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See You at the Library Saturday Afternoon!

Saturday afternoon, September 13, 1-5 pm, drop by The Colony Public Library for a ‘meet the authors and illustrators’ event.

Sales will partially benefit the library programs, and we–the authors and illustrators–will be there to chat, answer questions, and if you’re interested, sell and sign books.



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Playing ketchup.

So, I have been “most things All About My Book most of the time” and it’s because that is where my head is. Can’t help it. Am watching for reviews, sales, etc. because this book was a long time writing and a long time coming, and now because I am in that wonderful point of having people ask–no, demand to know–I am writing the next book. [I can’t begin to explain how blissful that makes me, to have people demanding to know What Happens Next and Why Aren’t You Writing and How Dare You Be on Facebook or Twitter, rinse, repeat. Yes, I imagine it can get old. But it’s certainly not old yet! I wrote This Crumbling Pageant in a vacuum except for a very small handful of friends and one amazing beta reader and cheerleader who read every word, twice–or was it three times?–before it had even even been edited.  I am still pondering how to get an Orthodox Jew nominated for Sainthood.  Fortunately I am an Episcopalian, and if any church would find a way to wink and nod and make it so, my church would. So Mara, prepare for your canonization!]

Beyond that, though, there are other things and I think you might find some of them interesting.  For one, I made a new friend yesterday:

pooks and boBo is a white boxer. Boxers are the most amazing family dogs if you have very tall fences [they jump and climb and will go over a fence if they get bored] and a yard [they are very active dogs, full of energy]. But Bo was very well-behaved on this city street with strangers all around, and much more interested in scouting out a few crumbs on the ground than paying much attention to admirers.

Boxers raised my sons. I can’t heap enough praise on them. They are sweet, tolerant dogs and put up with anything. [No, we didn’t let our kids abuse or terrorize the dogs, Yes, the kids managed to toddler-ize the dogs anyway, which the dogs dismissed because, puppies. What are you gonna do with them? Sigh. Lick. Hover. Protect.]

Magnolia_collage_web_635x447I saw a wonderful film at the Magnolia, one of my two favorite theaters in Dallas. The other is the Angelika, Dallas, not Plano, if you’re wondering. This picture reminds me that I have never been to the Magnolia at night. Instead, it’s where I tend to go on long, lazy days with friends, where we’ll either walk to a nearby restaurant to eat or drive across the river or down the road to one of our other favorite haunts. It’s very pretty at night, isn’t it? I am thinking the Resident Storm Chaser and I need to have a date night there.

Oh, and the wonderful film? Belle. History and romance and intelligent script combined with stellar performances. It’s simply a lovely movie and I caught myself by surprise by realizing I was quite choked up at the end. In a very good way.

I spent a wonderful afternoon with friends, one of our typical “movies and lunch with the girls” days. Talking about house renovations, about health, about the husbands we love, kids we love, friends we love. And absolutely fabulous burgers at Maple & Motor. Which reminds me of something.

I am an arrogant Dallas girl. I was born in Dallas, raised in Dallas. I teach in Collin County, north of Dallas, an area that has exploded in the past couple of decades and I daresay does not have a very large proportion of “Dallas girls” living there. More likely to be people who moved here from elsewhere. [Not that there is anything wrong with that.] I was surprised to find out how few of them ever venture into Dallas. Surprised to find out how many people who live north of Dallas think that Dallas is old, scary, run down, I don’t know… inferior somehow. That disdain has spread to the first perimeter of suburbs, those towns that existed off on their own for many decades before Dallas grew to bump up against their borders. Suburbs with  their own old downtowns and neighborhoods.

And here is where my arrogance pops up. I have learned to appreciate the communities and towns and small cities springing up on an ever-spreading perimeter of Dallas. But those places will never be my Dallas, and while the people who live there may be grateful for that fact, I say it’s their loss.

I love that Dallas and its first ring of old suburbs is a hodge-podge of good and bad, of “culture” and its opposite, of yesterday and today, and is continuing to evolve. I love that the downtown and uptown and various other areas are turning into true city living with loft apartments and shopping within walking distance–things that didn’t exist until relatively recently when people who loved city living moved here. I love that outsiders are bringing a new energy to Dallas. I love that the old and the new are blending in exciting ways with a new mix of ethnicity and an old mix of history, and I love days that end up with me in a car with friends, enjoying my home town.

And I hope that you feel the same way about your home, wherever it is. Even if–especially if–it’s one of those communities north of Dallas. 😉

I have more to say about my book, but that’s for a different day.

Where is your home town? Do you live in a place that feels like home? I hope so.


