Courtney’s Blog


Happy Holidays!

I’m off to celebrate the holidays with my family and friends and hope that you have the chance to do the same.

Looking forward to a fabulous 2020 with all of you! I’ll have two books out in the fall and will be writing a whole new Ashford Falls series.

Until then, wishing you and yours all the comforts and joy of the season.


Inktober 2019

Have you heard of the Inktober challenge? In response to a single word prompt, Inktober artists are supposed to create a daily drawing. It started as a drawing challenge and now includes a writer’s edition. Using the same #inktober prompts, write a 50 word (no more, no less) drabble and post it to social media (mostly Instagram).

Because I can never do things the easy way, I decided to create a story for my prompts. When I decided to do the Inktober challenge, I had just finished a novel that took me several months and was not quite ready to start my next one. So, the Inktober challenge came along at just the right time.

I posted these on Instagram throughout the month of October but thought it would be fun to memorialize it on the blog, in an easier to read format. Hope you enjoy!

It all started when Violet found the ring, nestled in her grandmother’s cloisonné jewelry box, the teal one with the white cranes and orange flowers on it. The faceted stone, a color between emerald and peridot, glinted in tarnished silver, as though even decades couldn’t dull its power or beauty. 

Her grandmother, made mindless as disease ravaged her brain, lay motionless on the bed. Only her blue eyes tracked Violet, as bright with malice as ever. Violet lifted the jewelry box, intending to slip it into her bookbag but stopped. The pattern in the dust beneath would highlight its absence. 

Violet slid the ring onto her thumb, the metal cold against her skin.  It was heavier than she’d expected and slid around her finger. It didn’t seem to warm with proximity to her skin. Even in the dim room, it glowed brilliantly, beckoning.

“So you took the bait, eh, girlie?”

Violet froze at the raspy voice from the bed. Her grandmother hacked and coughed, as just that simple sentence cost her far more than it should. Violet dropped the ring into her pocket and turned, smoothing her face into a simpering smile. Her grandmother’s lips were flecked with ruby blood.

Death rattled in her grandmother’s sunken chest. Violet thought to call for her parents but the cry died in her throat. What was the point of disturbing them now? Her grandmother was long beyond help. Her family’s vigil had built to these final moments. It would be over soon enough.

Was her grandmother still breathing? She shifted closer to the bed and finally, realizing that there was nothing else for it, placed a hand on her chest. The instant the ring touched her grandmother’s skin, the ring flashed white, burning a circle into her skin. A husky voice said, “Welcome.”

With a sudden whoosh, the world went topsy-turvy. Violet tumbled onto a cold stone floor. She blinked up at an oddly glowing green ceiling, cradling her injured hand. Pierced metal braziers burst into light around the circular room, revealing ornately carved silver walls. 

“I see you’ve found my enchanted ring.” 

“Who’s there?” Violet demanded, her voice wobbly and frail. She scrambled upright, squinting around as her eyes adjusted to the odd, watery, green light from the domed ceiling above. She trailed her fingers over the wall next to her. The carvings matched the metal of the ring she still wore.

The pierced braziers above her head began to swing as though dancing, their chains jingling, like the wind chimes on her grandmother’s porch. They dappled the silver walls with dizzying, patches of chartreuse light. Violet pressed her back against the wall as she turned to examine the odd circular room.

 A rectangular berth stretched across the far wall. A large indentation marked the center as though something massive had once rested there. Rumpled blankets covered one side, as though recently tossed off. The delicate embroidery on the silvery velvet reminded her of the cloisonné pattern on her grandmother’s jewelry box. 

 Where was she? Where had her grandmother gone? 

The odd light glowing through the ceiling reminded her of swimming along the bottom of the brackish pond behind her grandmother’s house at midsummer, as the sunshine pierced the water.

A white flake drifted past her arm, then another. Was that snow?

Green ceiling—like the stone. 

Metal walls- like the ring.  

Touching her grandmother…the white-hot flash…. that sudden jerking motion.

“Could I be inside the ring?” Violet whispered.

“Well-spotted,” drawled a voice from across the room. “It usually takes them ages.”

