Tag Archives: books

2023 Good Reads Challenge

This year, I’m determined to read as many books as I can. It’s something I can do on those high pain days and pretty much can do anywhere – outside, inside – or while in bed hopped up on painkillers.

I’m already on my third book of the year and I thought I would keep track of what I’m reading here. I’ll also link to my Good Reads profile and you can follow me there or be friends with me too.

One thing I am trying to do is discover new authors, not only to support their work but also to help boost up my writing skills. When you’re an indie author, you tend to relate more to authors that you have a similar style to.

I’m gravitating more away from horror, to things like fantasy, murder mystery, and maybe some good old fashioned romance or smut books. Since my series has a little bit of it all!

This post will be updated as the challenge continues and I will do a month end summary for all the books I’ve found or started to read.

Wish me luck – what’s on your reading list this year?

Authors mentioned so far:

  • Colleen Hoover
  • Kate Aslinger
  • LJ Smith
  • Lucy Score

February 2023 Book List

Things We Never Got Over – Lucy Score

The story focuses around a set of twins – Naomi and Tina. Tina is hellbent on destroying Naomi’s life – steals her car, her purse, her phone – and leaves something behind. A daughter with no home.

Naomi is thrown into the role of being a caregiver, in a strange town for her niece that she just met.

I tried getting into this book but I couldn’t. I’ll try and give it another chance sometime.

The Gift – Kate Aslinger

The Gift is book one in a five book series by Kate Aslinger called The McKenna Series.

Grace McKenna is a detective of a small town who has a special gift that allows her to see crimes that people have committed. But the gifts come with a caveat and the messages are usually vague, leaving Detective McKenna on some wild goose chases.

READ Feb 2023

Buried Secrets – Kate Aslinger

This is the second book by Kate Aslinger for the McKenna Mysteries series.

This installment fixates on a woman in town named Miriam that Detective Grace McKenna is convinced is a murderer.

Detective McKenna is once again on the hunt for clues with little information to go on.

READ Feb 2023

Want to Read 2023

The following is a list of books I’d like to reading 2023-2024 – aiming to complete at least 12 or 1 per month. It’s ambitious but I am hopeful!!

Previous Book Challenges – 2022

What are you reading this year? Let me know in the comments. And if you use Kindle like I do, do you have an E-Kindle?

Writing: It’s hard to be a good man when you have the devil on your back

It’s Wednesday evening and I realized I haven’t shared a post in a while. There’s a reason for that. I’ve been writing non-stop and finished the final draft of my book. It’s part one of a series. The book sort of just wrote itself once I got into the mythology and folklore.

A combination of Christian beliefs (demons and rituals) mixed in with Romani magic and light or earth magic.

This past week has been a strange one. My sleep has corrected itself to the point that if I went to bed at midnight, I would wake up like clockwork around 5 or 6 am. Today was the latest I’ve slept in and stayed in bed until 8. I use those early morning hours for writing and get down some of my best ideas. Once you have an idea of what a scene will look like, the rest comes easily.

I’ve been writing non-stop, sometimes forgetting to shower and eat. I’m getting better with that. This book has me obsessed to finish it. The scenes play out in my head as I write. Sometimes when I lay down or even sleep. I hear the character’s conversations in my head. And then I have to sit at the computer and get working on it. The ideas for scenes just flow to me easily now. I don’t know where this comes from.

It’s like the ideas are coming to me from an unseen force. And it leaves me with more questions than answers.

If I am channeling this from somewhere, it’d be swell to know so I can thank the source! It’s been wild.

The main theme: choosing between your darkest desires, and doing what’s right

It’s hard to be a good man when you have the devil on your back. Our main character Ned Mitchell is as complex man with dark desires. He hates himself and the ideas he has. He is at constant war with himself. He’s left at the end of the first book to choose between doing the right thing, or going for the one thing he wants.

Background mythology

Azazel convinces this young man to complete a ritual with his chosen brothers. They become connected through this ritual on a supernatural level and the demon plagues their minds, filling their heads with dark images and ideas. Forcing them to explore their deepest desires.

