Announcing Ned the Ninja's "Power in Numbers"


So there's Ned, and we have a feeling he would be smiling even bigger if he wasn't so nervous over the lovely Adrianna to his left! But they are both pleased over this new story, which has Ned continuing to grow in many ways--but not without some hefty growing pains along the way. It doesn't help when your mysterious mentor isn't big on words and seems to like talking in code, either!

Power in Numbers is available in print and ebook on and in print on

Thanks so much to Ned's growing number of fans and to the schools who have had Kea and Melissa in for workshops and assemblies! We hope you enjoy Power in Numbers and look forward to your reactions. To review any of Ned's stories, you'll find easy links here.

Adventures of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood

You know that feeling that comes over you in a flash when you are 'done' - body, mind, and soul? Maybe you have walked the mall or worked all day long, then ran errands, and now it's 98 degrees outside, 100% humidity, your feet are killing you and all you have to do is find your keys to make it through your front door so that you can fall onto the couch? One ... more ... step! Al ... most ... there!

Sometimes life in general just feels like that, doesn't it? Everything piles up, goes wrong, dumb little things roll into a growing snowball until you suddenly feel like Indiana Jones running from that monstrous boulder. I don't know about you, but I can't run that fast, I never have Indy's sort of luck on my side, and sometimes I just need a mental couch to fall onto before I scream loud enough for strangers to stare.

I had that couch, once a month, for about fourteen years. It was called canasta. I played the game with three friends -- and it was anything but a game for old ladies, thank you very much. (Old ladies could never handle our conversations.) We happily ate junk food, sometimes drank wine or sangria, had coffee, shared stories, advice, tears, and the sort of laughter that results in no sound coming out. In homage to the film, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, we called ourselves Ya-Yas, and at the end of every meeting, we pulled out our calendars to schedule the date and place for the next one. Pity the husband who dared to get out of watching the kids on a canasta night!

About one week before each meeting, we would call or text each other with phrases such as, "OMG ... thank God canasta is Friday", "I need a canasta! Now!", and "Is it Friday yet?" Because canasta was the couch to fall upon when operating on one last thread of energy and sanity. Only one ... more ... day ... to .... canasta!

Love my Ya-Yas always!

 Anyone have ideas on how to play cards over Skype? Seriously.

Northeast Girl in Florida ... say what?

FullSizeRender (2)Without going into the nitty-gritty details of how and why I got here, I became a Florida resident last week. And the truth is, no matter how much I hem and haw and wish I could find a super-fast wormhole back to New Jersey, I am lucky to have a place here. Now, I've heard horrible things about Central Florida, but coming from New Jersey--recently voted worst state in the country by some poll's account, thank you very much!--such negativity really shouldn't phase me. I have also heard great things, for example, about how friendly people are down here. Even though I can't say much for sure about what I like and what I don't like about my new home, I can certainly say that people are friendly. And I like that. I just hope they stay that way when my New York / New Jersey roots show themselves. So far, I've kept them safely tucked away.

What do I mean by that?

THEY SAY:                                 I SAY:                           BUT I'M REALLY THINKING:

All y'all from NJ?                       Yep.                                I can deal with the y'all just fine. I might even decide                                                                                                 to start using it some day. The all y'all means 'all of                                                                                                 you' twice and it makes me twitch.

Ah, it's going to be very            I'm sure.                       By different, are we talking heat? Are we talking 
different from the                      (Chuckle, chuckle)      politics? Because I really don't want to talk politics. 
Northeast for all y'all               I hope to get used       By different do you mean better? Because the 
down here.                                  to the heat soon!         Northeast is just fine with me. Hey guy ... step off 
(Chuckle, chuckle)                                                             the Northeast!

Bless you...                                  (smile)                           I didn't sneeze. And I didn't say anything to warrant                                                        Uh, you too!                a blessing such as, 'Hey I just solved world hunger,'                                                                                               either. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate any                                                                                               blessings that come my way, but despite being                                                                                               Christian, I really don't know how to respond to such                                                                                               an impromptu blessing outside of church. My bad,                                                                                               I'm sure. But still....

