The Two Newest Things in My Life

And the book doesn’t nip OR bite your ankles!

It’s been a long time coming but it’s finally here!

If you like family drama, mystery, or knowing more about the “roaring” Prohibition era, I’d love to share this story with you. You can find it:

On Amazon here.

Barnes and Noble here.

Also, Goodreads is hosting a giveaway for the novel!

Thanks, all!!


The High Price of Telling Lies

Seventeen-year-old Emma June believed her mother’s new friend, the citified Betty Bedford, breathed life into their small town of Holly Gap, Texas, with her flapper dresses, fancy flasks, and progressive ideas. But when her mother goes missing after fighting with Betty on carnival night, Emma June fears that all of Betty’s words were filled with lies.

Trying to piece together the events of that dreadful night, Emma June sets out to find her mother and warily accepts the help of the town’s mysterious newcomer named Frank, whose sudden appearance in Holly Gap raises her suspicions. Yet behind his easygoing attitude and passion for jazz, Frank conceals many secrets of his own.

Teaming up in their investigation, Emma June and Frank uncover the presence of a wanted mobster who threatens the stability of their community and may be the key to finding Emma June’s mother. Even as their search leads to danger and Betty’s life-shattering lies come to light, Emma June will stop at nothing to bring her mother home.

A thrilling mystery set in the social tumult of the Prohibition era, Distilling Lies reveals what real crimes occur beyond the moonshine thicket.

You may find it here:

Barnes and Noble

Amazon Kindle

Amazon Print

Book in “Hand”

I didn’t know James “Slim” Hand had died until recently.

In 2011, when my first novel came out, he played at my book release party. His rich voice belted out songs he had written as well as my requested, “Home on the Range.”

In the short time I knew him, I found him to be a kind, gentle soul who wore his heart on his sleeve and an easy smile on his face.

My newest novel will be released on May 9th and I think of him now. This round, I will not have an official release party (although I’m dancing in private.) But if he were still around, I know he would gladly pose with my newest book in hand, have his photo taken, and later, enjoy my efforts in painting him. Rest in Peace, Slim.

Distilling Lies will be available on May 9th. You may find it here:

Barnes and Noble

Amazon Kindle

Amazon Print

When did “Woke” Become a Negative Term?

Sleeping serves its purpose. Sometimes, we have magical dreams. Other times, we have dreams about people we haven’t thought about in a long while or dreams that remind us of things we need to accomplish when we wake up.

A long time ago I had a friend who slept over with her three-year-old grandson. In the morning, the child rose and exclaimed, “I waked up!”

I like to think I, too, have “waked up.”

If you are awake, life happens.

So why is “woke” such a bad term these days? Synonyms for “woke/awaken” include: acquainted, vigilant, knowledgeable, aware.

I don’t know about you, but I want to be all of those things.

According to, the newest term for woke means: being conscious of racial discrimination in society and other forms of oppression and injustice. In mainstream use, woke can also more generally describe someone or something as being “with it.”

And what is wrong with being conscious of racial discrimination?

So why do people use “woke” as a negative term?

“Before 2014, the call to “stay woke” was, for many people, unheard of. The idea behind it was common within Black communities at that point — the notion that staying “woke” and alert to the deceptions of other people was a basic survival tactic. But in 2014, following the police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, “stay woke” suddenly became the cautionary watchword of Black Lives Matter activists on the streets, used in a chilling and specific context: keeping watch for police brutality and unjust police tactics.” (site credit)

So, it appears to me that those who use “woke” in a negative tone are in denial of basic facts.

And just a reminder, synonyms for “deny” are: negative, ban, oppose, rebuff, reject, discredit.

I don’t know about you but I’d rather look like this:

katy perry smile GIF

than this:

Tired Episode 2 GIF by Friends

“What are you doing, Frankie?”

“Digging for plot holes in my new novel,” she tells me.

“Any luck?”

“Found some.”

“But there are always more,” I tell her. “It’s best to find a good editor.”

I’m so grateful for the time and attention River Grove/Greenleaf Books Publishing gave to my upcoming novel. After going through it a gazillion times, they still found plot holes, word issues, etc. Unlike Frankie, my new and mischievous puppy, Distilling Lies is clean and about to hit the shelves on May 9th. Of course, I’ll send you a reminder! 😜

And, ain’t she cute?!

That Internet!

What would we do without it?!

Now that my novel is finished and soon to be available, I’m no longer researching the 1920s. Instead, I’ve found myself back into the painting mode. I think I have watched every youtube video available on pastel painting. But this time, I actually followed the tutorial and viola! I love it when the internet can teach us positive things!