Random but handy…


It’s already been two weeks since the launch of my debut novel, Ashes Swept. Looking back, I can’t help but take stock of the entire process–what worked, what didn’t, and what to do another way next time. Here are five (totally random) things that I’ll definitely remember when I’m ready to do it again…

  1. Archer Farms Instant Coffee
    Really, Target’s brand of instant coffee is actually pretty good. It’s also two dollars cheaper than Starbucks Via, but just as good. When you go through as much coffee as I do while writing (and editing, and publishing), that makes a huge difference. Even if you don’t have Target, it’s still worth looking around to see if you can find another off-brand version of Via. Three minutes to a hot cup of coffee and much-needed caffeine boost, no waste. Can’t beat that!
  2. Pandora
    Okay, I’ve know about Pandora for a long time, but it came in especially handy while I was working on Ashes Swept. Even while editing–or maybe especially while editing–I wanted music that was relaxing, futuristic, and preferably without lyrics. I started a Washed Out channel on Pandora, which led me to Tycho, FM-84, and many others. It was perfect for keeping me relaxed and in the right head space while editing.
  3. Master Lists for Writers and The Emotion Thesaurus
    While I was editing, I would sometimes come to a gesture, facial expression, or some other descriptor that I was relying on too much. Most of the time I could think of an alternative, but when I couldn’t, Bryn Donovan’s Master Lists for Writers, and The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi, were incredibly handy. I keep them both on my desk for quick reference.
  4. My Amazing Cover Artist
    It’s entirely possible to self-publish a novel without spending a ton of money, but the one place you can’t afford to skimp is on your book cover. Yes–people do judge a book by its cover, and I received so many compliments on the cover for Ashes Swept, I’m fully convinced it was instrumental in helping me sell so many copies. Covers can be expensive, I know, but I’m here to tell you it’s well worth it. Plus, if you really spend some time looking around, you’ll find many talented artists with affordable prices.
  5. Pressbooks
    SERIOUSLY! I don’t know that Ashes Swept would exist without Pressbooks. The prospect of formatting my novel was something that filled me with near-paralyzing anxiety. My publishing optimism deflated every time I set eyes on my folder full of bookmarked formatting guides. Then my CP, Shannon, discovered Pressbooks, and I could tell right away it was going to help me do what I didn’t think I could. The web site works great, there are many nice themes to choose from, the customer service is stellar, and it was much more affordable than hiring someone to format it for me. I am really grateful that Pressbooks exists!

So that’s that! The five (completely random) things that helped me publish Ashes Swept. As random as they all are, they all made the publishing process (and everything leading up to it) go much more smoothly for me. I hope something here will help you, too!


Ashes Swept is now available!



You can find it in print and e-book on Amazon.com!

Ashes Swept Playlist ~ Top Five

Lots of things inspire me when I write, but nothing inspires me more than music. The right song can help me flesh out my characters, spark plot ideas, and can even influence entire scenes. The playlist for Ashes Swept is one of my favorites so far, so I’m excited to share my five favorite songs on the playlist with you, along with some of the lyrics that inspired me.

#1 Home by Gabrielle Aplin

So when I’m ready to be bolder, and my cuts have healed with time;
comfort will rest on my shoulder, and I’ll bury my future behind.
I’ll always keep you with me. You’ll always be on my mind,
but there’s a shining in the shadows, I’ll never know unless I try.

#2 The Lightning Strike by Snow Patrol

Just for a minute, the silver-forked sky, lit you up like a star, that I will follow.
And now it’s found us, like I have found you. I don’t want to run, just overwhelm me.

#3 Broad-Shouldered Beasts by Mumford & Sons

These apartment walls are paper thin, and no one is trying to listen in.
What to hear our doubts, hear our whispered shouts, they don’t care.
Wasn’t it you, who said I was not free? And wasn’t it you, who said I needed peace?
And now it’s you who’s floored by fear of it all. And it’s alright, take it out on me.
And it’s alright, take it out on me.

#4 Bird Set Free by Sia

Now I fly, hit the high notes–I have a voice, have a voice, hear me roar tonight.
You held me down, but I fought back loud

#5 Change of Time by Josh Ritter

I had a dream last night, and when I opened my eyes, your shoulder blade, your spine,
were shorelines in the moonlight; new worlds for the weary, new lands for the living,
I could make it if I tried, I closed my eyes, I kept on swimming.

If you’d like to see all fifteen songs on the playlist, be sure to check back here (or my facebook page) on launch day, this Friday, September 29th, to find out how!

Book trailer for Ashes Swept

I’ve been waiting for months to finally share the book trailer for my new novel, Ashes Swept, which will be available at Amazon on Friday, 9/29!

Ashes Swept Cover Reveal!

I’m so excited to finally share the cover of my new novel, Ashes Swept, which will be available on Amazon.com next Friday, September 29th. The cover was created by the talented Clarissa Yeo of Yocla Designs. Thanks, Clarissa!


Stay-tuned for more exciting goodies as launch week for Ashes Swept continues!

Ashes Swept Book Blurb!

To kick-off launch week for my new novel, Ashes Swept, I’m excited to share with you the official book blurb! Ashes Swept will be available on Amazon.com on September 29th!


As a ministerial daughter, Synda May Ivey has a duty to her family and to all of Floridian—but she has no interest in galas, garden parties, and high-tech society life. With everything in disarray after her father’s death, marriage to her aristocratic childhood friend is the last thing she wants. After escaping to a world of simplicity in the low-tech tractlands, life couldn’t be more perfect. Silver Glen is everything she’d hoped for, and Wilken Kirby might help her forget about the noble Everton Greer. But with her overbearing stepfamily in pursuit and her true identity cloaked in deception, her two worlds may not stay separate for long. Having seen her nation through different eyes, she may find it difficult to choose freedom and love over duty.

Launch Week is Coming!

I’m happy to announce that launch week for Ashes Swept will begin one week from Friday, on September 22nd!

I’ll be sharing some fun things here (and on social media) each day leading up to launch day. The Ashes Swept cover reveal, book trailer, and selections from the AS playlist are just a few of the things I have planned. Then, on September 29th, Ashes Swept will be available for purchase, in both print and Kindle, on Amazon.com!