Then comes along Madison, an almost eighteen year old girl with natural abilities. She changes life for all of them. And she discovers something about herself along the way and gives into her sexual desires and fetishes.

It’s a very adult themed book based on some of my own personal experiences. There’s a lot of me in this book and it’s brought up a lot of feelings about my younger years – this is vague posting I know. But it’s opened up something inside of me that I pushed down for too long. A hunger. A primal hunger that I yearn for again.

If only I was younger, and in the shape I was back then. That’s my goal for the next year. So that I can get back into things I used to enjoy. Things that gave me passion.

The premise of the book:

Family is everything. Family doesn’t have to be blood.

The book was largely inspired by my own personal experiences in my youth. Mixed in with the mythology I have come to know and love over the years of demonology and earth magic.

My favorite quote from the book so far inspired by

Crossroad Blues, Robert Johnson.

It’s hard to be a good man when you have the devil on your back.

Perhaps one day, I’ll meet my version of Ned Mitchell….anyone else fall in love with their characters or is it just me?

Writing fictional character, falling in love with them, and killing them off

It’s Monday morning and I’m sipping my first cup of the coffee of the day. My knee went out again last night while in the kitchen, so it’s going to be an easy day today. This getting old thing is well, to be honest with you, getting old.

My life has become a sort of dial-hum with repetitive tasks and routines. I get up in the morning, usually between 7:00 – 9:00 am and seem to get about four or five hours of sleep. I think that’s the best I can do these days .

I start my day off with coffee and breakfast. I check my emails. Respond to messages if necessary. Then I watch the news for a little while and catch up on current events. I only go out once a week now, unless I have medical appointments. Winter is still in full swing and we had inches of snow on the weekend.

Then I get to writing and hours go by without even realizing it. I spent the entire weekend working on a new supernatural book, only stopping for pee breaks, to eat, and to stretch my body every now and then. I still can’t exercise because of my knee. I’m immobile.

Falling in love with characters and killing them off

The more time I devote to this story, that I’m falling in love with, the more ideas that come to my head. Conversations between the characters take place in my brain. Entire scenes will flash before my eyes and I can see them play out like a movie. I’ve created four books in the last month, made up entire towns and dozens of interesting characters that come to me at night.

The dialogue takes over my brain and I make my way to the computer because I have to write them down, or I’ll lose them. My brain has become a non-stop thought bubble. Replaying the conversations in my mind, wondering how I can improve on the scene.

Creative channeling

Sometimes I wonder where these thoughts and ideas come from. It’s like I’m channeling or tapping into an unseen source. Creativity comes and goes in waves. It’s the same for music. I go into this meditative state and play the piano, and a song will come out.

I often wonder what authors like Rowlings or King experience when they write. Do they get as obsessed as I do with the characters? Do they fall in love with them like I do? Do they hear dialogue in their head?

They must. With the amount of books they’ve written, in the genres they do, they must have the most brilliant minds that I’d love to tap into it. Just to get a glimpse.

I often wonder if I’m bordering on insanity. When you hear voices in your head that are not your own, it can make you feel like you are slowly losing your mind. But I know that it’s not the case. It’s not a demon or supernatural creature feeding me these lines.

It’s me. It’s my brain. At least, I think it is.

These books are consuming me, and I all I want to do is write. I will publish them when finished, but under a new username. I know it’s a good book, but I could never use my real name. Not for this type of story. It’s too personal to me. I’ve used bits and pieces of my own life and relationship history.

Writing as cathartic release

I actually cried as I wrote some of the more heartbreaking scenes. And then I realized that one of the main characters, would have to die. That’s how it is as a writer.

The words you put on paper, can change the direction of your story, even ones that you had plotted out in excruciating detail. One minor detail. One major event. Adding a new scene. These are all things that can determine the fate of beloved characters.

One night while lying in bed, a name came to mind. And I could blame it on shows like Supernatural and Lucifer, or the movie Fallen with Denzel Washington. A demonic name that I had heard in Sunday school as a child. One that stuck with me all these years. One that I felt compelled to throw into my story.


