Buyer Beware: The Quest for a House

Some people just won’t take no for an answer. Members of Doug Wilson’s cult fall into that category. The rogue pastor preaches that slavery should be legal, husbands should beat their wives, women should not be allowed to vote, and sexual assault is a man’s right. Their goal is to achieve a whites-only, Christians-only community, and they will stop at nothing to get it.

After years of being told that I’m not wanted in the community and having people drive by my home shouting, “nigger lover” and “act white,” they have finally changed course. Instead of threatening, shunning, and harassing me (which obviously doesn’t work), they have decided to buy me out. Continue reading


Make Writing Contests Work for You

Debut and self-published authors struggle to compete with the thousands of other books published each year. Writing awards come with the feeling of validation that your writing is “good enough.” They are also a marketing tool.

Awards drive sales by catching the eye of new readers and opening doors to new sales opportunities. Many readers and booksellers are skeptical about trying an unknown author. A good way to allay their fears is adding the tagline, “award-winning author.”

If you win an award, don’t be shy—let everyone know! Announce the award in your newsletter and on social media. Post the information on your website and include it in your press kit. Get extra milage out of an award by adding it to your Amazon author page and on GoodReads.

If you don’t enter, you can’t win. Continue reading


Book Review: Woman in Shadow

Evocative Small-Town Thriller

Woman in Shadow
A novel by Carrie Stuart Parks
List price: $16.99

Carrie Stuart Parks, Artist, Author – Home

The small town of Targhee Falls, Idaho has a problem. A serial arsonist has been taunting the sheriff and someone else is hell-bent on sabotaging the remote guest ranch nestled into the wilderness outside of town. That’s where Darby Graham comes in.

After a leave of absence from law enforcement following a horrific accident that resulted in part of her lower leg being amputated, Darby’s detective skills are put to the test when she is assigned to go undercover and investigate the “oddities” happing at the ranch. The oddities in question range from busted pipes to accidental deaths that seem anything but accidental. Continue reading


Introduction to Book Marketing

A writer’s first priority is to set aside dedicated time to writing books. Their second priority is to sell those books. Since most writers juggle a day job in addition to caring for family and finding time to write, marketing often falls by the wayside. Yet, marketing information is the most common request I get from authors each year.

When authors think about marketing, often times they envision an advertising campaign that will magically draw people to their book. In reality, marketing encompasses much, much more. Marketing is defined as any activity an author undertakes in order to sell books. Consequently, a good marketing strategy begins the moment an author decides to write a book.

Below is a step-by-step guild that walks authors through the various stages of book marketing and includes a downloadable checklist to keep authors on track. Continue reading


Covid-19: Voice of the Dead

As of the writing of this post 968,663 people have died of Covid-19. That’s more people than the entire populations of the states of Wyoming, Vermont, Alaska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Sometime in April, the State of Delaware will be added to that list. That means, nearly everyone in America knows someone who has died of Covid-19.

I personally know 5 people who have died of Covid-19. Among the people I know, the deaths of Don and Sharon Fiscus seem the most mind-boggling. One day he and I were chatting at the Potlatch Community Library while the kids did homework—3 weeks later he was dead. Sharon died the week after that. Continue reading


Rowan Meditation

In ancient Celtic culture, Druids received visions while foraying in dedicated rowan groves. With this guided meditation, into the rowan grove we go, to call out the darkest, scariest aspects of ourselves in order to examine our shadow side.

Rowen Tree

As a tree for all seasons, the rowan is sacred to many Earth religions. White spring-time blooms give way to lush summer foliage, which melts into golden and scarlet displays of autumnal color. In the winter, ruddy berries brighten the bleak landscape and provide a much-needed food source for songbirds. The tiny pentagram found on the base of its berries, gives a quiet nod toward the tree’s strong magical associations. Continue reading


Author Newsletters

Every author needs a newsletter. Newsletters get mixed in with blogs, guest articles, and social media posts . . . all things an author must write when they’re not writing a book. If it sounds painful, it shouldn’t. Why? Well, because newsletters are letters. They’re a special way to share your personal life and build connections with readers.

An author newsletter should contain the kind of updates you’d send a favorite cousin. The email format allows authors to be more personal and candid than they would on Facebook or Twitter. It’s the place to open up, be a little vulnerable, and totally authentic because newsletter subscribers truly care about and support the author as a person.

Develop a loyal readership by showing off your personality, sharing stories from workshops, and occasionally including pictures of pets. Don’t turn your emails into a diary. Just give small insights into your personal life and be sure to include something fun. Once readers understand that your newsletter is a conversation, not an incessant one-way sales pitch, they’ll be more engaged and far more likely to open the email. Continue reading



Lake of Spirits: Payback in a New Novel

I recently completed a book review of Stuart Scott’s novel, Spirit Lake Payback for the December 2021 issue of IDAHO Magazine. The article is more than just a book review. It also contains some juicy tidbits on the history of Spirit Lake, Idaho. Both Scott’s novel and the current edition of IDAHO magazine are available from BookPeople of Moscow.

Purchase your copy directly from IDAHO Magazine:
Buy it now!
OR
Purchase only the article and review here:
Lake of Spirits – IDAHO magazine

Continue reading


Covid-19: Disappointing Death Toll

Imagine waking up tomorrow, only to find that every man, woman, and child had disappeared from Wyoming, Vermont, Alaska, or North Dakota. Vacant farmhouses, deserted freeways, and a host of newly abandoned ghost towns paying a silent homage to the missing. Would there be a national uproar? It seems not, but a lot of things about this pandemic have left me befuddled.

While listening to news coverage of the 20th anniversary on the 9/11 attack, I had an epiphany of sorts. Continue reading