Saturday, December 30, 2006

Happy Holidays, Time For Taxes...

I hope you all enjoyed your winter holiday, whichever one you celebrate. We had a lovely and low-key holiday here--well, low-key except for watching the grandchildren tear into their presents. ;-)

Since I've told you about my new books out, the only other writing-related news is that I'm still finishing up PERILOUS PREDICTION, the novella-length sequel to FATAL FORTUNE. Will keep you posted!

In the meantime, January brings the new year and with it, thoughts of...taxes. Ugghhh. But Julian Block, tax expert extraordinaire, can help you get everything that's coming to you! Here's some info you might find useful:

From "Mauled Again," Prof. James Edward Maule's more than occasional commentary on tax law, legal education, the First Amendment, religion, and law generally, with sporadic attempts to connect all of this to genealogy, theology, music, model trains, and chocolate chip cookies. Copyright 2004-2006 James Edward Maule.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
A Tax Advice Book for People Who Write and Illustrate Books
Julian Block has a tax book hat trick for 2006. Earlier this year, in Tax and Relationships: A Book to Read and Give, I described his "MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE: Savvy Ways For Persons Marrying, Married Or Divorcing To Trim Their Taxes - And They’re Legal." Several months ago, in A New Book on Taxation of Residence Sales: Don't Leave Home Without It, I reviewed Julian's "THE HOME SELLER’S GUIDE TO TAX SAVINGS: Simple Ways For Any Seller To Lower Taxes To The Legal Minimum." Now he brings us "TAX TIPS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES: Savvy Ways For Writers, Photographers, Artists And Other Freelancers To Trim Taxes To The Legal Minimum."

As I mentioned in the two previous reviews, Julian's titles suggest that he is collecting gimmicks, tricks, and ploys with respect to the tax treatment of the selected subject, but the actuality is quite the opposite. What Julian does is to put the spotlight on tax provisions that easily can be overlooked by someone not expertised in taxation. In addition to reminding taxpayers of deductions and credits of which they should be aware, he also spells out in careful detail the common mistakes that taxpayers often make, and why trying for more than the tax law allows is counterproductive. Thus, in his latest effort, Julian begins with an explanation of how difficult it is to demonstrate that activities such as writing, photography, and art constitute trades, businesses, or for-profit activities rather than hobbies.

In this new book, Julian devotes chapters to small business depreciation, health insurance and vehicle deductions for the self-employed, home office deductions, self-employment taxes, net operating losses, and section 1244 stock. He describes the narrow circumstances under which travel expenses for an entrepreneur's spouse can be deducted. He explores the circumstances under which employed of children in a parent's business can be advantageous, and those in which it is not. Practical tips about making payments at the end of the year, keeping records, sending checks to the IRS, extensions of time to file, and making refund claims are covered in five chapters. Julian warns self-employed individuals who hire employees about the risks of failing to withhold and remit employment taxes, a problem that seems to afflict far more people than one would expect.

As with his earlier works, Julian's most recent effort is more suited for the person not schooled in tax law. The many people who start doing business without getting any tax advice, and who for whatever reason do not seek that advice at the outset, would be well advised to buy this book and become acquainted with the tax law parameters affecting writers, photographers, and artists. Doing so would reduce the likelihood of making decisions that generate adverse tax consequences that could have been avoided.

To order a copy, contact Julian Block at 3
Washington Sq., #1-G, Larchmont, NY 10538 or go his website, Or, as was the case with the previous books, email Julian at


So while doing our taxes is never fun, at least Julian's books help us find every deduction we're entitled to. Best of luck!


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

New Books Out!

I haven't written in a while. Too many crises going on in my life to even name. Sheesh. I do have news, though: I have two new books out, and two more coming soon!

SHIVERS AND SCREAMS, VISIONS AND DREAMS is available now from DiskUs Publishing here: Shivers and Screams, Visions and Dreams. It's a paranormal anthology with six novellas by six authors, and includes my story "Restless Spirit."

