Click Date Repeat Again, Personal Tidbits


I haven’t posted anything personal or anything about my writing status in a LONG while, so…

What’s the status of Click Date Repeat Again?

The answer to this question could be a book itself, so I’ll give you the novella version instead.

As some of you know, I’ve been working on CDR2 since the summer of 2015. No, 2015 is not a typo. I outlined it back then, but didn’t start writing it until the fall when my boys went back to school. Things started out okay, but to be honest, I wasn’t feeling as excited about this one as I did when I wrote my first two books, so progress was slow. To make matters worse, I took a break from the manuscript to work on a different novel during NaNoWriMo 2015. (That novel was SPIN, a YA suspense, which is now sitting, unfinished. Just waiting for me to get back to it…) When NaNoWriMo 2015 ended, I went back to CDR2, hoping to finish it by late spring, which turned into late summer, which turned into fall. Then I took another break from it to work on something else during NaNoWriMo 2016. (No, it wasn’t SPIN. It was something completely new called By the Time We’re Forty, a women’s fiction novel, which is now sitting, unfinished. Just waiting for me to get back to it… See a pattern?) So now, with only three weeks left in 2016, I’m still not done with CDR2. *sigh*

Am I sad? A little. Am I frustrated? Yes. Do I feel antsy to get it done? Yes! But you know what? I refuse to put out something that I forced myself to finish or something that I’m not 100% proud of. So I’ve only been working on it when I feel inspired to work on it, and I have no idea when it will be ready for publication. And I’m okay with that.

On the bright side, I’ve learned some important things from my experience with CDR2. One, never publicly commit to writing something unless I’ve started it and feel passion for it in my bones. Two, don’t make promises (even to myself) about when a project will be finished until the first draft is complete. Three, I need to STOP comparing my writing pace and output with the pace and output of others.

What else have I been up to besides working on three different WIPs?

Focusing on my kids – My boys are in 6th and 3rd grade and participate in several extracurricular activities including year-round soccer, gymnastics and piano. My 4-year-old daughter was supposed to go to preschool two days a week this year, but I had a change of heart at the last minute and decided to keep her home. She’s my last child and the only one I’ve had to opportunity to stay home with, so I wanted to make the most of it. We do ‘school’ for about an hour most mornings, go to the YMCA three days a week, and she participates in tap dance/gymnastics and swimming. I’ve tried to get at least an hour of writing in every afternoon, but that often doesn’t happen, so I have to wait until the kids are in bed (and I’m ready to pass out).

Reading – I started out with a goal of 60 books for my 2016 Goodreads reading challenge, but I ended up reducing it to 40. Thirty-eight down, two to go! Some of my favorite reads this year include Emancipation by Jo Michaels, The Divided by Bria Starr, A Woman Named Sellers by Sarah L. King, An Unforgivable Love Story by B.L. Berry, Bright Side and Gus by Kim Holden, Try Not to Breathe by Holly Seddon, and Brother by Ania Ahlborn.

Wasting time on social media – As an author, maintaining a presence on social media is necessary for various reasons. However, sometimes it’s a struggle to get in and get out. I really need to get better at minimizing the amount of time I spend on all platforms!

Book signings – I attended four as a signing author. Those were in Cedar Falls, Iowa, North Lake, Iowa, Madison, Wisconsin, and Phoenix, Arizona. I also attended the Scripted Social in Des Moines, Iowa, as a volunteer.

Vacation – My family spent Thanksgiving in Hawaii this year. Best vacation of my life! Not gonna lie…I wanted to stay there forever. I do believe I was either a hula dancer or a beach bum in a past life. 😉


Click Date Repeat Again, Personal Tidbits

What have I been up to lately?

It’s been about a month since my last post, so it’s time for some updates . . .