On the plinth lay a cobalt blue dragon

The dragon’s scales shimmered, a mixture of cobalt and emerald, flecked with copper. Its eyes, the same greenish gold as the stone in her ring, blinked lazily. Sharp claws flexed on the silver blankets before it yawned, sending a shower of white ash down to dust Violet’s hair and shoulders.

“You’re—that’s not—” Violet stammered. “A dragon?”

“Indeed,” The dragon sighed, sending another shower of ash swirling. “You were meant to be clever, for a mortal, anyway.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

The dragon’s eyes turned to slits, reminding her of a bad-tempered, overgrown house cat. Despite herself, Violet giggled. 

Another giggle escaped. 

Violet covered her mouth. 

The dragon glared, “I’ll chalk that up to nerves, my dear, rather than laughing at a fearsome creature of legend such as myself. It would be rather an unwise thing for you to do. Of course, mortals are forever being unwise, aren’t they?” 

The dragon stretched lazily and leapt down from the bed, jarring the stone floor as it landed. The rich scent of ripe cherries permeated the air as it stalked toward Violet, all wild grace, rather like a great cat. Light shimmered on its iridescent scales, mesmerizing her as he moved.

“Where did you get that particular ornament?” The dragon’s eyes flicked toward her ring and back to her, sharp with interest.  Well-honed and wickedly sharp scales ran down his back and tail. 

“This?” Violet held up her hand, the ring fracturing the greenish light. “I’ve had this ring for ages.”

“A liar as well as a thief, then,” The dragon snapped. “I shouldn’t have expected any better from that creature’s spawn.”


“I suppose you’d have called her—mother? No, Grandmother, perhaps?”

Violet nodded. 

His intelligent gaze tracked the ring and then widened. “You’re not a misfit though, my dear.”

“Misfit?” Violet twisted the ring off and concealed it in her fist.

“That ring never fit her,” The dragon’s tapped his talons as he cocked his head, as though considering. “But it does fit you. How very curious, wouldn’t you say?”

“Not really,”  She slung the ring across the room.  

Throwing the ring was futile. The odd oval room offered no means of escape. Still, Violet had to at least try. She dragged her palms over the stone walls, seeking any possible exit. 

Behind her, the dragon sighed again and, with a heavy tread, settled himself on the bed again.

“There’s no way out, my dear,” The dragon whispered softly, almost kindly, after Violet curled into a defeated ball against the wall, resting her head on her knees. “Believe me, if there was a way to escape, I’d have found it. Instead, it’s just me stuck here inside my treasure.” 

“What does that mean?” Violet asked, not really caring what the answer was.

“That woman—”

“My grandmother?”

The dragon ignored her, “—trapped me in here when she was not much older than you are now. She stole my life from me. Everyone I loved is only ghosts now.” 

“But why?”

“An ancient, eternal story,” The dragon shifted his shoulders, restlessly. “Long ago, she fell madly in love with me. But I loved another and it poisoned her with jealousy and rage.  She couldn’t let her sister have the love she wanted so she destroyed our happiness with one simple spell.”

Dizzy at the dragon’s revelations, Violet stammered, “Auntie Alice?”

“My beloved’s name was Alice, yes,” The dragon agreed. 

Suddenly, Violet giggled again. “You expect me to believe that my grandmother and my Aunt Alice fell in love with a dragon?”

“Well, I wasn’t a dragon back then, now was I?”

“How exactly did Grandmother trap you here?” Violet asked. 

“She lured me to the weeping willows near the pond behind her house.  She fed me tasty treats and honey mead. I drank too deeply. When I woke, I was in the ring I intended to give to my beloved betrothed.”

“It’s a dark tale,” Violet commented. “But maybe we can figure out a happy ending.”

“I see you have not yet forgotten optimism.” 

“You said the ring didn’t fit her,” Violet said. “But it did fit me.”

“The ring is enchanted. It only fits the most beloved in each generation.” 

Violet barely blinked at the news that she might be a dragon’s most beloved. It wasn’t the weirdest thing to happen to her today. They sat in companionable silence for a bit before he dragged one of the silvery blankets to her, his cobalt coat glowing in the dim light. 

