You can check out my books on, and at Barnes & Noble too.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Sunday Evening Pics


I'm so over this whole being sick thing. My body does not seem to agree. Joy. Can you tell all these pictures were taken from the same vantage point? Moving seemed like a lot of work. So did holding the phone steady so the pics wouldn't be blurry.

On the housekeeping front, Made for Breaking is at full price for download now, which is a whopping $1.99. Thank you, readers, and please, spread the word if you like it. God Love Her is coming right along, and I can't wait to share the next Russell installment. Now if only I could shake this cold...

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Rosewood - Part 13

 Rosewood - Part 13
(The beginning of the next chapter)

            “No, you just go and have fun and don’t worry about anything.” Jo gave her older sister a gentle push between her shoulder blades, trying to propel her forward. “We have this handled.”

            Jess braced her feet on the porch floor and half-turned, frowning. She was in a long, drapey gray sweater and black tights, wicked stilettos. Her nails were red and her hair and makeup were flawless. She was taking this romantic getaway thing seriously. But her face was too white, the line of her lips too tight. Now, when it was time to leave, stress had its hooks in her. “Don’t worry? Jo, I’m leaving you in charge of things – ”

            “And unless you want to start your trip with a fight, you won’t finish that sentence,” Jo said sweetly, and gave her another nudge.  “Go on. Your chariot awaits.”

Friday, September 27, 2013

God Love Her - Chapter One

Nothing ruins a good writing streak like a cold. Ugh. I'm swimming in tissues and empty Dayquil pack blisters and feeling like dog poop. It's been a while since I've had a cold this vicious, and it's killed my ability to do anything but sit and stare. Instead of a real post, here's chapter one of God Love Her. (There's a prologue, but you'll have to wait for the final book for that.) Excuse me while I go OD on vitamin C and pass out.


            “Your cousin Lisa can’t pick you up, sweetie.” Her aunt’s voice was warm with apology in the message she’d left. “Something…something came up. But someone will be there for you. Meet them at baggage claim. Hope you had a safe flight. Can’t wait to see you again, sweetie!” And the message ended with a click. The automated voicemail bot prompted her to press five to hear the message again, and Layla hung up instead, sliding her cell back into her purse.

            “Well.” Layla took a deep breath and scanned her surroundings, getting her bearings. Passengers exiting her flight were streaming around her, trying to see the arrival board, muttering and cursing her for standing in the way. One thing became immediately apparent: Her memories didn’t do justice to the startling differences between Atlanta and LA. And that was just going by the airport. The voices, the snatches of conversation – the accent wasn’t the stylized drawl Hollywood pretended it was, but something soft and comfy. Smooth-edged consonants and long, rounded vowels. It was August here, and shorts and flip-flops and bright red sunburns melting into golden tans were the uniform components. But there were jeans and boots too. Construction workers. Wannabe cowboys. Country boys – which was a whole other category.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Slight of Hand - 4.3

Theo plucked and dressed the pheasant; Rees sprinkled it with salt and pepper and set it to roast. They ate it at the table, by the light of two lamps, with beans and potatoes and china cups of the warm, sweet red wine the Liam had produced from a dusty bottle under his jacket. Rees let the younger girls drink too, and Annabel’s cheeks were rosy because of it, her laughter loud and sharp. Lily was quiet, but smiling down at her dented tin plate of food.

            “Do you even know how to use that bow of yours?” Theo asked Annabel between mouthfuls. Both men had the table manners of wild dogs: eating with their fingers, stripping the chicken from the bone completely, leaving not a scrap behind. They were hungry, and used to eating all they could when they could. It raised a dozen questions in Rees’s mind about where and how they’d gained access to so much food…and not partaken of it themselves.

            “Yes,” Annabel boasted, tiny nose lifted high. She’d decided she approved of Theo; Rees could tell. It was a grudging respect on both their parts, it seemed. “I do. I’m good at it, too.”

            “Can you even draw the string?”

            “Yes! You wanna see? I could kill a squirrel, if I wanted to.”

            “Not with that short bow, you couldn’t. Do you handle the rifle?”