His name floats around my brain and I wonder… all these thought bubbles going on. What if? And then I push the idea out of my mind. What if writing is just channeling thoughts from someone else? From something else?

The idea is fascinating to me. And also a tiny bit terrifying.

I wonder, dear friends – do any other authors become this absorbed when writing? Do you write for hours and not even realize that an entire day has passed and you haven’t spoken to anyone?

It’s given me a new passion. A new awareness of the creativity process. It’s opening me up to new ideas, thought patterns and even dreams.

And so, that’s where we are on this dark and chilly Monday. And wondering if perhaps, the demons in my book could ever be real or if there really are supernatural creatures that go bump in the night.

What does YOUR creative process look like?

Goodreads recommendations: February 2022

It’s almost the end of February and I realized I didn’t share my monthly book suggestions with you. So, instead, I’ll share what books I have read and a brief summary.

Some of you may recall my Good Reads challenge that I started in December 2020. The challenge was to find at least three sources of media each month. Whether it was a new podcast, movie or book – I’d share a review with you.

In January, I gave myself a challenge of reading 12 books for the year. That adds up to about one per month. Well, we’re only two months into the year and I’ve already read SIX books.

I am on Good Reads, so you can follow me there for a list of books that I have on my to read shelf. I’m also doing a retro-reread and reading books from my teenage angst years. I ordered a couple of books from Thriftbooks that I’m excited to read again, since many of them are out of print.

Books read so far

  • Forever, Judy Blume
  • Friends for Life, Ellen Emmerson White
  • Life Without Friends, Ellen Emmerson White
  • The Forbidden Games, L.J. Smith (currently rereading)
  • The Widow’s Watcher, Eliza Maxwell
  • Things We Never Got Over, Lucy Score (currently reading)

The Widow’s Watcher by Eliza Maxwell

Click on the image for my review

Things We Never Got Over

Currently reading

The Forbidden Game, L.J. Smith (reread)

If the same L.J. Smith sounds familiar to you, then you might a Vampire Diaries fan. Or as some of us call it, TVD. Long before the TVD universe was brought to us via the CW network, there was a series called The Forbidden Game released in the early 1990’s.

Also, speaking of which. The show is a guilty pleasure that I have re-watched probably seven times since it ended. I’m team Stefan all the way. Damon is like the abusive boyfriend you can’t shake. Paul Wesley is dreamy.

My seventeen year old self fell in love with this trilogy and it is one that I’ve reread the most. I’m kicking myself now for giving away my copies of the books.

This was the book that introduced me to a world of Norse mythology. I think I liked it so much because I am Danish and related to the Nordic lifestyle so much.

Then there’s Julian, the main villain of the story. This tall dreamy blonde haired immortal being with Nordic blue eyes (it’s a thing, I looked it up) falls in love with a mortal being named Jenny. He has magical powers beyond anything we could ever imagine. He sucks Jenny and her friends into this magical world of his full of danger and romance.

Oh gosh. My teen self loved Julian so much. I’m currently rereading this book and am taking my time with it. I visit it once a year, so I finally ordered myself a physical copy.

Julian still invokes all those innocent feelings I had as a teenager. He’s even inspired the novel I’m working on now, though I’m really trying to give my character his own voice and sex appeal.

But god damn, if you’re into supernatural or Norse mythology like I am, you should definitely check out this series.

So, I guess that’s three books in one that I’m reading which bumps up my total to 9!! That’s crazy!

Previous recommendations

Good reads profile

If you are looking for new books to read, then you should follow me on Good Reads. I did sign up for a few other services but most of my friends are on this platform. I enjoy it better and use Kindle for books. I’ll also be sharing a list of sites where I read and download free books – legally.


What are you reading right now? Let me know in the comments. Bonus points if the book is available through Kindle Unlimited.

Have you read my new book yet? It’s free for a limited time on Smashwords.

Reviews are welcome – this is my first e-book that I self-published. I’m using a penname for all my books and novels.

Free download

February Podcast Recommendations

Hello dear readers! It’s Sunday morning at 7:42 am and I’m wide awake. Sipping my first coffee of the day – I’ve moved onto Nestle’s Gold Cafe and am loving the medium roast. Since switching to instant coffee, I’ve tried the Tim Horton’s Dark Roast, Starbucks Vanilla Latte, and Folger’s Dark Roast. I think Tim’s still might be my favorite and I don’t miss regular coffee as much as I thought I would. Did you miss my post on this major announcement? No worries, check it out here – the day that I switched to instant coffee and never looked back.

I’ve been hooked on audiobooks and podcasts lately. I’m getting tired of YouTube and the same shows on Prime and Netflix. I’ve turned to Spotify and am really enjoying discovering new content. So, along with my monthly Good Read recommendations – I’m going to start a monthly series with podcast recommendations and updates.

And hey, guess what? I started a podcast this morning! I have two episodes up on Spotify and apparently, even have two followers already! That’s amazing. I plan on recording at least one per week – if not daily while I’m off work. I’m researching various topics I can cover. So first off – go follow me on Spotify. Or you can follow my stream on RSS (I think).

Armchair Expert – Dax Shepard

I’ve been listening to this podcast for a few weeks now and it’s just enjoyable. Dax is a well known American actor who has starred in shows like – wait, I have to look this up. The Ranch (Netflix tv), El Camino Christmas (terrible movie by the way), Parenthood and Robot Chicken. But most people know him as Kristen Bell’s husband. He had a short cameo on The Good Place which Bell starred in and it’s pretty hilarious.

The first episode of this podcast Dax interviewed Kristen – whom he lovingly calls Bell when talking to other guests. They had just had a fight and were still annoyed with each other. It was sort of like listening to couple’s therapy and mostly talking about Kristen’s tiny “boobs.” I learned entirely too much about her anatomy. Other notable guests that I enjoyed included Seth Green, Jason Segel, and even Hilary Clinton.

Amazingly enough, the show has been on air since 2018 and has grown in popularity. I guess I’m just late to the party. Make sure to check it out – here’s the first interview of the show.

Oh – I almost forgot. Dax has a costar named Monica who comes back at the end of each episodes and corrects every time Dax made an error during the interview. Their banter is pretty hilarious.

Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend

Now I’m not a huge Conan fan and I just discovered his podcast this weekend. I’m more about the people that are being interviewed. Just looking at Conan’s recent guest list – I followed the podcast without listening to any interviews. Is that terrible of me?

His first two guests are David Spade and Bryan Cranston – two both very talented comedic actors. I loved Bryan in Malcolm in the Middle and later in the hit show Breaking Bad. But honestly, Bryan is great in everything he does. Even in an old episode of Xfiles.

Conan has had some great guests on his show in the last year from Jim Parsons, Kevin Hart, John Leguizamo to the amazing Bruce Springsteen.

I’m really looking forward to listening to these interviews! I think Spotify podcasts may have just replaced my daily morning YouTube routine. Isn’t it great how much content is available to us now?

Wow this is really hard sticking to just three podcast recommendations. It seems like everyone has a podcast these days. Does anyone have time to actually listen to them? There are podcasts for all genres and walks of life. So, I’m just going to recommend one that I’ve listened to a few times and is a bit of a guilty pleasure.

And no, it’s not Joe Rogan. I used to listen to his podcast until he switched to Spotify and removed his content from YouTube. He said he wasn’t going to sell out. But it feels like he sold out. And who wouldn’t for a cool $100 million deal. I’d do a lot for that kind of money… does that make me a terrible person?

Directionally Challenged

Hosted by two stars from The Vampire Diaries – Candice King and Kaylie Ewell – these two lovely ladies interview a great variety of women – and of course on occasion, friends from The Vampire Diaries like Michael Trevino (Tyler) and Julie Plec (show runner). Admittedly, I tune in when they have their friends on the show. Topics range from self-help, spiritual guidance and motherhood.

If you were a fan of TWD – it’s a guilty pleasure – I highly recommend checking out early episodes of this podcast. Here’s the interview with Paul Wesley – I’m listening to it next.

What are you listening to right now? Let me know your favorite podcast in the comments below! Have a great Sunday!

February Good Reads

Last month I gave some book recommendations that I wanted to read – which I haven’t yet. I finally finished listening to Carrie Fischer’s audio book “Wishful Drinking” which was just delightful. I still have to read Michael J Fox’s new book which my sister bought for me for Christmas. It’s on my to-do list this weekend.

I’ve been listening to Dax Shepherd’s podcast “Armchairs” and it’s quite entertaining. He’s had some impressive guest stars including one of my favorites – Matthew McConaughey. I first fell in love with him with the movie A Time to Kill which was a dark movie about racism in the southern states. A movie that would be very “questionable” today. But back in the day – it was one of the best movies – Donald Sutherland, Sam L Jackson, Keifer Sutherland, Sandra Bullock, Ashley Judd and Matthew as the lead. An all star cast. The book was amazing too by John Grisham.

This podcast episode is hilarious because Dax is just fan-girlin’ over Matthew. It’s cute.

I’m listening to Dax’s interview with Matthew right now. I think what I like about him is he’s so articulate and well-spoken. It doesn’t hurt that he’s got a sexy southern Texas drawl. But he tells stories in such a fascinating way that you can’t help but stop what you’re doing and listen.

It’s a great way to have background noise while working on Etsy products. I’m working on a new line of daily planners and journals for you.

So, here are my good read recommendations and books to read for February 2021. For me – I’m only picking 3 but I’ll more than likely just read one.

Matthew McConaughey – GREENLIGHTS

Oscar winning actor Matthew McConaughey spent some time alone in the desert to put together this book about his life. I was interested to learn that Matthew was also a “diary” kind of person and wrote daily to keep track of life’s little and big moments. One day he decided to go through his collection of diaries and chose some of his favorite stories to put in this book. The podcast episode with Dax was so interesting – that I signed up for a 30 day free trial with Audible just so I could listen to Matthew’s audiobook. I just like audiobooks better than reading because I can do other things while listening.

Greenlights was published in October 2020 and Matthew has been working hard to promote his book. I think I’ve watched just about every interview did in the last year. That’s how much I love this guy. Matthew has done so many movies but you might know him best from hits like Interstellar, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, A Time to Kill, Dazed and Dallas Buyer’s Club and The Wolf of Wall Street.

He also has a sleep app called “Calm” in which he speaks to you in that soothing Texan drawl to help you fall asleep. I’ve listened to it via YouTube and it’s fantastic.



Fans of the 90’s hit show The Gilmore Girls will recognize this author’s name. Lauren Graham was the main star of Gilmore Girls and played the role of Lorelai Gilmore for seven years. She joined the cast again in a reboot of the series in 2016 which I have to say was extremely disappointing. But aren’t most reboots?

Lauren has had a steady acting career and has written four books – according to her author profile on Good Reads. I didn’t even know that Lauren had written any books until I listened to her interview with Dax. This is why I love podcasts! You learn so much about artists that you never would have guessed.

Quote: I must work harder to achieve my goal of not seeking approval from those whose approval I’m not even sure is important to me.”

I’m excited to listen to this audiobook. I’ve always enjoyed Lauren as an actress and she seems like a genuine kind of person.

Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between)


Steve Martin is one of those actors I grew up with as a child of the 80’s. He was the funny man along with greats like Billy Crystal, Robin Williams and the legendary John Candy. One of his most popular movies, Planes, Trains and Automobiles plays on a loop every Christmas season.

I fell in love with Steve Martin in the movie Parenthood which was a great family comedy that starred a young Keanu Reeves and Rick Morranis. Other notable movies include The Jerk, The Man with Two Brains, Roxanne, Father of the Bride, The Pink Panther, and more recently – It’s Complicated. A hilarious coming of age movie about mid-life dating starring Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin and John Krashinksi.

Steve recently paired up with another favorite of mine, Martin Short (Father of the Bride) and performed in a slap-stick comedy tour – at least until COVID restrictions came along. Steve is mostly retired from acting but is one heck of a banjo player! He plays often with his bluegrass band The Steep Canyon Rangers – and let me tell you, they are just a delight to listen to. Steve’s instagram accounts is one of my favorites to follow.