“The chamber sometimes gets chilly,” The dragon patted the blanket over her, giving her some small comfort in this bizarre topsy-turvy world. “Are you alright, my dear?”

“Today’s just been a bit of wild ride, that’s all,” Violet dredged up a weak smile for her newfound friend. “I’ll be okay.”

She placed her hand on his side, drawn by an impulse she couldn’t explain, desperate to feel his cobalt and copper scales beneath her fingers. As soon as the silver ring touched him, the ceiling exploded and the room was reduced to rubble. Dust swirled around them.

“Are you injured?”

Violet awoke, sprawled on the cobalt carpet in her grandmother’s room. A silvery embroidered bedspread covered the now-empty bed. The clouds outside gave the room an eerie, green glow. 

A tall man, with golden eyes, stood in the doorway. Without warning, he tossed something metallic toward her, “Catch this.” 

The rich scent of ripe cherries permeated the air as Violet noticed the cobalt dragon tattoo on the man’s bicep. 

Was he the dragon? How was that possible? 

He gave her a warm smile and without forethought, she slid the ring onto her finger. 

Somehow, she’d caught herself a dragon. 

Bridesmaid Trilogy, Currently, Inktober

October Currently Post

Well, it’s been a minute since I did one of these “Currently” posts! I always have the best of intentions to blog regularly but you know what they say about intentions and road paving and all that. Anyway, it’s Halloween as I write this (Happy Halloween!!) or as I like to call it Nanowrimo Eve. I’m about to dive headlong into the excitement of National Novel Writing Month so I thought I should give you all a bit of an update before I do so.

2019 has been a very good writing year for me. Considering I only wrote 13k in all of 2018, I worried that I would struggle to get momentum coming off my hiatus. I’m happy to report that my word count total is well over 150k for this year and with a successful Nanowrimo complete next month, I’ll be well over 200k for the year. Sadly, I can’t tell you much about those completed 150k words but hopefully, you’ll see them sometime, someday, eventually. (Fingers crossed!)

It’s National Novel Writing Month!!

WRITING: My Nanowrimo novel is Dylan’s book! It’s the final book in my Always a Bridesmaid series. Yep, Pickle finally falls in love. It’s taken quite a while to get this book down. I originally planned for Dylan to reunite with his high school sweetheart. I had to scrap that whole draft when Dylan decided otherwise. Main characters, amiright? You do everything you can to raise them right, get them on the page, and they just do any darn thing they choose. Dylan’s heroine is someone my readers have met before though (she happens to be the sister of a former hero too).

Actual footage of Dylan

I’m delighted to finally be writing Dylan’s book, Never a Bridesmaid, even though I’ll be saying farewell to my professional bridesmaids after this. It’s always difficult to end a series but I’m planning to start writing a brand new series set in a bakery in Ashford Falls in January so that’s some consolation at least. More on that in the new year!

In preparation to write Dylan’s story, I re-read my first three books in the Bridesmaid series (Forever, Once, and Kiss) as well as totally re-wrote Desire a Bridesmaid. Both Desire and Never will be released in Fall 2020 but, in the interim, I got new covers for the first three. Aren’t they pretty???

TRAVEL: I also got to go on a super fun research trip to my beloved Savannah, Georgia as part of the planning for Dylan’s story. My husband, my son, and I had a marvelous time touring Savannah. We even got to make a trip out to Tybee Island too (where I set a wedding in December in Forever a Bridesmaid–I bet that was chilly!) So much fun!

WATCHING: I’ve been watching Derry Girls. Have you seen that one? I love that show. It’s set in Northern Ireland in the mid-1990s and follows a group of 5 high school friends. So adorable. I also am watching Season 10 of the Great British Bake Off. Don’t tell me who wins! We don’t get the finale in the US until tomorrow. I’m rooting for Alice.

LISTENING: I’m also listening to the awesome new podcast with Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey, Office Ladies. They are going over The Office (US) one episode at a time. It’s such a fun, in-depth dive into the world of the Office. And, of course, I had to re-watch each episode to follow along. I cannot wait until they do next week’s show, The Alliance. One of my favorite episodes of all time.

