• General Thoughts,  Pop Culture

    2023 in book reviews

    I read 102 books in 2023 and published my 5th novel, When Does Life Begin? on September 23. Here are my top 10 best reads in traditionally published novels. Top 10 best reads for 2023 (traditional) These are in order starting from favorite read of the year. Shutter by Ramona Emerson. I got to meet Ramona and have her autograph a copy of the novel during a reading at Arkansas Tech University. The River We Remember by William Kent Krueger The Long March Home: A World War II Novel of the Pacific by Marcus Brotherton and Tosca Lee. I met Tosca when she and I participated in a Brenda Novak…

  • Woman dealing with mental health issues.
    Essays,  General Thoughts

    When your mind betrays you: depression rears its ugly head again

    I haven’t been silent about my (past) battles with depression, anxiety, and insomnia. All those issues hit me as a teen and came back in my 20s, 30s, and now 40s. I was fortunate not to experience postpartum depression after my two pregnancies, but I’ve known women who have. Mental illness is rarely a “one-and-done” situation. It’s often a lifelong battle. There’s less of a stigma about mental health than ever before, but it can still be isolating feeling trapped in your own mind—a mind that’s betrayed you when you thought you were okay again. Triggers I think everyone has different triggers that can jump-start a depressive episode. Sometimes, there’s…

  • "Why shouldn't truth be stranger than fiction? Fiction, after all, has to make sense." Mark Twain
    Artwork,  General Thoughts,  Novels (my writing updates)

    How much truth is in my fiction?

    Writing what I knew as a teenager I loved reading when I was a kid, and I began writing as a teenager. The results of my early efforts were 7 handwritten “finished” novels, several poems (many of which are terrible), numerous essays, one random index card with a great idea, a notebook of not-so-great ideas, and a handful of false starts for a story that will never work. My finished stories were fabrications with a bit of what I wanted mixed in. For example, I gave all my main female characters a love interest because I wanted a boyfriend so badly as a teen. Along with the fiction was a…