National Lampoon’s New Year’s Vacation

NEW ORLEANS — As we walked through the French Quarter, my travel partners and I were given a sign that we were meant to be there, right at that moment.

My sister, Nikki, and I attended West Texas high school in Stinnett. We were both in the band during our years (which did not overlap), and are both familiar with the song we know as “Comanche 2.” Most or the world know it as “The Chop,” or Florida State University’s signature song. Continue reading “National Lampoon’s New Year’s Vacation”

2018 was an amazing year, but 2019 will be even better

I signed more than 20 books in Borger, Texas, during Christmas at the Dome. People are seeking out, and paying for, my autograph. What a crazy thought.

I am an author. I couldn’t make that statement at the end of 2017. I was a writer, yes. I was even a published writer and had been one for more than a decade. But, at best, I was an “aspiring author,” or, more specifically, an “aspiring novelist.”

I had been “aspiring” for years. I had been dreaming for much longer than that. But something about 2018, and I truly have no idea what it is, caused me to take the leap. To jump from “aspiring” to “published.”

I learned a lot this year. I gained knowledge about the craft of writing a novel. I learned about the publishing world. Perhaps most importantly, I figured out a lot about myself, what I want out of life, and what it will take to get it.

So, to celebrate the end of this year and the dawning of a new one, I thought I would list the new things that I experienced in 2018.

Continue reading “2018 was an amazing year, but 2019 will be even better”

Big news about a major author/publishing event, plus a way to win a free book

Me with one of my good friends, Amber Guffey, during my first-ever book signing at Burrowing Owl Bookstore in Canyon on Nov. 24. 

Breaking out the bubbly

Before late November, I had probably had champagne. I can’t swear to it, but there’s a high likelihood. However, I’d never had champagne while someone was toasting to me or something I had done.

That has now happened twice.

First, I was given a champagne toast by a friend the night before my first-ever book signing at Burrowing Owl Bookstore on Nov. 24. Then my family toasted to the official release of my debut novel, Deep Background, in paperback on Dec. 6.

The signing at Burrowing Owl was my defacto release party (I went out for lunch afterward with family and friends), so I wasn’t expecting to have much to celebrate on Dec. 6.

Then I got an exciting email that morning from the International Thriller Writers. I was accepted as a member of this prestigious group just before my signing in late November. After being accepted, I submitted my novel to be mentioned in their monthly magazine, The Big Thrill. In that magazine, they choose 10 novels per month for a bigger feature, which includes an interview by one of their contributing editors.

Continue reading “Big news about a major author/publishing event, plus a way to win a free book”

Book review: Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman

Something in the Water has one of the best opening chapters of any book I’ve ever read.

I only wish the twist hadn’t been quite so transparent and easily deduced.

And, while that didn’t ruin the novel for me, it did keep it from being one of my favorites. But it was certainly close to rising to that level.

The story starts with Erin digging her husband’s grave. It describes the ritual in brutal, what I can only assume is authentic detail. As readers find out, it’s not the start of Erin’s story. I don’t always love frames like this one, but this was absolutely the best way to start this novel. I wonder if that was Steadman’s original idea, or whether a great editor teased this opening out of her. Since Steadman is an actress, and TV/film often uses frame stories like this, either way would make sense.

Continue reading “Book review: Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman”