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Last weekend, Mom and I took Grandma H to the cemetery to clear the leaves from her parents’ and sisters’ graves. Grandma H steps out of the car, looks around and says, “Everything is so dead here.”

Mom and I look at each other and erupt in laughter.

Mom gently reminds her, “This is a cemetery.”

Grandma H chuckles. “No, not the people. I meant the grass and the trees.”

 

******

Grandma H and I are driving and we go by the spot where someone committed suicide. She says, “He got the neighbor’s wife pregnant while her husband was away and couldn’t handle it.”

I ask, “Didn’t they know about oral sex back then? I mean there were ways to have fun without risking pregnancy.”

She gets quiet.

I ask, “Can I ask you a question?”

She goes, “Not about sex.”

“But you have all those years of experience,” I tease.

She chuckles.

********

My Aunt Cindi asked my mom to pick up a palm cross for my grandfather’s grave.

We take Grandma H all over town with us in search of one.

Grandma H says, “I don’t know why Cindi doesn’t save them each year. Just take the palm off and keep all those yellow ribbons.”

Mom says, “What yellow ribbons?”

Grandma H says, “The ones it’s made out of.”

Mom says, “Those are all from the palm. If we kept the ribbon it’s just the one tiny purple ribbon.”

Grandma H erupts in laughter.

 

*****

I’m a bit behind on sales reporting. March was a slow month, I only sold 12 books. But April is kicking March’s butt in sales. So yay!

 

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Last Saturday’s event at our local grocery store was an unexpected delight! My friend Audra and my mom both helped out and it wouldn’t have been nearly as successful without them.

Mom and Audra greeted people and sung my book’s praises. They sparked interest and then people came over to sign up for my raffle and talk to me about the book. We sold out of books!

36 books sold and 21 signed photos sold that day!

I donated half the event’s profits to the American Cancer Society and had a memory board for people to write about their experiences with cancer.

That gorgeous memory board is the work of my Aunt Cindi–she’s the Martha Stewart of our family (minus the insider trading of course).

In 5 hours, we raised $173.50 for the American Cancer Society!

People were very friendly and polite. Even when they weren’t interested, they were kind enough to say no thanks. It made for such a pleasant experience!

A huge thank you to the owner of Pat’s for allowing me a space at their place on a busy day with awesome foot traffic!

Big thanks to my friends who came out for me–Andrea who was racing between multiple engagements, Jessica who had demanding toddlers, Ashley and her mom who were beyond sweet, Lori who hung out with us when we were getting started, and Sue who was sick but still came for a book.

Many thanks to my fellow Wolcottites who came out and supported me and this amazing organization!

 

 

 

 


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It’s officially official. And I finally found someone with Publishers Marketplace access to send me the announcement that appeared there about Reckonings (which is being published under my pseudonym K.C. Tansley)!

On to a cool bit of news, my editor (I will never tire of saying those two words) reached out to me and asked me to brainstorm new titles for Reckonings, my YA time travel murder mystery.

They sent me a worksheet that I’ve been working on all weekend–I’m such a nerd. Anyway, I’ve got some possibilities, but I’d really love your help so I’m going to post my hook here and see what you guys think.

I need lots of possibilities to submit to the publisher. If they like a title you suggested, I will make sure you receive a free signed copy of the book and author goodies. And I’ll  do a Skype chat with you and anyone you want to invite.

So here’s the hook:

Forget what you’ve seen on Ghost Whisperer. Ghosts aren’t spirits waiting to cross over. If only it worked like that. Never heard a thank you from them. Ever. Because they aren’t like us. They are broken remnants of a human being. And they seek one thing: reckonings.

 
Kat Preston stopped believing in ghosts. Not because they weren’t real, but because they overran her reality. She learned to deny their existence every day. It was her only shot at a normal life. Until her junior year at McTernan Academy when a summer project investigating a 127-year-old wedding night murder mystery calls into question all the unbelievables—ghosts, spirits, time travel, curses, spells.