            “Let’s not encourage that,” Rees said, and he cast a glance across the table at her, eyes twinkling in the dancing lamplight, grinning as he licked pheasant grease off his palm.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Welcome Fall

I can't tell you how much I love this time of year. The older I get, the more cold-natured I become, the more I appreciate summer's heat. But there's something wondrous about fall.

I love the color of the sunlight this time of year. Right now, it's crisp and clear, and as October arrives, it will revolve through a kaleidoscope of honeys and golds and rich cider tones in the evenings. It's not hazy in fall; everything is sharp-edged and pungent. The smell of a fresh wood fire, the sweet decay of leaf litter: magic. Before the knifing of winter winds and the numbness of fingers and toes drives me into my lair, I love enjoying this season. The horses love it too. The summer slump falls away and a little bit of optimism returns.

I'm choosing to blame this on my new optimism...

I'd love to get this done and have it available for the fall/winter holiday season. In addition to God Love Her, of course. That one is coming right along. Ha! Let's see how much I can get done.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

In the Grass

 I didn't see any snakes today, but I flushed a couple rats. And a plague-worthy amount of grasshoppers. A Sunday afternoon in the rippling waves of grass, bush hogging before winter, breathing in too much dust and too many seeds. The bush hog kicks a lovely spray of grit and bugs and dirt up the back of the tractor, and, consequently, up the back of your shirt. It's a sweaty, dirty job, and through the ear plugs, the steady thrum and chug of the tractor is the sound of exuberance. There's something lemon-smelling in the cut-grass. And the sky is heaven-and-cotton perfection. The sun is warm. There's dirt in my chapstsick. It feels like early fall, and late summer.
Sunday in the grass. 

Still during...

Freakishly, the above two photos lined up really well when stacked together.
Mowing is good thinking time. Hopefully, the next week will unfold some good writing time too. Hope everyone had a great weekend. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Perfect Rainy Day for Reading

Sometimes I wish I wrote less so I had more time for reading. I'm a book worm in the true sense. But one can't hope to make a career of reading, so oh well. Duty calls.

Today is a perfect, drenching rainy day, and this just arrived in the mail yesterday. All one thousand pages of it. Impeccable timing.

I finished Patrick Rothfuss's The Name of the Wind a couple weeks ago and immediately ordered the sequel, The Wise Man's Fear. So far, this series is proving to be my favorite kind of read: the kind I enjoy so much that I refuse to step back from it and look at it critically. I just want to be a fan, to read and enjoy and soak it in and not worry about analyzing it for a second. Sure, I could talk metaphors and language and themes, but suffice to say Rothfuss is a beautiful writer who handles first and third person deftly, creates complex characters, and tells a story in true epic fantasy tradition. I'm so glad I took a chance on these books; they were such a good recommendation.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Rosewood - Part 12

After a question about it, I'm thinking of compiling and expanding these shorts into a collection of Walker stories for paperback and ebook. I'll let everyone know. Thinking of turning it into a holiday volume.


Rosewood – Part 12


            “Are you happy here…with me?”

            The silence that followed was oppressive. Jess could hear the blood rushing through her ears, the unsteady thump of her heart; her utter stupidity was a riptide, pulling at her, dragging her under a haze of embarrassment and fear. Why couldn’t she have kept her mouth shut? Why did she always have to ruin things –

            Chris pulled in a deep breath, his chest lifting, eyes widening in obvious alarm, before he said, “What?”

            She couldn’t look at him; she glanced away, attempting to swallow the lump in her throat.

            “Are you serious?”

            She took a shaky breath. “Well are you?”

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Rosewood - Part 11


Rosewood Short – Part 11


            “Your sister listens to what I tell her.”

            “Jo’s the baby; she’s required to listen,” Jess said as she moved down the gallery. She knew the moment it left her mouth she shouldn’t have said it. “I listen,” she added, “and take what you say into consideration.”

            Behind her, the strike of her flats like gunshots on the refinished hardwood, Jess’s mother made an incensed, maternal sound. “I’m only suggesting – ”

            “You aren’t suggesting,” Jess said, rounding the corner at the end of the staircase and moving toward the kitchen. “You’re beating me over the head.”

            “I’m only saying,” Beth persisted, “that it would be beneficial.”