HOLIDAY MIXER is available from Haypenny Press here: Holiday Mixer. It's a fabulous collection of holiday stories of every type--funny, emotional, and scary, including my short story, "Step On a Crack."

FATAL FORTUNE and PERILOUS PREDICTION, the first two stories in my Lottie Baldwin Mystery Series, will be released soon from Haypenny Press. To get a gander at the fabulous cover art, go here: Fatal Fortune and Perilous Prediction and scroll down to the "New" section.

And finally, ENCHANTED HOLIDAYS will be released on December 21 from Cerridwen Press. It includes six paranormal romance novellas themed around the holidays, including my story "Mistletoe Medium," which is a prequel to FATAL FORTUNE and features Lottie Baldwin. Check out the cover art here: Enchanted Holidays.

How's that for a lot of news?

So, what are YOU up to?


Thursday, October 19, 2006

It Lives!

Okay, I know I haven't posted in a while. It's been a combination of nothing to say, and mostly the fact that I've been out of state four times in the last four weeks. I've spent more time packing and unpacking than just about anything else. Whew! I'm sure glad to be home for a while now.

I do have new release book news to share. I have a new novella out in the paranormal anthology SHIVERS AND SCREAMS, VISIONS AND DREAMS from DiskUs Publishing, and you can check it out here: Just in time for Halloween, a sextet of scary stories. Make sure you keep the nightlight on after reading these...

And, coming soon from Cerridwen Press is the anthology ENCHANTED HOLIDAYS. It will be released on December 21, just in time for the holidays, and includes six paranormal romance novellas, including one of mine. It's not listed yet, but will be soon, and when it is, there will be a link here:

Someday soon I'll update my website so you can see the cover art for both. ;-) In the meantime, I'm working on the sequel to FATAL FORTUNE, called PERILOUS PREDICTION, which will come out from Haypenny Press sometime in the next six months, I hope. Don't have an exact release date yet.

So what's going on in your life? I hope you're enjoying the gorgeous fall colors--at least if you're in a place that has them. I'm soaking them up, just wish I could keep them around forever.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Meeting A Far-Away Reader

Last month I had the opportunity to visit with a reader who had come from farther away than anyone else I'd met: Israel. Now, I can't claim Amy S. came all the way to New Hampshire just to visit me. ;-) But while she was here on vacation with her family, we did have the opportunity to meet and have a great visit at a local spot over a cup of coffee and a sweet treat. She had purchased copies of a couple of my books, which I was glad to sign for her. We also talked about another interest we have in common, knitting. Here's a picture of the two of us:

I've done booksignings, but it's usually locals at those events. I've met readers at conferences and other events, where it's me who's from out of town. But this is my very first opportunity to meet a reader from outside the U.S., and it was great!

A few times in my life, I've had the opportunity to meet someone important to me in one way or another. Probably the most memorable time was when I met Mary Higgins Clark at a writer's conference in Florida. I love her books, and it was such an honor and so exciting to get to shake her hand. I'm sure I stammered and stuttered and in general was less than coherent. ;-)

Do you have stories of meeting a favorite writer, or maybe an actor, singer, artist, or someone else whose work you're familiar with, but not the person? Who did you meet? What was it like? How far did you travel? Share your stories with me!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

In A Funk

I've been in a writing funk lately. Just can't seem to get inspired. Now I know I should just write anyway and bust through it, or maybe try writing on a different project. But so far neither thing is working. Any other suggestions from anyone who's experienced this and worked through it?

In the meantime, FATAL FORTUNE is now available exclusively at Fictionwise, with a new cover designed by my good friend and fellow author Maureen McMahon ( Check it out here:

Don't know if I've posted about the good news yet...the authors of ENCHANTED HOLIDAYS (of which I am one!) have a publisher lined up for our new anthology entitled, SHIVERS AND SCREAMS, VISIONS AND DREAMS. It's DiskUs Publishing, and we're looking forward to the release of the book this fall. More news here when it becomes available.

