I know, I know.  Another book post. We’ll get back to the knitting, cooking, traveling and the such soon. I need a couple more days of enjoying the after-glow.  Amanda — who edited the novel and took the back cover photo — also took a gorgeous collections of shots Tuesday night. How couldn’t I share these?


changing hands


new release


blah blah



Rex! My old running buddy!

mr green

Mr. Green — my 8th grade English teacher.


Clare, who I traveled with to Nicaragua and Bolivia. And, Duda, a friend who grew up in Mozambique.


My mama. This photo makes me a little teary.


Ms. Sunshine Cupcakes!


My boss, Joe.

mark and susie

Mark and Susie, parents to this adorable boy.


Alma! My world traveling buddy.

ms. st. arnauld

Ms. St. Arnauld, my 6th grade teacher.

rett + karen

Rett + Karen, who have been friends with my parents since high school. My dad tells a funny story of Rett giving him shots of whiskey right before he walked down the aisle to marry my mom.


Diane — a long-time family friend.

the tolars

JT + Kathleen — Mini’s parents and my good friends.


My minister + friend, Jeff.

the bennetts

The Bennetts! Kacey’s folks + my cheerleaders.

mariah and julez

Mariah and Julez, who among other things are my bowling buddies.


signing 2


Octavio, Ted + JT.


Pretty much the best night of my life so far.

Thank you again, Amanda, for taking these. See the complete set at:




Did you notice last night was a full moon? Couldn’t have been coincidence. The “Under the Same Moon” signing brought more than a 100 of my friends and family under one roof, too. I honestly couldn’t believe how many people were there — my grandparents and uncle from Tucson, my mama from Texas, three of my favorite teachers, many family friends who’ve taken me in as an additional child since my parents moved, my girlfriends, coworkers, fellow church attendants, bloggers and I think, just maybe, even a few strangers.

Little fan

Bill, Mariah, Julie, Jennie


It was a night I’ll never forget. Today I am so full of hope, happiness and gratitude.



Thank you, dear blog readers. You too are included on the acknowledgment page.


(And there are many more photos and video clips to come, but I couldn’t help but post a few to start off the day!)


For the longest time, Adam and I’ve said “later, Tyrone” instead of “later, gator.” I don’t know why it started, but it makes me giggle every time.

Blingy alligator

So, when my mama gave me a little African-inspired bling this afternoon to rock at tonight’s signing, the lucky guy was quickly coined Tyrone. I’ll be sporting T with a belly full of butterflies, a giddy smile, my lucky heels and some baubles.


Tyrone was gifted over lunch at one of my favorite local spots. I immediately recognized the server; we’d gone to high school together. His arms were covered in colorful tattoos, but his smile was identical as the day we’d graduated. We chatted for a minute and he said he was serving tables during the day to fund his dream: being a rock star. He “screams” as the lead in a band in the evenings. He rambled for a bit about how it was important to him to chase a dream, be working for something he could believe in, etc. His eyes glittered as he described being on stage with his bandmates.


I nodded, enthusiastically. I know in my gut I am supposed to write. This first book is full of typos and errors and passion and love. It’s a fun first step toward a career. Speaking with Emily today she asked when the second book, “Basket Baby,” will be complete. October. I’ll have draft one done within the next few months. The writing, character development, voice, story arch — they are all substantially easier and clearer the second time. Plus, now I know how to publish. I feel like I’ve climbed a giant mountain and the next peak looks like a hill by comparison.

October. I can work with a deadline, especially when it doesn’t feel like work.


In the meantime, I’ll just let this novel hang out next to my buddy and fellow author Barack. This is where Adam placed the book on his shelf. (How am I supposed to remain humble with this kind of ridiculous treatment?)

Later Tyrone,


Skinny Dipping in the Crazy Pool

my fave ever

Last weekend I hosted a few friends for dinner — a swim & grill get together. Such gatherings are a  reason I love Arizona.  Managing the heat is much easier when you are up to your neck in cool water. Plus, I’ve got this circle of friends who are crazy, funny, committed, honest, caring and crazy. Did I mention the crazy?

The best part is — they totally call me on my crazy.

four colors, five cheese

For example, about a month ago I posted on Facebook that I was buying yarn for my Christmas knitting projects. I was honestly making an order. It never even crossed my mind that posting about Christmas knitting projects in July in Phoenix was silly. Really. Sometimes I’m swimming so far deep in the crazy pool, it seems like an ocean. Adam, however, almost immediately called me out.

It was July.

In Phoenix.

I needed a cool drink and a date, not another order of yarn.




