Back to Narnia

I had an in-depth conversation this weekend with a good friend of mine and fellow author, James Peercy.  He’s an author of fantasy (, and although I have not ventured into the realm of fantasy writing (yet), it’s one of my favorite genres.  I, of course, love Harry Potter (as expressed in previous blog posts such as  I’m also a fan of Tolkien’s world and although I haven’t read the books, I’m really enjoying my journey into Westernos in Game of Thrones.  My favorite fictional land, however, to this day remains CS Lewis’ magical Narnia, Aslan’s Country.

I think there comes a time in all of our lives that we need a Narnia: a land of magic, a land of redemption, a land of beauty.  In it’s golden age, Narnia is a land untouched by greed or a thirst for power.  Its inhabitants live and coexist peacefully with love and respect for one another.  Narnia is, I believe, as close to my idea of Heaven as anything I’ll ever see on this Earth.  Except, perhaps, the Isle of Iona, but that’s another blog post.


This weekend, I decided to revisit Narnia in the form of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader movie.  As I was watching, not only was my love and adoration for Ben Barnes renewed, but I found myself thinking back to the conversation I’d had with James.  We’d spoken of all the things in life that cannot be explained, all the mysteries that remain unsolved, and all the wonders that have yet to be made known.  I thought, “How fortunate the Pevensie children were to discover a place like Narnia!  What I wouldn’t give!”

But then I remembered something else.  The Pevensie children didn’t really discover Narnia.  CS Lewis created it and gave it as a gift to the world so that we all might discover.  This amazing, wonderful, magical land is a product of one man’s creative mind, and in that moment, I realized how extraordinary that really is.  So many wonders of the world are God-given, it’s true, but just think of all the amazing things man has done in his short time here.  We’ve walked on the moon.  We’ve crossed oceans.  We’ve discovered the gift of flight.  The truth is there are very few, if any, things that we are not capable of.  That’s a terrifying thought, but it’s also, I think, a very profound thought. If we put even a little bit of thought into it, we could do amazing things, not only for ourselves, but for our planet and for all who inhabit it.  Instead of wasting energy fighting or obsessing over petty things that really won’t matter in the end, why not focus on the good?  On making the world a better place for future generations?

The human mind and the human spirit are incredible.  We were, after all, created in the image of God.  I think that means a whole lot more than we were created to look like Him.  We are capable of so much more than we’ve resigned ourselves to believe.  We were designed to do good, to make differences, to create worlds.  Maybe 2015 will be the year that we begin to acknowledge it.

Cool Things

So, I’ve been so preoccupied with my trip to Lubbock and seeing my sister’s first professional production (it was AWESOME by the way) that I haven’t really been keeping y’all up to date with a lot of the really cool things that have been happening lately.

So first, a few pictures from the trip.  Lubbock wasn’t quite as awful to me this time around, but I did suffer some nasty hay fever and my friend totally burned the back of my hand with a fresh-out-of-the-oven baking sheet.  Thanks, Rachel.

Seeing my sister, though, was absolutely the best!


We caught up on a lot of important issues, like final exams, The Hunger Games, and the new One Direction music video.

There were also several Christmas decorations around, which I loved.

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There was also tea and and an awesome Lubbock sunset.

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Then I hopped on a plane and flew home.  I had a great time, but now that it’s over, I’m so excited for Thanksgiving week, I can’t even tell you!

Okay, finally on to the other cool updates.

First of all, I got to meet one of the most iconic writers of our time and a fellow Texan, Anne Rice!


My friend and fellow writer (soon-to-be published author) Savannah graciously accompanied me and we had a lot of fun browsing old books, enjoying White Rock Coffee, and of course, fangirling over writing.  We really lucked out too, because I didn’t realize we needed a ticket to meet Anne Rice.  A very kind and thoughtful man overheard our conversation, walked right up to us, and gave me an extra ticket!  What a cool guy!

Ms. Rice, in case you were wondering, was very polite and soft-spoken.  She signed my copies of The Vampire Chronicles and Prince Lestat, which I am very much looking forward to reading.  Then, I gave her a copy of Cemetery Tours.  I’m not sure if that was a gutsy move, or a very presumptuous one, but I wanted to give it to her A) because I admire her work and B) as a way of saying thank you.  I have no idea if she’ll read it or not, but she was very gracious.

The next cool thing to happen is I finally ordered a dragon from Donna’s Dragons!

This is Simon the NaNo Dragon.


For those who don’t know, Donna is an independent artist who makes polymer clay dragon statues.  Ever since I stumbled across her on Facebook, I’ve been in love with her dragons!  You can find her on Facebook here:

Cool thing number three is that Cemetery Tours is featured in Pose Magazine’s December Issue as Book of the Month!  I am so humbled and honored and I want to send a huge thank you out to editor Tiffany Jones for including my book in this month’s issue!