Click Date Repeat Again

CDR #2 is the main reason for my scarcity here and on other social media lately. My plan for June was to buckle down, finish it up, and send it off to my editor on the 24th. Things were moving along nicely until my keyboard conked out, no longer allowing me to type several letters! After hours of troubleshooting, I ordered a new one. Then I took a few days off because it’s extremely difficult to write without the letter A! Thanks to Amazon Prime, I had my new keyboard within 48 hours. However, the day after it arrived, I went to the Scripted Social Author Event in Des Moines, Iowa. Even though I was not a signing author at the event, I had the privilege of being a volunteer. And guess who I got to help with her line…KIM HOLDEN! AHHHH! It was such an AMAZING weekend! When I returned from Iowa, I had a few days to work, and then we welcomed house guests who stayed with us for a several days. Long story short, I ended up sending only about 75% of the book off to my editor on the 24th. But now that the 4th of July weekend is over and the guests are gone, I’ll be wrapping the book up this week.

This is the first 75% of CDR. I printed it out to reread/edit while I waited for my new keyboard.

Despite my week-long setback, I’m still planning to publish CDR #2 at the end of August. Obviously this could change, but I’m going to do my best to make sure it doesn’t! The cover is being designed this month, so watch for the reveal near the end of July or beginning of August.

This is what the final 25% looked like before I started working on finishing it up a couple of days ago. I’m making steady progress once again . . .

Click HERE to add Click Date Repeat Again to your to-read list on Goodreads!

New Family Members

As some of you know, we said goodbye to our 17-year-old cat (Hal) a few months ago. Hal was also known as Hugh in Click Date Repeat. 🙂 My husband asked immediately after Hal was gone if I wanted to get a new cat but I just wasn’t ready. Fast forward to a couple weeks ago when my kids and I went to the local pet store to purchase a sponge for the hermit crabs. To our surprise, they recently added a new area for cats from local humane societies and shelters. One thing led to another, and . . . we ended up adopting two kittens! Eric (black and white) is 1 year old, and Sebastian is 7 weeks.

Holiday Fun with Family and Friends

It was so much fun spending time with my sister and her kids over the 4th of July weekend! We saw a movie, went to the local 4th of July parade and carnival, celebrated my niece’s birthday, spent some time enjoying a local lake (kayaking, paddle boarding and pedal boating), attended a party, and viewed an awesome fireworks display. Talk about a jam-packed weekend . . .

Book Reviews & Ask KJ

In light of my push to complete Click Date Repeat Again, I’ve had to sacrifice more than just a consistent social media presence. I’m now eight books behind schedule for 2016, and I only expect that number to grow. I do plan to spend a couple of weeks in August getting caught up, but I’m not sure that I’ll have time to write the reviews right away. I will eventually get back to posting at least two reviews a month though. I just can’t promise when.

As for Ask KJ, for which I planned to write a monthly post, that too will return. I’m just not sure when…

Until next time, friends! 🙂

Personal Tidbits

Birthday Giveaway


In honor of my birthday week, I’m hosting a giveaway over on my Facebook page.

How many books am I giving away? It’s a surprise!

Giveaway details:

  • Open until Friday, January 29 at midnight CST.
  • Only one entry per person.
  • Winners will be selected by
  • Must be a fan of my page to win.

Books by the following authors are eligible:

Alexandria Bishop, Author
Amber R Polk-Author
Anne Carol Author
Anne Conley
Audrey Harte
Beth M James Author
Bria Starr – Author
Brooke Blaine
Author C. K. Green
Author CM Foss
Deborah Disney Author
ES Carter
Hilaria Alexander
Hilary Grossman, Author
Jessica Florence
Jo Michaels
Author KA Sterritt
Author Karen Ferry
Lauren McKellar
Mariah Dietz
Michelle Somers
Mira Day
S. M. Smith-Author
Sandra Hutchison
Sarah King
Susan Murphy
Tess Woods Author
Winifred Morris

Personal Tidbits

A Little Listening Goes a Long Way

My husband and I do our best to talk to our children and stay up-to-date on their social lives. Up until last night, I thought we knew about all the important stuff. You know? How they feel about school, how they feel about themselves, who their friends are, the things that are going well, the things they might be struggling with, etc.

Last night, I lay with my son for a while after I tucked him in. He’s a talker so he chattered away about various things, and I did something I don’t usually do. I didn’t ask questions. (Not at first, anyway.) I just listened. And I found out something I never would have guessed or thought to ask about.

