Mom, You Should Write A Book Again.

I grew up moving a lot. It wasn’t fun, but it was the way things were. I spent a lot of time in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and the surrounding area. I lived in a few trailer parks (which was an experience I will one day write a Southern comedy about, but not today). The experiences gained by moving around a lot combined with staying in that particular area for a big chunk of my childhood gave me a quirk that I still struggle with today.

People watching: NOUN. The action or practice of spending time idly observing people in a public place.

People watching. Apparently, lots of writers do this. But, so does a certain Joe Goldberg we all know and, uh. Nevermind.

My point is, people watching became a favorite pastime and I learned a lot about other humans this way. There was a bar/laundromat (not kidding) where my family frequented that I used as a launch pad for my people watching habits and duties because lots of folks came through there. Some wanted to wash their clothes and others just wanted a beer. Either way, I was there, tucked away, just watching and observing everything because there was just about nothing else for a kid my age to do there. One summer, a bar tender gave me spelling tests while I sat at the bar and my parents did laundry because he was a good guy. And may have had a thing for my then young mom. But, I often tell people I really did learn how to spell whilst sitting in a bar. That bartender taught me some tricks and helped me learn how to test myself, a skill I carried well into high school and beyond. I’m grateful for that place.

People watching is the very pastime I utilized to the full extent when I wanted to write a vampire novel based in North Carolina in an area I was familiar with. A few years ago, I nearly completed that very novel, though for some reason I never wrote an ending. I called it Vampires Of Fourth Street and I just let it sit since about 2015. That is, until a few days ago when my young teenage son found me at my laptop and said, “Mom, you should write a book again.”

He never takes an interest in my writing. Never. Ever. So, it sort of caught me off guard. It was a welcomed change, though, and I thought about it a good three minutes before I suddenly remembered that somewhere in my files was a novel just waiting to be edited, revised, and finished. I printed the first ten chapters (out of a whopping twenty-nine) and am still looking through them, but I have to admit I have seriously missed those characters. I really did a lot of work to create them and because they live in a place I could have passed a million times on the elementary school bus, I feel like I just know them.

I’m sharing this with you, my readership, because I want to hold myself accountable. I want to finish this novel, get it polished, and begin sending it out (send snacks and bourbon). I dislike the process of submission. And, dislike is an understatement. I don’t know many writers who actually look forward to the multitude of rejections and months of anxiety, but I don’t know every writer, either. So, I’m sure somebody out there likes it. Just, ya know, not me. Also, it gives me pause knowing that there aren’t a lot of publishers out there looking for vampire novels anymore.

Wish me luck, folks. The vampires have taken me hostage.

No. Not THESE vampires. I just left this here to give you something fun to look at. 😀

Five Reasonable Goals For 2022

**Disclaimer**– If you purchase an item from any of my links, I might get a small commission from it.

I am not really one for making resolutions, but I have set a few goals for myself this year. I put quite a bit of thought into it, too, which was a complete surprise for this notable pantser.

Number 1– I plan on buying books by authors I know or are acquaintances of instead of buying books written by authors who already have larger audiences. I first thought maybe I should buy from friends and acquaintances exclusively, but I think maybe that would be a little bit unfair (to myself) because I really want to read books I know are coming this year from authors I’ve been reading for years, some even decades. That being said, there are so many fantastic authors out there who are writing without the benefit of a big publicist and a well-known name. Independent authors and publishers are many, but quality is certainly there.

Amazfit, available from Amazon $39.99 right now.

Number 2– I guess…if I have to…I’m going to walk more. I used to walk a lot and I live in an area that is very nice for hikes and walks so I really don’t have any excuses, other than weather. Right now, there is a lot of low temps, snow, and other obstacles, but it’s almost February. February in West Virginia has a weather range that goes from blizzard to spring sunshine within the same week. My health is important to me, so I’ve already bought a new pair of walking shoes. I feel like I should note also that walking is not only good for your physical health, but also mental health. There are numerous studies and articles available with a quick google search and you can have a lot of fun with it. You can even get fancy and buy a fitness watch, like the Amazfit from Amazon, which has some really promising reviews. If you have one, I’d like your opinion!