That’s about it for now! I’ll be cranking out the words all November and heading to my mom and dad’s house for Turkey Day. Before I go, I’ll share our little Halloween gingerbread houses. Aren’t they adorably sweet?



How is your summer going so far? We’re four days in to summer break here and I’ve only heard “I’m BORED!!” 54 million times since breakfast. I think we’re all looking forward to camp starting in a few weeks.

So here’s what I’ve been up to recently…

WRITING: I’m rewriting Christmas at Starlight Lake while drafting Double Dating with the Dead. And I had another short story idea for a mailing list giveaway. So I’m writing all the things! I’m actually really enjoying writing multiple projects and *so far* seem to be getting a lot done. So onward! I’m participating in Camp Nanowrimo in July so looking forward to that too.

READING: I just read two books that I loved. Daisy Jones and the Six is a rockumentary about a fictionalized band. I could not put it down. SO GREAT! I hear that the audiobook is even better. And I also just read Maybe You Should Talk to Someone which is a therapists account of her therapy sessions after a breakup. OMG! So good too. Treat yourself to these summer reads. (NB: Links are Amazon affiliate links).

STREAMING: I just started Amazon’s Good Omens which is wickedly, hilariously funny (probably not a surprise since it’s based on a book written by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett). And David Tennent is sex on legs as Crowley, the fallen angel who didn’t so much fall as saunter vaguely downward. Love this one. I also watched Amy Poehler’s awesome Wine Country (that’s on Netflix). Such a cute, fun friendship movie. Worth a watch! (NB: Good Omens links are Amazon affiliate links).

LOVING: Have you seen Schitt’s Creek? It’s a Canadian comedy from the father-son team of Eugene Levy and Dan Levy. It’s been described as the Kardashian’s lose all their money and have to live in a rural small town. Catherine O’Hara has a star-making turn as the iconic Moira Rose and it’s got one of the best love stories ever scripted (Daniel and Patrick 4eva!) The first four seasons are on Netflix. The fifth season should be added in the fall with a sixth and final season out in 2020. GO WATCH IT!! (I will say that, sadly, the first season is the weakest. Still funny but not as great as seasons 3 and 4).

GRATEFUL FOR: In April, we took my parents to Hawaii to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. We stayed at the amazing, awesome Aulani, the Disney resort in Ko’Olina on the west side of Honolulu. It was so much fun. Got to see Pearl Harbor, the North Shore, Waikiki, and attended a luau, interspersed with days at the resort, splashing in the pools. It was wonderful and relaxing and I want to go back!! Here are just a few of my favorite pix from our trip (still working on our Shutterfly album!)

That’s about all that is new with me. Better get back to writing! Hope you’re having a wonderful June!

Currently, Podcasts, Reading, travel



WRITING: I am almost finished the first draft of Christmas at Starlight Lake. Just have to write the Christmas festival and the Christmas Eve dinner sequence. I hope to have it done next week and off to my developmental editor mid-April. I’ve also started the character work and outline for my planned October release, titled Double Dating with the Dead. It’s a ghost story. Having a super fun time letting my imagination go wild on that!

LISTENING: As you all know, I’m a podcast junkie. I listen to them daily while driving, cooking, walking, doing chores. I’ve got three new (to me) ones to recommend to you this month.

  1. The Drop Out. ABC News inside look at the Theranos scandal. Are you as fascinated by this case as I am? I loved John Carreyrou’s excellent book about Theranos (Bad Blood) but really enjoyed this in-depth podcast too. Just a few episodes–perfect for binge listening.
  2. Before Breakfast– Laura Vanderkam (author of 168 Hours and Off the Clock) gives quick, practical time management tips. This one just started this week but I love it so far. Less than 10 minutes and great tips. Perfect!
  3. Satellite Sisters –How did I miss this one for so long? Liz and Sarah from my beloved Happier in Hollywood podcast appeared on the Satellite Sisters and now I’m hooked. They’ve been broadcasting for 19 years so the back catalog of shows is pretty huge. Any can’t miss episodes you can recommend for me?