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You can find the issue here:

Another really, really cool thing is that I recently joined  I’ve always been curious about my ancestors and where I come from.  I have found a lot of Yankees, Sons of the American Revolution, Swiss people, and Scots.  It just so happens, however, that one of those Scots is Robert the Bruce.

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This is a picture of Robert the Bruce I took at Stirling Castle in Scotland a few years back. I had no idea at the time that he is, in fact, my 22nd Great Grandfather.

It turns out my dad is a direct descendent of Kings Robert I (the Bruce), II, and III of Scotland.  This is a really cool thing for me, not only because of how much I love Scotland (I love it a whole lot) and Robert the Bruce is remembered as being one of its greatest heroes, but because growing up, I wanted nothing more in life than to be a Princess.  Well, maybe I just have a minuscule fraction of Robert’s DNA swimming around in my veins, but you know what?  It still counts.  Childhood dream is officially a reality.

Finally, and perhaps this isn’t as cool as all of that, but after taking a few days off, I went back and reread my NaNoWriMo project.  Y’all, I really love it.  I love Cemetery Tours also and I’m still so excited and proud of it and the third one is definitely coming next year, but I am really enjoying this new book.  I can’t wait to finish it and get it out there.  Granted, I’m not sure the same crowd that liked Cemetery Tours will be as into this new one as I am, but that’s okay.  There are a lot of readers out there.  And I love you all.

Enjoy your weekend!  Mine is rainy and cold, but that’s okay, because I have warm pajamas and a kitty.

Let Your Country Out

As many of you know, I recently started listening to the music of a brand new country star named Jessie Lee Cates.  Now, my dad, my sister, and I are all huge country music fans (my mom’s a Yankee, so she tolerates it).  We listen to it all the time, especially when it’s cold out and we’re dreaming of summer days full of blue skies, road trips, and wildflowers.  We love Sugarland, Roger Creager, Lady Antebellum, Clay Walker, Carrie Underwood, Darius Rucker, Eli Young Band, Josh Abbott Band, Toby Keith, and let me tell you, Jessie Lee Cates is right up there with the best of the best.  


Her voice is pure and clear, her music classic and catchy with a delightful country beat.  Of course, I’m still quite partial to Scotland, as it is one of my absolute favorite places in the world and my own ancestors’ homeland, but the rest of Jessie Lee’s debut album is just as fun, delightful, and frankly, good, old fashioned, high quality country music.       



I’ve had the distinct privilege of connecting with Miss Cates over Twitter and Facebook, and she is just about as sweet and classy as it gets.  She read the first blog post I wrote about her music,, and contacted me to say that she wanted to make me her fan of the month!  



I also received a copy of her CD, a super cute T-Shirt that will look GREAT with jeans and my cowboy boots, and an autographed photo which I can’t wait to hang in my office alongside my autographed Switchfoot poster.  








I’ve been following the news on her website,, Jessie Lee is a current bestseller in contemporary country on Amazon, her single Scotland (my favorite) is #4 on the charts in Europe, and there is a Scotland music video in the works!  I can’t wait to see it!  Scotland is just such a special place to me (as I think I’ve mentioned several times) and I think the video will be awesome.  

I’m always so thrilled to find new music to listen to, and I especially love being able to connect with a new artist whose work I genuinely respect and enjoy and whom I can hopefully help out (not that she really needs my help… she’s definitely doing just fine on her own!) by spreading the word about their craft, be it music, books, art, or script.  If you like country music and/or strong female vocalists, I hope you stop by Jessie Lee’s website.  Her music is definitely worth a listen!  

Next up on A Platform of Sorts: A Review of Seance by Tinsley Collins and How Target Ruined my Life by Not Having the Third Percy Jackson book in stock.   


Of Zombies, Reviews, and Country Music

Okay, there is something I have been meaning to ask… well… anyone who will listen, actually.  It’s about zombies.

Whenever I write, I like to put on a television show or movie that I’ve seen a thousand times, you know, sort of just to keep me company while I type.  Last night, I decided to watch the pilot episode of The Walking Dead.  

Now, I’m absolutely terrified of zombies, but for some reason, I just love movies and books about them.  Maybe a sick, twisted part of my brain just really likes being scared.  Anyway, in most movies and books I’ve seen and read, I can’t help but notice the characters never use the word “zombie.”  For instance, in The Walking Dead, the zombies are called “walkers.”  That makes me wonder if, in these universes where these stories are taking place, do zombie books and movies not exist?

You see what I’m saying?  Because I’ve read and seen all these zombie stories before, I know that a walking corpse is called a zombie.  Since these people have no idea what these things are, I can’t help but assume that zombie movies and books simply do not exist in these worlds.

