Thanks For The Memories

2016 was an interesting year to say the very least. I know several people who are more than ready to bid this year a rather disdainful adieu. But you know, 2016 wasn’t all political warfare and celebrity deaths. I can’t speak for everyone, but there are several moments from the past year on which I will look back with fondness.

And what better way to look back than with Instagram pictures?


  1. Birthday Party at Painting with a Twist.


2. Hot Chocolate by the fire.


3. Hiking the ENTIRE 9 miles around White Rock Lake.


4. Camping and sleeping outside for the very first time.

5. Adventures at Fossil Rim and Glen Rose Dinosaur Park.

6. My sister’s junior voice recital.


7. The Little Mermaid, Wicked, and The Book of Mormon (not pictured).

8. Book Events.

9. Earth Day Celebration.


10. A visit to Pioneer Village.


11. My best friend moved home to Texas! This was definitely the best thing to happen to me this year!


12. I took a dream vacation by myself to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, climbed two lighthouses, and visited the wild mustangs who live on the beaches.

13. I traveled to Arkansas to see my sister perform in Pinocchio.

14. A stop in to pay my respects to those buried at Showman’s Rest in Hugo, Oklahoma… the same graveyard featured in the third Cemetery Tours novel, After Death.


15. Published the third book in the Boy Band Series and had a short story featured in Lurking in the Shadows!

16. Reconnected with old friends at my ten-year high school reunion. screen-shot-2016-12-07-at-11-04-09-pm

17. Met Aaron Watson.


18. Celebrated the release of a “new” Harry Potter book… and was officially sorted into Ravenclaw!

19. Boy Band and Backstage won a few cool awards!

20. My sister and I traveled to Oklahoma to see 5 Seconds of Summer.


21. I donated 10 inches of hair to Locks of Love.


22. Found out I haven’t lost my touch at this Dave and Buster’s arcade game.

23. We all realized our childhood dreams of becoming Pokemon Masters.


24. Had an amazing experience at the Texas Teen Book Festival (and got to spend the weekend with my dear friend Kara!)

25. Boy Band was featured in a SugarScape article! THIS was so very cool.


26. Ghost hunting, sunrises on the beach, exploring submarines and World War II warships in Galveston.

27. I met Daymond John and gave him a copy of Cemetery Tours and a hug.


28. Sold books and ate the most amazing cheesecake on a stick at Texas Renaissance Festival.

29. Met a childhood hero.


30. Saw my sister perform in the Phantom of the Opera.

31. Found adventure in Lubbock (and trust me, that is not easy).


32. Returned to the stage for the first time since grad school.


33. And of course, read lots and lots and lots of books.

Things to do in 2015

I like making lists.  Maybe it’s a writer thing.  Maybe it’s a mild case of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder thing.  Every week I make a new List of Things I Need to do this Week.  They prove to be quite useful and when I have them all written down for me to see, it makes it easier for me to get them done.  On the other hand, there are some lists that should not be made, such as What I Want in a Boyfriend.  Because guess what?  One day you meet a person who meets all your criteria exactly and they’re not at all right for you.  But I digress.

As 2015 is still relatively new (9 whole days), I’ve been thinking about all I want to do this year.  Of course, writing and publishing new books are a given.  But I’d also like to try some new things.  I’m not talking about things like giving up chocolate (that is NEVER gonna happen) or vowing to exercise every single day (I have commitment issues), but stuff like make a smoothie all by myself.  You know, little things like that.  So, without further ado, here is my 2015 To-Do List

* Finish and publish 3rd Cemetery Tours book

* Publish Boy Band (I’ve actually already finished writing it)

* Visit San Diego with my sister

* Make strawberry sorbet

* Go on at least three urban exploration adventures

* Complete my family history scrapbook

* Visit a wildlife sanctuary

* North Texas Book Festival

* AuthorFest

* READ! Read a LOT!

* Do more good

* See the new Cinderella movie

I’m sure there are more, so for now, this is a work in progress.  What are your plans for 2015?

Something More

There’s a song I love by Sugarland called Something More.  It’s a great song about life and living it the way it’s meant to be lived.  There has to be more than the daily rush and hustle.  These lyrics have always stood out to me:

Some believe in destiny and some believe in fate

But I believe that happiness is something we create

You best believe that I’m not gonna wait.

Ever since I began working for myself as an independent author, I’ve never been happier.  I’ve waited my entire life to really learn to love myself.  In college, the thought of being alone with my mind and my thoughts was terrifying.  I wasn’t happy with me.  I had no idea where I was going or what I was going to do.  I thought I’d never figure it out.