READING: I am on the 12th book of the 44 Scotland Street series (A Time of Love and Tartan) by Alexander McCall Smith that I recommended to you last month. I’m savoring it because I don’t want to let these beloved characters go just yet. And I just listened to Lin-Manuel Miranda read Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz. One of my favorite books ever. I loved this sweet story. I listened to it on my daily walks and actually kept walking for an extra mile just to hear the end. I squeed so much that I scared a neighbor walking their dog. It’s great. Go read it!!


WATCHING: Have you seen The Fix on ABC? It’s by the brilliant writing team of Liz Craft and Sarah Fain who host the Happier in Hollywood podcast. It’s a twisty, fascinating legal thriller and I can’t wait to see what happens next. Who do you think killed Jessica? Also, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is about to end (*sniff*) so I’m watching that one too.


LOOKING FORWARD TO: Next month, we’re off to Aulani in Hawaii to celebrate my parents 50th wedding anniversary. I’ve never been to Hawaii so I’m super excited to go on this trip. Will have lots of photos to share in next month’s “Currently” post so stay tuned for that!



Just thought it’d be fun to put up a quick check-in post. How are things where you are?

Currently writing: Christmas at Starlight Lake. I just hit the midpoint on Sunday and I’m loving writing Noah and Clemmie’s story. She’s his brother’s childhood best friend and they both end up back at Starlight Lake (a fictional lake in the Finger Lakes region) for Christmas. They get involved with the town’s Christmas festival and many fun hijinks ensue. So many fun secondary characters too. I’m having a lot of fun writing it and I can’t wait until you all get to read it.

Currently listening to: I alternate between a few Spotify playlists. One is all Christmas all the time (Hallmark Christmas Marathon). Another is Chillhop for concentrating more on getting words down. And did you know Disney has a ton of Spotify playlists? My personal favorite is Disney Score to Study To.

Currently reading: 44 Scotland Street series by Alexander McCall Smith. He’s best known for his No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency mysteries but the 44 Scotland Street series is a serialized novel that originally appeared in The Scotsman newspaper. It’s such fun to see these characters interact in their everyday lives in Edinburgh. I’ve just finished the fourth installment (it’s a 12 book series!)

Currently watching: I just finished the new seasons of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Grace and Frankie. I love them both. I’m now watching the final season of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and catching up on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. So sad they’re both ending!

Currently crafting: I’m still unpacking my brand new basement craft studio. Can’t wait until I can actually craft in there! But I did take some time out of writing to go hang out with my bestie and make some signs at our local Board and Brush. We even got to wear VIP aprons while we did it. I’ve got another B&B class this weekend. What can I say? #addicted

Currently looking forward to: SPRING! We just had double snow days here. I’m so #donewithwinter! My hubby bought me these gorgeous daffodils to brighten the kitchen. Aren’t they pretty?

How about you? What’s currently going on with you?



So, if you follow Romancelandia on Twitter, you’ve probably seen the hashtag #CopyPasteCris. Author Courtney Milan discovered that her book, The Duchess War, had been plagiarized. Further searching uncovered the fact that, in fact, the “author” in question (Cris Serruya) had plagiarized multiple books, crafting her books into a patchwork of Frankenbooks with words lifted from Nora Roberts, Tessa Dare, Bella Andre, and many others. Cris Serruya admitted on Twitter that she’d had the books “ghostwritten” via Fiverr, took down her website, and promptly went radio silent. More and more evidence (entire paragraphs of it) continues to mount on Twitter.

I am shocked and appalled because I happen to “know” Cris Serruya. We have never met IRL. She may indeed be a bot or an avatar. I couldn’t tell you. We first “met” as part of the group of Kindle Scout winners in the fall of 2015. She also participated in two boxed sets with me (Happily Ever Alpha and Billionaire Ever After both in 2017). Both the boxed sets are long since unpublished and I have no way of knowing if Ms. Serruya’s included books were also Frankenbooks. UPDATE (2/19/2017 7:07 PM: Apparently, yes, the book she included in Billionaire Ever After, the boxed set which did hit the USA Today list, was Damaged Love which was plagairized from at least three other authors. Again, I am truly sorry. I had no idea that her entry was plagarized.)