Evan Kingsley, the research partner she nicknamed Satan’s disciple, takes a scientific approach to everything, which doesn’t allow for the unbelievables. But that doesn’t stop Kat from being yanked through a portal. Or Evan from following her. Or them from awakening a week before the murder with their souls trapped inside the bodies of two wedding guests. As if sharing a body with a New England Victorian lady isn’t hard enough, now Kat must rely on Evan to help piece together what happened on the wedding night before it happens again. Caught between trying to prevent the senseless tragedy and needing to get back home, can Kat do both?

Any thoughts on possible titles? Toss anything you’ve got at me.

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1) Do not panic. 

It’s pointless. It’s counterproductive. And won’t help the situation.

 

2) Promise your emotions you’ll deal with them later, if they stay quiet right now.

You have to focus on what’s going to happen next. This is about your career and feelings won’t help you out of this situation. Logic and rational thought are your allies here. You need to understand what is happening. Take notes. It gives you a bit more distance from what’s unfolding.

 

2) If you’ve got a good agent, she may line up someone to step in and fill her shoes.

I lucked out. When my agent decided to change careers in January, she found a brilliant agent to fill in and make sure things stayed on track with the negotiations with my publisher.

 

3) If your agent isn’t able to find someone to replace her, ask if she can refer you to any other agents.

She may not be able to, but at least you asked. And she might be able to put a new agent on your radar.

 

4) Ask for the status of everything you were working on together.

If you were submitting, get an update. Find out when her last day is and follow up with her on anything outstanding before that.

 

5) Unfortunately, you may need to start querying again.

It’s not your fault. It’s the universe. You are still an awesome writer and you will find a new agent in time. You did it once, you can do it again. And you can mention that you had an agent in your query letter.

 

6) When you hang up the phone, let yourself feel this moment.

Now is the time to let your emotions loose. Just make sure you do it all offline and privately. It’s a big shake up in your professional life. It’s the loss of an important player in your author career. It’s so much uncertainty again. Fire off emails to your mentors. Call a close friend and freak out. Tell your writing buddies. Sometimes just talking about what’s happening helps you process it.

 

7) And if all else fails, shoot me an email.

Seriously. It’s scary when something like this happens and you feel like you are the only person in the world who it’s happened to. I get that. And you aren’t alone. So drop me a line and I will commiserate with you over it.

 

What would you do if your agent quit?

*****

Saturday, April 12th, I will be at Pat’s IGA (816 Wolcott Rd., Wolcott, CT)  from 10 am to 3 pm selling signed copies of my  books and photography. 50% of the event’s profits will go to the American Cancer Society. We will also have a memory board to share your experiences with cancer. Please stop by!

 

 

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 1. I loved your debut novel, First of Her Kind, can you share your one or two line hook for the book?

Thank you, Kourtney, I’m glad you enjoyed it. A one or two line hook, huh? Man, those are tough.

Okay, here goes, ” When Ciara is torn from the simple healer’s life she has always known, she finds herself in the center of a battle between magic, blood ties, and the desires of her heart. No one knows the depths of the ancient power she possesses, or what will happen if it manages to escape her control, but someone wants it badly enough to find out.

 2. Where did you get the idea to have Ciara, your main character, be someone who didn’t like the Goddess? It’s a really unique and fresh take on the Goddess.

I’ve always questioned things, and I’m not one who really believes in blind devotion. I also like the idea of deities being more human than we think they are. Something which I explore more in the third book–currently in the early stages. So it made sense to me for Ciara to not be too fond of someone who she holds to blame for the tragedies in her life.

 3. When you described her other magic, the wilding, it was so vivid and totally immersed me in the scene. Did you do any research on spell casting or did you rely on your amazing imagination?

A little bit of both, actually. Most of it comes from imagination; taking little bits and pieces of things I’ve researched and then expanding on them.