You see, my husband and I usually ask a series of check-up questions:

  • How was your day?
  • What did you learn?
  • Who did you hang out with at recess? What did you do?
  • How did your spelling test go?
  • Any problems on the bus?

But after what my son told me last night, I’m reminded that these routine questions aren’t enough. They become generic. And kids, like adults, become desensitized to these types of questions and start giving routine answers. Fine. Nothing. Same kids as usual. Good. No. We think we’re doing a good job by consistently checking in, but is there really any genuine communication going on? I’m not saying we’re dopey robot parents who don’t pay attention, but sometimes life is a little too hectic and we’re in such a hurry to get things done that we don’t really listen when our kids say something outside of the script.

So what did my son (who takes gymnastics and piano lessons and has never shown a real interest in other activities) tell me? He said he wishes he could play soccer with a large group of boys who play every day during recess, but he’s afraid they won’t let him join in. He’s afraid he won’t be any good. He’s afraid if they do let him play that he’ll make a mistake and they’ll get mad at him. He’s afraid that if he plays, a female friend of his will want to play too and the soccer boys will be mad that he brought a girl to play soccer. He revealed all of these fears in a very matter-of-fact tone, like he was telling me his favorite flavor of ice cream is mint chocolate chip. But even though he didn’t seem sad, his words broke my heart because I could sense the crushing effect these fears were having on his self-esteem.

Had I not taken the time to just listen to him ramble for a while, I think my husband and I would still be in the dark about his desire to try something new. And we wouldn’t have had the valuable conversation that followed his confession–the one about never being afraid to break out of your comfort zone and not worrying about what others might think or say about it . . . the one about doing something because you want to, not necessarily because you’re good at it, but because you like it. And how you’ll never know if you like something or if you’re good at something until you try it.

After we were done talking, I sat down to do some writing, and an email notification popped up. You’ll never believe who the email was from . . . our local soccer association. It was an announcement about a new indoor soccer training camp in our town. Registration had just opened up. I’m pretty sure my son was the first kid to register. 🙂

Personal Tidbits, Self Publishing

My Goals for 2016


I had a lot of goals for 2015 and I worked my heinie off in an attempt achieve them. How did I do?

Goal #1 – Finish and Publish Don’t Call Me Kit Kat

Goal achieved! And as of today, Don’t Call Me Kit Kat has review averages on Goodreads (4.57) and Amazon (4.8) that make my heart swell with joy. This book is very near and dear to my heart, and based on the majority of responses from readers, it conveys the messages I was hoping it would.

Goal #2 – Stop Obsessing Over Click Date Repeat

Hmm. This one is iffy. While I managed to stop checking my sales stats every day, I faltered on resisting the urge to constantly check for new reviews after Don’t Call Me Kit Kat was published in May. Because I wanted to keep tabs on how Kit Kat was doing, I ended up checking in on CDR more than once a week as well. So this goal continues to be a work in progress.

Goal #3 – Finish the First Draft of Click Date Repeat 2

MAJOR fail. But, I have a really good excuse! During November, I participated in NaNoWriMo and completed a good chunk of a YA suspense novel.

Goal #4 – Stick to a Blog Schedule

Another iffy one here. For the most part, I managed to post one book review per week. But I kinda fell off the bandwagon as far as posting a personal/professional post every Wednesday. I won’t abandon this goal, but it definitely needs to be revised.

Goal #5 – Remember What’s Really Important

Goal achieved! Not only did I set time aside for hanging out with my family without writing, I took the entire summer off to do things with my kids. Honestly, this goal may have been overachieved. 😉

And now for my new and revised goals for 2016…

Goal #1 – Revise and Complete SPIN

SPIN is the YA suspense novel I worked on during NaNoWriMo. The manuscript has been through one round of developmental editing, and I can’t even describe how excited I am to see this one through to publication. My plan is to send it off for one more round of developmental edits some time in Feburary. Then, if I succeed at making this book into what I think it can be, I just might be querying agents come spring.