            There was a tangle of female voices echoing on the other side of the swinging kitchen door and Jess spun around when she reached it, putting her back to it, and squared off from her mom. Beth pulled up short to avoid colliding with her. Her face was set at a Jo-like angle, stubborn.

            Jess fought for patience. “How would it be beneficial for me to go away and leave my business for a week? And what would I need with a hotel? I live in a hotel, Mom.”

            “Yes, you live here, you work here, you spend every waking second here. You’re burnt out, Jessica. You’re pregnant, you’re exhausted, and you’re killing yourself. You need a break.”

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Last Week for 99 Cent Downloads!

Just wanted to take a second to thank my readers for their support and say that this is the last week to get Made for Breaking for 99 cents. So anyone curious about the Russell debut novel, you can get it at the discounted price through Friday.

And then in December...

Saturday, September 14, 2013

A Look at "God Love Her"

It's my plan to share some of this chapter by chapter at some point - still shooting for a December release. But I wanted to share this little bit today. Happy Saturday, all! Hope it's as blue and beautiful where you are as it is here. Spoilers for Made for Breaking.



Dinner was stir fry, risotto, and fried apples. Layla offered to help and was finally allowed to prep the rolls, so long as she stayed sitting down and promised not to “overwork” herself. Ellen and Cheryl were delighted to learn that, unlike Lisa, she could cook and liked to. Lisa made a face at that.

            After, Layla was denied her wish to help clean up, and instead slipped out the backdoor. The evening was all in grays and purples, the ancient oaks throwing lace shadows across the silver stretch of lawn. Security lamps on their power poles were flickering to life around the drive. Crickets called to one another, and above them, in the trees, the cicadas. It smelled like sun and grass and hot pavement, and the heady sweetness of Cheryl’s gardens. Layla wandered in the shelter of the shadows, and finally found a bench beside a koi pond; she had a view of the driveway, the back of the house, and, if she squinted, the ghostly pale shapes of the fish slipping beneath the lily pads down at her feet. It was the loveliest thing she’d seen in over a year. The peace of it was drugging; she could feel her headache ebb, the stress bleed out of her muscles.

            It lasted about five minutes before the pine straw crunched behind her.

This Morning

Such a clear, cool, pretty September morning.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Slight of Hand - 4.2

The next morning, there were more gifts. Needle, fine white thread, a bolt of gray wool, another of brown, some white linen, scented soap, oil for the lanterns, and three pairs of what must have been young boys’ riding boots. The boots were used, but still in good shape, just broken in; the leather was decent and the footbeds were comfortable and warm. Rees and Lily set immediately to making a new dress for each of them. Annabel was ecstatic over the boots.

Making Progress

Just watching some fish, listening to music, daydreaming, writing.

I've spent all week completely immersed in writing. Some weeks, it's tortuous, peeling words off the top of my brain that are sticky and resistant as day-old gum coming off the bottom of a shoe. I hate those weeks. They always pass, the inspiration always comes back, but I start to get flustered by the ends of those weeks. I struggle with anxiety, and being without inspiration doesn't help this. At all. But this week has been a good week.

Working on a sequel novel is always risky. If no one cared about novel one, then writing novel two is a big honking waste of time. It's not a waste to me - mentally, emotionally - but in the grand scheme of being an author, it doesn't help matters. Reviving God Love Her has been stressful for that very reason: am I embarking on a series when I shouldn't be? But the Made for Breaking sales have been positive, and so surprising, and that has put the spurs to my enthusiasm for the next installment. It's not the numbers, but what they mean, that's so exciting for me. People are interested. People are curious. People want to read. People wanted to read badly enough to go find it before it was officially on sale. Sales, for me, aren't ego-boosting; they're like an unexpected sweet note from a friend. To put so many hours into a project, and have someone want to read it, is an author's best payment. It's my art, and being able to share it is the absolute coolest thing.

The tentative release for God Love Her is December, before Christmas some time. I'm feeling creative, and refreshed, and ready to tackle its plot roller coaster. And hopefully, I'll be sharing a chunk of it with everyone here soon. I thank my readers, again, profusely, for keeping me going.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Slight of Hand - 4.1





            They didn’t stay. Theo built a fire in the stove, left them with a week’s worth of firewood, and roused his drunken friend. With Liam’s arm slung across his shoulders, he gave Rees a nod and they took their leave, out into the dusky indigo of evening. “Bolt the door,” he told her as they started up the road. She did. And latched the windows. And she lit a precious candle so that she could see to pan-fry their last four strips of bacon.