Spring has sprung here and beautiful flowers are bursting out everywhere. This spring is a real adventure for us, as we moved into this house last September, so we have no idea what's planted. Each new bud and blossom is a lovely surprise. I don't know what many of the plants are, but they're sure pretty! The previous owners did a terrific job of landscaping.

So, how come I can write a blog entry, but not a book? (sigh, eye-roll) Well, I'll keep trying, and if any of you have any tips, I'd love to hear them!

Friday, March 31, 2006

Wedding Picture

Just thought I'd post a quick little photo of my son Mike, his bride Amy, and our granddaughter, Isabel, who was the flower girl. Are they not all gorgeous (or adorable, as the case may be?

The 3,200-mile car trip with Isabel in tow was, frankly, exhausting. But looking at these pictures makes me realize it was all worth it. We finally got to meet our new daughter-in-law, and her family, and it was a chance to be back in Kansas for a bit. Thank goodness the weather behaved nicely while we were there!

So, do you have any family events planned for this spring? Spring is definitely a great time for weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, births, any kind of new beginning. The crocuses are coming up in our garden and it's so lovely and warm today, nearly 70 degrees. Deep breath! Breathe in spring and renewal.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Back To Writing

I finally decided it wasn't right to spend so much time on this, my writing blog, talking about knitting. :-) So, I started a separate knitting blog. If you're a knitter and want to read about my latest projects, visit my new blog at .

I really am anxious to get moving on writing again. Lately I've been tied up with physical therapy to recover from my shoulder surgery, odds and ends still left to do from our move to New Hampshire last fall, helping our daughter and her family move here to New Hampshire and get a job, heading back to Kansas on a 3,200-mile odyssey car trip with our four year old granddaughter to my son Mike's wedding, teaching four online courses with a fifth to start next week...well, you get the idea, I've been busy.


As of today, I'm starting work again on my novella. It's for a paranormal anthology tentatively titled SHIVERS AND SCREAMS, VISIONS AND DREAMS, and the other authors in the anthology include Kim Cox, Chris Grover, Elaine Hopper, Maureen McMahon, and Sheryl Hames Torres. We do have a publisher for the anthology, DiskUs Publishing, but don't have a release date yet. Check back here regularly for the latest updates.

My story for the anthology is titled "Restless Spirit" and involves a woman who's lost her husband and son, a Ouija board, and contact with a mysterious man from the past...

Hope this tantalizes you a bit!

So, what are YOU working on as a spring project?

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Still Knitting

I'm still knitting like crazy, whenever I get time. Here's a picture of my latest completed project, a felted purse, for me this time (yes, it's drying on a radiator--we live in an old house):

I added a snap closure and a gaudy rhinestone pin, and I think it looks pretty cute if I do say so myself.

Now I'm working on a multidirectional scarf, to learn the technique. (Multidirectional knitting allows you to knit in different directions, like triangles or diamonds coming together at different angles, without cutting the yarn or sewing the shapes together. Check out a group on multidirectional knitting here:

I'm also knitting a scarf out of some really interesting yarn (Eros Glitz, check it out here: javascript:popupWindow (''). I'm making the shawl on large needles and just using the garter stitch, so the focus is on the unique yarn itself, not the pattern. I've heard this yarn has been out for years. But coming from a place where the local Walmart was my only yarn store, to a place with a wonderful REAL yarn store (The Woolery, has made me realize how much I've been missing!

And, I'm waiting for a pattern I ordered for another felted purse. Hey, this felting stuff is fun! Here's the pattern: This is a pattern by "Designs by Shelley," and I really like her other designs as well. You can check them out here: I especially like the Jester Bag, and the Flapper Bag and the Fancy Bag here:

What are you working on? What are your hobbies? Do you have a new one you're enthusiastic about, or an old one you still love? Share, share!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Returning To An Old Hobby

In the last month or so, I've returned to a favorite old hobby: knitting.