I also wanted to make sure magic wasn’t an ‘easy out’ as it is in some fantasy books. I’m a firm believer in there being a price for everything, which is why my characters don’t use magic as a first resort. And thank you for thinking I have an amazing imagination. It’s to blame for getting me into trouble more than once.

 4. One of the many, many things that impressed me about First of Her Kind was your ability to build anticipation–is that something that comes naturally or did you learn it over time? Any tips you can share with writers on how to do it in their work?

It must come naturally because I really don’t think about it while I’m writing. What I do think about is keeping my reader turning the page. If I don’t build anticipation, if my characters reveal too much in their thoughts or their words, that’s not going to happen.

I guess one tip I would give is this–if you’re getting bored while you’re writing a scene, chances are very good your reader is going to be even more bored. That usually means the scene either isn’t important, or you’re giving away too much. Every chapter, every section, should end with a mini cliff-hanger of sorts. It doesn’t always have to be life or death, but it needs to make the reader itch to find out the solution.

 5. How did you decide what to reveal and what to hold back? You were an expert CIA agent when it comes to world building and backstory, giving me just enough info to understand and propelling me to turn pages until the wee hours of the morning.

That was a tough one. There were times I held back too much. Thankfully my beta readers would point that out. It’s a real juggling act. Too much, your reader’s eyes gloss over, and they’re skimming pages just to get back to the action. Too little and you have the white room syndrome.

Personally, I don’t like stories with page after page of description. Unless each tidbit of food on a plate is important in some way to the story, I don’t really care what the characters are eating. A general description to set the tone, and trust in the reader’s own imagination to fill in the details.

I think that makes it a more personal experience for the reader in the long run, instead of being spoon-fed every minor detail. The story is important, to me. The characters. That’s what drives me to turn pages, so that’s how I write.

 6. The sequel, Emergence, is coming out soon, please tantalize us with a few teasers of what’s to come for Ciara and Bolin.

Well, I’ve been told Emergence is even better than First of Her Kind, which means I was successful in what I set out to do. There is a much more expanded cast, and the stakes are higher now. Ciara becomes a stronger, more independent, and she and Bolin both will both be pushed to their limits.

I think the last line of the cover blurb sums it up nicely: Loyalties will be tested, lives will be lost, and no one will emerge unchanged as they find things are not always so clear on the line dividing Darkness and Light.”

 

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Bio:

K. L. Schwengel lives in southeast Wisconsin on a small farm with her husband, a handful of Australian Shepherds, Her Royal Highness Princess Fiona the Cat, and assorted livestock. Growing up as the youngest of nine children, and the daughter of a librarian, Kathi spent many hours between stacks of books and secluded away in dusty archives, drawn to tales of medieval heroes and conquering knights. When not writing, Kathi trains and trials working Australian Shepherds, still paints, dabbles in photography, graphic design and anything else creative her assorted muses send her way.

Connect with K.L.:

Blog: http://myrandommuse.wordpress.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KLSchwengelWrites

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/kathils01/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KLSchwengel

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6871795.K_L_Schwengel

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Excerpt:

Bolin rested his forearms on his knees. “When he calls you, then, you mustn’t answer. I know you can manage that. You’re quite good at not listening when people talk.”

Ciara frowned. “He sneaks up on me.”

“Then turn away from him.” She rolled her head on her arms, angling it away from him as she tried to avoid the conversation. Bolin laid his hand on her arm. “If you ever hope to control this power then you need to listen to me. You’re the one in charge. You have to be. This is the first step. He doesn’t get to decide that. You do.”

 

Buy Links for Emergence:

Amazon Kindle

 

Buy Links for First of Her Kind:

Amazon Kindle

Amazon Paperback

Nook

 

Emergence

Emergence, the second book in the Darkness and Light series, is a neck-tingling, tension-filled journey that I loved every second of. It picks up shortly after The First of Her Kind left off.

The entire book kept me on the edge of my seat. K.L. Schwengel is a master at infusing tension and anticipation into every scene.