Number 3– I’m going to drink more water. I already drink a good amount, but I could definitely replace a few non-water drinks with water. Again, my health is important to me and I have some weight to lose, I have dry skin, and I think drinking water would help with both of those things. I’ve already bought a goal marked water bottle to help with this. Sometimes all I need to motivate me is for my water to be readily available because I’m a creature of both habit and convenience. I’ll grab the easiest thing in order to quench my thirst and keep my day moving. I know for some folks motivation means different things, though, so I’d love to hear how other people motivate themselves to get that water down.

Number 4– I’m going to work on my budget. I know. BORING, right? Nobody wants to hear me ramble about money and numbers, but financial health is also important to me because I’m thirty-eight and I have an adult child and two teens at home and sometimes I need extra cash for things. Teenagers are well known for needing extra cash. They grow out of their clothes at a rate that could rival the toddler years (particularly boys) and they always have something or other happening at school that may require extra funds. Also, the idea that my husband and I have a handful of years before we are empty nesters has motivated me with a bit of a panic. So, I’ve taken steps to save a few extra dollars here and there and develop a healthier relationship with my shopping habits (lol). We shall see how this goes!

Number 5– I plan on going to the beach at some point this year, which may contradict Number 4. Vacations cost money, but there are ways to save and still have a great time. Besides that, in twenty years of marriage, my husband and I have yet to have a really good week long vacation together. We’re more weekend getaway people…Until now.

So, in case you see posts regarding any of these five things and wonder why I’m posting things that aren’t book reviews this coming year, it’s because this is my guide for 2022. I’ll be writing about all five of these things, as well as my reviews. Obviously I’ll be heavier on the book related content, as usual, but there will be other things coming too. I may even review some finance related books. Who knows! I’m still working on a schedule for the next few months because the holidays (between the end of November and now) really wore me down.

As usual, if you have any book suggestions for me or even product suggestions related to my five goals, I’d love to hear it in comments or emails! 😀

8 Holiday Gift Ideas For the Writer In Your Life

***Disclsure– I share links from Amazon from time to time and may receive a small commission from items you buy using my links. That doesn’t change anything about how I’ve written the post or what I’ve chosen to include, though!***

Whatever you celebrate, the winter months are upon us and that means the shopping months are also upon us. I don’t know if you’ve personally had any trouble obtaining items on your loved ones lists due to the shipping crisis, but I haven’t yet, and I hope that I don’t. But, just in case… I’ve been doing a lot of writing and revising to my shopping lists because I want to be prepared for anything. I don’t do Black Friday unless it’s the Black Friday cyber deals because it gets too peopley (that’s a real word, I promise *crosses fingers behind back*).

It has dawned on me that if you have a writer in your family, that person is probably going to either be the most difficult to buy for or the easiest. There usually is no in between for us. Never fear, though, because I have some ideas for you.

1… Nice pens. We all have a favorite. Find out what theirs is and buy them a pack. Mine are these Paper Mate ball point pens. I’ve never seen a brown one, though! Nice.

Princess Peach approved.

2...A mug or a set of mugs. Everybody has hot drink preferences, and hot drinks can usually only be consumed in a mug. Amazon has some really nice ones. Right now, this one is my personal favorite.

3… Try getting them a subscription box. There are so many out there to choose from. There are subscription boxes that allow you to solve a mystery, even.

Maybe get a pen pal?

4… You can never go wrong with pajamas or a bathrobe. Or both, like a matching set. Old Navy, Walmart, and Kohl’s are pretty decent choices for these types of items. Bonus points if you match the pajamas to the mug

. 5… Gift cards. We tend to use them wisely.

6… Nice journals, notebooks, and stationary. My personal favorite is stationary and I don’t know why because nobody ever writes letters and mails them anymore.

7… Audible and/Kindle subscriptions. I haven’t joined the zillions of people who listen to audiobooks and enjoy them yet, but one day I might. Until then, I stick to paperbacks and my beloved Kindle. Either way you choose to read, giving the gift of the written word is never a bad idea.

8… Give the gift of whiskey. Well, whiskey glasses. This is my favorite thing on this list because I don’t have a set. I’m a bourbon girl, myself.

In case any of you were wondering, I left book recommendations off of this list on purpose because all writers are different and their reading preferences are different too. But, Stephen King’s On Writing appeals to a wide audience, so you’re pretty safe with that one, if you’re looking. I know I’ve mentioned in previous posts that this particular book about writing is my favorite, but honestly I’ll probably mention it in future posts, too. Ha! Happy Shopping!