Yeah, I might have a slight paranoia going on, and I'm sure it's just going to take a while to get used to Florida as a resident rather than vacationer. No doubt, it won't be easy to find a place for this fan girl mom to fit in. (So I can't wait for Star Wars Weekends in Disney next year!) The friends I have back home are worth their combined weight in platinum, and if it weren't for unlimited calling plans and social media, I wouldn't be sane enough to function at the moment. In the meantime, I suppose new experiences that seem bad at first can have benefits. Yesterday, there was a thunderstorm. Looking up, I was shocked at how the storm stretched across such a wide expanse of sky. The dark clouds were actually rolling in. And it scared me ... but it was thrilling. Bolts of lightning stabbed down at the earth like a movie scene, and I thought, I might become one of those people who love to watch storms. I suppose I'll revisit that idea after my first Florida hurricane.

Any advice for a newbie in Florida? 

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Life Stories

I try to manipulate my life the same way I write: If I'm not happy with the way something is going, I want to edit it. Sometimes that's easy. Other times, it's impossible and nothing but a waste of mental energy. Truthfully, there is only so much we have control over in life--unlike the freedom of creating worlds and scenarios on paper. But chapter by chapter, we live our lives, knowing the end will come eventually--and hoping it's a happy, rather than tragic close. We want a good ending where, despite the sadness, we can label a life well-lived. 

My mother-in-law passed last week. We had been visiting her in at-home hospice, down in Florida, thinking she still had weeks left, but after one (very nice) day together, she slipped into unconsciousness overnight and was gone about 24 hours later. My father-in-law, who was heavily devastated, didn't want a wake, service, funeral--nothing. Supposedly, my MIL had wanted it that way, too. 

While my husband and FIL quickly set about getting rid of everything my MIL owned, I kept trying to find ways to celebrate her life. But nobody wanted me to organize a gathering at their retirement community game room. Nobody wanted me to do anything but help go through her clothing, bags, makeup, and the jewelry she had not already given to others. Suddenly, my daughter was faced with a box of everything she had made her grandmother through the years and asked if she wanted any of it back. As she looked at all the bead and Shrinky Dink jewelry, I don't think she really knew. She shrugged a bit, but couldn't clearly answer. I grabbed a couple of things in case, but when all was said and done, bags of stuff were dropped at Goodwill within three days of my MIL passing.


RIP Lilian

Everyone grieves and handles death in their own way. I fully realize there is no one right or wrong way. My FIL and husband needed to do it this way. So the issue is all me: I feel like the book of her life had the last few pages ripped off--no epilogue, no end chapter, no rounded-up conclusion. I hate going to wakes and funerals as much as the next person, but I really get the purpose now. They sort of become the epilogue: Friends, family, and acquaintances exchange stories, view pictures, say good-bye. Someone or many someones give wrap-up speeches whether they are religious or simply anecdotal in nature. Often, you find out something about the person you never knew in all that. Every time someone I knew had died in the past, there was some form of closure. So the absence of it is new for me.

So really, I feel like I just watched that horrible non-ending to the Sopranos all over again. Oh, how I want to fix it! It's the writer in me, I guess, and that need to futz with a story is a good thing and a curse at the same time. The need to edit her ending with a nice epilogue is making me nuts. My daughter, who is known to burst into tears over a crushed ladybug, is too quiet about it all.  I want a way to celebrate my MIL's life for my kids' sake--without stomping on the wishes of anyone else. Any ideas? 


How Things Work by Bill Kane

From time to time, I promote a book on my social media sites. This one:

Bill kane book

Last night I began re-reading it. Bill Kane was a friend, mentor, client at the dojo where I work, and father to a wonderful co-worker. He passed away a few days ago and was one of those people who will undoubtedly be missed. He was a student of life and was fascinated with exploring how people and the universe at large function. This books contains his theories on how it all works and it is nothing less than a fascinating read. It will get you thinking, guaranteed.

Let me know if you give it a try!

An Infinite Ink Authors Infinitely Awesome Birthday Giveaway!

It's been a whole year since nine wordsmiths joined forces to get the word out about their unique brands of YA Speculative Fiction. I'm proud to be one of them. I've loved reading and sharing everyone's work. I've been inspired by everyone's varied talents. However, the best thing about being part of this author co-op is the way everyone is so supportive of each other by way of advice, humor, sympathy, empathy, and respect for each other's ideas. This year has been brighter for me in my journey as a writer all because of my fellow Infinite Ink Authors

Help us celebrate our first anniversary by entering our

Birthday Extravaganza Giveaway on Oct 8 - 10th!

Our biggest prize? 

