Friday, May 20, 2016

I’m Not Multitalented

I was in my late 20s when I attended a booksigning for a bestselling author. For some reason, nobody had shown up for the event. I planned to leave as soon as the next fan showed up, but nobody did.

So I stayed.

And stayed.

And stayed.

I watched for an indication she wanted me to leave her sitting there alone. She never gave one. So we talked about the writing life. She gave me tips that have stuck with me to this day. One of them was very interesting.

"Writing is all I can do," she said. "I have no other talent. So I put all my effort into writing. Then I can pay other people to do all the other things."

Think about it. If you could make enough writing, you could outsource everything. You wouldn't have to know how to bake or cook...

You could pay someone to clean your house and reorganize your closet.

A writing friend of mine published a few novels, then retired to the beach. She now acts and sings in local productions, makes crafts, and writes novels she publishes herself.

Of course, there are also the many talented children's authors who can illustrate and write. I envy them, too!

I can't even keep a plant alive for more than a month.

Are you multitalented? What are your talents?

I have bookmarks! If you want some for your class, library, or just to hand out to your kids' friends, fill out the form here or comment below and I'll track you down! I'll even sign them.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

My Home Is Just a Little Smarter Than Yours

First I wanted to announce that I got my first piece on Friday. Check it out! today's post!

When we bought our new house, we soon discovered it needed a new doorbell. The one we had was all:

Okay, maybe not quite that old. But if we were going to buy a new doorbell, why not go for the latest technology? I write about the Internet of Things for some of my clients. I know smartphone-accessible appliances are the future.

We invested in a smart doorbell. When someone presses it, it rings your phone. You can then pull up the video and speak with them (they can hear but can't see you). 

It's motion activated, so any time someone is on your front porch, video is captured of that person. Most of my videos are of these guys:

The next logical step is to buy something else that's Internet connected. Perhaps one of these?

Or these?

Or these?

You can also buy smart plugs for your home...they let you plug in anything and control it from your smartphone.

Very sci-fi, right? Do you have any smart appliances in your home? Do you think you'd ever buy any of the items above?

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Introducing A Spy in Me by Rebecca Green Gasper

I have a new friend to introduce to you this month. I met Rebecca Green Gasper during the A to Z Challenge and hers was one of my favorite blogs. When I saw that she had a new book out, I couldn't wait to help out...especially when I heard it was a young adult mystery. Here's her fun cover. It's book one in a new series called Freshman Year. Scroll down to read more about A Spy in Me.


Harley Jenkins has no idea how she’s going to get out of the mess her roommate has dragged her into. The university has placed her on probation and the disciplinary board has demoted her from her position in local news to the fashion section of her school’s online newspaper. She doesn’t even care about fashion and is far from trendy. She wants to be an investigative journalist.

So when she hears the rumors that something major went down at her dorm, she sees the opportunity to detract herself from her impeding board meeting and the problem with her roommate. A girl has fallen to her death, and Harley is sure the authorities are missing something. She’s determined to do anything to find out what happened, including hiding out in small spaces to get information even though she’s claustrophobic.

But when another girl ends up in the hospital, Harley’s convinced the two situations are related. Soon Harley finds herself torn between solving the mystery of the girls and solving her own issues. With the probation hanging over her, a fashion article due, and the upcoming hearing approaching, Harley thinks about backing out of her investigation. Will Harley be able to stuff herself into yet another tight corner to solve the mystery, or will she have to back off to solve her own issues? Will the spy in her even let her dismiss this odd mystery?

Join Harley during her freshman year as she takes on mysteries around her college town. This is Book One in a series.


