Dreams can come true

When I started my self-publishing journey with my Adventures of Caitlin & Rio series, I had two very modest goals:

  1. I wanted readers who were not related to me or did not know me to read my books. 
  2. I wanted to see my books on the shelves of our local library. 

Goal #1 was achieved easily within the first 6 months... the way I figured it out was simple math. The number of units sold must exceed the number of family members and friends. I have a small family, and a great circle of friends. So thanks to family and friends for their support. For the others... I am so happy that you are reading my books. 

For Goal #2 I was visiting my happy place - our local library- and I saw THE LOST COLORS displayed on the shelves of the "new books" section. 


All this goes to show that dreams can come true.

Dream on!


Thoughts on 2024

I had great intentions to start 2024 by being more active in posting on this blog. It is now past mid-February and here we are. 

Let me share a little bit of what has been going on since I last posted. 

  1. I learned that "The Goodbye Tree", my middle grade mystery time travel novel complete at 54,000 words was nominated by the RMC SCBWI for their 2023 Golden Pen Award. I submitted it for a critique at the 2023 RMC SCBWI Letters & Lines Conference.  (I am currently in the query trenches with this project and hope that I can find a home for it.) 
  2. I published the audiobook for "The Lost Colors." 
  3. I was interviewed about "The Missing Cats" and "The Wild Turkeys", books 2 and 3 of the Adventures of Caitlin & Rio series on the Reading with Your Kids Podcast. That interview was published in early December 2023. 
  4. My hubby and I flew to Ontario, California before Christmas to compete in the USATT US Open.  We had a full week of competition. I played well but got sick and ended up missing the last two days of the competition. It turned out that I'd caught COVID, and we had to cancel Christmas. 
  5. We've had visitors from Australia staying with us. (Always a treat.) 

I know that this year is going to fly by. I'm going to focus on things that I can control. Like being kind and thoughtful. Like working on my writing and doing whatever I can to improve and educate myself on the craft. I'm going to practice my table tennis and work hard at improving my game. And most importantly I'm going to tell the people who matter, how much I love them. 



Huntsman World Senior Games 2023

The Huntsman World Senior Games is held annually in St. George, Utah. It is a multi-sport event for athletes 50 and over. Kevin and I entered in table tennis (my happy place) and had 4 wonderful days of competition. 

I met some wonderful people, and came away inspired. 

We arrived on Sunday October 8th and had to check in with both the Senior Games check-in AND at Table Tennis. (Both check in points were in the same location.) The lines for the Senior Games check in were long and included all athletes for the games. 

Huntsman 2023 line 3-copy

Day 1 was the age events. For example: ladies singles age 50 - 54, or men's singles 65- 69 etc. This means you compete against players within that age group of any rating. I was the lowest rated in my age group, but I was pleased with how I played. For example, I managed to take 2 games off the top seed. (We ended up having to play 5 games - singles is best of 5, with the top seed eventually beating me.) 

I also entered into a singles hardbat event. Hardbat table tennis is a small niche within Table Tennis. It is often referred to as a "classic table tennis" event which is characterized by the type of paddle used by players. (No sponge surfaces are allowed.)  The rules are a little different - for example you have to play to 21 not 11, best out of 3 instead of best out of 5. And instead of serving every 2 points, you serve every 5 points. I like it because I can practice my chopping and pushes. For more information about this type of table tennis check out "Why Play Hardbat?

Day 2 was "Doubles Day." I played ladies 50 - 54 doubles and mixed doubles 50-54. My partners for each event were players who I had been matched with, and who I had never played with before. It's kind of fun meeting new people and playing with them. For my mixed doubles event, my partner was a leftie. I have never played doubles with a leftie before, and it is a completely different kind of game. I got horribly confused, and kept forgetting, and moving the wrong way. Not helpful. We had a lot of fun playing. For my ladies doubles event my partner and I nearly caused an upset - we managed to get 2 games off a much higher seeded team and forced them to have to win 3 games in a row to beat us. 

