Friday, January 16, 2015

No Clutter Campaign

In my continuing effort to reclaim my house, I have named the process the No Clutter Campaign. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

This week the No Clutter Campaign has moved into my office out of necessity. I have to get my tax stuff organized for my accountant. I’ve made good progress. Not enough to take any “after” photos, but enough that I have a clear table top for sorting receipts.

I’m drawing inspiration from several friends who have either recently moved or are in the process of moving. If I were moving, would I take this item with me? If the answer is “yes,” the item stays. If the answer is “no,” it gets tossed, put in the flea market/Craig’s List bin, or goes to Good Will.

For me, this mindset works better than the old “will I use it/do I love it” question. It’s too easy to think I might have a use for some gadget. I’m too sentimental about too many little inanimate objects. But the idea of packing and moving to a new home is daunting. Do I “love” that chipped coffee mug I use to hold pencils THAT much? Do I honestly believe I’ll EVER use that old 35mm film camera again?

Probably not.

So I’m letting go. Or trying to.

And as we all know, books are an entirely different category. Thank HEAVENS I’m not really moving, because we’d need fleet of U-Haul trucks just for my book collection.

Speaking of books, I’ll be at the Citizens Library in Washington PA this Saturday, January 17 at 2:00. If you're in the area and looking for something to do, I'd love to see you!

I apologize for my website being so out-of-date. My web guys’ mom has been in and out of the hospital, so he’s not been able to do the updates for a while. 

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

New Year's Odds and Ends

One of the things I hope to improve upon in this new year is decluttering. With the demands of deadlines, not to mention the great excuse “I don’t have time to clean. I have to write,” my house has become a series of what I affectionately call “hog holes.” Comfy, but messy. A little TOO lived in.

So I’m tackling one hog hole at a time. No, I will not be showing you the before photos. They might result in a film crew from some hoarding reality show appearing on my front porch. However, here is my first tidied corner of my house. Books and DVDs all neat and orderly. Small cabinet’s top cleared of “stuff.”

On to the next corner…which sad to say now contains some of the junk I cleared from THIS corner.


In other homefront news, Skye has developed a new quirk. She no longer wants her food in the kitchen. She now prefers to eat it in the bathtub!

If I set the bowl down elsewhere, she snubs it, goes to the bathroom door and looks at me until I follow her. Then she jumps into the tub and sits. Very clear communication. As long as I place the bowl where SHE wants it, she eats just fine.

Weird cat.

Also, it’s official. I’ve signed on with Henery Press for books 4, 5, and 6 of the Zoe Chamber series! Yay! I’m thrilled…especially since I’m 50+ pages into book #4 right now, and having a blast writing it.

Speaking of “blast”...okay, you’ll have to read Bridges Burned to get that little joke…I’ve created a Goodreads Giveaway for the third in the series. Click here to enter.

And one final note…a bit of blatant begging, which I despise, hence it’s placement late in this post. IF you’re registered for Malice Domestic and are filling out your nomination form for the Agatha Awards, Circle of Influence is eligible to be nominated for Best First Novel.

Just sayin’. Whether you think it’s worthy is totally up to you.

And now I must get back to work on book #4! 

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Looking Ahead 2015 Style

First, let me say I’ll be very glad when these year-in-review things go away! 2014 was a rough year for the nation and reliving all the horrific news stories is more than I can handle with my current low stock in tissues.

Goal #1: Go to the store and buy Kleenex.

Seriously, though, it’s time for my annual post about creating goals. If you don’t know the difference between goals and resolutions by now, go back into my archives and pull up a post from January 1 of any year.

Last year, my big goal concerned finding balance. I was more or less successful. I met all my deadlines (okay, I was one day late for ONE of them, but I had permission), so I must have done okay staying focused on writing. I did, however, go off the track where exercise is concerned. And family matters completely derailed me for a while.

Hey, life happens. You do your best, and you move on.

So for 2015, I’m shooting for a do-over on the finding balance goal. I need to continue to maintain momentum with my writing, but I also need to get my butt OUT of my chair to spend time on the treadmill, too.

For the moment, family stuff is under control, but there will be some rocky times ahead I’m sure. Hopefully I’ll be able to juggle everything without losing what’s left of my mind.

One thing I’ve enjoyed adding to my life is travel, and I hope to continue to bop around the country from time to time. As a bucket list item, I’m trying to add to the list of states I’ve visited. My plan for 2015 is to add Tennessee (Killer Nashville). I also have plans to revisit Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, and New Mexico.

Hubby gave me a new spinner carry-on bag for Christmas. I have to use it, right? I would be rude not to!

I feel like I’m slacking with nothing monumental to add to my list of goals for 2015. But sometimes maintaining an even keel is all we can hope for.

