2019 in Book Reviews


I originally set a goal on Goodreads to read 100 books in 2019. When I surpassed that goal before the end of the year, I upped the goal to 125. As of December 31, I have read 150 books in 2019. This does not include how many times I’ve read my own books or read books with my daughter. I recently reread “Caroline’s Lighthouse” and “Jordan’s Sister” just to review why I write. I published “What I Learned That Summer” in August, so I’ve read through it several times in the last year while getting it reading for publication.

That’s a lot of books! Here’s a collection of the covers from this year.

With this many books, it’s hard to come up with a top ten, but here goes. Below are my top ten for traditionally published.

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Almost-winter writing update


It’s almost winter, which is my second favorite season after autumn (fall). I enjoy snuggling under fuzzy blankets to read great books while drinking hot chocolate (But who am I kidding? I can do that in any season).

I held a book signing at Dog Ear Books last night. It’s an awesome independent bookstore in Russellville, Arkansas. Now, some new readers will discover my books. Book signings are fun and nerve-wracking at the same time. I enjoy talking to readers of my work, but I also am a natural introvert, so the public venue is difficult for me.

Dog Ear Books author signing event, December 6, 2019.

Trying to sell my work is the most difficult part of writing. I sit there and watch a person pick up one of my novels to read the back cover blurb. I don’t want to stare at the person during the reading, but I am silently chanting in my head the whole time: “Please like my blurb so much that you just have to buy this book!” Continue reading

How to write a novel in twelve (easy) steps


There are steps for everything these days, so I reverse-engineered what I did to become a writer to put the process into 12 steps. The steps were easy sometimes, and other times, they caused some tears. The end result was worth all the effort.

Step 1: Read a lot

Without reading, what’s the point of writing? Reading everything I could get my hands on when I was a kid developed my love of reading and also made me think about some things I would like to read that were not available. 

Don’t just read fiction. Read about the art of writing to learn everything you can. Take a writing class (or many) to figure out how to write.

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Step 2: Get an idea

It was during those daydreaming sessions about stories I wanted to read that Hope, Lydia, Taylor, Noelle, Caroline, Charlotte, and Kincaid began their stories. Only three of those sound familiar, huh? The others will be ready for human consumption in time.

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Step 3: Write a draft

My first drafts of Caroline’s Lighthouse and Jordan’s Sister were written in pencil on wide-ruled notebook paper along with the stories of my other leading ladies except for Kincaid. I had the idea for her as a teen, but she only existed in my head and on a small scrap of paper until I began the first draft of her story two years ago during the editing process for Jordan’s Sister.

Some writers outline and make chapter maps. Others are “pantsers” which basically means they write without a clear plan or by the seat of their pants. I fall somewhere in between. I make general notes of things I want to happen and then just go for it. In the past, I always wrote in order, but with Jordan’s Sister, I wrote the middle and end before I wrote the beginning. It’s just how the story came to me.

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