Goal #2 – Finish and Publish Click Date Repeat 2

As of right now, I have about a third of this book completed. However, the entire novel is outlined, so I know exactly what needs to be written. I plan to work on it intermittently for the next two months, but as soon as SPIN gets sent in for its second developmental edit in February, I’ll finish this one up. I’ll aim for sending it for it’s first developmental edit in March with the ultimate goal of publishing in late May.

Goal #3 – Stop Obsessing Over Book Stats

I will only check my sales stats and for new book reviews once a week. This might seem like an easy goal, but it’s not!

Goal #4 – Limit Social Media Time

Last year, this goal wasn’t necessary because all I had to maintain was Click Date Repeat’s Facebook page. Now I also have an author Facebook account, an author fan page on Facebook, a Twitter account, and an Instagram account. This is a lot to maintain and often turns into hours of wasted time each day that I should have spent writing. My plan is to limit my time on social media to one hour per day. (This does not include time posting book reviews and writing blog posts.)

Goal #5 – Post Regularly to My Blog

Instead of committing to personal/professional posts on Wednesdays and book reviews on Sundays, I’m only committing to posting something at least once a week and it could be any day of the week. In addition to personal/professional posts and book reviews, I’ve also started participating in cover reveals and blog tours.

Goal #6 – Write Every Day!

Even if I don’t feel like writing. Even if I’m busy with family commitments all day long and can’t write until after the kids are in bed. Even if I’m feeling under the weather. I will write at least one page of something every day. That something could be complete gibberish, but even gibberish can be turned into something meaningful. And baby steps are better than no steps at all.

Goal #7 – Remember What’s Really Important

I won’t be taking the summer off this year due to Goal #6, but I will continue unplugging every Friday night (and holidays) to spend quality time with my family.

What are your goals for 2016?

Personal Tidbits, Self Publishing


People often tell me when they purchase, read, or are in the process of reading one of my books. This includes family, friends, people who follow my blog, Facebook friends, etc. Even though I know these individuals are just trying to be nice, I have to be honest . . . it drives me nuts!

WAIT! Before you shake your head while mumbling “what a bitch” under your breath and unfollow me, please hear me out.

I know, I know. I should be appreciative that people even consider my books. I swear to you, I am. The problem is, when someone tells me they intend to read one of my books or have already done so but offer zero feedback, I can’t help but become paranoid.

Old Friend From High School: Hey, just bought a copy of your book! Can’t wait to read it.

What I Say: Thank you so much! That means a lot to me. Can’t wait to hear what you think. 🙂

What I Think: Oh, my God. I wonder if she’s really going to read it or if she’s just making conversation . . . Oh, my God. If she does read it, what if she thinks that one part is about her?

Facebook Friend: Hey! Saw your book was on sale last week so I one-clicked it. Really enjoying it so far.

What I Say: Yay! Thank you so much! So happy to hear you’re enjoying it. 🙂

What I think: Please don’t hate my book. Please don’t hate my book. Is she still going to want to be friends if she hates my book? Please don’t hate my book. Please don’t hate my book.

Distant Relative I Met Once When I was 10: “Hey Kristie! Aunt Mary loaned me a copy of your book. I finished it last week. Wow, I can’t believe we have an author in the family!”

What I Say: “Thank you so much for reading, Distant Relative! I really appreciate your support. Are you an avid reader? If so, I’d love to be friends on Goodreads.”

What I Think: I’m not even sure I know who Aunt Mary is . . .Well, what did you think of it?? . . . Hmm. Maybe If I bring up Goodreads, she’ll rate it.

And when I don’t receive updates from people, that’s when the heavy paranoia sets in and my brain becomes overloaded with assumptions and whiny thoughts, many of which are verbally expressed ad nauseam to my poor husband.

“I know so-and-so read my book. Why didn’t she write a review?!”

“Why would he tell me he purchased a copy of my book only to never mention it again? I wonder if he even read it. Even worse, what if he read it and hated it?!”

“Well, I guess she hated it. Excuse me while I cry myself to sleep.”