Even in the most peaceful moments in Galys Auld, foreboding lurked. I knew Donovan would try to reclaim Ciara and I couldn’t wait to see how he did it and if Bolin and Ciara would be able to overcome him.

The author knows just how much to reveal about backstory and world building to keep the story moving and the reader intrigued.

The journey from the safety of Galys Auld to Nisair is an absolute nail biter. I fretted over every member of the convoy. Knowing at any moment danger would overtake them.

The author creates characters you can’t help rooting for. I laughed beside Garek as he needled Bolin and felt Berk’s helplessness amongst the marauders. Was calmed by Nialyne’s soothing presence.

I swooned over Bolin. And bonded with Ciara. I can’t wait to spend another book with these characters.

Great, great work Ms. Schwengel!

 

Blog Note: I can’t wait for my interview with K.L. on Monday, please stop by to hear all about her series!

*****

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An Abundance of Katherines by John Green has amazing voice.

Colin Singleton is a child prodigy on the cusp of becoming an adult. He feels this intense pressure to be a genius and this intense doubt that he will ever create anything worthy of that title.

He’s at an identity crossroads. And Katherine, the 19th Katherine that he’s loved, just dumped him. His best friend, Hassan (who lights up every scene he’s in), and he end up taking a roadtrip.

Colin decides to create a theorem. A way to predict who will be the dumper and the dumpee and how long a relationship will last. He will plot it and graph it.

Only John Green can have footnotes and graphs within a novel! It’s delightfully perfect for the voice of this story.

If you enjoyed math in high school, this will be particularly fun to read. If you didn’t, don’t worry, he makes it easy to grasp.

The roadtrip takes Colin and Hassan to Gutshot, TN, and they encounter the town golden girl Lindsey Lee Wells.

Their time with Lindsey is very character revealing, including a hilarious hunting scene where Colin shoots something he shouldn’t and a fight scene that had me rolling around in bed, laughing out loud.

It’s a quick read–Green’s prose are ridiculously smooth and each sentence leads into the next so well that the pages flip faster and faster.

*****

 

March was a month where I traveled lots and knocked out some amazing reads. I highly recommend all of these and you can read my reviews of  them on Amazon too!

The Entire Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead:  Vampire Academy, Frostbite, Shadow Kiss, Blood Promise, Spirit Bound, and Last Sacrifice

The First two Books of the Bloodlines Series by Richelle Mead: Bloodlines and  The Golden Lily

Quiet the Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

Millicent Min, Girl Genius by Lisa Yee

 

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Spring may be dragging her feet, but I’ve got a few author events in April that I’m really excited about!

April 12th from 10 am to 3 pm at Pat’s IGA (816 Wolcott Rd, Wolcott, CT): Wolcott Author’s Novel Approach to Supporting the American Cancer Society

Please stop in to purchase a signed copy of The Six Train to Wisconsin. I am donating 50% of the profits from this event to the American Cancer Society.

If you already own the novel, you might want to check out the signed original photography from the book.

We are going to have a memory board where people can write the name of a love one they lost to cancer, a quote to support those battling cancer, or anything they want about their experience with cancer.

This is a special event for me because I lost my college best friend, Jesse, to cancer 15 years ago. I want to remember him and celebrate the wonderful moments we shared.

His 37th birthday would have been in April. He died from head cancer, which is part of April’s Cancer Awareness Calendar. I think he would appreciate all the colliding coincidences.

Losing him changed the way I live my life. I only plan in 2 year increments. Never taking life as a given or delaying doing what’s important to me.

 

April 16th from 6 pm to 8pm at  Barnes and Noble (235 Union Street, Waterbury, CT): Local Authors’ Night

I’m thrilled to be invited to participate in a local author book signing at my Barnes and Noble.

It was extra tricky because Amazon has a no-return policy so Barnes and Noble hesitates to stock their books. I had to agree to purchase any unpurchased books from the signing.

It’s completely worth it for the experience and visibility. They will also shelve unsold books  in the store for a few weeks.

