Outlander: For Those of You Just Tuning In

Last week, Starz posted the announcement that the opening scene of Outlander’s mid-season return would air immediately before the Black Sails season 2…

via Outlander: For Those of You Just Tuning In.

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My First Guest-Blogging Gig, and it’s a Big One!

I’ve got a couple of other opportunities in the pipeline, but this is the first: Meet your new Outlander correspondent for Basket of Kisses!

Outlander: I’m a Little Late to the Party. Are You?.

I’ve looked for the opportunity to write for them for years, but it always seemed like there was already plenty of writers covering everything that piqued my interest.

My take will be to look at how the show is translated from the page, with a few other tangents and insights along the way. Basket of Kisses is my go-to fan site for Mad Men news and views. No one’s getting it done the way that the Lipp sisters and the Basketcases are. The bar is high, but I’m ready to give this a try.

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Nunki Vocabulary (by Proxy*)

The “real” word of the day will be posted here later today, but enjoy this
PG-rated version in the meantime.

15 Words You Never Knew Came from Literature

*Proxy: an agent or substitute authorized to act for another person, or a document which authorizes the agent so to act.

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There Are Worse Things I Could Do…

(A Social Media Policy Sing-A-Long)85c207ad0eefb89ab83a980ea5d00343

There are worse things I could do than post a meme or two,
even though click-bait is trashy and no good.
I suppose you might click through, but there are worse things I could do.

I could boost my ‘likes’ with pay,
abuse the hashtags of the day.
Write saucy posts on my website,
stoke the fires and start a fight,
instigate and act the shrew…
That’s a thing I’d never do.

I write to share and entertain—
provoke some thought, avoid disdain.
Partake, participate, engage
on my Facebook wall or page;
favorite, retweet, and follow, too…

I could rant how it’s not fair
how big business doesn’t care.
I don’t pay, and I won’t buy,
but I’ll inform, and I can try
to help writers and authors through
(perhaps you’ll buy a book or two).
That’s all I’m really here to do.


There’s a lot of talk out there about new social media policies. The landscape is ever-changing, and we’re all trying to keep up with how to best engage with our audiences without engaging in spammy, troll-y, desperate tactics. All I’m trying to do is put genuine content out there for edification and entertainment of everyone with whom my message resonates.

To sum up:

  • I don’t pay to boost Facebook posts, and I will not use sponsored tweets. All that does is stoke the click farms. Lame. All of my content is either my own, or its source is clearly labeled.
  • If we engage with one another—whether it be here, Goodreads, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, or LinkedIn—I will seek to connect (friend, follow, etc.). Per your own level of privacy comfort, feel free to accept my invitation or let it go. You can follow or friend; it’s your choice. I’d really appreciate it if you don’t block or report my requests as spam, though. Negative interactions like that really screw with my ability to reach the people who have opted-in to receive my posts.

For however little you can trust in this world, be assured that your personal information is safe in my care. It will never be abused by me. To be perfectly honest, I’m not quite sure how I’d even go about commoditizing it. Even if I had the time to learn how, I have no aspirations to pursue such a sordid sideline. Anyone who does so on my behalf does not speak for me. Do me a solid: let me know if my name’s being bandied about in any unseemly way, wont you?

Support the proper function of social media, and don’t just be a bystander.

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What Would Your Bar Chart Look Like?


Want to develop a better work routine? Discover how some of the world’s greatest minds organized their days.
Click image to see the interactive version (via Podio).

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Happiest Holiday Wishes

Winter Solstice 1

Here’s a special extended excerpt from Release, in celebration of all of the holidays and new beginnings that come this time each year:

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Three—count ’em—THREE Book Signing Events!

**UPDATED JANUARY 8**

Thank you for coming out and supporting me at these events! I am especially grateful to Valerie, Michael, Joanie, Lisa, Joanne, Mary, and Jimmy for coordinating the signings. More are in the works – stay tuned! Continue reading

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The Mentally Ill Are Annoying

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Photo Credit: Robot Hugs, found via I Fucking Love Science

Release is a story about Mandelyn, a woman getting her life back together in the midst of depression. Note that I didn’t say “after” depression. True depression doesn’t end. It can be mitigated, and its intensity may recede on occasion, but it doesn’t ever completely go away.

Depression isn’t pretty, neither for the sufferers nor anyone with whom they interact. Their behavior can come across as “weak,” despite whatever accommodations the sufferers may have from those who care about them. When people are in pain, mental or physical (depression brings both), they turn inward. This is a generous way of saying they become somewhat self-absorbed. They often make bad decisions, blame others for their shortcomings, seem sullen, and let people treat them poorly. In a word, they’re kind of annoying, especially to casual acquaintances. The most loyal, empathetic, and loving people in the lives of the depressed are relentlessly tested, and relationships often disintegrate without some sort of intervention.