I also feel a little crazy at the moment because let’s be honest — I can think, talk and dream about only one event. There are so many exciting and happy things happening this month, I feel like skipping. As if having this team of amazing friends wasn’t enough, my family is rallying and will be here Tuesday for the signing.  My sixth grade teacher + my favorite teacher from high school are both attending. (Feel free to cry a bit over that. I did.) My elementary school arch nemesis is attending. (Booyah!) And I have a feeling an ex-boyfriend or two may even show, just to add to the stomach churning nervousness of the night. Hey! Maybe they could all sit together and compare notes?

It’s bound to be a night to remember. And I can’t help but hope this is just the beginning.


To have a taste of what I’ve always wanted has made me delirious. I’ve been thinking about how great it will be when I can rent a summer home in the Puget Sound to write. (I’ve got one picked out.) It will be nice to fly into New York for meetings with editors. Heck, I’ve found myself saying:

“Well, with the next book there will certainly be an agent and a publishing house involved.”

“You know your favorite bookstore in Albuquerque, Denver, Portland? Yes. I’m sending copies.”

“I don’t know about a book tour this time, but certainly with the next.”

“Julia should buy the rights. This would be a great movie.”

And perhaps the most egotastic-crazy yet — “Do you want that signed?”

Julia. As in Julia Roberts. What has happened to me? It’s easy to get carried away. It is also easy to under achieve in this life and to shoot for an average existence. I guess I’d rather be crazy excited about life than apathetic.


Thankfully, I’ve got a lot of good people to keep me grounded. Including those who take photos when I leave my camera unattended.

To crazy dreams coming delightfully true,


Book Contest Winners!

Gig Harbor

Remember when I asked for book marketing ideas? Well, you guys are the most efficient, productive and happiest team I’ve ever worked with. THANK YOU! I got some great ideas (e.g. Facebook page, youtube videos, book club marketing, and “send to Oprah!”) that got me thinking. As promised, the five randomly selected winners for signed copies are:

1. Debbie

2. Traciefree

3. Holly

4. Piccola

and 5. Teresa.

{I’ll be emailing you for your addresses. Thank you again!}

It’s been one of those week’s I’ll never forget. The first 108 copies of my book arrived at my home. I have a contract for 50 copies to be sold at my favorite indie bookstore. I dropped them off Monday. I was contacted by a local reporter for a feature on Monday night and was interviewed. I heard the books started selling at Changing Hands and Amazon on Tuesday. Today the paper’s photographer came to take a headshot to go with the article. Tonight I’ve been invited to a political fundraiser where my book is being raffled as a door prize. I’ve placed an order for another 25 books because there are to be more than 100 people at the signing. Woah.

It’s pinch-me exciting!I keep walking around my office with this goofy grin smiling at everyone and everything.

Gig Harbor

I’ve spent so much time thinking about what this would look and feel like — to see my book on the shelves. And now that it is here, I’ve honestly never been happier. I read many years ago that you should develop some habit that regularly reminds you of your dream. Keeping this in mind, for at least 8 years, every time I visit a bookstore I go to the fiction section and leave space in the “Ds” where my novel would be placed. Today, that book is actually there.


I’ve been doing a lot of pacing at night after work reading my novel aloud, trying to find the right section to share at the book signing in a couple weeks.  Of course I’ve already got my outfit selected, including a string of Ghanaian wedding beads I’ve never worn (other than the day I bought them, four years ago.) You can take the girl out of Africa, but you can’t take Africa out of the girl.

And so, life as an author moves forward at a very hectic and happy pace.

Thank you again for coming along on the journey,


Book Contest!

Front cover of my book

The tricky thing about self-publishing a novel is you don’t have a giant marketing team promoting your work. There are no ads in The New York Times or pop ups when you visit blogs. I don’t have an agent or even a specific website. What I do have, however, is a mighty little blog and a handful of people I consider great friends who live far and wide.

That’s you.

To get my book onto as many shelves and hands as I can, I want to reach out to small bookstores and libraries nationwide. I’m not sure the best way of doing this — my instinct is to send beautifully handwritten cards — but I do know that finding the right people and the right contact information is crucial.

So, dear friends, this is where you come into play. Do you have a great bookstore you frequent? Are you a librarian? Do you know any great ways to market a book? How would you go about spreading the word?  You would be doing me a sincere favor by letting me know what you think.  Leave a comment with the details, including addresses and contact information for those bookstores. I’ll leave the contest open through the weekend and randomly select 5 winners for signed copies.

{Never left a comment? Leave a comment every day? Delurk, please.}

And thank you. For stopping here, for reading, for being such amazing cheerleaders. I don’t need no stinking fancy New York publishing house! I’ve got YOU!