 

April 22nd from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at the Prospect Public Library (17 Center St, Prospect, CT): Open Mic Night for Writers

Renee Londner and I will be co-emceeing the first Open Mic Night for writers.

It’s open to anyone from tween to adults who would like to share a short writing piece.

Poetry, short stories, novels, memoirs–bring whatever you’d like to share.

You won’t find a better audience that fellow writers!

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I want to give a shout out to an amazing non-profit–Literacy Volunteers, who will be holding their annual fundraiser Friday, April 25, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. at the Aquaturf at  556 Mulberry St, Plantsville, CT.

I donated a signed copy of Six Train for their auction and owe a big thanks to my author friends for graciously donated signed copies of their books for the auctions:

NYT and USA Today Bestseller Paige Shelton

Amazon and Barnes and Noble #1 Bestseller and Agatha-nominated Lyndee Walker

USA Today Bestseller Gretchen Archer

USA Best Book Awards Winner T.L. Costa

Indie extraordinaire K. Lyn Wurth

******

Apologies for the delay in announcing February’s sales numbers, I sold 43 books in February. Woohoo! As I get closer to the one year mark, I’m trying to devise new ways to sell books.

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1000 thank yous to J.P. Moon, the owner of EZ Pickins  (773 Wolcott Rd Wolcott, CT)  for offering to stock my books and refusing to take a cut of the profits–that’s above and beyond generous.

And to put them up by the register where everyone sees them–that’s prime real estate in his store. It’s amazing how much a small business will help a local author out. Thank you!

Randomly cool fact: he and his wife lived in the house on the cover of my book when they first moved to CT–ask him about it when you stop in–it’s a cool story.

If you’re hankering for a signed copy and can’t make it out to one of my events, please stop by EZ Pickins and pick one up!

And get a scratch off or milk or bread or a treat while you’re there to support this awesome mom and pop shop.

 

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Kat and I headed toward the University of Arizona campus for the start of the Tucson Festival of Books–a free two day event with workshops, panels, and author signings.

I had author parking because I was signing books in the author pavilion that afternoon.

Unfortunately,  a 15 minute ride became a 45 minute ride in bumper-to-bumper traffic as cars swarmed that sweet parking garage.

It also involved a harrowing left turning across 3 lanes of oncoming traffic on a yellow blinking arrow.

We arrived to tons of people milling about campus.

Our aim was the Brandon Sanderson panel on building a mythology. We had a small little cushion of time to get the map of events, locate the building, and find the event room on this massive campus.

We got there 15 minutes before the panel began, but the room was already at capacity. Because my author signing stretched across 3 panels in the afternoon, Kat and I split up so I could get to attend a panel.

I had ranked my top 5 panels for each session and raced over to the closest one, which also happened to be my #2 choice.

I managed to snag a seat inside the workshop: Writing the Body from Ecstasy to Distress with Gina Frangello.

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Gina talked about how sex is such a universal experience–it’s one of the few things every writer is qualified to write about.

In literary fiction, sex does not have to be erotic. It should illuminate something about the character because in fiction only trouble is interesting.

Sex scenes should have a few purposes–raise lots of complicated emotions and have contradictions.

She also touched on the importance of making death ugly. Because in real life it is really ugly stuff.

****

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I made my way to my next panel on “What Next? Your Book A Year After It’s Published” with Patricia Barey, Therese Burson, and Roberta Grimes.

How you market depends on how you are published. Grimes touched on how much you can do a year after with indie books.

Grimes stressed the importance of finding your market. It might be a niche group who will love your book and then reaching out to them and offering free talks where you can sell your book.

With  traditional publishers, there seems to be a 3 month period where the PR and marketing machine of your publisher is focused on you, but then they move on to the next author.

 

*****

I grabbed Chick Fil A for lunch–how have I never had this before? Best chicken sandwich and waffle fries ever.

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****

At 1:15 pm, I headed to my car to get my suitcase of stuff for my author signing.