As I was totally unaware of Ms. Serruya’s plagiarism, I’ve also recommended her books in my newsletter in the past. Please accept my apology. I would never knowingly condone plagiarism. It is theft. It is wrong and a terrible thing to do. My sympathies are with the authors whose hard work has been stolen. I am currently in the process of reviewing my own work to ensure that pieces of my books aren’t being cobbled together by other unscrupulous scammers.

All I can say is that I’ve written every word of every one of my books. I guarantee it. They’ve all been completed with blood, sweat, and tears as I slaved over the keyboard to bring my stories to life. I don’t condone plagiarism in any form. To be clear, my problem is NOT with ghostwriting, which is a legitimate form of work-for-hire writing, but with stealing another authors work, i.e. plagiarism in any form.

I happen to agree with the theory put forward on Smart Bitches and by Bree and by Alyssa Cole that Cris Serruya isn’t the only “author” relying on the same pool of cheap ghostwriters. I’d be willing to bet there are plenty more out there–usually those authors that are slapping up a “book” into Kindle Unlimited (KU) every few days. I suspect there is much more to come. (This speculation is in no way meant to excuse Ms. Serruya–just acknowledging that the Wild West of Indie Publishing is full of black hats and other scammers.)

Hopefully, Amazon will crack down on these authors that are cobbling together pieces from others hard work. Until then, constant vigilance, my friends.

Coloring, Crafts, Podcasts

Creativity in a Season of Sacrifice

Wow, it’s been a while here on the old blog, hasn’t it? Imagine me dusting things off while tumbleweeds frolic in the distance. At least I can claim the cobwebs as Halloween decorations now.

First, let me address a question that I receive with a bit of frequency. I love my readers that write and check on me. Thank you so much for that and for your patience. I’m so happy that there are so many people awaiting my work.

Yes, I am still writing. In fact, I have two works-in-progress at the moment. Once Upon a Royal Christmas is the first in my new Royals of Raine series and Christmas at Starlight Lake is a stand-alone novel set in the Finger Lakes region of New York. I say stand-alone but I think the hero’s brother may demand his own story soon enough.

It’s true I haven’t published anything new recently and I’m afraid I won’t have anything new this calendar year either. I do plan to release several novels next year (2019), including the two mentioned above, so hopefully, that will ease the sting a bit.

Happier in Hollywood, one of my favorite podcasts, talks about the concept of a “season of sacrifice.” I’ve been just such a season for a while now and it’s going to continue a while longer. I hate “vague-booking” but some of the reasons for my season of sacrifice are due to other family member’s issues. While I am fairly open and willing to share, other people may be less willing to disclose. I trust you understand.

Last November, I took a hiatus from writing. I planned for it just to be over the holidays. I’d been writing flat out at a sprinting pace for over four years at that point and was just plain creatively exhausted. I never intended that the break would be as long as it has been.

I overtapped my creativity and didn’t prioritize giving myself time to refill the creative well. I am just the slightest bit type A (barely worth mentioning really) and have never been particularly good at resting or relaxing. Over the past 11 months, I’ve been forced into learning the importance of taking time to play.

Recently, Johanna Basford, coloring goddess extraordinaire, issued the 30 days of flowers challenge on her blog, to celebrate her new book, World of Flowers. She gave two free downloads, filled with 30 flowers. The idea was simple. Color one flower each day for 30 days and see if what, if any, impact it has on creativity and mindfulness.

It happened to coincide with construction on my basement. As anyone who has ever lived through a home renovation can attest, it’s a total disruption to your way of life. My dining room looks like we’re auditioning for an episode of Hoarders. I know it will be worth it in the end but getting through it is an endurance test.

I finished my 30 days of flowers #30daysofflowers today. I wanted to make it look like stained glass. I plan to frame them and hang them in my new craft room in the basement.

Did it make me more creative? More mindful? Maybe a little. But the lesson I really got from it was that it’s possible to make something beautiful with just a few minutes a day.

I’ve always loved having great swathes of time to get lost in my stories. But sometimes, in a season of sacrifice, I might not get that luxury. Instead, I have to content myself with snatching time here and there to pen a bit of description or a few lines of dialogue. It’s frustrating but a little progress is better than none.  And I’ll have my 30 days of flowers to remind me that I can still make something amazing.