Now, as I approach my 27th birthday in nine short days (agh!), I find myself looking forward to the future, able to spend countless hours by myself (and enjoy them), and most importantly, I’m still determined to work and make things happen.  Perhaps more so than ever.

I used to think that the best thing about writing was that I got to create worlds and characters and stories that I wanted to see and know and read.  Believe me, those are still some of my very favorite things in the world and I have so many worlds and characters and stories in my head that need to get out and onto paper.  But I’ve had so many people just this week reading Between Worlds and telling me, “I’ve missed your characters!  I can’t wait to find out what happens next!”

That, my friends, is the coolest thing ever.  It not only reassures me that I’ve written something that is worth reading and enjoyable, but it makes me miss my characters, too.  I’ve taken some time off from the next Cemetery Tours to work on my new YA novel/NaNo project, but I really do miss Michael and Kate and Luke and Brink.  I can’t forget about them.  And I won’t.

As much as I love those characters, however, they’re not alone inside my head.  Along with the rest of the Cemetery Tours series and Boy Band, I have at least three more series and five stand alone novels in my head right now.  If at all possible, I’d like to get them out sooner rather than later.

For some reason, I’ve always had it in my head that I can only do one book a year, but the more I read about other independent writers, the more I realize that’s simply not the case.  I could probably easily produce four or five high quality books in a year.  I’ve always been a big believer that more often than not, the only thing standing in your way is that little voice inside your mind telling you that you can’t.  You can’t.  It won’t work.  It’s impossible.  The mind is a powerful thing and I believe that it can hold you back.  This year, I’m going to do my best to remind myself that I can.  Great things are so possible.  Too many people who’ve gone before us have already proven that.  Who are we to believe otherwise?


PS – I’m adding this picture in because posts always look better with pictures than without.

New Year, New Adventures, New Books!

I know a lot of people who make New Years Resolutions.  I know several more who don’t because they never keep them.  I think we all like the idea of a fresh start, a blank slate, and that’s why we take New Years Day as an opportunity to make changes in our lives that we truly want to make.

Now, there are some resolutions I know I can’t keep.  Like giving up chocolate?  Forget it.  I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I don’t eat fast food or drink soda or even coffee.  I NEED chocolate.  It’s my one source of caffeine.  It is my vice.  The only way you could get me to give up chocolate is if a doctor looked me in the eye and told me that if I kept eating chocolate, it would eventually kill me.  And even then, I’d probably still sneak pieces here and there.

So instead of making resolutions that I may or may not be able to actually keep, I set goals for myself.  My goal in 2013 was to publish Cemetery Tours.  My goal for 2014 was to take an amazing trip over the summer.  I actually still haven’t achieved my goal for 2012, which was go see a movie at the drive-in.  Maybe 2015 will be the year for that.

This year, I’m setting myself a few new goals.  The first is to publish not one, but two new books: Boy Band and the third Cemetery Tours.  The second is to at least try to get in a little better shape. I’m not in bad shape, but there’s always room for improvement.  And since I’m almost 27, you know, age might start catching up with me.  Finally, I’d really like to get more into urban exploration.  I met a woman back in October who specialized in exploring and writing about ghost towns.  She was SO cool!  Her name is Robin Cole Jett and you can find her on Facebook here:

As for adventures, I already have a few lined up for 2015.  For example, in April, I’ll be participating in the North Texas Book Festival!  I’m looking into a few more events as well, but nothing is solidified.  Then in July, my sister and I are taking a trip to San Diego.  We’ll hopefully be visiting the zoo, the beach, the haunted Del Coronado Hotel, going on a whale watch… And we’ll definitely be seeing One Direction.  Can’t  lie.  I’m really excited.

Of course, throughout the year, I will keep reading and I will definitely keep writing.  Along with the two books I plan to publish, I have at least twenty more in my head desperate to get out.  I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again.  Being a writer is never dull.  There is literally always something going on, even if it’s just inside your mind.  But as Dumbledore says, “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”

Happy 2015, everyone! I hope it’s your best year yet!

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The Cheese Ball That (Almost) Ruined Christmas

Well, another Christmas has come and gone.  It was a pretty fantastic one, full of food, family, friends, and merriment in general.  I got exactly what I wanted, gift cards to Barnes and Noble.  There were also a few surprises, however, such as a Michael Kors purse and a really nice Anne Klein coat.  I never get designer stuff, so I feel very fancy.


