This past weekend I traveled to my alma mater, Truman State University, to give a presentation on writing and motivation from the point of view of a published author. My husband and I drove 2 ½ hours to Kirksville, MO and made sure to arrive 15 minutes early. We set up my PowerPoint on the overhead projector and I was ready to go.

The only thing missing was an audience.

We hung around for about 20 minutes and then packed up. My contact at the school, Polly Matteson (I worked for her at the career center ages ago), apologized for no one showing up since they promoted it for me on campus. However, it was the Friday before spring break and the campus was close to deserted when we arrived.

Now, this might deter someone from giving a free presentation so far away from their home. Why travel so far for nothing? Well, I had a presentation last semester during homecoming weekend and I have about 15 people show up. I felt like there is a great need on campus for students, faculty, staff, and people from town who would like to know more about writing and publishing. No one seems to be filling that need right now. So, I want to be the one who tries to help when I can and provide an example of what can happen if you stick to it and finish what you started.

So, what comes next?

Well, for many it would appear the second presentation was a failure. However, it is really a learning experience for me. I will stick to the Fall semester for giving presentations at Truman State University while looking for other places to talk about writing. Also, I did gain some valuable contact information for an English professor on campus that could help me with future speaking engagements.

The saying “nothing ventured, nothing gained” is my motto.

It was a great day to walk around campus and see what had changed since I was a student. We also looked around Kirksville, MO and saw just how much the town had changed as well. It made my heart happy to see the growth on campus and in town.

Throughout the day, my husband, Tom, made the pain of the experience (yes, it still hurt) diminish with his humor (as seen in this picture) and kept my spirits up. Once again, my knight in slightly dented armor saved the day with his smile and strength.

Even though no one showed up for this one event, there are still more to come this year and I can’t wait to share my love of writing with others.

(The Thornless Rose: Fire Blush is my debut novel and I hope to have the next installment in the trilogy out by Fall 2017. Stay tuned for more information.)


I am sad that the holidays are over and we must all get back to the “normal” routine. My poor husband is back at work (slaving away), while I am still at home on break from school. Today, I sat down and examined what I want to do with the time I have left before school starts and have found I have more projects than days left to finish it all.
This is where I have to focus my efforts and complete what I know I can with the time I have left. Not only do I have my own writing to work on, but the blog/FB for the St. Joseph Writers Guild and marketing for Amazing Things Press. I also have started to review books for a website and have three more books to read for that project. I found a few more contests that I would like to enter and need to create content for those as well.

No, I am not listing these to ask for pity or show that I am overwhelmed by these things. The list that I am sharing is simply to show that, like many writers, there are so much we want to do. However, time can be a cruel mistress and we must prioritize.

With this in mind, I have sorted out the projects that I can work on while in school and what I need to have done now. The marketing and updating social media is ongoing. So, I just have to create a calendar to keep up with each site. This seems to help me stay on top of things, while still planning out other projects.

Before the end of the week and a half I have left, I have set up my planner to help me stay focused. These days will serve to keep me ahead of time, while still keeping up with housework and family plans. So much to do, but I will not let Time bully me the rest of break.

My determination and passion for writing are stronger now than it has been in ages. The more I plan and stay focused, the more I know I will be far more successful this year than last year. Continue to move forward, while enjoying the present and learning from the past. I know this is going to be my year!

I hope 2017 is going well so far for you and you keep the momentum going. If not, take the time to see what is holding you back and tackle it head-on.

Happy New Year! You got this!

Sitting in my home and enjoying the fireplace, I started to reflect on the past year. It is so easy to get wrapped up in the to-do lists and family events. The time passes and all of a sudden it’s the start of a new year. I keep seeing people post about resolutions for 2017 and what they want to “stick to” this time around. I find it humorous and sad that people think that these will finally work for them, without some preparation and dedication on their part.

I titled this post for shock value and to invoke the idea that these “resolutions” are merely dreams that have no place in reality. Losing pounds, quitting smoking, or drinking more water are all great goals to have if they have passion behind them and a plan of action. Did you start looking at workout videos? The patch for smokers? Pinning those water challenges with the gallon jugs?

Start NOW! We still have 10 days left in 2016. Sit down for a moment amidst the chaos of the holidays and write your plan down. Look at each month and find a way to fit in your goal. Just like with losing weight (believe me I’ve tried), keep your goals attainable. The biggest thing is to remember you are HUMAN. We all fall, we all stumble, and we all skin our knees. You have to get back up, though.

I write this just as much for myself as anyone else out there. It SUCKS to fall and try to pull yourself back up. Find a group or at least one trusted person to help you get up and encourage you on your journey. Stop beating yourself up when it happens and don’t let other’s voices drown out your own. You are in charge of your happiness, so stand up to the bullies (including that nasty negative voice inside of yourself) and make the change NOW.

For a procrastinator
like myself, it is easy to say “I’ll do it tomorrow” and forget about it. But, I will not give up on myself nor let my dreams and goals be set aside until the start of a new year. I start today. I start with writing more, working out more, and worrying less on how good of a writer I am. I hope everyone who needed a little pick-me-up today has a great rest of the day and finds a way to start their “resolutions” NOW.

Merry Christmas from the Newby clan.





My school work is done and another semester of grad school is in the bag. Now what? For those who know me, I am not usually without a job of some type. The problem is I have an internship starting in the spring and cannot work retail due to my bum ankle. So, my life is going to be spent writing, reading, crafting, and cleaning. The first three I am ecstatic about and am quite grateful for having the luxury of time for them. However, the last one I am probably the worst at and my poor house can attest to it.