This Crumbling Pageant, Volume One in The Fury Triad, is available at these online book stores.

Amazon Kindle    Amazon Trade Paperback

BN-Nook    BN Trade Paperback

Kobo   iBooks


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Tonight, In Tempe, Arizona…

If you’re in the neighborhood, drop by! [Click poster for details.]



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Cover Copy Fail

Writing cover copy is tough, much tougher than you’d believe. I’ve been paying extra attention to it recently.

LibraryThing released its new list of Early Review copies today so people can sign up for a chance to get a freebie in exchange for a review.  I wonder if in a couple of cases, the publishers might want to tweak their cover copy a bit.

Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t find any reference in the copy about the medieval queen mentioned in the subtitle.  Fail, much?

Defending the City of God: A Medieval Queen, the First Crusades, and the Quest for Peace in Jerusale by Sharan Newman (Palgrave Macmillan)

Description: Jerusalem sits at the crossroads of three continents and has been continuously invaded for millennia. Yet, in the middle of one of the region’s most violent eras, the Crusades, an amazing multicultural world was forming. Templar knights, Muslim peasants, Turkish caliphs, Jewish merchants, and the native Christians, along with the children of the first crusaders, blended cultures while struggling to survive in a land constantly at war.Defending the City of God explores this fascinating and forgotten world, and how a group of sisters, daughters of the King of Jerusalem, whose supporters included Grand Masters of the Templars and Armenian clerics, held together the fragile treaties, understandings, and marriages that allowed for relative peace among the many different factions. As the crusaders fought to maintain their conquests, these relationships quickly unraveled, and the religious and cultural diversity was lost as hardline factions took over. Weaving together the political intrigues and dynastic battles that transformed the Near East with an evocative portrait of medieval Jerusalem, this is an astonishing look at a forgotten side of the first Crusades.

I know enough history to know Eleanor of Aquitaine went on crusade with her first husband, Louis of France, so wondered if she is the queen mentioned. Erm, still wondering!


Maybe this next one is a case of, if you don’t know, this isn’t your book anyway, but I read the entire copy wondering wtf an English wheel is and never found out. Their title made me want to know, and I don’t even care about cars! Not that I would have actually bought the book, so maybe this fail isn’t a major one. But still?

Learning the English Wheel by William H. Longyard (CarTech Books)

Description: Despite the fact that thousands of English wheel machines have been sold the past ten years there is currently no book dedicated to English wheeling. Owners of these machines are at a loss on how to really use them because of the lack of detailed published material. This new book from Wolfgang Publications covers all aspects of English wheeling, from making your own wheel to learning the basics, from fabricating high-crown panels to reverse flares. The photos used through the book serve to illustrate both what makes up a good English wheel, and how, exactly, to use an English wheel. Side bars and interviews done with famous wheelers and fabricators from around the world help to give personal insight from the best of the best. As a serious auto hobbyist, long-time student of the English wheel, published author and retired shop teacher, William Longyard is ideally suited to finally lift the veil of missing and mis-information regarding the best and most productive use of the English wheel.

How much attention do you pay to cover copy, anyway, when you’re buying a book? Are you more likely to read the beginning of the book to decide whether to buy, to judge the book by its cover, to go by word of mouth? Does cover copy ever influence you at all?


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Not the Cover Reveal

And yet this is sort of a cover reveal.

My new headshot.


Makeup: Shade DuBois

But the real cover reveal is going to be very soon…

Also, press kit that this goes in.

Do you hate getting your picture made? This is definitely the way to go. Hire pros!

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Both ends of the decorating spectrum

My friend Lola is decorating and living in a small space. 300 square feet in WeHo [West Hollywood].

My family members will appreciate that she sews in a closet, just like my mother did.


My friends Toni and Carl are restoring a building in the French Quarter [New Orleans] to use as both commercial and residential.


Both have blogged recently.

See pretty pictures of small place HERE.

See cool pictures of big space in-progress HERE.

You’re welcome!

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Last year I noticed that Miz B from shouldbereading did something instead of making resolutions. She chose a single word for the year. She did it again this year.

This explains why.

Last year I thought it interesting, even useful, but that was the end of it.

This year, a word popped into my head.


And it has stayed there for several days.

So okay, I’m claiming it. This is my word for 2014.

Lots of hard work, many years worth of work, is coming to beautiful fruition in 2014. But beyond that, it requires even more hard work, more years of hard work.

So accomplishment is both a daily to-do item, a reminder that it’s an ongoing process, and a destination that I’ve reached and yet have to keep on moving toward.


What is your word for 2014?



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