            They ate at the table, by candlelight, soaking up grease from the iron skillet with stale, hard heels of bread. They had only cheese left, not enough for even one proper meal the next day. And in the wavering shadows, Rees could hear all their stomachs growling for more.

            Annabel was the one who finally brought up their visitors. “I think you should have let them stay.”

Monday, September 9, 2013

Slight of Hand - 3.3

“You’re educated?” Liam’s voice was growing sloppier by the second; the whiskey was doing its job. He was unflinching, asking her questions to help the time pass. Unfortunately, a drunk patient was a moving patient, and Rees kept steadying him, pausing between stitches. On the first pass, the first punch of needle through skin, she’d thought she was going to faint. No, she’d chanted in her head. No, no, no. And the spots had cleared from her vision. And she’d pulled the needle through the neat edge of the wound. And Liam was doing a good job of distracting her, even if he was foxed.

            “I am,” she said, pulling his skin closed and holding the thread down with her thumbnail. “I was going to be a teacher.”

            “Going to be?” He breathed a raspy chuckle. “The charms of matrimony stole you away from your career?”

            “William proposed. Mama thought it was a good match.”

            “Mama thought, eh? Your mama thought there were fairies living in the bottom of the well, and they sang songs to her when she was pulling up water.”

Two Years

It's hard to believe it's been two years today since AB came to the farm. Her arrival was something of an emergency situation because we had rushed Skip to the vet hospital at Auburn the day before, and Markus couldn't be out alone, and we had no idea if we could find him a friend on such short notice. I sat in the middle of the pasture with him most of the day, praying he didn't panic and try to jump the fence, consoling him when he came to stand with me. It was a stressful, awful, sad day.

We pulled the trailer up to the barn at nightfall, and as AB backed off the trailer, one of the neighbors set off a whole batch of fireworks. New farm, low light, new horses...and fireworks. Most horses are terrified of fireworks. AB didn't even flinch. She walked right into her stall, sniffed the minis through the wall, and started eating hay.

I'm so glad to have this steady, sweet, good girl here. She fits right in with this odd little herd of misfits, me included.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Saturday, September 7, 2013


I have to admit that, of the novels I've written, Whatever Remains is my favorite. It's near and dear to me, a true passion project. So I was thrilled when my submission of a portion of it was accepted by a lit mag. You can find an excerpt of Whatever Remains in the September "Instincts" issue of The Opening Line Literary 'Zine. It's out now, and is free to download.

Happy Saturday, all! I'll spend most of my day on the riding lawnmower, so I hope you're all doing something more fun than that.

Friday, September 6, 2013

I Named It

Slight of Hand. And it's "slight" instead of "sleight" on purpose. If a title can have more than one meaning, and be a play on words, that's always a bonus. Hiding, rumors of magic, small girls with small yay, it's got a title now.

Liam had a gash that followed the outer curve of his shoulder, a wicked slice that bit deep enough to flash the white under layers of skin. Rees pressed her lips together against a wave of nausea when she peeled his shirt away and caught her first blood-smeared look of it.

            “Ruined my second coat,” he said as she prodded the edge of the laceration with a tentative finger. “What a rare thing it is to have two coats these days.”


For me, the most challenging part of writing is not putting the book together - it's making the social connections necessary to get my work out there. Because it isn't just meeting new friends; it's meeting people and then telling them about your work. And this is where my shyness becomes a big problem. I always worry that I'm imposing on someone; that he or she doesn't want anything to do with my work and that I'm being a bother. And I hate being a bother. I hate imposing. I hate for others to feel obligated. It's funny - the same quietness that makes me well-suited for writing makes me very ill-suited for marketing. And like all fears and doubts and semi-crippling problems that exist in our imaginations, it's something I have to push past, and it's something that causes some stress. I've been working on it this past year.