But enough about “them.” It’s easier to put “those people” aside as different from ourselves than it is to identify with them.

Do a little exercise with me:

Think back to a time when you were weak, in the wrong, fell short, blamed others, felt gloomy, or let yourself be treated badly. What did you do?

  • You ate half a chocolate cake.
  • You drank too many cocktails and puked at the bar.
  • You picked a fight, either verbally or physically.
  • You texted that ex whose number you should have deleted.

If you can’t think of a single time when you did anything wrong, then you should stop reading. Release is probably not the book for you. The rest of you, read on.
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VOTE (This is not what you think)

Yes, yes—I want you to cast your local and state-wide municipal election ballot,
BUT ALSO… Voting is open for the GoodReads Choice Awards!!

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News Round-up

The end of the week, month, and first Release marketing blitz (of many) are all here at once, and I have so much news to share! Warning – longer post ahead, but WORTH THE READ.

1) THANK YOU to everyone who have bought books so far, both those with eBooks already and those who placed their pre-print orders and are patiently awaiting their copies.

Have you bought yours yet? If not, click HERE. Remember that, for every copy purchased during the month of October, I will donate $1.00 to the March of Dimes in honor of National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.

The book is real, and it is coming. Proof:

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Signed, shipped copies ordered before November 1 will get to you on or before November 15th. For those who didn’t request shipping, I’ll be sure to have several on hand at all times, or we can arrange a covert drop-off point at a location to be determined.

2) SPREADING THE WORD: Trio Animal Foundation and New York Bully Crew are two of the most effective, well-respected Pit Bull rescue organizations in the country. At the recommendation from Brooke Van Gory, Pit Bull advocate extraordinaire, I reached out to let them know that Release has a pibble-positive message, in among all the other plots and themes at play. I had no expectation, except, possibly, a “Thanks for letting us know” response. Both organizations are going to include information about Release in their newsletters and social media accounts. When she isn’t giving her time and voice to spread vegetarian awareness, support hand-crafted goods, promote human rights, and advance decent common sense issues, she’s at work at Brooke Van Gory Designs.

3) GIVEAWAYS, CONTESTS, AND FUNDRAISERS! Currently, there are THREE chances for you to win copies of Release out there, and a few more coming online within the coming days.

  • Enter my GoodReads Gratitude Giveaway (G3™ – thanks, Brian) for a chance to win one of ten copies. Winners will be selected randomly by GoodReads at midnight on Thanksgiving day. (get it? GET IT?)
  • Like to mix a little fashion and philanthropy with your wagering? Attend the
    10th Annual Stylin’ for Scholars Fashion Show and Luncheon THIS Sunday, November 2, at Chevy Chase Country Club in Wheeling. One lucky Silent Auction winner will receive a Book Club Set of Release paperbacks. I will also visit a book club meeting, anywhere within 30 miles of O’Hare, to discuss the book on a mutually-selected date in 2015. I’ll appear via Skype at meetings outside of the Chicago area.
  • Just announced, a Book Club set of paperbacks and 2015 appearance at a club meeting are in the Silent Auction for The Mahrathon (similar appearance restrictions apply). On December 6th-7th, Maht Wells will DJ for 26.2 hours to raise money for Heifer International. This organization eradicates poverty and hunger through sustainable, values-based holistic community development. I’d donate the books to help any cause Maht supports, but the fact that Mandelyn’s experiences in Jaipur and Muang Khoun correlate with the work of Heifer—couldn’t go wrong. Check out Maht’s event page for more information.

4) FOUR LETTERS: S.W.A.G.

  • Composition of the fragrance, God’s Gift, is complete, and God’s Gift: Seduction is nearly finalized. I’m wearing one of four possible formulations right now, and all I can say is WOW. Anyone familiar with the passage knows the effect that the frankincense, myrrh, chocolate, hazelnut, and bourbon melange has on Mandelyn. It’s got me all flustered, too. I have it on good authority from Esscentual Alchemy that God’s Gift: Redemption is only days away from my doorstep. Words can’t describe my anticipation.
  • The official Release Tea Set is coming together! It will include packets of loose-leaf Chamomile, Caramel Rooibos, Mulberry Leaf, Chai, and Darjeeling Hojicha. Tiesta Tea has really outdone themselves.
  • I’m getting nothing but glowing reviews of Be Still, the original song written and performed by Sarah McSweeney. The song is embedded with the PDF, but I am including it as a separate file, as well, with the purchase of any digital copy. She and I may need to talk about uploading the song for purchase on other mainstream retail sites. It’s truly beautiful.

Eager to get your hands on any the goods? Read on! Continue reading

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