Nano Yo Beeswax

**Disclosure** I may receive a small commission if you buy something from Amazon using one of my links. This doesn’t sway my opinions, though. Carry on!**

Ideas are cheap. It’s the execution that is all important.” — George R.R. Martin

Because I’m feeling particularly childish and free spirited today, I thought I’d write a post about Nanowrimo. I’m not participating this year, but am using the time my friends and fellow scribes are using to write a novel to instead work on achieving a few smaller goals, like work to improve this blog.

But, in that spirit, I’d like to at least serve as a cheerleader for everyone else. After all, the best thing about Nanowrimo, in my humble opinion, is that next month, there will be thousands upon thousands of new books either being self published or shopped to publishers. And, that’s good for readers everywhere because there will soon be more reading options. Not that my to be read pile needs any more encouragement to collapse under the weight of my great reading ambitions, but you get the gist.

When I first heard that National Novel Writing Month was even a thing, I was just a young thing myself. No wrinkles in my skin, no gray hairs. My kids were little then, too. I was just beginning to figure out what kind of person I wanted to be in the world. I always wanted to finish a novel in a November, but to tell the truth, I never did. I always started something. I always began with stars in my eyes and a powerful thirst for a story. The only novel I ever wrote in a month was The Bones Of Willow Lake (currently out of print) and it only took three weeks, but I wrote it in June (2012) instead of November.

Photo by Lucas Pezeta on

Will I ever complete an entire novel in a month or less again? Who knows. Right now, I’m working on other things and gaining my happiness from other writers and their works. When a story whispers in my ear and pulls me by the fingertips again, I’ll write it. I’ll know. And, you’ll all know too because I’m a different person when I’m actively writing a novel. Inspiration just isn’t here right now. Who knows when that little devil will show up again. I’m satisfied to be writing short posts, reading great fiction, and testing out really cool cookbooks. Life is full of flavors, after all.

If any of you get into a slump through Nanowrimo, you should know that other writers are your best resource for information. Most folks I know would be more than happy to send you off in the right direction if you get stuck or give you information regarding resources online or in your area to research your subject matter. Or maybe the story itself is the problem and you’re having some stylistic, grammatical, or structural issues.

But, if you don’t want to reach out to a friend, there are other ways to figure things out on your own.

A Kindle Unlimited subscription could be of use if you need to research and don’t have time to wait around on books to arrive on your doorstep. I have this service and it comes in handy for all sorts of situations.

If you’re having trouble formatting your manuscript to submit, I would advise you to first use the William Shunn formatting example here. This example is widely accepted from most publishers, but you should ALWAYS read submission guidelines very thoroughly. Editors are fickle beasts sometimes and I know this because I’ve done my fair share and it’s not fun. I was well known for tossing manuscripts for using Comic Sans, because, yes, people like to do that to me for some reason.

Note- Do not send anyone a manuscript in comic sans, please. It is an annoyance and I view the act as a personal attack on my character and well being. Just kidding. Or am I?

If you’re stuck and you need to figure out where to take your story next because you didn’t plot something out exactly to a tee, no fear. You can always check Reddit, look for inspiration from Pinterest, and shoot ideas back and forth with a friend. Sometimes just talking it out is a help.

If you’re interested in books, Stephen King’s On Writing is highly recommended. It’s not just a how to, it’s quite the cozy read. But, if you’re not into King’s writing style and you’re looking for more of a guide, you can always check out The Elements of Style. I used to keep a copy close, but I lent it out and never got it back years ago. I didn’t repurchase it because I just didn’t like it and the important info in there can be found online with a quick search.

Until next time, folks. Happy writing and happy reading.
And, I hope you all had a Blessed Samhain and/or a Happy Halloween.

Gimme Your Best Suggestions!

If you know of any new releases, even if they haven’t been officially released yet, please shoot me a comment, email, or message on Facebook. I’m working on filling at least three open slots for books in November. Please remember that November is a busy month for most people and I’m a mom with an adult child who will be (hopefully) coming home for a full turkey dinner, so I have to cook for a whole week and prepare notes for my typical Thanksgiving speech about the **REAL** story of American colonization, so I will be pretty busy.