My problem lies in the fact that I’m flighty sometimes and have issues focusing. I was just sweeping the floor in the kitchen when I had a great idea for a contest piece. When I was done writing it down, I started working on a project for my writers guild group. Then, I finished a few things up for school and now it is almost 1 P.M. and I just remembered I should finish the floor. However, I am sitting here typing about it.

I know this is why my carpet looks like it snowed in areas (I have several white-haired animals and dark blue carpet that hates my vacuum) and why I never have all the dishes done. My brain is too busy imagining amazing places and grand adventures for my characters and I get swept away (pun intended) by it. And yet, my husband still loves me and helps me as much as he can after his long days at the factory. Thankfully, I do not have children and can work on improving myself.

Yes, this is a huge step in admitting such an embarrassing fault. However, I do it to let others know that everyone struggles with the day-to-day routine, even if you can’t see it. I know I keep a positive attitude on my social media feeds and when I interact with others, but I suck at things and it makes me feel hopeless sometimes. However, I don’t let it stop me from pressing on and trying to get better every day.

I hope this helps just one person today know that it’s ok to suck at something in life. No one is perfect and no one should try to be. I am proud of all that I have achieved in my life but I still have so much to work at and that’s ok too.

So, be ok with what you suck at doing and know that there are others who suck at stuff too. Work on finding ways to get better at it or just accept it. It’s only your opinion of you that matters anyway!

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas from me to you!

As soon as my books arrived in the mail, I was off to the races with selling them all over town. So far, I have attended several events and sold 19 books. This is not counting what I have sold online through Amazon. It is amazing to see the reaction from friends, family, and total strangers when I tell them I have accomplished the biggest goal in my life.

So, now what? What do I do when the newness of being published wears off? Where do I go from here?

In order to answer these questions, I have to refresh my old goals and make new ones. This is the phase I am working on right now. I wanted to use NANOWRIMO to write my next book, but the holidays and the last few weeks of school have kicked my butt. However, I found a new writing spot in my hometown and it helped me get out of my funk. 

So, my goals are still to sell more books and write my second one in the trilogy. Also, I am working on finding new sources for inspiration wherever I am. I am looking at new ways to market my work and hope the new year will bring more success than ever before. I’m excited to see where my talent takes me and I hope everyone is as blessed as I am. 

Thank you to all those who have supported me thus far and continue to help me on my journey. 

Happy Holidays everyone!!

Over 63,000 words are boiled down to just 126. This is how many words I used to describe my book for the back cover of The Thornless Rose: Fire Blush. Getting this far into self-publishing my novel has made me acutely aware of the immense pressure that we, as writers, face trying to persuade readers to pick up our book or download it. It takes just a handful of words to capture their attention and intrigue them to open up our work of art.

And it IS a work of art. Don’t think that words on a page are merely black and white. No, we paint with words. We plant seeds of scenes and faces into the minds of our readers. We give their imaginations the tools to create the world we envisioned as we typed until our fingers cramped and our stomachs ached from lack of food. Pushing through fatigue and restlessness, we sloshed through the miles and miles of notes in notebooks, on our laptops, our phones, and even on napkins.

The beauty of what we create comes in all forms. From a piece of work as grand as an epic tale or a subtle as a haiku, we strive to make the reader feel what we feel and see what we see. The description of a road or the trees can take just a few words or pages. We turn the black and white into hues of blues, oranges, greens, reds, and every color in between. The art is on every single page and continues to live on through the reader’s thoughts and reviews.

I write this for more myself than anyone else, but maybe someone else needs to read them. Maybe there is a writer out there struggling through a storyline or trying to craft the perfect sentence. You can do it. Keep pushing through. Remember, you are an artist and have the tools you need to create your masterpiece.

The other day I was sitting around with some local authors at an Author Showcase hosted by the St. Joseph library. It was nice to chat with others about my novel and get to know their work as well. Of course, at some point we started talking about other subjects and bullying came up.

Now, I was bullied in elementary school and remember several instances where my mother’s advice came in quite handy. She always said that I need to either ignore them or use my brains to “put them in their place”. Mom was not telling me to call them names or be mean back, but she wanted me to use my  words to make the bully understand they had no power over me.


16264268923_df037f27ff_oOne incident that I talk about quite often is the time I was on the bus in second grade and was called a “bitch” for sitting in this kid’s seat. Well, I was so taken aback by this foreign word that I just moved out of the way without speaking. Even without knowing the meaning of the new word, I felt like they had hit me in the face.

When I arrived home, I asked my mom what that word meant since I had never heard that word at school or at home. “Well, it technically means a female dog. It is also used as an insult.” This is when she told me I had two options to solve this problem if it came up again.

So, the next day I made sure to sit in the exact same spot and waited to see if the mean spirited child wanted the seat again. Sure enough, he came back and said the exact same thing to me. This time, I was prepared and said, “If you would like to see a female dog, you can go look in a mirror!” I smiled as I watched the boy just stand there, gaping like a wide-mouth bass. To this day, I do not remember his name, but I can remember his face and the way he just walked away from me.

This was a fun story with advice to anyone out there who needs help with bullies. Whether you ignore them or stand up for yourself, you must be in charge of your own destiny. They will do everything they can to tear you down if they think they can get away with it. Prove to them that you are stronger. Prove to yourself you are stronger than what anyone says about you.

(photo credit: <a href=”″>School Bus</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>photo credit: <a href=”″>School Bus</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>)