A Journey of Souls

Sometimes it’s challenging to tell your story in just a few short words – but Our Gentle Sins is the journey of two souls who are recovering from past mistakes. Aren’t we all?

Cover Reveal!

Finally – title and cover reveal! Our Gentle Sins – due out June 21, 2022.

Our Gentle Sins follows the journey of Valerie who must face and rectify her mistakes and Jack is working hard to recover from his past and stay clean for his future.

But making a a new life for yourself is never easy, especially when the secrets of others are working against you.

Secrets can be Deadly

Secrets, at first, seem so harmless. Yet, when you find the person you love is keeping something from you – something that could damage your relationship – secrets can be deadly.

Secrets can be the lies of omission. When someone doesn’t tell another something or includes it after it’s been found out or questioned. Lies of omission are the gaslighter’s favorite game. This way they allow their victim to fall into a trap – the gaslighter will question their trust. “I was going to tell you. I thought you trusted me.” There’s no easy way to get out of the advanced manipulation tactics.

“I do trust you.”

“Then why are you questioning me?” or “Then you should know I intended to tell you” insert “at the right time” or other. The manipulator will then pout or become angry – or start with one and end in the other. Whatever it takes to throw their partner/victim off balance, leaving them uncertain of how to respond or rushing to correct the situation, which is what they want. Power. Control. Over the other person’s emotions, ideas, opinions.

Another hint for my upcoming release:

BUT THERE’S MORE –

More secrets….

and more to come.

Cover reveal – coming soon!

The Warp of Time

Did you ever notice how when you’re looking forward to something it seems to take forever to get here?

And when you’re nervous about something, it seems to come far too quickly?

I think these both describe the release of a new novel.

I thought I’d be finished with final edits. (Maybe I am and I’m freaking out about nothing.) I thought I’d have the cover in front of me – something visual for me to get me through those long nights of worry.

But, so I’m told, we have some time.

But will time go slowly? or will it speed up and suddenly be here and I won’t feel ready?

There’s so much more I want to do with this one – more book signings, more marketing. With the lift of restrictions, that is a possibility.

This story is a little different than my usual. But, then again, I have crossed genres before. I’ve done a little mystery, a little horror, some magic realism, but this is different. There’s actually a romance in this one. That’s not the only thing- you guys know me. The dark stuff is there. The mystical is there. So is some cold hard truths about love, drugs, marriage. And also – the beauty is in the details.

I hope to have a cover reveal for you in a few short weeks! The photo above – HINT. HINT. HINT.

Interview with Jo Rousseau, author of Tourists in the Country of Love.

I can not tell you how much I love Jo Rousseau’s writing. Her book, Tourists in the County of Love, is prize worthy. Her writing is sensitive, thoughtful, reaches into the depths of the individual soul, searching for the reasons for immoral acts.

Her previous awards include a first place essay, “Becoming Rousseau.” “Dead Dog Blues,” won the Writer’s Digest Short Story Competition. “Why Can’t We All Play Guitar like B.B. King” won the Seattle Magazine Short Story Contest.

Her book, Tourists in the Country of Love, features stories of men and women who make decisions that are sometimes beyond their own understanding. The first story is “Reading to my Mother.” A tender story of a mother who is no longer able to care for herself and the question arises – who will care for her? It’s never an easy answer, but added complications make it even more difficult in this story.

This interview with Jo Rousseau focuses on her story, “Maurissa takes the F-Scale.” (The F-Scale was a test after World War 2 designed to measure fascist tendencies.) There are questions and answers about the novel as well as her writing style. I hope you enjoy watching as much as I enjoyed speaking to her.

Here’s where you can take the F-Scale

It’s a Wonderful Life: Horror Film or Docudrama?

Gosh, you guys, not sure about this one, even as I write it.

First I have to say – It’s a Wonderful Life has been one of my all time favorite movies ever since I was a child. Sometimes I even watch it during the year. Even today, my dog walked in with her ears perked and her head cocked as if to say “what’s wrong with you?” as I cried – AGAIN – at the end. I swear I didn’t think I’d cry this year, but it gets me every time.

HOWEVER, maybe it’s from watching it so much that one begins to question things that shouldn’t be analyzed in a lovely holiday movie.

But if I’m going to do it – here goes. (Seriously, I’m about to ruin this movie for you forever, you may not want to venture further into this blog).