I’d love some non-fiction or biographies, but romance and hard case crime novels are always appreciated. You don’t have to be an author or publisher to get me to read something! If you enjoy an author and know they have a new release or a recent release, or even a release you loved that you’d like me to love, too, just give me a title and author’s name and I’ll track it down myself!

I’m considering a blog series for cookbooks and recipe collections one day in the near future. If you’d be interested in something like that, let me know. I’m particularly interested in cookbooks with a nod toward pop culture. There are so many celebrities with their own cookbooks, television series with cookbooks based on them, etc. It’s certainly a fun niche.

Here’s a picture of my best friend, Salem…for absolutely no reason whatsoever.

The Food From the True Blood, the Exclusive True Blood Cookbook by Rene Reed- Cookbook Review

**DISCLAIMER**As an Amazon Associate I may earn a commission from qualifying purchases, but my reviews and opinions are absolutely mine and accurate.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

My husband and I are True Blood fans and have been for years. While searching out Amazon for True Blood merch, we came across a cookbook and couldn’t turn it down, so we bought it immediately and it arrived within a week.

There are things you should know about this book before you buy it.

First, it’s not the only True Blood cookbook available. There is another one and I want it. I haven’t bough tit yet because I have only just discovered it. It’s called True Blood: Eats, Drinks, and Bites from Bon Temps.

I”m definitely not a fan of the black and white pages…


And, this is a big one for me.

The book has rough, coloring book style pages. And, it’s all in black and white.

This may be great for some folks, but I saw a missed opportunity here. This book is supposed to be representative of the foods, smells, and tastes one might associate with vampires and blood. I wanted to see the deep red in the red velvet cake and beetroots. But, nope. None of that.

I was disappointed.

The recipes within the book, however, are pretty nice.

The ingredients involved in the recipes are relatively easy for most people to find in local stores. One recipe does call for venison, so I would imagine some folks might find that one difficult to fulfill, but venison is easily enough swapped out for beef in most recipes. The author failed to mention this, though, and I sort of feel like it should have been included information, but I suppose not all cookbooks are the same and in that vein, not all cookbook authors are, either.

“I”m gonna rip open your heart, and fry it up with some grits and collard greens.” -Tara Thornton

There are other issues, also. In the beginning of the book, there are instances where a recipe’s photo is the right side, full page, and when you turn the page, the ingredients are listed on a left side page. But, the page next to it (a right side page) is the photo for another recipe, so recipes and photos aren’t matching up. I know this was a stylistic choice and maybe the publisher and author didn’t want to waste page space, but this could have been handled and designed better.

I really can’t say I’ll be using this cookbook much. It would be nice for someone who loves beetroot, because there is multiple recipes involving beetroots included. Maybe even nice for someone who doesn’t know a lot of recipes and honestly it’s a nice little piece to keep as a fan of True Blood, but it’s not a book I would recommend someone buy to keep as a regularly used cookbook because it’s just not that at all.

For all of these reasons, I’m afraid this books has gained two stars and no more.

Available at Amazon. I want it sooo bad…

Revisiting Old Favorites

***Disclosure- As an Amazon Associate I may earn a commission from qualifying purchases, but my reviews and opinions are absolutely mine and accurate.***

I have a real soft spot for time travel. A big part of me is constantly searching for an escape from reality and time travel just seeps in to fill the cracks left by that deep longing to be anywhere (and any time) else. I don’t know why I am the way I am. I could fly to a whole new planet where everything is warm, there are no predators to my species, and extraterrestrial cabana boys serve me margaritas all day long and I’d still get the itch to wander elsewhere every now and then. An international pandemic only fanned the flames, to be quite honest.

And, in the spirit of that itch, I have revisited some old time traveling friends thanks to an ad I saw somewhere in a magazine rack at a doctor’s office. I don’t remember the magazine, but I remember it was very dated. I remembered this title because I’d read it probably at about the time the magazine was published (ha!).

It’s funny how an item from a time period can take you back to that spot in your life. Smells can do this also. But, I’m certainly not complaining because the moment I remembered this book, I googled it on my phone and bought a hardback copy (my preference). And, the minute it arrived, I read it all. I only put it down to do the most necessary of tasks. Books like that do tend to be the best to a reader.