I made it to the Author Pavilion West and set myself up. The volunteers were super helpful.

Hands down, this was one of my best experiences in author signings.

People came up to me to talk about my book.

They were nice and genuinely interested. They even thanked me for talking with them. Wow. Such great readers.

I ended up talking to several dozen people, getting over a dozen entries for my raffle, and even selling a few books.

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Kat and I headed back to the hotel for R&R. We also got me a nice Moscato to toast in the room to a successful signing while we watched Red, which was a terrific example of how great characters can hook you when the premise didn’t.

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The next morning, we had a free hot breakfast at our hotel and then headed out super early. So early, I was 45 minutes early to the first panel and second in line.

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Clearly, I was super excited to hear Illsa Bick, RL Stine, Rich Wallace, and Xavier Garza talk about “Thrills and Chills: Spine Tingling Tales”.

RL Stine is hilarious by the way. He talked about how he never intended to be scary. He wrote joke books until he wrote horror and it became a NYT bestseller. Then he stuck with horror.

Wallace talked about how his book is inspired by an urban legend from his own childhood.

Stine mentioned how he was called the “literary training bra for Stephen King”.

Xavier talked about how important it is to get boys to read and boys seem to be drawn to scary stories.

An interesting thing was that none of the panelist are scared by books. How is that possible?

RL Stine will be starting up his Fear Street series again. His favorite book is Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury.

****

 

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The next panel was “World Building: Creating Imaginary Worlds”. The panelists–Cornelia Funke, Aprilynne Pike, Janni Lee Simner, and Chuck Wendig–were absolutely fabulous.

Funke talked about how every new book is like a labyrinth. She never knows the end of the stories before she writes them.

Aprilynne loves worldbuilding and can spend hours on it, hours not writing her story.

For Jani, she plays in her first drafts, the second draft is where she culls things out.  Worldbuilding is a journey of discovery.

Chuck likes challenges. He was playing around on his blog saying we need a new -punk. What about corn punk? He thought about his own suggestion and called dibs and wrote the story. For Chuck, the world builds itself through the book and he rewrites until he has it all right.

Jani gives herself permission to write bad drafts so that she can get to the story.

Aprilynne prefers to write quick and then take two days off and then start massive rewrites.

Funke is a quick drafter. She is a discovery writer. “The story writes us,” she said. She went on to mention how stories love to fool and trick us.

For Chuck, worldbuilding is like combat training. He has to get it done sort of like building a parachute as he drops to the earth. He works through world building in the draft and find doors and heads down pathways.

Funke mentioned how in Europe agents sell, but never edit.

Editing in Europe is very different. An editor will take a month to edit her book in Germany as opposed to a week here in the U.S.

Europe also has many small publishing companies that don’t need to sell so many books. A Swedish publisher mentioned being pleased to sell 2o00 books. The expectation in the US might be a minimum of 15,000.

Chuck said to write the book inside your heart–people respond well to that. We remember the pioneer, not the tenth iteration of it.

Jani shared how she wrote the book she wanted to write and the market shifted and it became something the market was interested in.

****

 

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My final panel was on Writing for the YA Market with Nicole McInnes, Chuck Wendig, and Page Morgan.

Chuck talked about the need to write bad books to write good books. He wrote screenplays and learned to write books from that. In 3 years, he’s published 10 novels.

Page talked about how YA is about firsts. There are many realizations. Lots of discovery happening.

Chuck talked about being online as though no one is interested or paying attention to you. Don’t aim to grab followers. Build and earn followers.

All three panelists warned about dating yourself. Talking about specific brands or bands or movies.

****

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Kat and I ended our day at Ihop in Casa Grande for dinner on our drive back to Phoenix.  The driver needed her fried steak and eggs.

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I started my visit in Phoenix with my Aunt Robin, Uncle Mike and cousin Dominic. Dom took us to an amazing restaurant called Citizen Public House, where we had the most delightful drinks and delicious foods.

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Bacon popcorn.

IMG_4902Fondue.

