Over the last eighteen months, as I have been so busy with the writing/editing/publishing/marketing process, I have not taken as much time as I should, or as I would like, to read books by other authors. I do read a lot professionally, but I hadn’t picked up many other books in a while.

This last two months, that changed. I have read and read, and read some more. I have read novels, motivational texts, pieces from authors I have gotten to know along this journey, books recommended by friends, and books that just caught my interest. I have enjoyed some of them greatly, had issues or grumbled about some, and found some that I wish had been through a more stringent editing/proofreading process as typos or misused words took my mind away from great stories.

As the summer winds down, I know my reading time will get shorter and shorter with the ramping up of the school year. But, it has been a wonderful time this summer, and I have so enjoyed the books I have read.

Here’s hoping you’ve read some great books this summer!

A Farming Kind of Day

Yesterday was a busy, busy day around our farm. We had gathered the drop apples from our trees and decided that we should press cider or they would go to waste. For some reason this year, our apple trees are dropping apples way more often than normal.

So we pressed cider. We hoped that we would make maybe a gallon, but in the end, we pressed more than four gallons. After putting some aside for family members, we then froze a gallon in quart jars and made a gallon of spiced cider. Then we went to check our supply of our homemade apple cider vinegar, and divided up what we had left, and added fresh cider, so in all, we now have three gallons of the vinegar fermenting for the fall/winter. Then we took the remains of the apples and gave the alpacas and non-laying chickens a treat.

Then we picked the garden, cleaned the hay barn, and did the normal chores, finally settling down with our sons for a great meal together. It was a great day!

At long last!

Today, I finally handed in Of Grief, Garlic & Gratitude for the internal design lay-out. What does that mean? It means that as of today, I can’t fuss over the wordings any more. I can’t move sections around any more. I can’t move people within the acknowledgements any more, trying to make sure that placement of their names doesn’t cause hurt feelings. And that is both terrifying and exciting!

To be clear,  I could fuss over my books forever. When I look at my three published romance novels, I could go at them now with one of my purple pens and edit away. In my mind, I am never completely, totally done writing and editing my books — they are living documents in my mind.

But this book? This is different. In my mind, this book is both the story of my journey through my first years of grief after Sam’s death, but it is also the story of my love of/for/with Sam. That’s why the subtitle is “Sam’s love story.” The weight of writing this book has been immense. Yes, it was helpful to me in my grieving process, but it also is putting myself out there in terms of exposing my vulnerabilities in a way I have never done before. I wanted it to be perfect. Perfect. I wanted every word to count, and the editing and proofreading to be absolutely perfect.

So now it is in the hands of the publisher, and it is up to them to take that document that is as near to perfect as I (and my amazing team of editors) can make it. Hitting “send” on that email with the file was almost like the last push of giving birth. I am exhausted, terrified, and relieved — all at once.

Now I wait. I wait to see the first internal design layout, then the galleys. Yes, I get to double-check everything at each step, but the writing and re-writing are done.

What will I do now? I think I will go work on my next novel…


A 25th Birthday

This past Monday was our Sam’s 25th birthday, and the fifth one since his death. Someone, the big numbers hit me really hard. I kept telling myself that 25 really wasn’t that different than 24, or 5 than 4, but it was.

We went into the past weekend with the joy and anticipation of going to see the band Twiddle at their Tumble Down festival in Burlington, Vermont with our two sons, but with the sadness that we never went to see them with Sam in person. The day was hot and a bit humid, and as we (my husband and I) settled in with our lawn chairs at the park, ominous clouds rolled in, and we waited to get doused. A little bit of rain fell, and we thought it would be okay. Then they stopped the group playing (pre-Twiddle) and announced that we all had to evacuate immediately due to lightening in the area. Sigh. Thousands of people had to leave through a couple security gates.

So we walked back to our hotel, knowing we would get an update online when/if the concert could resume. We called our sons (who hadn’t arrived yet) and told them to hold on, and we settled into our hotel room for a few minutes.

The all-clear came, and we walked back down to the park, meeting our youngest son unexpectedly as he came down the street, and we looked up to see a beautiful arching rainbow — and as you know, rainbows often appear when Sam is somehow involved… Laughing, crying a bit, we walked back to the concert, commenting that Sam needed to make his presence known.

The concert was perfection — Taz and Kat Wright joining Twiddle on stage, laughing with our sons, seeing good friends. It was a Sam night, full of love, great music and happiness.

The next day, Sunday, was hard, just plain hard. I remembered the day, 25 years before, when I had been in labor for so long, just waiting to see that baby in person.

