When A Stranger Asks “What Happens Next?”

I was going through some of my old blog drafts, and I came upon this one. I wrote it three years ago and never posted it for some reason, but oh! How it made me smile! I hope you enjoy it, as well. The current manuscript I was reading was my debut novel, Nameless.


Seija & Lilia - July 2011 002

Something pretty exciting happened last night.  I was visiting my daughter at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and I was reading my current manuscript aloud while I was rocking her.  (I’m finally at that stage of editing.  HOORAY!)  So I was rocking and reading, reading and rocking.  Then I hit the end of my pages, and I went silent.

“What happens next?”

It was a voice from behind me, a man I don’t know.  His baby is strapped up to every contraption that mine was strapped to earlier, and this baby won’t be held for a long time, if he ever makes it that far.

She started out with a loooooooot of tubes and wires!

She started out with a loooooooot of tubes and wires!

“I’m sorry?”  I asked.

He repeated, “What happens next?”

I can’t tell you how that made me feel.  In this crazy room full of broken children and beeping monitors, a stranger was listening to something that I had written, and he wanted to know how it ended.  It was an amazing feeling.  A beautiful feeling.  It stoked the fires of my desire and creativity.


Dreams of Kachinas





I have a thing for Kachinas, those little Hopi dolls that I used to see around all the time as a kid. We stopped by a store in Kanab, Utah, and it was so much fun to look inside! Cowboy boots, saddles, cowboy hats, beautiful beaded belts, turquoise jewelery, and Kachinas. I bought my own tiny Sun Kachina who lives on my laptop now. He’s a real thing of joy and beauty.


I grew up in the desert surrounded not by Hopi, but by the Navajo tribe. I realize now how privileged I was to grow up alongside such a rich and amazing culture. It’s funny how you take things like that for granted as a child, but come to appreciate it as an adult.

Frugality: The Envelope System


The envelope system is something my mom taught me right before I left for college. Use cash only, take it all out at once, store it in envelopes specifically designated for certain things, and when it’s gone it’s gone.

You may not borrow from envelopes. No stealing gas for groceries. You have a budget and you must stick with it.


It worked well for me. It taught me discipline and helped me to plan ahead. We decided to do it again this year, and I asked the kids to help me out. That worked out very well, in fact. They loved coloring the envelopes. They know that if a certain envelope is empty, we have to wait until it’s filled again in order to make a purchase. We discuss Mommy and Daddy going to work, and that those hours of work are traded in for money. That’s how we fill the envelopes. My Middlest wants to do chores to fill her own envelope. It’s an easy and fun way to teach financial responsibility.

After labeling and decorating the envelopes, we taped them on the inside of the cabinet door for easy access.


Do you use the envelope system? If so, how does it work for you? Please let me know!

Writers on Writing is 99 Cents for Today Only!


Brand ‪#‎NewRelease‬:

The very first volume of WRITERS ON WRITING – AN AUTHOR’S GUIDE is now available at a launch price of only 99 cents, today only!

And what a line-up:
“The Infrastructure of the Gods: 11 Signposts for Going all the Way” by Brian Hodge
“The Writer’s Purgatory: Between Finishing the First Draft and Submitting the Manuscript” by Monique-Cherie Snyman
“Why Rejection is Still Important” by Kevin Lucia
“Real Writers Steal Time” by Mercedes Murdock Yardley
“What Right Do I Have to Write” by Jasper Bark
“Go Pace Yourself” by Jack Ketchum
“A Little Infusion of Magic” by Dave de Burgh
“Never Look Away: Confronting Your Fears in Fiction” by Todd Keisling
“Once More With Feeling” by Tim Waggoner

Cover art by Ben Baldwin. Edited by Joe Mynhardt.
Proofread by Paula Limbaugh, Nancy Scuri, and Robert Teun.

Are you ready to unleash the author in you?

