Under the Same Moon Book Signing

Guess what friends — after working on my first novel for more than EIGHT YEARS, it is going to see the light of publishing day!

Front cover of my book

Back of my novel

The book will be listed on Amazon and other web-based sellers by the end of August. I’ll be certain to post the details as soon as they come to light. However, for Phoenicians, there is a certain dream coming true on August 24th that I’d love for you to be a part of. Changing Hands Bookstore is a fixture for literary folk in the Valley. It’s one of the few remaining independent bookstores. The owners are community-minded folk who regularly invite international and local authors alike to speak about their varied passions and literary craft. I’ve listened to Barbara Kingsolver, Elizabeth Gilbert and many others thanks to Changing Hands.

In truth, it was my mother who gave me a love of reading —  specifically a love for Nancy Drew. I would save my allowance and beg for a trip to this bookstore, for time to sit among the dusty old marigold yellow copies of the mystery maven, trying to find those few copies missing from our vintage collection.

I grew up in this bookstore never guessing I’d one day be there presenting my own book. The day has arrived and you are invited:

7 pm, Tuesday, August 24th

Changing Hands Bookstore

Tempe, AZ

In the meantime, if you’d like a glimpse at what “Under the Same Moon” is about:

Abena Udate, a 15-year-old girl, is kidnapped from an open-air market in rural Mozambique by a wandering American businessman. Smuggled into a suburban Phoenix community, Abena must learn a new language, culture and way of life previously unimaginable. She tries desperately not to become accustomed to the luxuries she’s never previously known – bubble baths, libraries and a caretaker who keeps a keen eye on her new charge. The girl patient determines the motives of her captors and why they want a blue-black addition to their creamy family portrait.

Kupela, her young brother, will stop at nothing to find his sister and the muzungu who has stolen her. When he falls gravely ill with malaria, an American expat uses every resource to keep him alive and unravel the mystery of his missing sister. Burdened with the worries of flooding in Mozambique and the well-being of the brother she adores, Abena wonders if she’ll ever be able to escape the comfortable Arizonan stucco house for the mud hut in rural Beira she calls home.

And finally, this wouldn’t be my blog or style if I didn’t end on a note of sincere and complete gratitude. To Amanda, who spent countless hours editing and took my cover photo. To Colleen, who designed the most gorgeous cover in the history of novels. Really. To my friends, family and to all of you who have asked countless times about the status of this dream — my forever thanks.


Novelist (!!)

Young + Restless

Colorado flowers

I jetted away for the weekend to the Rockies for some downtime with my beloved friends Sheila and Charlie. They have the uncanny ability of reminding me that my life priorities and values are spot on.  We enjoyed hours outside on the porch reading, staring at the mountains, playing with the dogs, listening to the birds and predicting by the wind when the next storm would roll in.


Le Chock!

We also ventured to a farmer’s market that included a hilarious puppet show.  One man with a penchant for creole — Le Chock! — and fine German puppets. He plays hilarious music and attracts children in droves to watch his creatures dance and play. The market was full of all that I love about being in Colorado — healthy, happy people. Nearly every couple or stroller had a dog in tow. Fresh fruit stacked high on tables ready to be enjoyed warm from the mid-day sun. Crazy puppets, as a sign of the creativity and quirkiness that flourishes in such content communities.

Farmer's Market Tamales

Farmer's Market Tamales

And of course, amazing food. You can take a girl out of Arizona, but you can’t take the appetite out of the girl. We found a stand selling homemade Colombian tamales — wrapped in banana leaves. They were ohsogood.

Jess + Cody

Thankfully, I also had a chance to meet up with my grizzlyman of a brother for a quick meal on the way back to the airport. He has a smart, sweet and sarcastic new girlfriend who I really like.  Once again I find myself examining my life in Arizona, the life I’ve always known, with the possibilities of moving and starting fresh. I wish I had all of this family in my life on a weekly basis, not annual. I go back and forth on moving. There are so many things I love about the desert (including my current job) and yet there is a big world of opportunity waiting elsewhere.

One thing is certain: the best way to survive Phoenix in the summer is to escape.



