New Words are Born

dictionary(Or more accurately, a few bastardized words have been legitimized.)

MacGyvered is officially recognized as a verb. I can now die complete.

‘Cat café’ and other words added to

Although I use many of the phrases and words included in the update, I’m not sure how I feel about them being legit. The eloquence and romance of the spoken word has certainly diminished since Shakespeare’s day, but I’m almost embarrassed that manspreading, rly, and bruh are our society’s contribution to the English language.

Then again, I guess it’s NBD. The next time I rage-quit Halo during family game night (aka kill-a-ja-mama time) I’ll know that I’m not alone.

My New Favorite Card

How can Magic the Gathering ensnare me further in their complicated world of beautiful art and complex storylines? (Assuming my sincere, well-meaning suggestion of mandatory deodorant use for all players is rejected …)


By appealing to my inner grammar goddess with more cards like this!

And no, tallest one, I’ve already told you that  reading Magic the Gathering cards does not contribute to credit for  English or Lit. Try again.

What I Did on my Summer Vacation


It’s not the beach, but it’ll do.

Since we last left our hero aspiring author …

I started writing this update the first week of August. Since I’m just getting around to posting it, I think we can all agree this bodes well for the future. But my time away has not been completely unproductive.

June began with a minor surgery. That’s right, folks. I no longer have all of my original parts. Who needs a gallbladder or appendix anyway? On the sunny side, I earned a whole week off. Unfortunately I was too busy enjoying the good drugs and sleeping them off to take advantage of the time. From that auspicious start, the summer could only get better.

The highlights for my clan this summer have been camp, art classes, swimming, Mimi’s visit, and museum trips galore. (Blue Star Museums is a wonderful program!)

I managed to complete the sequel to Recycled, tentatively titled Reused, and sent it off to my editor and friend, Max. She wowed me with her lightning fast turnaround, so I’m working on editing and revising that now. This was a HUGE deal for me. It’s the first book I’ve written solo since the twinions were born. Honestly, I wasn’t sure I could meet a deadline (even a self-imposed one) and balance life at home. My juggling could use some work, but with the support of my amazing family, I did it! Now I’ve got to work up my courage to publish again …

We homeschool year-round, but our summer schedule is much more lax. With school starting back up here in the north and our co-op and various clubs kicking in gear, we’ll be buckling down this week. I’m super excited about the new opportunities coming up and slightly intimidated by our calendar. It’s going to be a great academic year!

What about you? Anything you feel like sharing with the class?

Not my Birthday

Life sometimes takes us to strange places, ground we were sure we would never have to tread upon.

For the first time ever, I played Magic the Gathering outside of our home.

“How did this happen?” I asked myself several times during the tournament surrounded by men speaking a foreign language recognizable only to other serious players.

A few years ago, my husband and I decided that instead of gifts for birthdays to clutter our already cluttered home, we would give “experiences”. Usually this amounts to a trip somewhere with something we think the birthday kid will enjoy. This year’s offerings were a 1st concert, a day trip to NYC for the Empire State Building and a Broadway show culminating in dinner at Guy’s restaurant, and a trip to the Great Wolf Lodge.  After they complete a quest and put together a puzzle, the birthday boy gets to choose which parent he wants to accompany him. It’s a great opportunity to spend one-on-one time with the minions and get to introduce them to something we enjoy or we think they will or just experience something new together.

My husband’s birthday was last week. For his gift, the boys and I decided to pack him off to the TCG State Championship. Half-jokingly, my tallest (who also happens to play MTG competitively) asked my husband who he was taking. He quickly said, “Mom.”

I laughed.

I stopped as the boys excitedly turned to me.

I tried not to panic.

Early in our marriage, I decided that my husband and I needed to share some common ground outside of our children. Since he’s not down with the scrapbooking or cross-stitching, I picked up a controller and learned to hold my own in his favorite games. Now that the kids are older, they think it’s cool when I join them killing grunts or fight in epic Jedi vs Sith battles on Battlefront 2. I have my own Yugioh deck and now I have a modern MTG deck as well. But the problem is that I don’t play anything very often.

And I really don’t like situations where I don’t know what to expect and everyone else in the room does. I despise being ignorant and vulnerable in a big group of strangers. I’m funny that way.

But every spare moment in the two days between my husband’s birthday and the tournament was spent absorbing the rules and customs of MTG and telling myself that I was doing this because I love him. My understanding of the game is sparse, bare-minimum. My tutelage was like trying to catch fish with a hula hoop− information goes in, flops around frantically, and then swims away happily, leaving me staring in confusion, often certain I had something a second ago.

I knew it was going to be a slaughter.

I was right.

"What's that say?"

“What’s that say again?”

So there I was, sitting across from an opponent who really wants to win and is totally willing to go through me to get there. The only thing in his way was a borrowed deck that I didn’t know how to play, a very pretty (but hardly intimidating) playmat, and a sparkly dice. The most common phrases heard by my opponents: “Ummm, I’m gonna have to read that …” along with “Sorry, sorry, sorry!” I imagine that gets annoying for men who have these cards, their abilities memorized, and cash on the line.

Much to everyone’s surprise, I did win 2 hands−just not against the same opponent.

I’m also pretty sure the last guy who sat across from me cheated after I won the first round. I’d like to gird up some righteous anger (and I admit that I was very tempted to call the judge to count his side-deck), but I was there for fun. This is a big part of his life. I get that he didn’t want to lose to me of all people.