MFRW 52 Week Blog Challenge 2018

My Favorite Little Luxuries #MFRWAuthor

Wow, it’s week 26 already! Sunday is mid-year day. How did that happen?

Today’s prompt: My favorite indulgence (AKA a short list of things I can’t resist buying!)

  1. Tea. I love tea and can’t ever resist trying a new flavor. I have tons of boxes stacked in my pantry but my all time favorite is Harvey and Son’s Hot Cinnamon Sunset. You can sometimes find this at Target 🙂

2. Nail polish. I swear I’ve got every color under the sun but somehow, they still make more! I especially love Essie, OPI, and Floss Gloss. My favorite is OPI’s Aphrodite’s Pink Nightie.

3. Lotions and potions (i.e. Bath stuff). I am a huge fan of Perfectly Posh. I also love the Body Shop Satsuma, and Jo Malone’s Peony and Blush Suede.

4. Candles. Yankee Candle is absolutely forbidden to me. I have enough to light the neighborhood for a week-long blackout. I love so many fragrances but I always return to Lemon Lavender for the kitchen. Hard to pick a favorite here.

5. Earrings. So many earrings! I will never wear them all 🙂 But I can never resist them anyway. These Kate Spade earrings are the ones that I wear all the time.

I’m sure there’s plenty of other examples. I didn’t even mention books! How about you? What’s your favorite indulgence?

MFRW 52 Week Blog Challenge 2018

Top 10 Journaling Tools #MFRWAuthor

This week’s prompt: Do you keep a diary or a journal?

Yes and no. I’ve always been a bit of an off and on journaler. I’ll go great guns for a while and then get bored of my whining (or come up with a great story idea) and stop. But, like many writers, there is little I love more than a new journal. Over the years, I’ve tried them all. Here are just a few of my favorites (Note: the links are Amazon Affiliate links which means if you click through and make a purchase, Amazon gives me a few pennies to keep my blog running).

  1. Morning pages. As prescribed in Julia Cameron’s seminal book, The Artist’s Way. It’s three pages of long-hand writing every morning (hence the name). I’ve done at least three iterations of the 12 week Artist’s Way prescription. As a mom of a school-aged child, I don’t get to wake gently and sit in my easy chair with my cup of steaming coffee as dawn breaks over the DelMarVa area while I scribble three pages. Mostly, I’m running around trying to get Fox fed and myself dressed enough to make it to the car line. So, I rarely write these in the morning and usually only manage about a once a week “brain dump” entry. I also did one series of 12 weeks as before bed writing. Another series I typed. I know, I’m such a rebel! 🙂 But seriously, if you haven’t read The Artist’s Way or tried Morning Pages, you’re missing out. Though you can use any notebook, these bluelines A9 are my favorite.


2. I love this five-year journal from Gretchen Rubin. It’s just long enough to record a few quick words about the day. She’s also got one especially for Moms. I may have fallen off the wagon for 2018 but I’ll be starting up again in 2019.

3. I enjoy list based journals too. They are quick and easy to fill out. These are my favorite of list journals.


4. I’m really enjoying This Time Next Year too. Lots of fun questions in that one.

5. As a big Mel Robbin’s fan, I really like her 5 Second Journal. It only lasts for about 60 days but it really helps to cement the ideas in her book The 5 Second Rule.

6. My friend gifted me with this one, My Life Story So Far, a few years ago. It takes a while to get all the entries written but I think it will be a nice memento for Fox when he’s older. (NB: Shockingly, Amazon doesn’t have this so this product links to Uncommon Goods).

7. I also love these ReMemory cards from Storymatic. I use them when I am blanking what to write in my morning pages journal.

8. This book of journal prompts is also great to use when I need a topic for my morning pages.

9. I also love this journal sparks book but it’s more of a creativity jumpstart. I think it’s actually marketed for teens but I love it anyway 🙂

10. There are also digital journal apps out there. I tried several, along with typing a journal entry in Evernote, but I didn’t find it as effective so I went back to paper. Pinterest also has tons and tons of journaling prompts to get you started. My favorite website for journaling prompts is Text My Journal. So many great creative ones there!

How about you? Do you journal? Any great products I’ve missed?