Photo below with my wonderful doubles partner. We ended up feeling very proud of our performance!

Huntsman 2023 Womens Doubles Bronze

Day 3 was rating singles day.  The rule is that you can always compete in ratings events for ratings higher than yours but can't compete in rating events below your rating. For example, if you compete in singles U1200 you will play anyone who is rated under 1200. Players rated above 1200 are typically not allowed to play.

I played in 2 rated events - the under 800 and the under 1000. (Since I am a novice and am new to table tennis I have quite a low rating.) 

As you compete in more sanctioned tournaments your rating is adjusted based on who you beat and who you lose to. It makes sense. If you lose to players who are rated above you, that is expected and your ratings don't change. But if you lose to players rated below you, that is an "upset" and you will lose rating points, and the winners will gain. The USATT has a complicated methodology which they explain at length how this all works.

For the singles U1000 for the first round we were divided up into groups, with only the top player advancing to the quarterfinals. I was very pleased with my game and I managed to advance to the quarterfinals, where I lost to the player who eventually ended up winning that event. For the U800 I managed to advance and came 2nd. 

The photo below is with my opponent, who took the gold medal and I took the silver.

Huntsman 2023 Silver Medal

Day 4 was Doubles super tier giant round robin day. Kevin and I teamed up for this one. It was a whole day affair with the morning round being the seeding round. This means that you are divided up into groups and you have to play all teams within your group for seeding purposes. Based on how you played in the morning round, you are then placed in groups in the afternoon. For example, if your team beat everyone in the morning round then you would be placed in Division A along with teams who performed similarly... In the morning round Kevin and I only managed to beat one team and so for the afternoon round we were placed with similarly ranked teams. 

Usually doubles is best of 5, but at this event it was best of 3. That change does change the game somewhat, and makes it harder to come from behind to win. 

In the afternoon, Kevin and I performed magnificently, and we ended up winning our division. I was completely exhausted. My legs hurt and ached and I could not think straight. But we played out of our minds with several games where we had to come from behind to beat our opponents. 

It was AMAZING! I am so proud of us. 




Banned Book Week October 7 2023

BBW-logo_07252021Did you know that the ALA recommends a number of things for us to do to support our library workers? Recommendations include following the news and social media to be informed of organizations working to censor library or school materials, programs or curriculum. Don't forget to show up at school or library board meetings. Remember the ALA supports a parent's right to restrict reading materials for their own child but not for all readers. Oppose legislation in your state. Educate family and your community about censorship and the First Amendment.  Write to your local newspaper. Find and join organizations like the Freedom to Read Foundation. 

First Amendment Justice Brennan

Banned Book Week October 6 2023

Did you know that there is no legal definition of "hate speech" under US law? Hate speech is protected by the First Amendment.  But hate speech can lose its First Amendment protections if the speech is an incitement to imminent lawless action, speech threatens serious bodily harm or the speech that cause an immediate breach of the peace (fighting words.)

For more discussion about hate speech and the First Amendment visit FIRE 


“If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise  we don’t believe in it at all.” Noam Chomsky

Banned Book Week October 5, 2023

BBW-logo_07252021Did you know that ALA's Freedom to Read statement is 70 years old? (It was first adopted June 25, 1953.) This statement states that the freedom to read is essential to our democracy and guaranteed by our constitution. 

"Freedom keeps open the path of novel and creative solutions, and enables change to come by choice. Every silencing of a heresy, every enforcement of an orthodoxy, diminishes the toughness and resilience of our society and leaves it the less able to deal with controversy and difference.

... The freedom to read and write is almost the only means for making generally available ideas or manners of expression that can initially command only a small audience. 

... We believe that every American community must jealously guard the freedom to publish and to circulate, in order to preserve its own freedom to read. We believe that publishers and librarians have a profound responsibility to give validity to that freedom to read by making it possible for readers to choose freely from a variety of offerings."