A Kindle Fire HD or Paperwhite!

Read on for details and to get to know us all....

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~ Treehugger ~
~ The Torturer’s Daughter ~ 
~ Contributor ~ 
~ Fevered Souls ~
~ The Breeders ~ 
~ The Scourge ~
~ Daynight ~ 
~ Virulent ~ 
Meet the Authors 
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~ Kea Alwang ~ 
~ Zoe Cannon ~
~ Nicole Ciacchella ~ 
~ SK Falls ~ 
~ Katie French ~ 
~ AG Henley ~
~ Ash Krafton ~
~ Megan Thomason ~ 
~ Shelbi Wescott ~ 
Giveaway Details:
There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:
  • $10 Amazon gift card (INT)
  • Winner’s choice of a Kindle Fire HD or Kindle Paperwhite (US only) or if winner is INT, winner’s choice of $119 PayPal Cash or Amazon gift card. 
Please note that Juniper Grove Book Solutions is not responsible for the handling/sending of the Kindle giveaway. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Set for Launch! Ned's second adventure

Ned Herts is back! Well, he will be shortly ... October 15th to be exact!

Ned HG Wraparound cover FLATcropREVISE

Yep, Ned is back, Cracker Jack, too. Unfortunately, so is Jared "Beck the Bonebreaker" Beck. And Tora Khan? Will he show up? That's what Ned is starting to wonder....

Hey, there ... Hedgehog!

I learned a new word today: Hedgehog_w725_h544


It means someone or something that looks resembles a hedgehog. No, really!

Of course, this word lends itself to some fun sentences:

- Hey there, hotpants ... you're looking rather erinaceous tonight.

- If you hadn't walked by me so erinaceously, we might still be on speaking terms.

- Dang, that's one erinaceous chair. I might not sit again for a week.

Your turn!.....

Silver Lining / Blessing #4: The Unconditional

There are a lot of things I don't have these days--some big, some small--some important, some so not! One thing I do have, big and important, is the unconditional love of my parents. They are still around, still together, and still care about the wellbeing of their children even more than they probably should. They may live 21 hours away by car, but they want to know everything that's going on in my family's life and we pretty much talk every day, even if for a few minutes. This is a big deal for me these days when I've come across a lot of broken parent/adult child relationships. 

This is not to say everything is always eazy-peazy-lemon-squeezy. Not at all. Actually, the last couple of years have been full of challenges and unexpected twists and turns--lousy situations nobody should have to deal with for the first time in their seventies. Still, their love, help, concern, and humor is unconditional. There's something amazing about that word: unconditional

We need more of the unconditional in the world, I think.

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Silver Lining / Blessing #3: People who get it

Like many, I'm shocked, upset, and cringing over the loss of Robin Williams. We all ask the same questions, trying to navigate the hows, whys, and why couldn'ts. At first, I saw quite a bit of idiocy on social media and in the media at large. Maybe idiocy is putting it lightly. But such accusatory words as "selfish" and "cowardly" are flung around often when suicide is discussed, aren't they? Such opinions must come from folks who haven't dealt with major depression and have never come close to ending their lives. And I think such obnoxious opinions come from fear, too. Because, logically, who would take their own life? If someone who appears to have it all can do such a thing, what's to stop anybody else? So some people put up a wall of arrogance against the idea of not being able to handle one's life... as if claiming that people should just get over their despair is some fantastical assurance that such depression will never happen to them. 

EmpathyBut you know what? Something about Robin Williams' sad story is drowning out the voices of people with limited life experience and/or great fear. At least, that's the way it seems to me. Suddenly I'm seeing far more voices stepping forward who either understand that everyone has their demons ... or they at least want to understand. The compassion that's unfolding over FB, Instagram ... wherever ... feels like people coming together--stepping into each others' shoes. Had Robin lived beyond the moment he decided to end it all, weeks from now, he might not have believed how he could have considered ending his life. Because, no, it's not logical to want to end it all. But depression isn't logical, and it's made up of chemical reactions we don't fully understand yet, plus the individual soups of experiences that people bring to the disease.

Anyway, while the loss of someone who brightened so many of my days is nothing short of tragic, I am thankful for the glimpses of the good in humanity I've seen lately. It's like that meme that comes around every so often: Be good to people, because you never know what people are wrestling with behind their anger or behind their smile ... or something like that. RIP, Robin.