Okay, this seemed like a lot more pressing issue as I was falling asleep last night than it does now, but I’m still curious to see what people think.

In other news, Cemetery Tours got another AMAZING review, this time, from a fellow blogger here on WordPress!  I “pressed” the review earlier, but here’s the link again because it is just such a great review!

Finally, I received a message from Jessie Lee Cates (the awesome country artist who sings my new favorite song, “Scotland”).  She read the blog post that I wrote about it and has selected me to be her February fan of the month!  I’m so excited!  I’ll write more about it in the days to come, but in the mean time, you should definitely go check out her website!  She’s awesome!

Well, I’m going to go write some more on the sequel.  I’m having a girls night with a friend I haven’t seen in a few months tonight, so I want to be sure to get some work done!

Talk to y’all later!  🙂

Best Song Ever

Note: The Title of this Post has Nothing to Do With the One Direction Song… Though I do Enjoy that Song.

Those of you who’ve followed my blog for a while (or maybe not… I’m pretty sure I mention it every day) know that I am a true blue native Texan.


I am very proud of my Texas heritage and I love pretty much everything about the Lone Star State.  Unique, beautiful, and Southern, with a rich and diverse history, what’s not to love?

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Every one of these images depicts a land that is very near and dear to my heart and that will always be home to me.  As much as I love Texas, however, a very significant part of my heart also beats across the Atlantic Ocean.

In Scotland.

Recently, my sister and I have been talking about returning to our ancestors’ homeland (well, one of them – we’re also Welsh and French and German and Irish, but we have quite a bit of Scottish blood on both sides, and I inherited my curly hair from my Scottish great-grandfather, so we just go with it), so Scotland has been on both of our minds for a while now.  That being said, last night, I was browsing iTunes and I searched for songs with the keyword, “Scotland.”

That’s how I discovered the song “Scotland” by Jessie Lee Cates.  It’s a country song… as in Texas country music… about SCOTLAND.

As a Texan, I should probably also mention that I have a distinct fondness for country music.

Well, it turns out that Miss Cates is from Tennessee, but you know, we Texans like Tennessee country just fine.

Anyway, “Scotland” is a fun, catchy tune about a Southern girl with Scottish heritage who longs to visit her homeland that she’s never seen “to learn about life when her granddaddy’s granddaddy played the bagpipes.”  I.  Love.  This.  Song.  I love everything about it.  I’m Texan by birth, but Scottish (somewhat) by blood.  I love both lands with all my heart, and I feel like when I return to Scotland (hopefully this summer), a part of me will feel like I’m going home.

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Long story short, if you love country music and/or Scotland, go check out the song “Scotland” by Jessie Lee Cates.  I can not stop listening to it.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

I know I’ve talked about my time spent in Scotland on this blog before.  Lately, however, I’ve been thinking a lot specifically about my time spent on Iona, otherwise known as St. Columba’s Sacred Isle.








Iona is amazing.  Anyone who doesn’t believe that fairy tales exist, clearly has never ventured to the Iona, or any part of Scotland for that matter.  It has the most beautiful white beaches, crystal blue waters, lofty hills, windswept meadows, and the most fantastic celtic crosses, some of which are centuries old.



St. Martin’s Cross


The plaque at the base of St. Martin’s Cross










Sometimes on Iona, chickens just walk down the side of the road.




As magical as Iona is during the day,  it was equally captivating at sunset.





One of my favorite moments on Iona wasn’t spent on the beach or hiking the hills.  It was one evening in the hostel after dinner.  Of all the hostels we stayed at in Scotland, Iona’s was the one that felt the most like home.  That evening, we’d made a home-cooked meal, a luxury we hadn’t been able to enjoy at any of the other hostels.  Don’t get me wrong, their food was fine, but it sort of reminded me of cafeteria food.  On Iona, however, we prepared our own meal and cleaned up afterword.  It was the sort of thing I never enjoy at home, but somehow, in that cozy island setting, it was like a scene straight out of a novel.

After we finished clean-up, a small group of us gathered around in the den.  The den was right next to the dining area.  It had a few bookshelves and a small nook next to a giant window that overlooked the vast fields leading down to the shore.  Jeb, the leader of the group and our youth minister, brought out his guitar and started strumming.  My sister and I each settled down onto one of the couches with the books we’d purchased at the airport (yes, we took our own books, but really, who can resist an airport bookstore?).  She read Matched by Ally Condie.  I’d selected Insatiable by Meg Cabot.

I actually really enjoyed it.  Sadly, the sequel did not end the way I wanted it to.  Oh well.  You can’t win them all.