Wishing a Happy New Year…and an even keel…to you all! 

Friday, December 26, 2014

Looking back on 2014

It’s time once again for me to look back on the year as it comes to an end. One thing I can say about 2014: There’s never been a dull moment.

It started out frantic with revving up to release my first novel while finishing my second and starting my third. And in March, the day I feared might never happen came to fruition. My first launch party was a huge success.

I’d dreamed of someday signing the famous bathroom wall at Mystery Lovers Bookshop. It finally happened.

Then I spent a few months learning to be a published author, attending book signings and conferences.

Soon I was gearing up for the launch of my SECOND book! At the same time, I was finishing the third one.

The highs were tempered with lows, namely my mom’s health issues. My goal for 2014 was finding balance. I think the Universe wanted to make sure I kept things in perspective.

The second launch party was incredible, too.

And as if that weren’t enough, I hit the USA Today bestseller list!

Then there was the trip to the west coast and Bouchercon at the Beach. Long Beach, California, that is. I may have played hooky a little too much. But I couldn’t resist the sun and sand in November!

On my way home, I stopped in New Mexico for a vacation with my BFF, Leta.

As 2014 comes to a close, I have yet another book coming out…

…my first book is now available in audio

…and more adventures on the horizon. I think it may be a little hard to top this year, though! 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Some Holiday Reading Material

Wishing you all a very merry holiday season.

In case you’re looking for something to read, my Pittsburgh Chapter of Sisters in Crime put out an anthology a year ago, and to celebrate, we’re offering a real 12 Days of Christmas Deal for Lucky Charms: 12 Crime Tales.

My contribution, “Sweet Deadly Lies,” is set in the same county as my Zoe Chambers mysteries, although in a different town. In fact Monongahela County Police Detective Wayne Baronick puts in an appearance.

Mona Peterson had once told me the chunk of fake turquoise hanging on a heavy silver chain around her neck always brought her luck. Seeing that same silver chain cutting purple grooves into the gray skin of her throat, I had my doubts.

My Marsdale PD partner, Cale Harper, finished stringing crime scene tape around the back side of the Marsdale High School football field bleachers where Mona’s body had been discovered. He shoved his hands into his coat pockets and ambled over to me. “I’ve seen it all now, Abby. Who’d want to kill sweet Mrs. Peterson? Can you believe it?”

I didn’t say what I was thinking. Hell, yes, I could believe it. In fact I was surprised it hadn’t happened sooner. But then, I knew Mona better than Cale did…

Want to read more? Lucky Charms on e-readers is only 99 cents through Christmas. Choose your format: Kindle, Nook, Kobo.

Also, I have two more appearances before Christmas.

Friday, December 19 – Chartiers Houston Community Library, Houston, PA, 11:30 a.m.

Saturday, December 20 – Red Engine Press Holiday Event at Papa Gallo Cucina, Bridgeville, PA, 2:00 to 4:00. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Finding My Rut

I like to think I’m flexible—the emotional kind, not just the physical kind of flexibility that comes from almost two decades of yoga practice—but I’ve come to the conclusion that I resist change as much as anyone I know. Give me a rut, a routine and I’m happy.

When my rut caves in on me, I lose my center. Heck, let’s face it—I lose my mind!

After several months of no routine, no rut, no sense of structure in my life, I’m finally getting back to a schedule. Mom’s settled in nicely to her new home. I don’t necessarily have less responsibilities, but I do have different ones.

The important part is I’m managing to fit my new responsibilities in around my writing.

And I’m writing every day! The next book is more than scribbled sticky notes tacked to my office walls! It’s taking shape.

In the meantime, the print version of Bridges Burned is now available for pre-order

Sunday, November 30, 2014

A Mom Update

So many friends have been asking about my Mom, I realized I needed to post an update. It’s been a rough couple of months for both of us, beginning with the realization that she wouldn’t be able to live independently at home any longer. However, the plan for her to move in with us didn’t set well with her. She repeated she didn’t want to be a burden in spite of my insistence that she wouldn’t be.

As of this past Tuesday, Mom has moved to Sunrise SeniorCare, a beautiful assisted living facility. This place is incredible. Heck, I want to live there! Either she’s lying to me or she really does like her new digs. Time will tell. My home will always be open…although I have to admit, where she’s at now is WAY nicer than Casa de Dashofy!

For Thanksgiving, Hubby and I picked her up and took her to the family gathering where she oversaw the carving of the turkey.

No blood was shed, no fingers lost.

With Mom settled into her new apartment, a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders. Once again, I’m getting back into the writing groove. No one is happier about that than Pete and Zoe, who were raising quite a fuss inside my head these last weeks!

Speaking of Pete and Zoe, I have some good news to share in the very near future. Stay tuned!