Ugh. I’m lucky my husband is such a great listener, and I’m even luckier that he isn’t afraid to remind me that the paranoia has everything to do with me and nothing to do with them. :/

Even so, if you’re the friend or family member of an author, I propose the following order of operations if you are genuinely interested in reading her work:


Or even better:


And if you’re an author, try to keep in mind that most people who mention they purchased, read, or are currently reading your work are truly trying to support you. It just might not occur to the majority of that lot that you’d appreciate feedback, and a good portion probably don’t understand how important reviews are to an author (indie or traditional). Plus, people are just plain busy!

I know I need to take my own advice. Trust me, I’m trying. 🙂

Personal Tidbits, Self Publishing

NaNoWriMo Newbie Here!


Today was a special day for me because I became a NaNoWriMoer!

I first heard about this event last year when I started learning the ins and outs of self-publishing. Of course, I had to look it up to find out what NaNoWriMo stands for. (Psst…It stands for National Novel Writing Month, for those of you who might be encountering the term for the first time right now!) After I found out what it means, I wondered two things: What’s the point? and Why do people participate?

The point of NaNoWriMo is simple. Write a 50,000-word novel in one month! If you’re like me, not only is writing that many words in one month not so simple, it’s downright scary. But wait, there’s more. According to, the process is supposed to be fun and approached by the seat of your pants. Okay, so maybe trying to have fun and not editing after writing every other sentence might make the task less laughable and more doable. It’s worth a try, right?

But can’t writers attempt to write a 50,000-word novel for fun and by the seat of their pants during any month of the year? Of course they can, but the majority don’t. And even those who say they’re going to (ME, for example) often end up falling short. So why make an attempt during NaNoWriMo?

First of all, there’s something magical about setting a goal like this along with hundreds of thousands of other people. Within minutes of creating my account, I looked up friends who were participating and added them to my list of writing buddies. I also joined an accountability group on Facebook. I can’t even begin to explain the camaraderie I feel with fellow nanowrimoers. So I won’t. 🙂 But trust me, it feels great to share a common goal with so many other writers.

Second, making such a huge commitment in front of the hundreds of thousands of participants I’ve already mentioned lit a fire under me. I want to succeed, not just for myself, but for the entire community. Does it have anything to do with saving face? Yeah, okay, maybe a little. But I also want to be an inspiration to my writing buddies. Today, when I noticed that one of my buddies wrote 3,000+ words, not only was I proud of her, but it got me moving!

Third, I have my very own dashboard on the NaNoWriMo site that includes nifty progress trackers, such as a graph that reports my daily average and fun little badges to keep me motivated. For someone like me who’s driven by data and reaching milestones, it’s just plain cool. Today I wrote 2,182 words, which puts my required daily average at 1,091. I hope to decrease that average as the month progresses.

nanowrimo dashboardMy Dashboard

nanowrimo progressMy Progress Tracker

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? If so, are you a newbie too? What’s your favorite thing about being a nanowrimoer?

Personal Tidbits, Self Publishing

Am I Really “Livin’ the Life”?

The other day, an acquaintance asked me how things are going.

I replied the way I typically do when I engage in small talk. I smiled and said things are great. Sure, I get stressed out from time to time (on a daily basis actually), and life with three kids is hectic as hell, but people don’t really want to hear about all that.

She responded to my upbeat answer with a nod and a grin followed by, “Just livin’ the life, huh?”

For some reason, I sensed a bit of negativity in her tone. So instead of continuing with the exchange, I ignored her comment and pretended to be in a hurry. Unfortunately, the comment continued to nag at me for the rest of the week. What really bothered me was that I didn’t know why it bothered me. I mean, isn’t it a good thing if people think you’re “livin’ the life”?

Then I came to this conclusion. It’s a good thing only if they’re happy for you. In this case, I feel as though this particular person has the wrong impression of what the life I’m livin’ is actually like. It seems she might be under the impression that I sit around leisurely typing novels when the mood strikes me (while my children raise themselves), and I’m rewarded with large sums of money from Amazon. Um, no. Here’s a rundown of what my life as a work-at-home writer is really like.