Jeb played a number of songs that evening, but the only one I remember is “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”  I remember it because every one of us in the room stopped what we were doing to sing along.  It was just one of those magical moments.  No computer.  No television.  Nothing but pure simplicity.  Books, music, comfortable couches, and a sunset over the sea.  I don’t think I’ve ever been more content.


Dungeons Deep and Caverns Old

Have you ever had one of those days where you have projects that you want/need to be working on, yet at the same time, you become so immersed in a book or movie that you love that you can’t bring yourself to think of anything else?  That’s what I’m going through right now.

I have a new manuscript that I’ve been working on while my other one is being edited and reread and reread and reread.  I really like this one.  It’s an idea I’ve had in my head for a few years now and suddenly, over the summer, inspiration struck and I knew exactly what I wanted to write.  I didn’t start until recently, however, because I didn’t want to, as Meg Cabot would put it, “cheat” on my other manuscript.  I have a lot of ideas and whenever I’m particularly enthusiastic about one, I forget about ones that are in progress.  If I went with all of my impulses, I would never get one thing completely written.

Anyway, so this week, while I’m supposed to be working on this manuscript that I’ve been so excited about, I get on Pinterest, see one post about The Hobbit, and suddenly, I’ve forgotten everything I want to write about and become the thirteen-year-old girl, totally and completely obsessed with Middle Earth.  This time, however, I’m in love with Richard Armitage and not Orlando Bloom.  I’ve realized that taste sort of evolves as you get older.  Not that Orlando Bloom isn’t a handsome fellow.  He’s just, you know, not Richard Armitage.

I’m the only Tolkien fan in my family, though to be honest, I enjoy the movies a lot more than the books (please don’t hit me!).  Of course, I read the books in eighth grade, so maybe I haven’t really given them a fair shake.  I actually hadn’t even heard of The Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit until I saw a trailer for the first movie.  Well technically, I had seen the really creepy cartoon version where everyone is not hot, but I didn’t realize what it was until the movies came out.  That’s when I decided that Legolas was the hottest thing on two legs and decided to read the books.

My friends in high school and I were obsessed with LOTR.  We went to see all the movies together, we had posters, we had T-Shirts, we each claimed a member of the fellowship as our own personal property (and believe it or not, I ended up dumping Leoglas for Pippin shortly after I discovered how insanely cute Scottish guys are.  On that topic, my sister and I took a trip to Scotland in July 2011 and as it turns out, Scottish guys are even cuter in person), and we watched all the extended edition box sets with audio commentary.

I am really waving my geek flag for all to see, aren’t I?

The point is, The Lord of the Rings trilogy was a big part of my high school experience and will always hold a special place in my heart because of it.  But, just like all fangirls, I go through phases and I actually went through a pretty long phase where I was into other things.  Then, Scotland happened.  Everywhere we went, I found myself humming the score to The Lord of the Rings.  My sister thought I was a nerd, but I couldn’t help myself.  Everything reminded me of Middle Earth.


Eilean Donan Castle.ImageImage

A mountain in Glen Nevis.ImageImage  Image

From atop a mountain.ImageImageMelrose Abbey.  One of my favorite places in the world.

For the record, those actually are my photographs.

For all of Scotland’s wonders, however, nothing compared to the beauty and sanctity of the Isle of Iona.



Iona is just one of those places that can’t be described.  You have to experience it.  Though I will say, I can never hear the song Into the West by Fran Walsh, Howard Shore, and Annie Lennox and not think of Iona.

“Don’t say we have come now to the end… White shores are calling. You and I will meet again.”

Anyway, this is getting way too deep for a blog post.  Long story short, The Lord of the Rings has had a huge impact on my life.  As fate would have it, there was a Lord of the Rings marathon on TV the week after we return from Scotland.  The fangirl in me has not only been well and alive ever since, but she’s been positively thriving since the first trailer for The Hobbit was released over a year ago.

Now, after having seen the movie three times, I have to say The Hobbit is phenomenal (and no, not just because Peter Jackson managed to create the previously unimaginable Sexy Dwarf).  I loved the music.  I loved seeing Frodo again.  I loved the scenery.  I loved getting to go back to Middle Earth, to a place that had meant to much to me growing up.  And may I just say that perfect casting did not exist until Martin Freeman was cast as Bilbo Baggins!  I loved him from Sherlock, so needless to say, I was ecstatic when they announced that both he and the ever amazing and beautiful Benedict Cumberbatch would be starring in The Hobbit trilogy.

Okay yeah, Benedict is a dragon, but he’s still kind of in it.

So yeah, that’s what I’ve been thinking about instead of actually writing my own stuff.  Maybe now that it’s out in cyberspace, however, I will be able to focus more on my manuscript and less on how much I love Hobbits and Elves and Dwarves.

Oh, and Gollum.  I freaking love Gollum.

Wish me luck!!!