On the Importance of Having a Skill Set


We are driving around running errands. Jessica is listening to me sigh as the traffic is funneled down to one lane and goes slowly.

Me: They’re doing so much road construction! Maybe they should finish one project before they start another, you know?

Jess: They are building bridges in Kansas City. I saw them with my dad.

Me: Oh yeah?

Jess: Yes. Would you want to build bridges for your job?

Me: I don’t know how to build bridges.

Jess: What would you do if you had to build bridges?

Me: First I would hire someone who knows how to build bridges. It’s not in my skill set.

Jess: What is a skill set?

Me: Things you know how to do and are good at. Like an engineer knows how to calculate the load a bridge has to bear and knows what materials can be used to build it to support that load. And she can make a schematic showing how it should be built.

Jess: And a surgeon knows what kind of surgery to do to help a person get better and can also do the surgery.

Me: Exactly.

Jess: So your skill set is . . . reading.

Don’t forget to sign up for the newsletter here to keep up on news and events, including updates on Jessica’s art glass. Her new fall firing is available at her website, Glassworks by Jessica. Also, fall classes start September 14. More info here.

And some of my buddies have releases I know you’ll like:

Start Me Up, book 2 in Kristina Knight’s Anthem Trilogy, releases September 15, 2015. Book 1, Light My Fire is out now and book three, Call Me, will release October 5. More info here.

cj petterson’s new release, Choosing Carter, launched as an eBook on August 17. The POD version will be available in mid to late September. Available from the publisher, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble. Check out cj’s author page here.

Lynn Cahoon’s novella, The Salem Gathering (Book 3 of The Council series) is now available.

On what I’m working on



I’m working on a novel in a genre that’s new to me and it’s not going well partly because I don’t know what I’m doing (see “genre that’s new to me”) and partly because Jess is back at school and isn’t here to keep me off Facebook during the workday.

Jess: What did you do today?

Me: I worked on the Alice book.

Jess: That’s all you did?

Me: Yes. It takes a while—

Jess: Years.

Me: Well, I do other things in between, like edit books for publishers and fix dinner.

Jess: A lot of years.

Me: It takes time to get it right.

Jess: What if you never do?

Me: Don’t jinx me.

Jess: What?

Me: [long digression regarding the definition of a jinx with examples of things that have been jinxed, like that major deal with that major media company.]

Jess: You actually believe in that?

Me: Yes.

Jess: You don’t believe in anything anyone else believes in but you believe in that.

Me: Yes.

Jess: I bet you don’t believe in jinxes at all. I bet you just don’t like thinking about the question.

Me: I have enough crushing self-doubt as it is.

Jess: You can do anything, Mom.

Me: Thank you.

Jess: Even though it takes you years.


You never know what lovely prizes and opportunities await by signing up for my newsletter! And to check out Jessica’s gorgeous art glass, visit her website. And! Travels with Jessica is available on Amazon.

And in other news:

Becky Lower’s eighth novel in her Cotillion Ball Series will be released by Crimson Romance on September 7. A Widow’s Salvation is about the eldest Fitzpatrick daughter, whose husband was among the first to fall in the Civil War.  Back when I was acquiring books for Crimson, I bought Becky’s first! So much fun to see this series go so far!

And Emily Field’s coming-of-age/science-fiction adventure, The Catalyst, can be found on Amazon. Emily is on Facebook and her website is here.

Rena Koontz’s highly rated contemporary romance, Crystal Clear Lovea Soul Mate Publishing release, is also available on Amazon.





On the signs of spring

We are sitting on the patio, drinking tea and Diet Coke.

Jessica: There is a robin.

Me: Yes. Oh, the other day I saw the fattest robin ever.

Jessica: Really? Was it like that robin there?

Me: Well, it was a robin shape, you know. And it was a robin color. But it was the biggest robin I have ever seen. He made me smile.

Jessica: When did you see it?

Me: Oh, a week or so ago. He had a very grouchy expression! And I was like, you should be happy! You obviously got all the worms.

Jessica: Have you seen him since?

Me: No. But if I do I will point him out to you.

Jessica: That is all right. You have already shown me.



My newest project is The Urban Taoist, which I like to call “Dojo Wisdom for people creaky knees.” Please stop by the blog and let me know what you think!

On the limits of poetic license

Jessica (looking over my shoulder at a blog post): That is not exactly what we said.

Me: You know, someday I’m going to win a Pulitzer and you’ll be telling the committee, “It didn’t happen exactly like that.”

Jessica: Yes. For example your hair is not that curly.

Me: I exaggerate it for effect. You know, to communicate a point.

Jessica: I see. It is sarcastic hair.



My alter ego Jessica Starre loves her newest release, Lessons in Magic, and maybe you will, too.  Also, Jessica has some lovely new glass from her recent firing up on her website.

Conversations with Jessica

Me: OMG! If I see the word “whoa” misspelled as “woah” one more time, my head is going to explode. You know, I don’t mind when it’s laypeople on Facebook, but when someone who calls herself a writer—

Jess (looking at a blog posting I recently made): You misspelled “lavender” here. You’ve got one too many “a”s.

Me: Well, everyone makes mistakes.