Dec 142016

ss-the-light-maidenFor me, 2016 has been a year of discovery. I’ve taken a close look at my life and dug deep to expose the root system of many long-standing issues. Throughout the way I’ve done a lot of research, finding people whose philosophies about life make sense to me. Obviously everybody has their own views of life and how to best live, but I want to share some of the special people who I am drawn to – my Soulful Sages. Maybe you’ll like them too.

First up is Annika – The Light Maiden. I met Annika in a Facebook group, where her beautiful, blue hair immediately caught my attention. I watched some of her Facebook videos and loved her sweet, calm personality. Then when I saw her Soul Doodles – whimsical blends of inspiring words, art, and nature – I knew I had to connect with her more.

From The Light Maiden website…

I dream about a world where more people follow their passion, their intuition and their heart, walking their soul’s path with confidence, ease and joy, living at their happy place, inside and out. Where we all live consciously, act & react from a place of Love instead of fear and not only KNOW that we are the creator of our own life, but are devoted to make it the best experience possible.

Earlier this week I met up with Annika on Skype for a “Tea Date with Spirit”. The writer in me was very curious about what it would be like, since I had never done anything like that before. It was wonderful, uplifting, and simply amazing. I learned a new technique to shield myself from negativity, got an excellent book recommendation, and found out that I am not following my intuition as much as I thought I was. Honestly, I was startled – in a good way, when she brought up situations that she couldn’t possibly know about as I’ve never mentioned them anywhere on social media. Wow! I was in a good mood the rest of the day after getting advice on how to tackle some long-standing issues in my life.

I am so glad that I discovered Annika. She is passionate about helping women – and does so with a kind heart and a sweet smile. You can connect with her at:

The Light Maiden Website

The Light Maiden Facebook Page

Meet Me At My Happy Place podcast

 December 14, 2016  Posted by  Soulful Sage Tags: ,  Comments Off on Soulful Sage: The Light Maiden
Oct 262016

It’s a new school year for my kids–the time of year where many people, including me, are compelled to make fresh starts. And that is what I am doing. This past year I smacked into a mid-life “awakening” (we won’t call it a crisis – even though it has felt like that sometimes).

Do you know what I mean? That feeling that something with life isn’t quite right, but you’re not exactly sure what the problem is. That you need to change, but you don’t know how or even what to change.

I’ve read books and perused websites, even worked with a life coach. One thing that became very clear while I was doing research is that I’m not the only person who feels this way. A lot of people get the urge to move around the puzzle pieces of their life into a different configuration when they reach the middle of their life. The image above is the centerpiece of a vision board I did with my life coach, and it says a lot about how I feel right now.

I’ve been quiet on my website and social media over the summer as I’ve decided what, exactly, I want to do. Okay, I admit, that the plan is more fluid than exact, but you know what? That’s wonderful! When things are moving…they aren’t stuck. And who wants to feel like their life is stuck in a rut?

For quite a few years I have focused my social media and author platform toward my career as a culinary mystery writer. But there’s a lot more in my life than cooking and writing mysteries. So I’m going to start sharing more of my interests in the hope that maybe someone else will enjoy them too. A lot of things will be changing from the look of this website to the style of my newsletters. (Do you subscribe to my newsletter? I hope you do because the new format will be launching soon, and I can’t wait to share it with you!) I’m writing new books, but at a slower pace since I’m also focusing on my family, and uncovering tools to navigate through this mid-life reinvention.

Some of the things that I plan to share are on the new age-y side, or as I say…woo-woo. If that’s not your thing and you no longer want to follow my blog or get my newsletter, no big deal. Feel free to unsubscribe, because life is too short to spend time reading things that you don’t enjoy. If you stick around I hope you find something useful…or that makes you smile…or that gives you an aha moment. I’m taking the scenic route, instead of the freeway, through this part of my life. I can’t wait to share some of the stops with you!




Nov 212015

I am so excited to announce that I am starting a street team! If you aren’t familiar with a street team it is basically a group of fans who help support an author by helping spread the word about new books, promotions, contests, etc. to their friends. So what does that mean? For my street team, Janel’s Gems, I’m looking for some social media love. Share links to my new books, let your friends know about sales, review my books, etc. I certainly don’t want anybody to drive their friends crazy, just a post here and there. And what will my street team members get in return?

  • Access to a private Facebook group where you can chat with me (I promise to stop by often) and other members
  • Members-only giveaways for things like cookbooks, kitchen gadgets, and chances to name new characters
  • Sneak peeks of book covers, upcoming projects, recipes, etc.
  • The chance to read new books (ARCs) before they are published

If you love my Culinary Competition Series and would like a chance to be a part of my street team, please fill out the form below. Signups are only open from now until November 30, 2015. Since I have never managed a street team before (I am SO excited to start!) I will be limiting the membership to 20 people for right now. Make sure to leave a valid email in the form so I can contact you if you are chosen.  If you don’t hear from me, keep an eye out for announcements in the future. I do plan on occasionally adding new members in the future. Thank you and good luck!

Jul 082014

It’s here! Pies & Peril has been officially released. That means you can go to your favorite online bookseller, download a copy and read it right now. And if you like books that can live on your real bookshelf, instead of a virtual one, it is also available as a paperback. Just click the cover above to get your copy. The ebooks are on sale for a limited time at an introductory price of just $.99!

Today also kicks off the Pies & Peril Blog Tour. Stop by Peeking Between The Pages for a review and giveaway. Then visit me here tomorrow. I have a special, sparkly prize for one lucky reader! Follow me on Facebook or Twitter to stay up to date on all of the tour stops.

