necessarily just my own. I’ve read numerous articles about how readers aren’t buying books like they used to and that Amazon is trying to monopolize the entire system and authors are going to be the ones who suffer.

Really, it’s nothing new, but it’s still something that plagues authors—and not just us indies/self-pubs. Everyone is feeling the pinch. There are those who blame it on self-publishing and how easy it is to publish a book nowadays—flooding the market with millions of books instead of thousands—but that’s not the only reason. The publishing industry has changed, and we’re all trying to figure out how to keep up with it. In the process, we see our earnings shrink and less and less books get sold.

It can be incredibly depressing. It can make us question why we are even wasting our time.

I get it. I really do. I’ve been down that road. But at the same time, I still really enjoy telling stories. I love seeing people read my books and review them—even if it’s just a small percentage. And I love going to conferences and talking to people about other books and nerdy pop culture things.

At the end of the day, it’s all about perspective. It’s deciding what you want to take from an experience and deciding if it was good or bad. Personally, I spend the vast majority of my life being cynical and a little crabby, but it’s nice to take a break and immerse myself in my writing and other geeky ventures. Sure, I might not make a lot of money doing it, but it makes me happy, and that is the most important part.

Monday, May 1, 2017

“I am like sugar to them.”

The above quote comes from The Simpsons.

Last weekend (not this recent one but the one before that), the family and I headed to Nebraska to find a house. It was our normal trip: too fast and full of long hours in the car. We didn’t find a house, but we had some good contenders. Things were looking up.

(Side note: we found a house later in the week. I didn’t get to see it, but my spouse sent me pictures and it looks like it will work!)

We got home late on Sunday, so I didn’t have time to get my laundry started. On Monday when I woke up, I noticed that I had bug bites on my legs. Of course, my first thoughts were: “Sh*t! We have bed bugs!” So I immediately scooped up the bedding and threw it into the wash. I then proceeded to spray my mattress cover down with bleach water and Lysol.

All week I worried and fretted about whether or not we had bed bugs. I kept an eye on the kids and every time the dogs scratched, I watched them intently. As the week wore on, I got more bites on my legs.

Now, the logical side of my brain told me: If these are bed bugs, why are you only getting bit on the legs? Wouldn’t they be going after your entire body? And why aren’t the kids getting bitten? The dogs seem fine, so why are you so special?

The anxious, panic-attack-susceptible side of my brain was like: IT’S BED BUGS! BED BUGS! CALL AN EXTERMINATOR! YOUR HOUSE IS INFESTED! YOU’RE GOING TO GET EATEN ALIVE!

I texted my husband on Friday morning to tell him about the phenomena, at the same time as I was Googling bed bug bites and looking for exterminators, and he told me that a doctor could tell me immediately what was going on. So, in a rush, I headed to Urgent Care.

Long story short, it’s not bed bugs (thank goodness!), but the doctor wasn’t exactly sure what kind of bites they were. He assumed since we were in Nebraska, it was probably mosquito bites. I was fine with that explanation, if not a bit skeptical, but just incredibly happy it wasn’t bed bugs.

This past weekend (the recent one), I went back to Rock Springs for a convention. While there, I showed my mom my bites, and she immediately thought they looked like chigger bites. She then Googled “chigger” and read the information. I had all the symptoms—especially the insane itching that also made my leg where the bites were feel like they were on fire. My bites didn’t look exactly like the pictures, but there were a few that were close.

It made sense. Those dastardly little bugs are abundant in the Midwest, and they live in grassy and wooded areas. We were walking through lawns and by trees when looking at houses, so it’s completely possible that I could have picked up chiggers. Of course, I’m the only one in my family who got them, but what can I do? I’m just glad I figured out what was trying to eat me alive.


Speaking of the convention, I will go into more detail about it in Wednesday’s post, but I wanted to let you know that I have some leftover books I would like to get rid of before I move. Pictures of what I have available follow. I will sign them and send them (U.S. shipping only) for $4 each. If you’re interested in any of my series, I put the price for those beneath their pictures. Please send me an email if you’d like some books!


Life After the Undead series: each book $4 or both for $6.



The Road to Salvation series: $4 each or all 3 for $10.