When we got back to Aunt Robin’s, we looked through old family albums and ate blueberry squares–something my grandma used to make when I was a kid. They were awesome!

Aunt Robin made Uncle Mike and I breakfast the next morning. Eggs, ham and toast–my favorites. Then we had a girl’s day.

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We went to the air force base where my uncle was a general. Very cool. Then we hit the Scottsdale mall. What a mall!

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I picked up my rental car and said goodbye to my aunt. I headed over to the home of my dearest friend, critique buddy, and editor Kat. We nicknamed the car Bullet. She was good to us. Got us all over Phoenix and to Tucson and back.

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Kat and I had dinner at Eastwind. A yummie Japanese place.

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We went to Butterfly Wonderland. It was really cool. They had a fantastic 3-d movie. I found myself flinching and reaching out to touch them during the movie.  Then we got to see butterflies hatching out of their cocoons.

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The butterflies loved Kat’s hat.

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And one stubborn guy stuck to my shirt for a good ten minutes. We nicknamed him my boyfriend since he’d grown so attached to me.

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Afterwards, we grabbed lunch at the restaurant by Changing Hands bookstore. And then we browsed. This is a book lover’s paradise. So many signed books. Kat and I stumbled on Neil Gaiman’s signed book. We each bought one–sorta like an author friendship necklace.

(I’m going to save the Tucson Festival of Books for it’s own post. So skip forward a few days and we are back in Phoenix.)

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Kat’s grandma Ginny has sent 2 dozen Sprinkles cupcakes to the family. I love cupcakes and this is the best Red Velvet I’ve ever eaten and I’ve cupcaked my way across Manhattan. Most, chocolately and delicious.

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Kat was craving Chick Fil A and introduced me to the best chicken nuggets ever made.

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Being the consummate writer, Kat has a tea cabinet with recommendations. I had an Applejack apple tea that was a delight. We watched My Little Pony and had tea and cupcakes. What a lovely afternoon!

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The next morning, we got up and Kat, her sister Karin and I headed up to Sedona!

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We lunched at a cute place in town. Karin takes the cuttest pictures. Weirdly, all three of us came downstairs dressed in plaid that day without ever consulting with each other.

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Cathedral Rock. We did a little meditation here–it was very energizing. I definitely believe in the vortexes.

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Our tour group at Cathedral Rock.

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Sedona at sunset.

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We ended the trip with my favorite food–a 3×3 protein style with grilled onions from In N Out.

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Today, I’m heading into NYC to catch a plane to Arizona, where I get to mix business and pleasure. I’ll be visiting with family and catching up with my beloved crit partner, Kat, in person!

I can’t wait to escape the snow. Swimming. I get to go swimming in March!

I’m doing an author event in Tucson too! I’ll be at the  Tucson Festival of Books March 15th from 2-4 pm in the Author Pavilion West selling and signing books! If you happen to be there, please stop by.

While I’m away, I’m going to take a blog holiday so there will be no new posts until March 24th. I love my blog buddies and I will miss you lots!

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Before I head out, I want to thank each and every reader who took the time to write a review for Six Train. It means the world to me. I read every single review and take what you say to heart. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!

Last week we hit a major milestone–50 reviews on Amazon for Six Train. Woohoo! As promised, I revealed 3 things about the sequel on Facebook.

In case you don’t follow me there, I’m reposting them here too.

Drumroll please…..

Three things that will happen in Six Train’s sequel:

1) Kai’s parents, her sister Naomi, and her brother Caleb will be in Butternut for the holidays.

2) Kai and Oliver will visit NYC.

3) Kai will grapple with everything that happened in the cave and struggle to find her way back to herself.

I’m feeling incredibly optimistic so if/when we hit 75 reviews on Amazon, I will reveal more details about the sequel’s opening scene, possibly the first line. ;)  Right now, we are at 51 reviews, so we need 24 more reviews. I’ll  also open the blog to reader questions about the sequel and give you more clues about what will be happening.

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