Christmas Eve was kind of an adventure.  My sister realized, kind of completely out of the blue, that we didn’t have our annual holiday cheese ball.  Apparently, she believed that you don’t actually go out and buy a cheese ball.  Around Christmastime, one just magically materializes inside the refrigerator.  After assuring her that this was not, in fact, the case, we went out to buy a cheese ball.

Well, as it turns out, cheese balls are very popular around the holidays.  We ended up going all around town, to three different stores, ON CHRISTMAS EVE just to find her dang cheese ball.

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Apparently, if we had not found this particular cheese ball (port wine… because cheddar isn’t good enough or something), then Christmas would have been ruined, her life would have been over, and the Horseman of the Apocalypse probably would have trampled our house to the ground.

But in the end, Christmas was saved.  Thank God.


Aside from the Great Cheese Ball Expedition, Christmas was beautiful.  We went to Midnight Mass and reconnected with a lot of old friends.

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We enjoyed a vintage Christmas around my sister’s new record player.


And of course, we spent Christmas Day with our friends, the Kisers.  Sadly, there was no toilet this year.  I did come in second place in Mario Kart, however, which is nothing short of a Christmas Miracle.

Over the weekend, we got to spend time with my older sister, brother-in-law, niece, nephew, his girlfriend (they are so unbelievably cute together), and my crazy cousins (I say crazy in the best possible way).  It was great to see them and to spend that time with family.  My sister and her family live about two hours away, so we don’t get to see them that often.  I do have to take a moment to brag on my nephew, however, who will be attending the University of Texas next year and playing on their baseball team.  Next stop: the Major Leagues!

Finally, I have to tell you all about quite possibly the coolest thing to have happened to me as an author.  I ran into a guy yesterday at Barnes and Noble.  We got to talking about books and I told him to friend me on GoodReads.  As soon as he did, he looks up at me and goes, “Wait… You wrote Cemetery Tours?”

I said, “Yeah.”

He goes, “You are not going to believe me.  You are going to think I’m lying.  But my mom has this book.  She wants me to read it but I’m afraid it’s going to be about killers and stuff.”

Can I just tell you that it is the coolest thing to meet a complete stranger who knows about your book?  It seriously made my entire day.

Speaking of books, I am so excited, not only about Boy Band and the third Cemetery Tours book, but about all the books I have in my head.  Sometimes, I wish I could clone myself so I could work on all these books at once.  Not only do I want to finish the CT series, I have a follow up novel to the new one, I have a whole different series planned in my head, I have at least two stand alone novels that I want to write, and another series that I began working on in college.  It never ends, people.  It really never ends.  But I’m glad it doesn’t.  It can get very confusing, but for the most part, my brain is kind of a neat place.  There’s always some form of entertainment.

As for the New Year, my goal is to get in as much writing as possible.  I will be publishing at least two new books and hopefully working on several more.  I’m also really hoping to keep cleaning out my numerous possessions that I don’t use and donate them to a good cause (Operation Kindness is actually going to get a lot tomorrow).  I just feel so much lighter and freer without the clutter.  Finally, once my fresh batch of fudge is gone, I’m back on the healthy bandwagon.  Christmas was great, but I ate SO much that I shouldn’t have.  It will probably take me months to recover.

On that note, I think I’m going to go see if I can find anything else to donate.  I hope you all have had a wonderful holiday season and that your good fortune continues on well into the new year!  I’ll talk to you soon.


It’s the first day of the new year.  That means I should probably write some long and profound post about the promise of new beginnings, lessons of the past, and what it means to start fresh.  But to be totally honest, that all seems wildly overdone, so I’m going to write about something different.  


I can’t pinpoint the exact moment I realized I had a fascination with the historic beacons that light the way for ships and sailors to make their way safely back to shore, but I can tell you it began with a trip to Hobby Lobby.

Now, I’ve been obsessed with all things oceanic since I was seven years old and my parents took me to SeaWorld for the first time. One day, I’d love to make enough money to have a permanent place by the ocean, but for now, I’ll have to stick with traveling and daydreaming.  And pinning an absurd amount of photographs to my personal Lighthouse Pinterest board.

As it is, I’ve only had the privilege of seeing a handful of lighthouses firsthand, and I’ve never actually been able to explore one.  I did get awfully close to Pigeon Point in California, however.



I also sailed right past the one on Alcatraz on a tour of the Bay.



I really want to take a tour of Alcatraz one day, as it’s supposed to be one of the most haunted places in America and, as you all may know, I sort of have a thing for the paranormal.  

Other lighthouses I have seen but not actually visited include…



The first two pictured are in Scotland.  The white one sits in between Oban on the mainland and the Isle of Mull.  The second can be seen from the Isle of Inchcolm.  The third lighthouse is in Monterey, California, not far from the Aquarium.  