I first learned to knit when I was five years old. A little young, maybe. But my dad, who worked for the Boy Scouts at that point, had brought us all to Boy Scout Camp for the summer. As you may imagine, there wasn't much for a little girl to do at Boy Scout Camp! My mom was kept busy taking care of my two year old sister, and I think she taught me to knit in self-defense.

I've been knitting ever since. Sometimes with great enthusiasm, and sometimes I put it aside for a while. In recent years I haven't knitted a lot, because the only "yarn store" nearby was the local mass merchandiser, who didn't offer a great deal of variety. I ordered yarn and supplies via the Internet sometimes, but it was tough to choose a yarn you couldn't see and feel before you bought it.

Then, we moved to New Hampshire...and my knitting life changed. Wonder of wonders, there's a yarn store just a few miles away! The first time I walked in there, I was mesmerized by all the different brands of yarn, the colors, the pattern books. I was in heaven.

I bought some wool yarns and made a felted purse for my daughter for Christmas. It's the first time I ever used wool--I was limited to acrylic before. And the first time I've tried felting. It came out great. That's the picture of it above. It was fun to learn something new, and to have wonderful yarns to work with.

Now I'm working on a shawl using the most amazing yarn. It's called Eros Glitz, and you can check it out here:
cYarn.viewYarnImage&yarn_id=000088 (You'll have to cut and paste.)

Hard to tell, but the "yarn" looks like a ladder, with the two long sides made of black and silver thread. The cross bars are very fine, and inbetween them are bands of different shades of purple and blue. At least they are in the color I chose. ;-) The shawl is knitted on size 15 needles, so it's very open and lacy. I'm having a great time with it!

I'm also working on a scarf done in multidirectional knitting. Again, this is something new to me and I'm having fun with it. You can learn more about multidirectional knitting in this book:
Fencoding=UTF8 (again, you'll have to cut and paste) and by joining the associated yahoogroups list. I think this should get you there:

And, I just ordered a great book of "vintage" sock patterns, revised for today's yarns and needles. I've never made socks either, and I think it'll be a fun project. It will be nice to have warm, soft wool socks in cold, wintry New Hampshire!

I also have a sweater I'm working on, but have put it aside for the moment, not only because of the excitement of the new projects, but because it's a bit too heavy to work on while I'm still recovering from my shoulder surgery.

So...are there any knitters out there? What are you working on? Do you have a local yarn store? How about a local knitting group? Let's talk knitting!

Friday, January 06, 2006

Snow and Resolutions

I'm starting to see what it's like to live in the northeast again. Western Kansas was cold in the winter, with nasty wind chills...the wind always blows there. But it was dry, so there was little precipitation of any kind. New Hampshire doesn't have much wind, but there's a LOT of rain and snow. We got about four inches this week over the space of two storms, and I just love it. Above is a picture from the most recent storm. I suppose the novelty will wear off, especially the "novelty" of having to put on boots and scrape my car every time I leave the house. But for now, it's an wintry fairyland and I'm enchanted.

Have all of you made your New Year's resolutions? Are they the same ones you always make? I find I tend to make the same ones every year, and the reason is because I never keep them, so I start over in January. I'll eat better, I'll exercise more, I'll be kind to everyone and won't lose my temper. Sound familiar?

This year, I'm doing something different. One of the things that distresses me in life is having panic attacks. They come on like gangbusters with all the Kansas thunderstorms that can morph into tornadoes, so I'm endlessly thankful to have moved to a tornado-less spot. The others--flying, hospitals, IVs/needles, driving in city traffic, getting lost while driving in city traffic--are still here and have to be dealt with on occasion. I can avoid flying, but I can't avoid surgery. In fact, I have to have some rather nasty shoulder surgery in two weeks.

So, my resolution this year is to try to tell myself, when panic looms, that at least it's not a life-threatening situation. (And to try to forget that sometimes, things like airplanes, hospitals and city traffic CAN be life-threatening.) The odds are with me that I'll survive all these things, and if I can just convince myself of that up front, I'll eliminate a LOT of stress.

Are you making any new resolutions this year? What are they?