Did anyone else notice how George’s father had a heart attach RIGHT AFTER Mary made her wish?! WITCH! Later in the movie she states, this is what I wished for, he and her in that house. She got her “wish,” didn’t she?

The real horror for me is that George wants out of that small town and through a series of circumstances beyond his control (mostly) he never gets out. Maybe this hits close to home – not that I came from a small town, but many of the minds were small and there didn’t seem to be any living or growing to do there.

George has to earn his own money to go to college which keeps him there four years longer than his friends. That’s not bad. Working for what you want builds character. Then he’s ready to leave and his father passes, and he needs to take over the Bailey Building and Loan while his little brother gets out! He has to deal with that horrid Potter character or the town will be damned. Then – Mary and her witchy trickery, casting that spell to keep him. What happened to if you love someone, set them free?

If that’s not enough – Clarence the wingless angel appears to show him all the good he’s done. Anyone else see this as just a tad manipulative? When I was younger I thought – omg, that’s beautiful, but lately I’ve been thinking – well, wait, who’s to say if he got out of that town he wouldn’t have made a bigger impact! He wanted to build skyscrapers and cities. Perhaps his actions would have touched even more people! But then again, we must consider that George was a good man, a nice guy, and he may not have made it in the dog eat dog rat race. (yes, I know, I used two cliches which is far worse than using just one!)

Has the pandemic soured me this much?

Perhaps it is just my nature to question things.

The movie is, after all, about the small things we do that can cause big changes in others’ lives in our communities. This is something I believe.

The pandemic has changed the world. I believed we would come out of it as better people. Some of us may have, but there seems to be a whole lot of people who did not. The world is in a bad, bad place right now.

With all this horror happening around us, we can be the difference in the world. We can be a little more patient, a little more understanding, giving, and loving. It is the small things that will make a difference not only in others’ lives, but in our own lives. We feel better not having had a meltdown because our coffee was late or angered because we were cut off on the free way. We will walk into our own homes on a softer sweeter note having left someone a compliment rather than a complaint. We should continue to look for the good, hope for the best, and believe in something.

Recovery Road

The neighborhood I grew up in claimed a lot of victims in all kinds of ways. I carry an image of the big kids – 17, 18, 19 year olds – hanging out on the church steps partying on Saturday nights. Their voices so loud, we could hear them at the other end of the block.

Some became alcoholics, some drug addicts, some ended up in prison for related issues. Maybe some broke free and got out.

They were just trying new things, trying to have fun, rebelling maybe. No one intends to become an addict.

I was fortunate; when I got older my friends and I sneaked drinks, but I never liked the taste and didn’t try it again until I was much older. Some of my friends continued to drink, try other things. Some didn’t make it into adulthood. Others still fight the battle.

I had no idea what “recovery” was until much later in life when I met people who were struggling. I read Needle by Craig Goodman to gain an understanding of the struggle of addiction. But I’ve come to learn, for many, recovery is a struggle too.

Many people have no understanding of addiction and recovery. I spent a number of years investing myself in the topic to gain that understanding. Addicts lose family, friends and, after awhile, most familiar contacts. Our system is not set up to help people who are in serious trouble. In fact, Dopesick on Hulu shares how part of the problem was created.

My next book – title to be revealed – features a lead character who is finding his way out. Even when an addict feels they are on the other side of the battle, triggers can surprise them.

More to come…..

Tired of Crime and Murder? I’m in the Mood for Holiday Movies but not looking for mushy love stories.

I read an article which stated people who watch a lot of crime shows experience more anxiety. Well, I can totally relate to that. But does that include the news too? Because that’s where I’m getting most of the crime and murder stories these days.

In any case, around this time of year, my mind turns to happy holiday movies. I occasionally watch the corny ones, but many are rehashes of the same old storyline. I wanted to make a few suggestions for movies for anyone who needs a break from real life but doesn’t want to see the mushy meet-cute and sickly sweet romances that seed the streams.

  1. Lovehard – Netflix. Cute take on catfishing. AND they’ve rewritten to one of the best/worst xmas songs. Remember, Baby It’s Cold Outside as sung by Dean Martin and Marilyn Maxwell? It has some very rape-y lyrics. He’s trying to talk her into staying – and then she sings, “what’s in this drink?” Not very appropriate! This movie features a rewritten version by Nina Dobrev and Jimmy O. Yang titled “Maybe just go outside.” “I really must go/No problem there’s the door.” LOVE IT!
  2. No Sleep Til Christmas (HULU) looked a little odd and I almost didn’t take a chance on it. But it was actually a very nice movie. Not too mushy or silly – a different style then the run of the mill holiday romances.
  3. The Truth about Christmas – a comedic and refreshing take on a holiday romance. The reward for honesty is food (and freedom!)
  4. Ghosting: The Spirit of Christmas. Soooo goood! No tween romance here. There is a romance, but soul mates are much more complex than a dating site swipe.