Apr 082014

The last month has been very busy for me, between turning in a manuscript to my publisher, writing and editing a novelette and having some fun while my kids were on Spring Break. Lots of things going on, but I’ve still found the time to poke around the internet and find some things that help refill my creative well. I need lots of wood to keep the writing fire going! Here are some of the things that have caught my attention lately.

365 docobites – 365 documentaries in 365 days. Strangers’ short and shorter stories. Two film makers are traveling around the world, producing mini documentaries featuring interesting people they meet. The link takes you to the docobite about the Tandem Poetry writers, which is my favorite video so far.

Mindfulness Meditation: 8 Quick Exercises That Easily Fit Into Your Day – Getting your mind to slow down is a wonderful thing. These meditations aren’t the kind where you sit cross-legged and chant for an hour. Nope. These are easy ways to give your brain, which is thinking about 1,001 things, a break.

Karen Russell Donates Her Sleep – An interview with author Karen Russell where she talks about her new novella, Sleep Donation. I love seeing authors excited about shorter forms of fiction. Make sure to check out the website that accompanies the novella. What a fabulous way to give readers experiences beyond just reading the words in a book.

Have you found anything lately that stoked your creativity?

 April 8, 2014  Posted by  Inspiration Tags: , ,  1 Response »
Sep 272013

It seems that lately I have been discovering many fascinating websites as I wander around the internet. Some have interesting concepts while others are pioneers exploring new worlds. Since I have been bookmarking more and more of these gems, I decided it is time to share the wealth. Soon I will be doing occasional Site Spotlight posts that will feature everything from new social media platforms to literary journals.

Have you found any websites that made you go “Wow!” lately? If you have, please leave a comment and tell me about it. I may feature that site in a future post.


 September 27, 2013  Posted by  General, Updates Tags: ,  1 Response »
Jan 172013

Yesterday I dragged my inner extrovert out of its dusty box and taught a beadwork class, something I haven’t done in several years. I absolutely know, without a doubt, that I can teach jewelry making classes and still I was anxious. Standing in front of a group of people and teaching them about something the I love is scary stuff. So is putting myself “out there” on the internet to help promote my writing. The whole being social part of social media. The kind of thing that makes an introverted writer sweat and break out in hives. And, I was born an introvert. Right?

I don’t think so. I was well into my 30’s before I realized it, but I think many of my introverted tendencies were taught to me as I was growing up by an extremely introverted parent. I was taught that I shouldn’t draw attention, good or bad, to myself. Performing in front of an audience was supposed to be terror-inducing torture. Also, if faced with a challenge, walk away and avoid at all cost. Is it any wonder that I preferred holing up in my room with a pile of books instead of having a social life?

I have taught my own children that they can try to do anything they want, that they should take on challenges and do their best. My 13-year old daughter performs drama monologues in front of an auditorium packed full of people for competitions and talent shows. The ghost of my former 13-year old self wants to hide under the seats when I watch her do this but I am insanely proud or her and my son for all of the things that he does, like flying RC airplanes and now participating in a math competition.

Sometimes I have to remind myself of the lessons in self-confidence that I’ve tried to teach my children. The publishing world is a sort of Wild West-style new frontier right now. Anything is possible, if you work hard. Part of the hard work is networking and socializing, trying to connect with readers. The kind of things that is tough for an introvert.

Building up my extrovert muscles isn’t easy. Viewing my introverted tendencies as one of those little devils sitting on my shoulder helps. So does just doing something, instead of worrying about doing it. If I was taught to be introverted I can teach myself to be the extrovert I need to be to succeed as a writer.

How about you? What do you do when your confidence is wavering and you just want to crawl under a rock?


 January 17, 2013  Posted by  General, Writing Life Tags:  15 Responses »
Jan 072013

Phew! The kids are finally back to school! I love my family. I really do, but the two week Christmas vacation was starting to feel like it had lasted about two months by the time this past weekend rolled around. I’ve seen blog posts, status updates and tweets from many writers who have been writing over the holidays. I wasn’t one of them. After releasing “Must Love Sandwiches” a few days before Christmas I decided to take a break from writing and enjoy the time with my family. I made a goal of finding a comfortable office chair before the end of May so I can hole up at the desk in my bedroom, with my iPod and noise-cancelling earbuds, during the summer to write. I also set up some more social media accounts. While I couldn’t easily focus on the plot of a short story while my son’s mini helicopter buzzed around me, I could set up profiles.

For  indie writers, a social media presence is essential. Love it or hate it, you still have to do it – or risk sinking into the abyss of unknown writers. So if you would like to keep in touch with me to learn more about my writing or find out more about me, you can click on my social media icons in the right sidebar. Or click here to go to my Contact & Connect page, which actually has a few more sites listed since my widget doesn’t have icons available for all of the library sites. Speaking of those online library sites, I’ve decided to use each one for a different purpose and to house different book collections.

Goodreads – This is where I will keep track of the books I am currently reading. It is the only library site where I will be doing reviews. Since my reading tastes are all over the map, this will be a quite eclectic collection. Also, after looking at the author program I will be doing some fun things there in the future.

Shelfari – I don’t just write  culinary fiction, I read it too. Want to know what foodie fiction books I own? This is the place to find them.

Library Thing – If you look closely at my profile pictures you’ll see there is a bookcase behind me. Those shelves hold my writing book collection. I’m listing those books here.


 January 7, 2013  Posted by  Writing Life Tags:  4 Responses »