Monthly Archives: October 2013

Going on a School Visit…and I’m not afaid.

Can I just say that I LOVE reading to kids?

Good, because I just said it. Tomorrow I get to read one of my short stories and help a high school-led anti-bully group talk about the impact of bullying.

I love speaking, I love kids and I love proactive teens who want to help make a better world for the upcoming generation.

Thanks, Lexi for seeing the need in our community and founding BRAVE. Thanks, Mrs. Anderson for taking on the BRAVE project so it could expand to more classrooms and more grades. And lastly, thanks to the peer helpers who take the time to spread the word about Building Relationships Against Violence Everywhere.

Now get ready fourth graders, cuz here I come.

Dear Readers and Writers, Got Stories? Want Free Books?

Announcing three Literary Events and what they mean to you.

  1. October 31: Call for Submissions. Short story submissions for the Winter’s Regret anthology must be received by this date. For all you aspiring writers out there, share your story of regret with Elephant’s Bookshelf Press and join other Seasons Series authors. Details can be found here: submission guidelines, while submissions can be sent to
  2. November 1: Debut Novel Release and Prize Giveaway. This day marks the end of an Epic Ten Day Giveaway. Between now and then, A.T.O’Connor is giving away prizes left and right to celebrate the release of her debut novel, Whispering Minds. Prizes include six novels by fresh new writers, as well as other fun and delicious goodies. Check out her blog by the same name: Whispering Minds.
  3. November 1: The Official Start of NaNo. For those who thrive on crazy deadlines and nearly impossible tasks, NaNoWriMo is just around the corner. “What is NaNo?” you ask. National Novel Writing Month is that crazy thirty days where writers eschew all real life responsibilities and pen 50,000 coherent words. Yes, I will be NaNoing again this year, and you can join me. Hop over to NaNoWriMo and sign up now.

And that’s it. Three great things that happen in less than a week.

So, if you write, get your butt in gear. If you read, add to your bookshelves. And if you do neither, there’s no time like the present to start!


Sealed Lips Sink Ships: pushing away support

So, I had an eye-opening experience this past week. With two novels under contract–one due out in a week and the other next year–I was feeling a little put out that my Dear Hubby wasn’t flapping his gums about my impending success.

Right? I mean, I’ve worked so hard to perfect my craft and piece together stories worthy of public consumption. Shouldn’t he be hanging from the streetlights with a megaphone?

Okay, part of that is a silly fairytale dream, but equal parts are true. As spouses, we support each other publicly and privately–except in this one small area. So, we sat down and had a heart to heart. Turns out, I’m the one who sealed his lips from years of being so guarded with my writing.

Scenario 1

  • Him: Whatcha working on?
  • Me: Nothing. Just stuff.

Scenario 2

  • Him: What did you get done today?
  • Me: Not enough.

Scenario 3

  • Him: What’s your new story about?
  • Me: Hmmm, it’s kind of hard to explain…

Scenario 4

  • Him: walks by as I peck at my computer
  • Me: covers screen in embarrassment

I could write a thousand and one more scenarios, but the point will always be the same. I. Am. Terrified.

I’m terrified to talk about my writing, to share my writing, to articulate where I’m at in the process. I am insanely scared of being judged when my work is incomplete. Once I’ve finished a piece–and by finished I mean polished to near perfection–I’m tolerably okay with sharing.

The problem is that by sitting behind my writing wall for so many years, I’ve shut him out. Him and probably other people as well. Not a good place to be when you’re gearing up to throw your baby onto the world’s bookshelves.

So I ask you, dear writers, have you locked your writing and your writing process behind fences and walls to the point where you feel isolated from those who would otherwise love to support you? If so, it’s time to throw the gates wide. The question is how…

If  you’re one of the smarter ones and have been open with your writing from the get-go, please share any tips you have so the rest of us can learn to gracefully and graciously accept the support we so desperately want, but so completely push away.

Curious minds need some help!

Halloween Is Dead: and a recipe to celebrate its demise

This morning as we sat cuddling before school, Youngest informed me he was not going trick-or-treating this year.

Can I just add that he’s only nine?!?!?

I suppose it’s possible that some of his friends are not going out this year. That they’ve been told they are too old for such shenanigans. Or maybe it’s because he’s never been a huge Halloween candy fan and usually leaves most of it for us to pick at during November. Or maybe because a typical trick-or-treat stint for our family is about two blocks and hardly worth getting bundled up for.

Whatever the reason, that part of Halloween is officially dead in our house. (Yay!)

And so, instead of heading into the bowels of our tiny town begging for candy, we will simply pass out treats from the comfort of our front door and chow down on the first pot of homemade chili of the season.

To be honest, this will be a much more enjoyable evening for me than Halloweens past.

If you would like to join my family in our “Halloween Stew” tradition, feel free to treat yourself to my recipe below. The only trick is making enough to satisfy monstrous appetites.

Cat’s Family Chili

~to be made for the first time each fall as witches fly and ghosts boo~

  • 1 pound hamburger, browned
  • 1/2 small onion, diced and sautéed
  • 1 16 oz. can Hormel Chili with beans
  • 1 large can stewed, peeled tomatoes, chopped
  • 5-8 pepperoncini peppers, chopped
  • 1/4 cup pepperoncini pepper juice
  • chili powder (anywhere from 2 tsp. to 3 tablespoons, start small and go big until you like the flavor)

Mix together all ingredients–adding or subtracting measurements to your personal taste–and let simmer on low until hot and flavors blend. This recipe is easily tweaked, doubled or tripled to delight the masses.

And, according to my fam, it’s best served with shredded cheddar cheese and Frito Lay Scoops. No spoons necessary!

So, while my least favorite part of Halloween shall R.I.P., my favorite traditions will remain.

What traditions do you have surrounding fall holidays?

Curious minds want to know.

*Oh yeah, and I’ll be getting ready for two very important things that happen November 1. But I’ll get into that later.