I bought these place mats at the Crate and Barrel outlet in Texas when visiting my parents nearly two years ago. The hummingbird place mat in particular has been sitting on top of my sewing supply stash begging for a project. I knew I wanted to it be used just right and I am pleased as punch with how these turned out:

Placemat Rework

Placemat Rework

Placemat Rework

Placemat Rework

Placemat Rework

Placemat Rework

Placemat Rework

Placemat Rework

I needed a simple project that would make me feel like a success; something that didn’t require a pattern or too much thought. I wanted two gifts for a couple girlfriends and voila — without much toil, I was able to whip these up with supplies on hand. Plus, it makes my soul happy to reuse something — to take something destined for one use, marked down to pennies on the dollar and then with a bit of sass, turn it into something else entirely.

Not to get too loquacious about life, but our ability to take a situation and work through the potential “reworks” seems to either make or break us. I know so many who cannot apparently handle a speed bump on the way to work without lamenting about how annoying their days suddenly became. And then there are those who fight cancer quietly, with itchy wigs and bellies that are constantly nauseous, and do so with the best attitude they can muster — making the healthy shamed we haven’t been more grateful for the obvious.  I hope today, whatever life hands you, whether it is exactly what you visualized and planned or something wildly off course, that you’ll find the way to find joy in the rework.


OYW July + August


I may officially be the very worst sewing partner in the history of sew-alongs because this is what my May/June project looks like:

June's project...

I’ve got a super cute fabric, plenty of bias tape and I’m ready to roll. I just haven’t gotten there quite yet. Thankfully, others did. You picked a great winner for this double month’s projects.

I think we shall pick two more to get us through the summer hump. How about:


The elephant! Come on. I’m African. If I had a pattern in this book, this would be it. And speaking of authors of published patterns…

July-August projects

It’s about time we made YOUR pattern for the Not Ugly Car Trash Bag. I might be a little proud. (Kinda like BP might be in a little trouble. Aretha may need to loose a little weight. Oprah may have a little money.) How cute is that Airedale in the photo?


Answer: not as cute as Miss Lola, who I doggy-sat this weekend.

I digress.

As the One Yard Wonder sew-along goes, Finny and I post a sewing project from the book, along with a great recipe to try. This month’s recipe is Fin’s fabulous summer strawberry salad.Yum. I love salad. I love fruit. I love them combined. Good work Fin! As a participant in the monthly challenge (bi-monthly in the lazy summer months), you pick a sewing project or two, and/or the recipe and share them on your blog and post photos to the photo pool. We randomly pick one rocking winner a month to reward to crafty goods.

Craft on, my friends. Craft on.


4th of July Bread

Working in a doctor’s office, patients regularly bring in food and gifts for the staff. This week, it was a bunch of squash from a patient’s garden. I figured some 4th of July bread was in order: bananas, yellow squash, maple chips, yellow cake basic recipe, dash of cinnamon. Mix. Bake. Wait for the smiles.


4th of July bread


More cake?

Roscoe and his sweet little vampire teeth loved it, almost as much as watching the “booms.” The night sky, filled with bright fireworks. Our bellies, full of an amazing grilled meal. My heart, happy. What else could one ask for in life?



On the twitter the other day, one of my most favorite ladies was talking about a pin cushion swap she’d just signed up for. Considering I love a creative challenge, logically I signed up.

Scrappy Pin Cushion Swap

Thankfully, a long weekend with very little planned has left me with ample time to catch up with my sewing machine. Oh, the simple, sweet, and pure joy of being creative. I find it matched solely in the high of a great run or hike. This weekend I’ve bounced between both activities with long, gloriously refreshing naps in between.

Scrappy Pin Cushion Swap

Scrappy Pin Cushion Swap

Thank you, America. Your birthday is pretty awesome.

Scrappy Pin Cushion Swap

Also awesome is the pool of photos from the scrap pin cushion swap. Wowza. Color me intimidated! These little pieces are truly works of folk art.

I was just thankful to have Nic’s lovely apple pin cushion pattern and one of her kits on hand. I’m pretty darn happy with the way this came out, including the double leaves and the tiny leather stem. I used rice to fill it to give it some heft and it is off in the post to my secret partner this week. As Nic would say, WOOT!