The end result was a kid-free, slightly stressful day of fun, sharing something else with my best friend, and a better understanding of all of the card talk that dominates my dinner table. So worth it!

And for those of you wondering, the hubs ranked 9th! I was … barely not last and I’m pretty sure that’s only because someone left after their first round loss. At some point, I’m afraid I might have to go again  in order to redeem myself.

Last Call!

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The discount code expires tonight! So if you haven’t bought my fabulous new book yet, get on it!

Recycled is best described as Twilight meets Harry Potter brunching with Game of Thrones where they run into a highly censored Fifty Shades of Grey and rumble West Side Story style … except without all of those pesky vampires or wizards or music or a hugely successful HBO series.


No, not really …

But buy it anyway!

It’s here!!!

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I would like you all to take a moment to don your best Oprahesque, smartly tailored, fat minimizing suit of enthusiasm and join me today in celebrating the release of my new book Recycled!

It’s available here or here (along with this discount code until the 31st)!

Buy it! Read it! I really hope you love it! Or at least finish it …

Hugs and glomps,

P.S. Normally I would apologize for all of the superfluous exclamation marks, but nope. Not today.  Because today, it’s finally here!!!!111one11!!!!!! I think I should get points for the lack of shouty caps.


I discovered that November is National Novel Writing Month three years and two kids ago. A fellow aspiring author and very talented writer Merina Green asked if I was going to participate and I said, “Sure, I’d love to! What is it?”

“Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought fleetingly about writing a novel.” —

Perfect for me, right?  I mean, aside from that deadline bit …

The Nanowrite site offers writers much needed pep talks from successful authors and other hopefuls alike. The site also allows you to track your progress through the month by updating your word count, gives you daily goals in order to reach your target of a completed first draft (or at least 50K), and can help you link up with a participating local Nanowri group.  If you “win”, besides having a completed book to hone and refine and an incredible sense of accomplishment, you also receive a ribbon on the website. As a mother and a home educator, I can testify to the effectiveness of a good old fashioned sticker chart.

My upcoming release Recycled started off as my Nanowrite novel the first year I participated. It’s gone through quite the metamorphosis since then, but butterflies don’t appear on their own and neither do completed, polished novels. Every book you’ve ever read started somewhere. My latest began November  2011.

I wasn’t able to participate one November due to a trying pregnancy and sheer exhaustion. (Who knew growing humans is such hard work?) I missed the following due to two infants and I was still reeling from the loss of my father. Needless to say, I was very excited and hopeful going into this year’s Nanowrite.

I had a story.

I had a rough plotline.

I had the characters pretty well ironed out. (Or so I thought …)

I had a plan.

No actually, we had a plan. You see, for me to take every spare moment I can for a month and dedicate them to writing, my family has to be on board. And most of them were. Really, really. The men (full sized and mini) were all over it and very encouraging−even if they ate a lot of junk and my house wasn’t the shiniest place to live. Unfortunately, we failed to account for the shortest of the brood and their reactions to not having Mommy at their sticky little fingertips all day, every day.

But the kids weren’t the reason I failed to reach my goal.

The words just wouldn’t come. I could see the scene play out in my mind but when my fingertips were poised to type, nothing happened. Every couple hundred words felt like a huge achievement because of the struggle to get them on paper. I’ve read many people say that writing is like a muscle; you have to work it regularly if you want it to preform to your standards. Well, I’ve obviously let myself go … in more than one way.

It’s been over two years since I’ve written on a regular basis. Slowly I’ve been reclaiming some of my activities outside of my children over the last year, but it’s still very much a work in progress.

I was also a mess emotionally, which I should have expected but somehow failed to anticipate. I feel guilty taking time away from my family to pursue what amounts to a hobby at the moment. When I was with the kids, I couldn’t wait to escape to write, which just piled on more guilt and mom-shame. Extended family drama kept drawing me in−even from a thousand  miles away. It was … life.

Life happened.

After a lot of little moping I’ve realized I’m okay with that. Writing is my newest love, but my family is my heart. Becoming a published author is my dream, but my family is my reality and infinitely more important. So if something needs to be pushed down a peg or two on my ladder of priorities, it’s not going to be the minions. It’s not going to be the husband.  And that’s exactly as it should be at this point in my life.

I just hope I can remember that the next time I get frustrated at the constant “MOM!” interruptions …

My goal this month is to complete my 2014 Nanowrimo novel. For the sake of my kidneys, I’m also giving up Cokes. I’m not sure which is the more challenging of my two lofty goals, but March should be fun.

Wish me luck!

Exclusive Discount Code

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To say a big thank you for all of the support and love, here’s a discount code for the new book just for you!

Exclusive discount code: Q75QMCZD

This will give you five dollars off of the list price through the Createspace store. The code is good from today until March 31, 2015.

So go forth and buy!

(If you get a second after reading Recycled, please leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads. If you’re like me, whenever you consider a purchase nowadays, you check out the reviews first. I’d really  appreciate it!)

And don’t forget to let me know what you think of the new book!

Cover Revealed!

The cover is here!

My amazing editor and friend Maxann Dobson from The Polished Pen referred me to artist Paul Copello, founder of, for an original cover to match my latest venture into insanity Recycled.  This is the end product of our collaboration, his genius, and a few email chains.

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The back cover is even better, but I can’t go spoiling everything.