Category Archives: writing

Still fangirling over C. J. Box

C. J. Box talks about his new release, OFF THE GRID at the Natrona County Public Library in Casper, Wyoming

C. J. Box talks about his new release, OFF THE GRID at the Natrona County Public Library in Casper, Wyoming


Okay, let’s back it up a bit.

I first heard of C.J. Box a few years ago on the Hugh Hewitt show. Hugh is a reader and interviews authors regularly. I don’t remember which book released, but I remember being captivated by the idea of a game warden sleuth. I read a lot of mysteries and have seen a variety of heroes, but a game warden?

Two years ago, we went camping in the Medicine Bow mountains of Wyoming. During that time, we explored the small town of Saratoga. In one of the historical sites, there was a book store bursting with C.J. Box novels. My mind shot back to the interview on the radio.

One of the women who worked at the museum said C. J. used to live there and work for the newspaper. All the copies for sale were singed! I bought a few.

Then last spring, we moved to Wyoming. What a better way to get to know a state than by reading about it in books by an author who lives there.

I read every Joe Pickett novel in existence over the summer. Didn’t get much writing done but…

Mr. Box shot up to the top of my favorite author list alongside Michael Connelly and Lee Child.

And tonight?

Tonight he kicked off his 22 city book tour in his home town of Casper, Wyoming. AND I WAS THERE FOR IT!

I got to meet C.J. briefly, and ask questions.

He gave me a gold nugget in an answer to a question I posed about his writing process. (Writer friends, you’ll get why I geeked out over this? Yes? Non-writers tend to stare at me slack jawed, mumbling, “so what?”)

He has 15 (?) books in his Joe Pickett series. He does not plot out ahead of the book he is currently working on. He has ideas, but does not plot ahead.


He said he believes in putting everything you have into that current book. Don’t hold anything back. In his opinion, plotted sequels feel forced and the author may hold back too much from the audience leaving the reader unsatisfied. But, if you put everything into the book, it is rich. And you just have to figure out how to do the same with the next one.

For me, this was affirming as well as good advice. I have friends on best-seller lists who plot. Seriously plot. That is their process and it works for them. They’ve lovingly tried to encourage me to create detailed outlines.

A page and a half was the best I could do. I mean, I don’t know what kinds of shenanigans my characters will pull! I know the main points, but everything else?


To hear someone who was #2 to Harper Lee with his last book, Endangered, say he writes organically… well… it made my heart happy.

So here I am geeking out. Waiting until tomorrow to go pick up my signed copy of Off the Grid at Wind City Books tomorrow (release date is tomorrow, so books sold could not go home with us tonight).

With a new Joe Pickett novel in hand, I will be off the grid myself tomorrow. I can’t help it. The books are THAT GOOD.



A World for Guardlings

Evergreen High School color guard prepares for their first competition.

Evergreen High School color guard prepares for their first competition.

A goal I have for this blog is to create a place for guardlings to hang out, converse, and become the best guardlings they can for their respective teams.

I’ll cover topics from tips on basic skills to advanced tricks, getting along with teammates and instructors, as well as offer guardlings who love to write, a chance to submit articles on a given topic for publication on the blog.

It is my hope to tap into experts in the guard world to do podcasts and short videos.

And have Q&A formats where readers can ask guard and teen-life kinds of questions.

I may even do a run where kids can submit photos of themselves and their teams!

Calling all guardlings interested in writing!

To celebrate the launch of my book, Spin, I am looking for submission on the value of color guard in your life. If you are a current for former guard member, a high school kid, or surgeon who did guard, I want to hear from you as to what guard contributed to who you are as a person.

Submissions should be no more than 500 words. Include a head shot and a performance shot (both need to be legal in the copyright world ) Need to know your name, teams you marched on and years. City and state.

Pieces must be well written and ideas communicated clearly. Not all submissions will make the cut.

Let’s make marching season special by sharing what we love most about color guard!

Submission due by October 10, 2014

Send submissions to

Can’t wait to hear from you all!

Website building for people who make idiots look smart.

Libraries have free wifi!

Libraries have free wifi!


My brain hasn’t had to work this hard since my days at Houghton College. Sure, I have been learning all sorts of new stuff in the past twenty years, but the stuff I’m having to learn now?

Completely foreign.

I have no frame of reference to pull from. And much of the information is so new, there are few people I know who are operating under this new paradigm of being a published author.

Over the course of the past two weeks, I have learned how to build a functional website. The process has been painful at times, but worth it. I can update my we site and re-arrange whenever I please.

What have I learned so far that may be helpful to you?

1. If you are producing a lot of unique content, consider buying a registered domain. That way, what you write/photograph/draw/create/compose is YOURS. No one but you can claim it. I am using Hostgator. It is only about  $13/yr to have a domain that is MINE. And it only costs about $6/month for them to host it. That means they are techie minions who keep your site live and available to readers. And provide security.

2. Go to Google (or Bing) University. All the information you need is there. For free. On the web. However, use good judgement when choosing a source. Like, I found a bajillion sites on how to build an author website. Some of them were downright scary! Red scripted font on a dark purple background? Really? More like a what-not-to-do! If the person’s web site looks great, you can probably trust what they say. If not… click the back button!

3. Resist the urge to just skim over terms and acronyms you don’t know. Google them. And give yourself grace in regards to the time it will take you to do so.

4. If you mess something up… well… you can delete it! I struggled with installing plug-ins and widgets (still trying to wrap my brain over the difference). Things went wrong. Then I found the little red “x” icon. To undo what I did. Use it freely. You won’t know unless you try and fail a few times.

5. Know this is all gonna take a long time. I mean, a looooonnnnnnnggggggg time. You will not have a stellar site in a day, week, or years. That is okay. Guess what? While your website is in the “merely functional” phase like mine, not many people will be seeing your site. Mostly likely they are people who know you and love you and will not judge you by your website. Keep doing research. Look at other website. Note what you like or don’t. And play with yours. Keep playing and making it better.

That is all my brain can process for now. Besides, I have more research to do. Like, on how to put the Follow Me buttons in my header, rather than have them at the bottom of the footer where no one will find them.


Cover for my novel, SPIN is released

My hands are shaking, heart is pounding, breath coming in quick, short bursts.


Minutes ago the cover image of my debut novel showed up in my inbox. With permission to share.

Publication of SPIN has been a dream for 13 years. During many of those in-between times, I thought it was over. Thought it would never happen.

Enough of my blabber.



The actual book releases on September 20, 2014. It will be available in soft cover and electronic forms. Amazon, Kobo, iBooks… all those online places will have it.

I need someone to hit me with a saber. Oh. Wait. That will happen shortly when I go to guard rehearsal!