Saturday, December 28, 2019

Annual Writing Report - 2019

This year is nearly over and I am determined to pull together an accounting of all that has happened in my writing life and beyond. 2019 was a very good year for me in terms of published pieces, including my first two novels that came out in the spring! Those led to lots of book promotion events, and because of that, and the personal challenges I faced this year (more on this below...) I didn't submit quite as many finished pieces as I would like. There's always next year!

I was thrilled when my first novel, Fearless, was published in February. Although this was my first novel to be published, it's actually the fourth one I've written. The first two are still not ready for prime-time, but the third, Belle o' the Waters, came out in April. Huge thanks to both of my publishers, New Meridian Arts Press and Mascot Books, for taking a chance on a new writer. All this shows that it's important to keep writing, and if a book just doesn't seem to be getting finished, go ahead and start the next one!


I had four new short stories published this year, as well as two reprints of previously-published stories that were re-published in 2019. In addition, one of my stories from 2018, Solve for X was nominated for a "Best of the Net" award this year. Big thanks to the editors of Linden Avenue Literary Journal for their support of my work.

This year's new stories and reprints are listed below:

Motherhood, published by Good Works Review (FutureCycle Press), January, 2019

Time to Leave, reprinted by Derelict Lit, January, 2019

All the Birds Scattered, published by BULL: Men's Fiction, March, 2019

Amanda is Moving Back to Montana, Although She Vowed She'd Never Do It, published by Cleaver Magazine, March, 2019

Deathwatch, reprinted by KYSO Flash, Summer Issue, 2019

Annie Apple, published by Fiction on the Web, December, 2019


I have continued writing press releases, newsletter articles and web highlight pieces for scientific journals and other clients. The American Institute of Physics (AIP) has published a lot of my work, including thirteen Scilights in 2019. This link will lead you to all my bylined science-related publications for AIP.


Although this post is largely about my writing adventures over the course of this last year, I really can't stop there, since so much has happened in my personal life in 2019, and all of it has had a large impact on my writing. Some of this was very good, some of it not so good, but all of it is here goes.

In January, I was diagnosed with stage one breast cancer. I haven't written publicly about this anywhere yet, and I may do that eventually. I had no idea I was sick when I went in for my mammogram. They found a small tumor and I embarked on a series of tests, a biopsy, more tests and eventual surgery and radiation. All this happened, as it turned out, at the same time my two books came out! The publishing events were a good distraction from the medical worries, but it was all rather exhausting.

I was very lucky. My cancer was of a type that responds well to treatment, and I did not have to have chemo. I did have a month of daily radiation treatments and a lumpectomy, though, and I am now on daily medication - an estrogen blocker, which has definite and unpleasant side-effects. I'm due for my one-year follow-up mammogram in about two weeks, and am hoping for a good report!

The other major personal event this year is much happier, but I suspect it happened more quickly because I had a cancer diagnosis. My eventual reaction to that was, "Why wait?" My husband and I had been planning to take steps toward retiring in the western part of the US, back closer to my home turf and to our kids and granddaughter. To make a very long story short, we just closed on a home in Denver and although we have no furniture in it yet and my husband is still working full time in Arlington, Virginia, we have a foothold here in Colorado now - and I couldn't be happier. I will be spending a lot of my time in the mountain west with short trips back east, and the plan is to (eventually) move completely to Denver. More on that as it develops.

I wish all of you the best in the coming year, and good health for everyone!

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Happy Blog Anniversary!

Today marks eleven years in the life of this blog! It's hard to believe I've been at this for over a decade, but am very grateful for all my readers over this long period of time. I looking forward to another decade of writing and posting!

Monday, October 14, 2019

Two Week Notice!

Two weeks to go! NaNoWriMo 2019 starts Nov. 1st, a little over two weeks from today. I am participating again this year and have a project in mind -- but first I need to finish the project I'm currently working on. No time to prepare for the new one, so it should be "interesting" this time around.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Fall for the Book!

This year's Fall for the Book Festival starts today! All events will take place at or around George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. As part of the festival, I will be presenting about my book, "Fearless," as part of a panel with two other authors, Christina Dalcher and Henry Brinton. We will explore the topic, "Politics & Pretend: Reality Meets Fiction." Join us on Saturday, Oct. 12, at 11:45 am in Room 1202 of Merten Hall. See this link for more details!

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Book Reviews!

My novel, "Belle o' the Waters," has been getting some great reviews since it was released in April. The latest is from the Historical Novel Society: "This is an accomplished debut, and I commend the author for her sensitive presentation of this family saga and the hard-scrabble life they endure: fraught with tension, yet deftly balanced with joyous and hopeful times."