Rebecca Green Gasper is an author, speaker and photographer. She writes young adult contemporary fiction on tough teen issues, new adult sleuth mystery series, historical fiction, and non-fiction. She was a high school teacher, tutor, and coach before becoming a writer. She is passionate about raising awareness on teen tough issues and speaking out against teen violence. She loves pinwheels, bright colors, daisies, long talks with friends, and time with her family. She grew up in the mountains of Colorado and now lives outside of Denver with her husband and two children. You can find her at


Monday, May 16, 2016

The Spooky Tale of Ocracoke Island: Guest Post by Elizabeth Seckman

Today I'm welcoming a good friend to my blog. Elizabeth Seckman is a talented blogger and author...and she has an awesome new book out today called Swept Away. She's sharing an incredibly scary story with us today. After the guest post, scroll down to learn more about it!
The Spooky Tale of Ocracoke Island
by Elizabeth Seckman

Hi Stephanie! Thanks for having me over. Today is the launch day for my new book, Swept Away. Writing stories that take place on the Outer Banks is not new to me, but this is the first book set on the tiny island of Ocracoke.

Ocracoke is an interesting place with a name as colorful as its history.

Most likely, the name is derived from the Woccon Native American tribe’s name for the island, Wokokon. The island’s thick brogue dialect probably morphed the name from Wokokon to Ockercock to eventually, Ocracoke (which sounds like the veggie paired with a soft drink).

But there’s a much more interesting etymology of the word that is usually told by camp fire light…

In the 1700’s, Ocracoke was a favorite hide-out/party spot of Edward Teach, AKA Blackbeard the Pirate. The government of Virginia was tired of Blackbeard’s shenanigans, so they commissioned Lt. Robert Maynard to hunt him down.

Image source: Wikipedia

They met up one night in the harbor at Silver Lake. They say Blackbeard was a frightful sight with lit cannon fuses burning in his beard, making Maynard’s men wonder…was this a man or was he a demon?

Seconds into the battle, they really started to have their doubts that they were dealing with a mere human.

Shot after shot…slice after slice…until the deck of the ship was slippery with blood, the pirate wouldn’t go down.

Maynard was just as tenacious. He’d sworn to bring down the pirate and if it took sacrificing his own life, he would make good on his word. In a final blow, he severed Blackbeard’s head from his body.

Official reports say that Edward Teach died right then. His body was tossed overboard into the inlet and his head was attached to the bowsprit of Maynard’s ship. After 5 bullet holes, 20 sword slices, and a decapitation, the pirate was dead.

But campfire lore doesn’t agree. According to legends, Blackbeard still didn’t give up. Instead, his body swam the inlet, circling the ship…looking for his head. But it was too dark, so he called, “O’ crow cock”…willing the sun to rise. They say, if you listen, right before dawn, you can still hear the pirate calling, “O’ crow cock” as his spirit wanders the island looking for his head.

And that’s how Ocracoke got its name.


He came looking for a ghost. Instead, he found a girl. 

Tucker Boone is a war-hardened Marine on a ghost hunt. Fresh out of the corps, Tucker learns he has a missing half-sister, Maddy. The only clue to her whereabouts is a cryptic note…I’ve gone Mad, Mags. Tucker agrees to search for her and heads to Ocracoke, North Carolina where a ghost named Mad Mags is said to haunt the ancient graveyards dotting the island. 

The note doesn’t bring him any closer to finding Maddy, but it does offer him a diversion to the doldrums of civilian life— his new island neighbor, Josie McCoy. Tucker is drawn to her quiet spirit.

There’s something special about Josie…a connection he can’t quite explain. 

By summer’s end, he’s mixed up in deception, murder, and the love of a lifetime. Logic tells him to head home and forget the truths he found on the island. But can he walk away? Josie offers him more than love; she offers him hope. When the clues pile up and it looks like she can never be the girl for him, he has to make a choice- play it safe and break her heart, or risk everything for a chance at being swept away.


Elizabeth is a multi-published author and family laundry wench. She is the mother of four boys, who are quickly all becoming men! Her life is filled with stinky size-twelve shoes and beard clippings in the sink. Is it any wonder she enjoys days spent writing women's fiction of stories of romance and happily ever after?