Amazon (available in KU, as well): http://getbook.at/WritersOnWriting
Website (keep an eye out for future releases): http://www.crystallakepub.com/writers-on-writing.php
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WritersOnWritingSeries

11866282_10155937143105634_4954520517981220047_nThe book just released and it’s already hit #1 in Amazon’s Authorship section. That’s pretty cool!

Tomorrow the price sets at $2.99, so pick it up today if you’d like a deal. :)

I can’t wait to see what the other authors have written, and I hope my essay “Real Writers Steal Time” helps one or two of you in your own personal writing endeavors.

Pimp A Nemesis Friday: Indelible Ink by Matt Betts

Indelible Ink

It’s What’s Inside That Counts

Something lurks inside Deena Riordan. She never once questioned her life in the criminal underworld as the star of Mr. Marsh’s illegal empire and his youngest assassin. Her ruthless demeanor and dark magical powers have kept her at the top of the heap for years. But one day she pushes the sorcery too far and something snaps. Only then does Deena realize she’s always been a puppet of that dark power with no true will of her own.

Now, in order to get out of the crime business for good, she needs to save her sister from Marsh’s angry clutches. It won’t be easy. She’ll have to make her way through friends turned foes, dodge determined federal agents, and stay out of a particularly stubborn fellow hitman’s sights. Worst of all, Deena will have to wrestle with the darkness inside to keep it from swallowing her up again.

Matt Betts

My nemesis Matt Betts has a new book out! And I have to say it’s pretty awesome. It’s an urban fantasy with a twisted main character and quirky side-characters. I saw it playing out in my head as I read it, since Nemesis Betts has such a visual style. I’d love to watch this on the big screen someday. Somebody make that happen, will you?

It came out from Raw Dog Screaming Press. Look here for ordering information. :)

Miss Murder’s Easy DIY: Three Ingredient Aromatherapy Shower Tablets


This is an exceptionally easy, joyful little thing to whip up in the kitchen, and they make beautiful gifts.

You will need

2 cups of baking soda

1/2 cup of water

About 10 drops of your favorite essential oil


Put the baking powder in a bowl, and stir in the water until it has a mostly dry consistency like Moon Sand. It took about 1/2 cup for me, but it will depend. You want to be able to pack it like brown sugar.

Mix in your essential oils. I used bergamot and rosemary for a pick-me-up.

Fill your ice cube trays or silicone molds with the paste and pack it down firmly. You want it to maintain its shape.


Let them dry. If you’re using a silicone mold that can go in the oven, bake it at 200 degrees for an hour. If your mold isn’t heat resistant, just let it dry on the counter for three days. If they don’t dry completely, they’ll simply crumble and you’ll be a sad panda.


Take one tablet and put it on the floor of your shower. The water will break it down and release the mood-boosting scent. It’s just one tiny little thing you can do to add a bit of sparkle to your day. Have a great one!

Announcing Writers in Writing Volume 1!


Crystal Lake Publishing presents WRITERS ON WRITING: AN AUTHOR’S GUIDE. Volume 1 coming soon.

Your favorite authors share their secrets in the ultimate guide to becoming and being an author.

Writers On Writing is an ongoing series of 15,000 to 20,000 word eBooks, with original ‘On Writing’ essays by writing professionals. A new edition will be launched every few months, featuring four or five essays per edition.

I’m pleased to announce that my essay “Real Writers Steal Time” will be featured in the first volume! Volume 1 includes essays by Jack Ketchum, Brian Hodge, Mercedes M. Yardley, Todd Keisling, Monique Snyman, Jasper Bark, Kevin Lucia, Dave de Burgh, and Tim Waggoner. I’m delighted to be included with such heavy hitters.

The ebook will be 99 cents on release day and will go up after that, so you might want to grab it at the promotional price. It’s coming out in August, and I’ll let you know the date as soon as that information becomes available.

I can’t wait to read this myself! I wonder what advice these authors have to give? What’s some of your best writing advice?