 The Washington Independent Review of Books called it "a moving account of mid-19th-century Mormons struggling to find their way," and Connie's History Classroom praised the research behind the storytelling: "Since I am a historian I am always intrigued by books based on events. The author did her research. I felt that I was learning a lot from her book." Finally, the Historical Fiction Review said, "Belle o' the Waters had me hooked from page one," and praised the "strong, believable characters, a creatively imaginative story line, and a look at a time and place in American history imbued with an iconoclastic mystery."

Huge thanks to all these reviewers -- and to all the readers who have bought and reviewed the book on Goodreads or Amazon. I very much appreciate the support and feedback!

Monday, April 22, 2019

See you in Kensington

Find me on the festival website here:

I will be at the Kensington Book Festival this coming Sunday, selling and signing copies of all of my books. The festival will take place along Howard Avenue in Old Town Kensington. More details on the festival website here: Day of the Book.

Attendance at the festival is expected at between 6000 and 8000 folks, so come on out and join us! In addition to books, books and more books, there will be food, crafts and other fun events.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Nearly Wordless Wednesday

Cricket checks out the spring flowers!

For more Wordless Wednesday, see the main site.
For more of my photos, see Flickr.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Book Launch!

Publication Day is finally here for my novel, Belle o' the Waters! This book has been a long ten years in the making and I am so grateful it is finally out in the world. I'm also very grateful for the good folks at Mascot Books who have worked so hard to turn my text into a beautiful book. Not only is the cover great, the inside design is wonderful and continues the theme set by the front and back cover. I hope you can check out your own copy soon!

A description of the story, from the back cover:

Belle Waters is about to celebrate her fourteenth birthday, and she is terrified. The fear of marriage looms large for her, and every other girl who was born into the Mormon settlement of Salt Lake in the 1850's. She knows it is her duty to marry and bring Heavenly Father's children into the world, but she's not interested in tying the knot with anyone, especially not the Prophet, an old man with a number of wives and counting. But when the US Army invades Salt Lake intent on arresting the Prophet, Belle soon realizes that the possibility of becoming a child bride is only the beginning in a series of disastrous threats. 

This is a work of fiction, but is loosely based on a true historical event: the Mountain Meadows Massacre of September 11, 1857, which sparked a short-lived Mormon War. Although set over a century ago, the themes and issues explored in this novel are timely and current: religious freedom and extremism, the role and status of women in society, and the contemporary impact of homegrown terrorism. Belle o' the Waters is a searing exploration of those living within an oppressed community, and an ultimately revelatory novel about what it means to lead a courageous life, despite one's circumstances.

This book is available directly from the publisher or from Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Please consider leaving a review on one of these sites or on Goodreads - this is one of the easiest and best ways to help an author out. Thank you!

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Spring Means Lots of Books!

Available from New Meridian

A little over a year ago, I signed publishing contracts with two different publishers - which means that I now have two books coming out at almost the same time. It's been a whirlwind of activity so far, with one book already out in the world. Fearless made its debut on February 27! Huge thanks to all the good folks at New Meridian Arts Literary Press for turning my dream to one day publish a novel into reality.

Available from Mascot Books

 Things are about to get even more active, since my second book, Belle o' the Waters, is launching in a couple of weeks. Another huge round of thanks to the folks at Mascot Books who have worked hard to not only publish this book, but help me get the word out through book signings and other events.

I've just added a list of events to the "Books" tab on this website and will update this whenever new events are scheduled. I would love to see you at one of these events or, possibly, a future one.

Finally, a note for all the lovely people who have already bought or pre-ordered one or both of these books: thanks so much for supporting my work! If you want to help even more, you can spread the word about these books by writing a review on Amazon, the B&N site or on Goodreads. These reviews are a tremendous help to authors, so thank you in advance for helping this way!

Friday, February 8, 2019

Debut Novel Coming Soon!

Update: This book has just been published!! Get your copy here.

About a year ago, I received an offer from a small press in New York, New Meridian Arts, to publish my novel, "Fearless," and I'm happy to report that it is due out soon! We now have a cover and are working on the interior layout.

This is actually the fourth novel I've written, but will be the first to be published. Here's a short description of the story:  

Father Mike Albertino, worn down by financial problems in his old parish and relentless terrorist bombings in his city, is overwhelmed by his own inability to help terrified people. In the midst of all this chaos, he encounters Jenna, a young woman about his age who, inexplicably, cannot feel fear. Mike and Jenna become friends and through this friendship discover the mysterious causes of her disorder. This novel explores themes of faith, how we know what is real and what is not, and the myriad ways frightened people cope in our increasingly fear-filled world.

 Ordering information will be posted as soon as I have it. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Nearly Wordless Wednesday: Happy New Year!

January 3, 2019
Snow expected this weekend!

For more Wordless Wednesday, see the main site here.
For more of my photos, see Flickr.