Today, my sweet cousin Lesley is sharing my Walker Series on her blog. Seeing my book covers on another blog made me blush! Lesley's been at this a lot longer than I have and she has a gorgeous blog over at where she talks about motherhood, recipes, healthy living, fashion, home design, and her real life as captured through her own beautiful photography. Lesley has been such a supportive voice when it comes to writing and blogging, inspiring me to start my own blog, and her blog is so truly pretty in so many ways. I really appreciate my creative cousin sharing my work with her followers!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

More Untitled - Name Coming, I Promise!





            There was nothing in the way of a modern convenience at the Cornish farm. Rees’s hands slipped on the well crank twice before Theo brushed her not-so-sweetly out of the way and brought the water up himself.

            “I can do it,” she protested.

            His answer was a disbelieving grunt as he emptied the bucket into one of the two he’d brought outside and dropped it down the well again. His shirt was the same thin roughspun as Liam’s, only light. It had been white once, a long time ago. It clung to the perspiration down the backs of his lean arms.

            His silence, the sheer boldness of him – following her out here, pushing her aside, acting not at all like any sort of gentlemanly southerner, his being here in the first place – pricked at her temper. She was still frightened, she was hungry, and she was close to tears with nerves, staggering under the weight of all that had happened in just a week’s time; and now this sullen, bearded stranger with wolfish green eyes was treating her like a prisoner in her own home.


Salad with grilled chicken, strawberries, cranberries, parm, and balsamic vinaigrette. It's a little bit amazing.

And dessert. Fact - Reese's taste twice as good in holiday shapes.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Another Tidbit

Still don't have a name for it, but I'm working on it in pieces when I get tired of my main project, so figured I'd keep sharing.

His grin became true. “Smart girl.”

            There was a sound behind her of Lily feeding another precious log into the fire; Rees thought she could hear the low rush of water in the old iron kettle preparing to boil. Cups, she thought inanely, forcing herself to turn away and go to the cupboard. We need cups. Theo’s eyes followed her, bright green wolf eyes that made her want to shiver. Inviting them in had been a mistake, but what choice had they?

Made for Breaking Playlist

A little bit of musical inspiration, some just for fun, some as soundtrack wishes. None of it intended to be too artsy.
"Heart Like Mine" - Miranda Lambert
"Free" - Jypsi
"Little Lovin'" - Lissie
"Skeletons" - Eli Young Band
"Wildflower" - The JaneDear Girls
"Thickfreakness" - The Black Keys
"Fine Line" - Little Big Town
"Maintain the Pain" - Miranda Lambert
"Wolf" - First Aid Kit
"Bones" - MS MR
"You Lie" - The Band Perry
"Get What You Need" - Jet
"Hunger Strike" - Halestorm
"Everything You Want" - Vertical Horizon
"You're Gonna Go Far Kid" - The Offpspring
"Can't Get Enough" - Bad Company
"Live Wire" - AC/DC
"Outlaw Man" - The Eagles
"Chariot" - Gretchen Wilson

Monday, September 2, 2013

First Signs

The first fallen leaf of the season. Exciting. Sad. I'm conflicted. Because as much as I love fall, I hate winter, and it's supposed to be a cold one this year.

This is a pear leaf. And while the edges of the trees are starting to warm and crackle, true, I think last night's storms are more to blame than fall for its dropping. This morning was one of those uniquely autumn mornings: the great shifting tides of steady rain. A rainy day tucked under a blanket with a good book is perfection. Feeding the horses in the rain is not so perfect. Within the first five steps, my rain jacket is plastered to me. The runoff courses down the front of the jacket, down my bare legs, and into my boots. Wetting my socks. Filling my rain boots with, appropriately, rain. Down at the barn, the cats are curled up in their beds and the horses want hay. The rain comes sheeting off the edge of the metal roof, and without gutters, it waterfalls off in great sluices that don't help the rain-in-boots problem at all. Or the plastered-jacket problem. The writer in me loves the rain; the farmer in me does too...but I don't want to be IN it.

I love to watch the drops hit the pond. Easily entertained. We've had the greenest grass here in Georgia this year. That is SO nice going into fall - it means better winter grass and less hay that needs feeding.

I hope everyone has a lovely Labor Day. I'm having a good weekend with the release of Made for Breaking! I appreciate my readers so much! The great sales have left me twice as inspired to get the next one done.