This is my lighthouse collection.

I’m not really sure why I felt like writing about lighthouses today, and truthfully, I’m not sure I’ve actually even said anything worth reading.  I just wanted to start my new year off talking about something I love and that really stirs my imagination.  I think it’s good to remember, as the holidays season draws to a close and we all head back to the hustle and bustle of everyday life, to remember that there are places and buildings and people that really inspire us and that serve as a reminder that there is so much more to life than we often allow ourselves to experience.  

I’ve been in the real world, and to be honest, nothing has ever felt less real to me.  Stories, books, fairy tales, adventure, and lighthouses… those have always seemed the very foundation upon which life and dreams and reality are supposed to be built and based.  

Maybe I’m setting myself up for disappointment.  At almost 26, I’m probably supposed to be a little more interested in getting married and settling down and mortgages, but it hasn’t hit yet.  Maybe accepting “reality” just isn’t part of the way I’m programmed. Maybe I’m just a late bloomer.  But until the day comes when I do decide to finally take my place in the “real world,” I’ll be hard at work on my next novel and daydreaming about beacons of light over a vast and timeless sea.

Lay down your head and close your eyes

And rest your weary soul,

For the lighthouse shines through fog and rain,

And night as black as coal!

Though winds are lashing and waves are crashing

On coral reefs below,

The beacons call and beckons all

With its majestic beam aglow.

When stars are out and seas are calm,

And eventide draws nigh – 

The seafarer rocks in a cradle of waves

To the Lighthouse Lullaby.

– The Lighthouse Lullaby, Anonymous

How Do You Measure a Year in the Life?

How about Instagram!

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Seasons of Instagram…

Every good blogger knows that a New Years Eve post is essential.  Thanks to Instagram, it is so much easier to keep track and look back on the highlights of a year.

To start off… the last moments of 2012.

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Keepin’ it classy…

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And the first moment of 2013…

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The rest shall follow in no particular order.

In 2013…

I played in snow…

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Met a baby screech owl…

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Ate my favorite frozen yogurt on my birthday…

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And adopted a penguin.

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Visited a museum.

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And took a road trip to one of my favorite cities in the world to see my sister perform in the All State Choir (for the second time).

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I found out something about myself that I already knew…

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And discovered that this cool little statue that I bought in January 2002 is actually a pencil sharpener…

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I cleaned out the back room in my parents’ house and discovered a whole mountain of 1990s treasures.

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(We still have our Furbies too…)

I got to see my sister play Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors.  Of course, I wanted a picture with Audrey II…

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I also saw a pink Hummer.

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And discovered this really creepy scarecrow that lurks in the upstairs of our office at work.  I bet it comes to life when no one’s looking.

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Welcomed some new friends…

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And had a lot of fun with old friends…

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Rented a car for the first time…

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And took a great trip to the Gulf Shores!

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Visited my old camp at Lake Texoma… another one of my favorite places in the world…

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And built a new home for a wolf spider!

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My sister and I took our Dad to see Roger Creager in Concert for his 65th birthday.  We got great seats on the lawn, right in front, and afterword, we all got to meet Roger.  That was one of the coolest moments, seeing my Daddy get a “Happy Birthday” from one of his favorite country outlaws!

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He got to meet Chuck Taylor from The Range and we all got a lot of free stuff since we got there so early.

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Went Downtown to get the rights for my new company, Wind Trail Publishing.

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And of course, wrote, edited, and published my first book (with a lot of help from great friends!).  At one point, Cemetery Tours made it to #92 on the Top 100 Kindle Bestsellers List in Contemporary Fiction!

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I participated in my very first 5K…


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And ate the very best cake I’ve ever had in my life…

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I got to go bowling…

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And see Bon Jovi in concert… in a fancy box… for free!!!

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My poor baby car, Niles, was in a minor fender bender…




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But we fixed him and now he is like new!  🙂

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I read some books with my oldest friend…


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Including brand new books by my two favorite authors…

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I hosted my first pool party…

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And enjoyed the summer sun.

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I discovered the self-satisfaction that comes from posting a “Transformation Tuesday…”

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Around the same time that my sister was elected Prom Queen!

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I straightened my hair for Halloween…

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And took my very first trip to Lubbock.


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I enjoyed a fun-filled Thanksgiving full of laughter.


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And survived Icemageddon 2013…

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The whole family enjoyed a wonderful Christmas… with a toilet.

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And celebrated 21 Christmases with this sweet girl!

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Now… onto 2014!!!  I’m ready!