September 2, 2019


Did you know that Dr. Seuss invented the word "nerd"? Or that John Milton came up with "pandemonium"? Charles Dickens coined words such as "doormat" and "boredom" (no comment on the irony of the latter), and many words in the English language can be attributed to Shakespeare. The reason I mention these words invented by authors is that I've started using a new word of my own invention: famblooey.

What does "famblooey" mean? Think of the best place you've ever been for vacation. That place was famblooey. Imagine the most delicious meal you've ever had. It was famblooey. Your favorite book? Yup, famblooey. Synonyms for famblooey include "awesome" and "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious." However, "famblooey" isn't as atrocious, but I can't guarantee that you'll sound precocious when saying it.

So the next time you encounter something that you thought was too wonderful to describe with words, now you can; it's famblooey! You heard it here first! :-)

May you have a famblooey day!

August 4, 2019

2019 Summer Sale

If you're feeling blue because summer is almost over, I have something to help cheer you up: a summer book sale! For the next seven days, most of my e-books will be on sale for 99 cents or FREE on Amazon! Snap up these titles before they return to their normal prices on August 11!

the Earth
  All That
Remains of Me
New Eden

Transmissions   In the Hands of
  Keep Your
Enemies Close
  George and the
Galactic Games

A House in
the Woods
  Protect   Search   Rescue

Drive   Through a
Tangled Wood
  Celestial   Spectral Tales

Happy summer reading!

July 6, 2019

2019 Authors A to Z update

At the beginning of the year, one of the reading goals I set for myself was to read 26 books by authors whose last names begin from A all the way to Z. With 2019 half over, I've read 12 of those 26 books, spanning A to L.

A big reason why I like challenges like this is that it forces me to read authors I normally wouldn't. Mission accomplished so far. Nine of the 12 books I've read during the challenge have been new authors I've never read before. More surprising was how much I enjoyed some of the books, given that many were picked at random to satisfy the challenge's criteria. I rated four of the books five stars, and I'm pretty sure at least one of them will end up on my year-end list of favorite reads.

With six months and 14 more books to go, I'm excited to see discover more hidden treasures among the remaining books in the Authors A to Z reading challenge.

Did you have a reading goal this year? If so, how is it going so far?

June 8, 2019

Finding room for books

Image courtesy of My Modern Met

I admit that I have a book buying addiction. I buy books every month. I buy them online and I buy them from physical stores. I buy new books and used. You name it, I'm interested. This is not a post about how to defeat my addiction though. It's about what to do with all of these books once I've bought them.

At this point, I have three bookshelves full of books in my room. My kids have bookshelves where books that once belonged to me are stored if they're interested in the books too. (For example, the Harry Potter series is now in their room, not mine.) But I still don't have enough space for new books. I have books piled by my nightstand and books under my bed. There are books on top of and under our coffee table in the living room. Books in the DVD case. Books on top of dressers. Basically, books everywhere.

I wish I was handy enough to build something like the bookshelf staircase in the photo above, or that my house was designed in such a way that would allow for it. However, I have a feeling I'd quickly fill that space too. For those of you who also own a lot of books, what are some ways you find room for your books? 

May 22, 2019

Spoilers, anyone?

Two of the most anticipated finales that I can remember recently aired: Avengers: Endgame and Game of Thrones. Despite the numerous fan theories about how both series would end, the studios kept the endings a secret. Even the casts weren't aware of how the finales would play out until near the end. Amazingly, in both cases, the veil of secrecy worked. I, for one, did not hear about what would happen in the finales until they aired.

Once Avengers: Endgame and the final episode of Game of Thrones were released, however, all bets were off. You couldn't get out of the way of spoilers if you lived a somewhat normal life, i.e., one where you used the Internet or talked to other people. In my case, I was lucky to have watched Endgame on opening weekend, so the Monday morning office conversations didn't spoil anything for me. Not so with Game of Thrones, where I didn't watch the finale on the Sunday night when it aired and was promptly spoiled Monday morning by radio DJs. (Yes, I still listen to the radio, but that's a different topic for another time.) It's a good thing I'm not too bothered by being spoiled. I didn't expect things to turn out the way they did, but I'm not as displeased as some fans seem to be.

How about you? Did anyone spoil Avengers: Endgame or Game of Thrones for you? If so, what was your reaction?

April 20, 2019

Visiting the world's largest independent bookstore

Powell's City of Books claims to be the "largest used and new bookstore in the world, occupying an entire city block and housing approximately one million books." I had the good fortune of visiting Powell's while passing through Portland, and it was by far the most impressively gigantic bookstore I've ever been in!

It's true that the store occupies an entire block. That's an awful lot of real estate. Not only that, but it's at least three floors tall. I say "at least" because there were lower levels where I wasn't sure if they were part of the first floor or a basement level. The books were organized by color-themed rooms, but in the short time that I was there, I couldn't figure out which books resided in which rooms. I had to follow the signs, and even then, I got lost a few times. How amazing is it to actually get lost in a bookstore?

One would expect that with a bookstore so huge, the selection would be just as vast, and it was. There were old books and new releases, used books and new, in every genre you can think of. I was able to find a couple of books that I'd been looking for that I haven't been able to find at other book retailers. (Yes, they're available on Amazon, but the prices at Powell's was actually cheaper.)

I wish I had more time to browse the store. I could easily spend a day there and not see everything. They even have a rare books room, which could have occupied an hour all by itself.

If you ever get a chance to visit Portland, or if you're lucky enough to live there, I highly recommend visiting Powell's City of Books!

March 17, 2019

I'm reading more thrillers

I'm a big believer that, to be a better writer, one should read more. As a corollary, reading in the genre that one intends to write is even better. For the last few months, I've been working on a thriller, which I'm in the midst of editing, so I've been reading more thrillers recently.

Thriller is a broad genre. According to Wikipedia, it encompasses stories that elicit feelings of suspense, excitement, surprise, anticipation, and anxiety. For me, when I think of thrillers, I think of authors like Lee Child and Lisa Gardner. I also think of psychological thrillers like Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train.

In my personal reading, I've seen the balance shift from YA to thrillers. This year alone, I've read five books in the YA category but eight thrillers so far. I expect that trend to continue because I'm finding that I really like the books I've read. Thrillers have been my second favorite genre for a long time (and hence the reason why I decided to write one myself), but the more I read, the more hooked I'm getting. This is especially true for psychological thrillers, although I don't think I'm ready to write one of those yet. I haven't been able to come up with some of the neat twists (e.g., Gone Girl) that I've read, but maybe someday I will.

This could be the first year since I started tracking my reading activity on Goodreads that I read more books in a genre other than YA, but I'm enjoying it so far. Who knows, this might signal the beginning of a transformation from my being a YA author to a thriller author!