I hadn’t read a Jude Deveraux romance in quite a long time and I was instantly taken back to a simpler time in my life (before children) when Sisqo was on the radio singing about thongs and I was trying to convince my mom to let me go to the mall when I’d clearly not done my chores. The story was the same, but it meant more to me because I’ve changed in the last twenty years, as people are apt to do. 

And, the  minute I put Knight In Shining Armor down, I decided to track down the Edilean series because I hadn’t read any of those particular Deveraux titles. Turns out, while I was busy having babies, Jude Deveraux was still living her life, writing wonderful novels… What nerve! (I kid). 

I guess some people have comfort foods, but I have comfort books. And, I’m making a mental list of other authors I should revisit as soon as I’m through the Edilean series. I’m thinking about Kathleen Woodiwiss first. I may even go back to some older Stephen King titles and give them a reread (Christine, I’m lookin’ at you). 

Of course, I’m always open to suggestions from my own friends and readers out there. Drop a suggestion in the comments if there are any older novels or authors you think I should check out. Book recommendations are always a welcome, refreshing addition to my comments and emails. Just fyi, I’ll never not want them. 


An American Werewolf In Hoboken by Dakota Cassidy

Wooing a life mate can be hard enough for a wolf, wooing one while under the threat of a curse, even more so.
After being drugged and captured by Animal Control, Max Adams is on Hoboken’s doggie death row when his life mate adopts him, takes him home, and promptly names him Fluffy.
Wooing a mate while pretending to be her dog? Nearly impossible.
While JC, in all her new-pet-owner-ness, feeds “Fluffy” vile kibble, dresses him in mortifying dog couture, and schedules to have his manhood removed, Max’s human side gets to know JC. Especially in the biblical sense. Hopefully well enough to make her fall madly in love, mate with him under the full moon, and move with him to Cedar Glen to live happily-ever-after forever and ever amen. And fast.
Because the curse comes with a deadline…and the clock is ticking.
USA Today bestselling paranormal romantic comedy author Dakota Cassidy takes you on a laugh-out-loud roller-coaster ride from beginning to end, complete with werewolves, magic users, and shifters. Discover what happens when Max Adams, one strong alpha male, finds himself at the mercy of a woman who thinks he’s a big fluffy dog in An American Werewolf In Hoboken. Book 1 in the bestselling Wolf Mates series.
What readers are saying about An American Werewolf In Hoboken:
“Cute, Sassy, Funny”
“A barrel of fun!”
“Characters have great chemistry.”
*Not intended for readers under the age of 18. *Previously Published: (2014) Dakota Cassidy | (2006) Changeling Press.
Author Note: 
Dear readers: Please note, this book, originally published in 2006 with a small e-press, has been updated, revised, expanded, and in general, beaten into a whole new submission. If some of my earliest readers recognize the general concept, I hope you’ll enjoy the new, expanded version of this series.
Books in the Wolf Mates series:
1. An American Werewolf In Hoboken
2. What’s New, Pussycat?
3. Gotta Have Faith
4. Moves Like Jagger
5. Bad Case of Loving You

This was a fun book, and I say that with a smirk.

The main characters are so very fun.

Imagine being a werewolf pretending to be the pet dog of a woman you find yourself completely crazy for. She feeds you kibble, she pets you, she scratches behind your ears, and you are becoming more and more smitten by her as time passes.

And, imagine having to call home one day and tell your entire family that you’ve found your mate, but she thinks you’re a literal dog…named Fluffy. This is the life of Max Adams.

Max, the sometimes four legged, sometimes bi-pedal hero, is a strong lead, but also refreshingly sensible and kind. JC, his sometimes owner, sometimes love interest, is a hairdresser in Hoboken who just doesn’t want to be lonely and thought she was going to adopt a cat from a shelter.

Obviously, she adopts “Fluffy” instead and hilarity ensues. It’s a wonderful story. There is a satisfactory amount of comedy, but also a very touching, albeit hot, romance within the plot. The characters share a beautiful chemistry and the secondary characters are interesting, too.

Personally, if my dog starts talking and becomes a person one day, I’d probably not react so well to the transition. JC and Max, however, happily fall into place quite well.

I can recommend this book easily to any one of my booky friends. It would be a really fun book club read, too, perfect for lighthearted conversing.