Then Monday dawned, and I admit, it was hard to get out of bed, but we had decided that we were going to have a “Sam Day” to honor and recognize his birthday. We kayaked around the Goshen Dam, paddling in almost complete silence so we could hear the loons and the other wildlife. Then we hiked to Silver Lake, saw his tree, and ran into friends — again all things Sam loved.

Finally, we came home and harvested Sam’s garlic for this year. Every single clove of garlic we planted last fall grew into a full head of garlic. Sam was right all along, growing garlic is truly a magical process!

Five birthdays after his death, the loss is still so fresh, still so raw, but we honored his memory by doing things in nature, listening to great music, being with great people. Friends/family called, texted, emailed their thoughts and told us how they celebrated him on that day — and in the end, it was as good of a day as it could possibly have been.

Update — how to order Of Grief, Garlic & Gratitude

Several of you have asked me when Of Grief, Garlic and Gratitude will be released. Later this fall, people can pre-order the e-book or print version on amazon and other online retailers, and the e-book will be released in February 2019, with the print copies in retailers in May — and online orders will be filled then. But, I will have copies available for purchase at events and on this website later this fall. If you would like to reserve a copy, please FB message me, send a message through the contact/comments form on this webpage — and I will reserve a copy for you for purchase/delivery in the fall. Thank you all for your support!

The first reviews!

As the manuscript of Of Grief, Garlic and Gratitude is now in its final, final, final round of proofreading prior to submitting it for the interior design/layout process, I have the excitement of the first reviews of it coming in. I am very proud to share some of them here:

“This book kept me it it’s grip from the beginning.  Beautifully written it took me through the roller coaster emotions of Loss of a child, Denial, Anger, Acceptance, Love, Joy and more.  Creatively written as a daily, weekly, monthly, annual personal journal, I found it hard to put down waiting for the story to keep unfolding.”


“I have been moved to tears by your lovely book, your honoring of Sam, your family, your community, and mostly the honoring of your own grief process.  This book is a part of Sam’s and your legacy – a healing for all of us, since we all experience grief and loss.  Thank you for writing this – for giving meaning to your suffering.  We are all the richer for it.”


“I thought it would be too painful for me to read your book. It was painful, but not too painful. Your balance of personal perspective, brutal honesty (including alerts to tirades and snarky comments), and lovely, happy times mixed among the unbearable grief kept me going. I wanted and needed to know how you and your family managed.”


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Cathartic? And a couple updates —

Over the weekend, a friend who has been in our lives for decades commented that writing Of Grief, Garlic and Gratitude must have been cathartic for me. I nodded, and said yes, it had been.

But then I thought about that comment a lot. I thought about it when I was in the garden, and when I was cleaning the barn. I thought about it while proofreading and while arranging the details for my first (upcoming) radio interview about the book. Cathartic? Was it cathartic? So I googled the word, wondering if I was misunderstanding the meaning and found, as I thought, that it meant to cleanse or purge.

In the end, I came to the conclusion that no, writing it was not cathartic. It didn’t cleanse or allow me to purge feelings. Instead, I woulds say that I found it therapeutic, in that by carefully examining my feelings, and being pushed by my incredible editors to really reflect, that I have found some clarity. I didn’t purge any emotions, the grief is still as clear and complex now as it was the day before I started writing, but I have reflected a lot upon my journey.

Some updates:

With the release of the final cover design, some people have asked when the book will be available for purchase. Later in the fall (hopefully by sometime in October), I will be able to order hard-copy copies (not e-books) of the book, and will have them for sale at events and on this site, available for immediate shipping. At the same time, they will be available to pre-order on Amazon and other online retailers. The e-book (in various formats) will be available to download sometime in early February, and the paperback will be released formally in May 2019, and will be available to ship from online retailers and be in bookstores nationwide at that time.

Welcome Pamela Q. Fernandes!

Today I am thrilled to welcome author Pamela Q. Fernandes to my site. She has a new novel out entitled The Milanese Stars, and I can’t wait to read it!

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Pamela writes:

First, let me say thank you to Kris for featuring me here on her website. I’m Pamela Q. Fernandes and I write women’s fiction, romance, and speculative fiction.

The Milanese Stars is a heist romance. I’m a big fan of heist movies and books. I’ve watched the Italian Job at least eight times. And I wouldn’t mind watching it again. I also loved reading Prince of Thieves by Chuck Hogan despite its grim ending. I’m a sucker for HEA’s.  

A lot of heist stories had males that were planning and executing heists.