Born Standing Up is Steve’s story about why he left stand up comedy and what he’s doing now with his life. I can’t wait to read this book!

Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life

That’s it for my February recommendations – what are you reading? Let me know in the comments. I’m on a memoir kick right now as I often find them to be highly entertaining and an easier read. I’m not interested in politics or history. I will get back into fiction reading – but most of my time is spent working on my own artistic projects.

If you’re interested in following me on Good Reads – here’s the link. I update my reading list about once a month. I feel like everyone has a book these days. It’s motivation for me to keep writing!


Click on the image to find out how to get your free copy

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Good Reads – my Christmas reading list

This week I’m determined to get back into reading which is something I loved doing as a teen. I would spend many hours each night getting lost in paperback books. I loved the Gordon Kormon books, Judy Blume, RL Stine and even Sweet Valley High series. I spent my weekly allowance which was $5 on a new book every week.

I remember coming home from the library with piles of books and would have them finished before the weekend was over. I just couldn’t get enough of them. I loved getting lost in these fantasy worlds.

So, today – to switch things up a bit I’d like to share my favorite biographies that I’ve read – or plan to read in the next few months. And yes, okay, I cheated a few times and listened to audiobooks. It’s just easier to listen to while you work on something else.

Wishful Drinking – Carrie Fisher

Who didn’t love Carrie Fisher. As a child of the 70’s, I grew up with the original Star Wars movies. We watched these movies every Christmas week. Wishful Drinking is a delightful and entertaining book about Carrie’s life as an actress and her relationship with her mother – Debbie Reynolds who was also a famous movie star.

Confession time, I only got through half the book. I really hope to finish it this week.

Michael J. Fox – No Time Like the Future

Michael J Fox was a household name after the first Back to the Future movie was released. But the thing I loved about Michael was that he was from Edmonton – my home city. I’ve followed Michael’s career since he starred on the hit show Family Ties. We often watched the show together as a family. It saddened me to learn of Michael’s struggle with Parkinsons Disease. When my own dad was diagnosed a few years ago, we turned to Michael’s books for inspiration. I’m looking forward to reading this one. Thanks to my sister who spent almost a whole day trying to get the book for me!

Alex Trebek – The Answer is

Legendary gameshow host, Alex Trebek released a book not long before he died. Alex was one of the world’s most beloved game show hosts. I remember watching Jeopardy with my grandfather after school. He would bet me a dollar for every question. And by the end of the show, I’d owe him about $10. Of course he never asked me to pay up. It’s a good thing otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to buy all those books!

My Want to Read List:

I just love reading about the personal lives of actors or musicians that I admire. Some other books I have on my to read list are:

  • Home Work – Julie Andrews
  • Me – Elton John
  • A Promised Land – Barack Obama
  • Dolly Parton – Songteller
  • Greenlights – Matthew McConaughey
  • The Last Days of John Lennon – James Patterson

Once I figure out how to add the Good Reads widget here, I’ll start sharing my want to read list and progress with you. I think it’s important as a writer, to read books for inspiration. I think my passion for reading as a kid helped me to become a better writer today. I just wish I had the discipline to actually write a full novel.

What’s in your reading list? Let me know in the comments!

Anyone interested in joining a book club? It’s a thought!

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Advice from my grandmother.

Empty. White. Pages.

Write, write, you beautiful life.

Write, write, whatever you please.

I offer myself.

For the heavy, the happy,

Except for the empty, white, pages.

Karen Jensen, My Journey. Translated from Danish by Birgit & Lissi (the aunts).

What is joy?

There are stubbles and rocks on our road.

There is hardship for you and for me.

But what is joy?

If you never know how to cry.

Kristian Estergaard, excerpt from My Journey, Karen Jensen.

A Danish Blessing

Min fodstvan er lyngens brune land,
Min barndoms soi har smilt paa morken hede,
Min spaede fod har trudt det gule sand,
Blandt sort hoje bor min ungdoms glaede.
—In deep gratitude.

Steensens , excerpt from My Journey, Karen Jensen.