Right now, it looks as though the only format A Werewolf In Hoboken is available for (on Amazon) is Kindle and Audible. 


A Demon And His Witch by Eve Langlais

DemonandhiswitchRelease date: June 2012
Genre: Paranormal romance

Burning alive is nothing compared to the heat of his touch.

There are better ways to break up with a girl than having her roasted at the stake as a witch. Is it any wonder Ysabel has trust issues? She got her revenge, though, and it only cost her a slightly tarnished soul.

Working for Lucifer isn’t all bad, until her ex-boyfriend escapes the bowels of Hell and she’s forced to team up with a womanizing demon to fetch the jerk back.

As a minion in Lucifer’s legion, Remy’s seen a lot of things, but nothing can prepare him for the witch with the acerbic tongue – and voluptuous figure. The more she pushes him away, the more determined he becomes to seduce her. However, what’s a poor demon to do when he accidentally falls in love and wants to keep her forever?

Welcome to Hell where you’re screwed if you do and damned if don’t. And just so you know, Lucifer has a special spot reserved for you…

I have had this book resting on my Kindle device forever. I’m glad I dove further into the TBR pile this weekend because I really enjoyed this book and will probably soon gift myself with the rest of the series. There are six books in the Welcome To Hell series and this is the first one.

The main characters are fantastic. Ysabel is a very likable witch. I enjoy her quick reactions. She is certainly not a damsel in distress, though she does find herself in a bit of a hot pickle. Being that A Demon and His Witch is a shorter read, the reader (that’s us!) doesn’t get to see too much into Ysabel’s past, which I thought would have made for an interesting novel in itself, possibly several volumes (lol).

BUT… (Drumroll)

As Ysabel is such a strong, smart character, I find it difficult to believe she didn’t see the betrayal from her lover in the end of her life. I do get that sometimes people only see the good in others, but Ysabel was written sharply–little hidden, speaks her mind…I felt like she would have been more likely to have seen him for what he was eons ago, but had she, this would have been a totally different story.

The hero in this story is an alpha male, in case that matters to any of you. Remy is a half demon, half mortal. In the story, we readers meet his demon mother and learn that his mortal father was accidentally killed by his mother (who says she loved him, but…). We quickly learn that Remy is a take charge sorta guy, he’s toying with the idea that he might settled down to a forever relationship, although it goes completely against his previous dating practices (in which he just sort of meanders from bed to bed, I suppose lol).

The plot of the story is basically strewn right out in the back cover blurb, so I won’t get into too much description of it here and I certainly don’t want to give you any big spoilers because people who do that suck. The gist of it is that Ysabel and Remy are tasked with bringing five escaped damned souls back to hell. These particular souls were people responsible for Ysabel’s death, so obviously it’s personal for her. Remy and Ysabel are quite the match and their constant banter was hilarious.

Four stars! YAY.

A Demon and His Witch by Eve Langlais is available at for Kindle at $2.99 and Paperback at $7.99. 

Summer Goals–Books and Otherwise

Currently reading…

Today has started a little bit slowly, but as it is the last day of school (for my kids), I feel like the pace was perfect. It’s an introduction to a slow summer, the season I look forward to the most. Yes, even more than my favorite season, fall.

I was sweeping floors and doing laundry when it struck me that I have no real plan for summer. Other than choosing books to read, I have no idea what we’re doing. No vacations planned, no real goals set. But, wait one second–there is a million projects around the house I feel we can finish. And, I can probably make most of them fun and interesting.

For a start, I think I know a couple of teenage girls who would do a really good job at re-staining kitchen cabinets and painting a few rooms. And, I have two boys and a nephew or ten who are perfect little weed eaters. I think I’m also going to dive into making my own popsicles this summer. Last summer I bought a mold that makes six pops of whatever you want and I did really well with making my sugar free treats, but I was still buying the kids their own to have. This year, I think we’ll make an effort at freezing about 75% of the frozen treats we eat ourselves. If we make it to 100%, that’s even better.

As far as reading goes, I’m looking into some educational sites for kids. We might even buy a few books (print, that is) online. For myself, I’d like to keep working on my reading schedule and try to finish August and September’s lineup while I read through the books I’ve penciled in. I’m pretty excited about it, really. Summer can be a lot of things, but to us, it’s the season of books, yard stuff, and frozen things. All the frozen things!