I toyed with the idea of a female mastermind behind the heist and ‘hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.’ So revenge fueled the plot and The Milanese Stars is about a woman who’s getting even!

Much of the story is based on the Damiani heist.

Here’s the Blurb:

The Milanese stars are missing from the famous Buccatino boutique. When American insurance investigator, Samuel Keane is called in to liaise with the polizia, he finds the whole heist odd.  

As he digs further into the history of the stars, he discovers a local barista, Vita, her friends and her physically challenged sister, all connected to them.

The more Samuel investigates, the more dangers he and Vita face. What will he do when he learns the heist of the decade isn’t about stealing pink diamonds…it’s about settling the score!

THE MILANESE STARS is available online.

Here’s the Amazon link:

Here’s the Goodreads link:

Here’s the Book trailer:

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You can download a free advanced copy on Netgalley:


We have a cover design!

Long before I had a publishing contract on Of Grief, Garlic and Gratitude, I could visualize what I wanted on the cover of the book. I had three ideas in my mind: a particular picture of Sam, heads of garlic and/or Sam’s favorite Tree of Life image.

Then, I signed a publishing contract on the book, and as part of that contract, the cover design process was delineated. So when I had my design conversation with the publisher on July 3rd, I gave my input, and then waited for 2-3 design concepts to come back to me for my input.

This Monday, three designs arrived via email. All three were absolutely stunning, very different from each other, but stunning. Any of the three would have made me proud if they had graced the cover of this book that is so important to me. But one of the three? As soon as I opened the file, I started to cry. It was exactly what I wanted.

So then I did as I had promised, I took all three designs to my family, and without giving my opinion of which one I wanted, I asked them for their thoughts. All of them said exactly what I had said — they loved all three, but that one was exactly what it should be. All of us teared up looking at the favorite design, filled with both the absolute joy and pride of this accomplishment, and the absolute unending pain of missing Sam.

This is the image we picked, the perfect cover for this book. This was one of Sam’s favorite pictures of himself, taken by his friend Allie when she was taking his senior high school photo. This is how we like to see Sam now in our minds, lying on that beautiful bench in the sunshine, surrounded by clouds, perfectly at peace.

I am proud to share the cover:

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And even now, after having looked at it at least a hundred times over the last few days, it still makes my breath catch, and still makes me tear up — with joy and grief.

Welcome to Linda Lingle!

Today I am pleased to welcome author Linda Lingle who recently published Dear Heart through Solstice Publishing!dear hear

Can love survive a nearly-forty-year separation? Can passion? And what happens to lovers who are separated for a life time? See how their destiny unfolds as the parted lovers dream about finding their way back to each other’s arms, and an unlikely guide emerges to light the path of their journey.

DEAR HEART by Linda Lingle

Deirdre Reid and Hartley (Lee) Tate feel an immediate attraction when they meet at the office where they will work together and fall in love.   There is only one problem:  they are married to others and Lee has four daughters to whom he is devoted.

For 15 months Deirdre and Lee carry on a passionate affair.  Then Lee’s wife is offered a big promotion across the country.  With his heart breaking, Lee leaves Deirdre in San Francisco and moves East with his family so his wife can advance her high-powered career.

Soon, unforeseen circumstances have Deirdre second-guessing her insistence on a clean break.  She resists every impulse to fly to Lee’s side, but on the first anniversary of their parting, Deirdre grows increasingly regretful and melancholy. Then she receives a surprising Christmas present which sets in motion a 38-year ritual that, against all odds, keeps alive the love she shared with Lee.

Get Deirdre’s story on Amazon at:

And stay tuned for Sweet Heart, Lee’s story of the bittersweet lifetime he lived without Deirdre, soon to be released by Solstice Publishing.


Heartbroken and resentful, Lee has a difficult time adjusting to his life without Deirdre and struggles to settle in to his new surroundings. Knowing he made the only decision a father could make does little to lessen Lee’s profound sense of loss. Although he tries to be upbeat and optimistic for the sake of his daughters, in the dark and quiet of his lonely nights, Lee relives the fifteen heady months that he spent with Deirdre and gives free rein to the anguish and bitterness he feels because he was forced to leave her. Then, his youngest daughter enlists Lee to help her find an elusive Christmas gift for her favorite teacher and everything changes.

As if guided by fate, Lee stumbles across a poignant reminder of his time with Deirdre and sets in motion the 38-year ritual that eased his heartbreak and sustained his hope for the future.

In this companion book to Dear Heart, we meet the people who populate Lee’s world, and learn the shocking secret he promised never to reveal.

For more information about the books and their author, visit: