30 Day Writing Challenge: Day 13

13. Your commute to and from work/school/etc.

I have an extremely short commute: 2 miles, door to door. I could easily walk it, except I’m often carrying papers, books, etc. Plus it gets hot here and I’d rather not arrive at work all sweaty. So I do my walk after I drive home.

Sometimes I wish my commute was a little longer, because that’s when I listen to NPR. For the past 10 years–until just about a month ago–my homeward commute was actually longer because I had to pick the kids up from their schools. Their schools are over 2 miles from home and we have no bus service here. By the time I got to the schools, endured the awful traffic from other parents, waited, and drove home, over an hour would elapse. Ugh. Nowadays, though, the older kid is driving. She picks the younger one up on her way home. I’m gifted with an extra hour per day!

30 Day Writing Challenge: Day 12

12. Two words/phrases that make you laugh

Speed humps. These go a by a variety of names. I grew up calling them “speed bumps.” Around here, though, the signs all say “speed hump,” which always makes me laugh. Because, apparently, I am 12.

“Thank you for your patience.” This one happens when you’ve been on hold for a while–often because you’re trying to get the party on the other end of the phone to fix something they’ve messed up. And of course I never actually am patient, and probably neither is anyone else who hears that.

30 Day Writing Challenge: Day 11

11. Your current relationship; if single, discuss that too

I’m afraid my response to this is really boring.

I met my husband in high school. I was 15 and he was about to turn 17. I’d asked another boy to the Sadie Hawkins dance but he’d already said yes to someone else. But my cousin knew this guy and suggested him.

We moved in together during my sophomore year in college and got married about a week after I graduated. He supported me through college and grad school. When I got a professor job, I supported him through college.

We were married 11 years before we had our first kid. Then we had another.

Our 28th anniversary is next month.

See? Boring.

30 Day Writing Challenge: Day 10

10. A fruit you dislike and why

I’m going to cheat a little because I can’t think of any fruit I dislike. Sure, I favor some–cherries, blueberries, pineapple–but don’t hate any. Well, I don’t like plain raw mango. But I do love mango in anything, so that doesn’t count.

Let’s talk tomatoes instead. A my 13-year-old likes to point out, they are technically fruits rather than vegetables. And I really, really dislike raw tomatoes. Unless they’re in fresh salsa. I like them cooked or dried. I like them in things as long as they’re not raw. I love tomato soup (but not tomato juice). When I was really little, I was allergic to tomatoes. I outgrew that, but maybe it’s the root of my aversion. Don’t know. Just don’t make me eat ’em raw.

30 Day Writing Challenge: Day 9

9. Your feelings on ageism

My feelings on this mirror my feelings on any other kind of prejudice. Nobody should be judged because of the category they fall into. I have friends in their 70s who do more before breakfast than most young people do all day. I know people in their teens and twenties who are wiser and braver than their elders.

Also, as I get older, I discover the benefits of age. It’s true that I can’t get by on as little sleep as I used to. Yes, my body is less reliable (*glares at reading glasses*). But that’s outweighed by freedom. The older I get, the fewer fucks I give about how people judge me. I can become my more authentic self. Woohoo!

An offer you can’t refuse….

Well, I mean, you can refuse. But why would you want to?

Dreamspinner is celebrating their 9th anniversary. To celebrate, this week they’re discounting all books by authors who first published in years 4 and 5. That’s me.

So this week only, my entire Dreamspinner catalog is 35% off. Go! Stock up on the ones you’ve missed. Stock up on a bunch of  wonderful books by other authors too.

But wait! There’s more!

The discount includes preorders. That means you can preorder Love Can’t Conquer for the same discount. Woohoo!

See? Why would you want to refuse that?



30 Day Writing Challenge: Day 8

8. A book you love and one you don’t

Oh boy. I love a lot of books. I guess I’ll choose one of my all-time favorites, The Book Thief. I read it in less than two days. I was in the final chapters when my husband and kids came home from somewhere. “Leave me alone!” I squawked, then took off and hid myself in my bedroom  while I finished. I cried over this book. I can’t think of another book that has literally brought me to tears.

I hate to pick a book I don’t love because an author worked hard over it, and just because it’s not to my taste doesn’t mean it lacks worth.  Here’s a review I wrote of a book I did not enjoy. I won’t name the book or the author.

I had to give up reading this book on page 27. It tries too hard for quirky and whimsical, at the expense of narrative. In chapter 2, for example, we begin with a scene between the protagonist and her best friend, and then suddenly we’re shifted to an entirely different scene involving the boyfriend. The best friend never does reappear in that chapter. Some of the prose is actually lovely, but I just couldn’t read this book any longer.

30 Day Writing Challenge: Day 7

7. What tattoos you have and if they have meaning

I have three.

My first is on the side of my right shin. It’s a scale of justice atop a book. The scale is shaped like the Greek letter psi. This is my academic tat, symbolic of my law and psychology degrees, as well as my career as a professor.

My second is on my left upper arm. It’s the Earth with wings. The reason for this one is twofold: first, because I love to travel. Second, to remind myself I don’t have to carry the world on my shoulders.

My third is on my right upper arm. This is my literary tat. It’s a feather pen plus the first three words of Stasis, my first novel: “This far down.”

I’ll be getting my fourth tattoo next month. It involves a skull.


30 Day Writing Challenge: Day 6

6. Someone who fascinates you and why

This one is really hard for me. I have a PhD in psychology plus I’m an author, both of which are evidence that I find human beings in general fascinating. All of them. Each person has his or her own story. One of my favorite pastimes is people watching, because it’s such fun to catch little glimpses of others and to wonder about who they are and what they’re doing. Sometimes those strangers become characters in my books.

So I’ll pick a famous person who especially interests me: Samuel Clemens (ie, Mark Twain). Of course, he lived during an exciting time in American history, and he did so many fascinating things in his life. He’s also one of my all-time favorite authors. And he was so witty, plus progressive in many of his beliefs.

And here’s a treat. You may be familiar with K.C. Kelly, who’s done such a great job narrating some of my books. Here he is in a radio documentary as Mark Twain.

Cover Reveal: Love Can’t Conquer

I’m very excited to be able to reveal the cover of my upcoming novel, Love Can’t Conquer!


That beautiful cover is by Brooke Albrecht.

This book releases June 3, but you can preorder now from Dreamspinner Press.

I’m planning for this to be the first in a series. And in June I’ll have a blog tour going–with prizes. In the meantime, I have a book trailer:

And here’s the blurb:

Bullied as a child in small-town Kansas, Jeremy Cox ultimately escaped to Portland, Oregon. Now in his forties, he’s an urban park ranger who does his best to rescue runaways and other street people. His ex-boyfriend, Donny—lost to drinking and drugs six years earlier—appears on his doorstep and inadvertently drags Jeremy into danger. As if dealing with Donny’s issues doesn’t cause enough turmoil, Jeremy meets a fascinating but enigmatic man who carries more than his fair share of problems.
Qayin Hill has almost nothing but skeletons in his closet and demons in his head. A former addict who struggles with anxiety and depression, Qay doesn’t know which of his secrets to reveal to Jeremy—or how to react when Jeremy wants to save him from himself.
Despite the pasts that continue to haunt them, Jeremy and Qay find passion, friendship, and a tentative hope for the future. Now they need to decide whether love is truly a powerful thing or if, despite the old adage, love can’t conquer all.
I hope you decide to give Jeremy and Qay a try!