From the family fun list:

  1. The Christmas Chronicles – Kurt Russel and a peek of Goldie Hawn. It’s adventurous and fun!
  2. Christmas on Holly Lane – Friends and family come together on Xmas.
  3. Dash and Lily – had to mention it as it’s not up for renewal, but I’m thinking of writing some fan fic for it.

Finally – ALL TIME FAVORITES!

  1. It’s a Wonderful Life. I am a Jimmy Stewart Fan. (Have you seen Harvey?!)
  2. Scrooged – Billy Murry in the 80’s – Hilarious!
  3. The Ref – not many people are familiar with this. Great for a laugh. It’s dated and completely politically incorrect. If you make it passed the first 10 minutes, you’re in for a treat – uhm, well, if you’re into dark comedy.

Covid-pression

Covid has changed so much of our lives and, sadly, not much for the better. I have to be honest and say some polly-anna part of me thought we would come out of this better people; it appears many have not.

I thought we’d value friendships more, find beauty in the small things, experience next level gratitude. Some have, I suppose; but not without their own trials.

Covid tested all of us. At some level or another we have experienced depression, compression, oppression and it’s all erupted into violence, sadness, selfishness, thoughtlessness. When the going gets tough – I thought the tough went shopping; however, it appears the tough are few and the whiny little bitches of the world have amplified their shitty little messages.

But let us not wallow in the negative. As I tell my students, we can only fix our own little corner of the world. And that is what we must do. If we were all working on making our own little corners better (instead of joining the jackasses), then we are making a difference and that difference will be amplified. Remember that commercial, you tell two friends and they’ll tell two friends and they’ll tell two…. That is what we have to do – but spread good, positive, loving messages.

I’m shaking off my covid-pression (whatever one I’m experiencing this week – cuz it’s always different) and taking back life.

I was looking for a place to volunteer on Thanksgiving. The best thanksgivings I’ve spent have been serving at shelters. At one place I volunteered, families got all dressed up and came together. They sat and chatted with strangers like they were old friends. It beat the hell out of stuffing our faces and sitting back with a belly ache watching the tube.

In the last few weeks, I’ve been painting, baking, hiking, planning trips – and it feels great! It just takes breaking the ice in some way. And the rest will follow. I think it was the idea of volunteering and the memories of our previous years spent serving others which lifted my sense of covidpression.

We have so much to be thankful for – still! We have so much power within ourselves to change our own story and to be part of changing others’ stories.

Wishing you love and contentedness during this season.

The Healing Power of Naps

Some mornings are hard. They come too early. They come on too strong and too bright and far too soon. The dogs need to be fed and the work is calling. Time to get up and go.

The very best thing about those mornings is a glimmer of promise of what the afternoon may bring.

And if the clock slows after lunch, your eyes struggle to stay open, you find yourself yawning, and you sit – just for a moment, and then suddenly, you’re wrapped in a momentary hug of sleep. AKA the nap.

I love the sweet touch of sleep at midday. Not everyday, of course, but some days it’s needed. I love the slow opening of the eyes, the sweeping in of a deep breath, and the stretch before I realize that sleep just wrapped me in a midday hug and it felt wonderful!

Naps have superpowers. They offer life-giving energy, a refresh to continue strong for the rest of the day. And… sometimes they stave off illness. When I’m not feeling my best, a nap puts me right! The Mayo clinic states naps increase alertness and relaxation while improving mood and performance.



When my children were young and they got sick, I would give them a cup of secret bear tea and a nap. They thought it was the secret in the tea that made them feel better, but the secret was only the teaspoon of honey. The real secret to their wellness was the extra sleep which inspired their recovery.

Naps are not just for kids! Adults are afraid to admit they take naps or they are afraid to indulge in such childishness. But – when needed – naps are a gift!

Sleep – hugs can inspire, give us more energy to face the rest of the day. Sleep, in general, is healing. Not only for physical illness, but from all sorts of challenges.