Like other stay-at-home moms, I take care of most of the household duties. Laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning, cooking, etc. I also take point on caring for our three children, which involves scheduling and providing transportation for extracurricular activities, making doctor and dentist appointments, dealing with correspondence from school, making my boys’ lunches for school, and making sure they all have clothing, outerwear and shoes that fit properly. While my boys are at school, I keep my 3-year-old occupied with daily preschool activities, music class, gymnastics, general play and LOTS of conversation. (The one and only thing I do for myself is participate in a group exercise class at the YMCA three days a week, during which my little one goes to the daycare. Oh, and I occasionally squeeze in a shower.) After I’m done cleaning up lunch dishes, my little one may or may not take a short nap. Either way, I have a limited amount of time to get a small bit of work done before my boys get home from school. When that time rolls around, I help with homework for about an hour after which I start dinner. Making, eating and cleaning up dinner typically takes anywhere from one to two hours, depending on whether we eat leftovers.

Mix in my boys’ extracurricular activities (soccer, karate, gymnastics and piano) and most nights we’re pushing 8:00 by the time everyone is getting ready for bed, which involves showers/baths, brushing teeth, stories and tucking in. It isn’t until at least 9:00 that I really get a chance to work. And if there’s one word I would associate with novel writing, it’s work. A hell of a lot of work. But my work isn’t limited to novel writing (which includes marketing and social media maintenance, by the way). I’m also a freelance editor because I have to do something to earn enough money to pay for everything that goes into publishing and marketing my novels. They certainly don’t pay for themselves!

Bedtime for me is typically between one and two a.m. every night, including weekends. Then I wake up with my children and do it all over again. Day after day.

So, to the acquaintance who thinks I’m “just livin’ the life,” why yes, yes I am. I love being able to stay home with my children, and I love being able to write novels. I also happen to be a night owl, so I don’t mind the late shifts. But none of it is easy, and I make very little money compared to the number of hours I spend tapping away at my keyboard. (To be honest, my monthly royalties typically aren’t even enough to cover our cable bill.)

My point is, being a work-at-home mom who’s a writer probably isn’t what most people would choose if they knew what it was really like. But I happen to LOVE IT. That’s why I gave up a secure, salaried teaching position to do it.

So, yes, I’m “livin’ the life.” But I work my ass off, and there’s not one bit of glamour involved. Regardless, *smiles* things are great!

Personal Tidbits

East Coast Road Trip

Hi everyone! Sorry it’s been so quiet around here lately. I just returned from a much-needed vacation. My husband and I traveled for a week with no kids! It was the first time we’d gone anywhere alone since 2012. I thought sharing some trip pics would be a nice way to ease back into my blog schedule. Enjoy!

Lake Champlain, Burlington, Vermont


Washington, D.C.

SAM_0231 SAM_0234

The Cedars of Williamsburg Bed & Breakfast, Virginia

cedars of williamsburg1 cedars of williamsburg2

Virginia Beach


Personal Tidbits

The Power of a Book

I recently read a book that made me cry. Actually, I sobbed. What book caused me to become so emotional?

Bambi’s Fragrant Forest, A Golden Fragrance Book, Copyright 1975


What was it about this cute scratch ‘n sniff book that had me in tears?


Some of my most cherished memories involve my grandma and books. She always read to me and often gave me books as gifts for birthdays and Christmases. Whenever I visited her in the small town of Evansville, Wisc., we would go to the library every few days to stock up on books. Two of my favorites were Curious George and Amelia Bedelia.

The moment I opened the cover of Bambi’s Fragrant Forest, the scent of the book and the graphics made me think of my grandma. She had given it to me and had read it to me dozens of times. With each page, I felt more and more like the little girl I once was. The one who absolutely adored being read to by her grandma.

About five pages in, when I paused to get a tissue, my daughter asked, “What wrong, mommy?” I explained to her that my grandma used to read Bambi’s Fragrant Forest to me when I was little and that I miss her very much. She enthusiastically responded, “Read me, mommy! Read me!”

So, I shook off the tears and finished reading the book to my daughter. The whole time, I could hear my grandma reading the story too, and I felt like she was right there with us, helping to create a potential lifelong memory for my daughter.