Sipping up the Summer

two shot glasses filled with lemon juice

All this summer I’ll be building a lemonade list. In The Lemonade Year, Nina is a food photographer shooting for a book called 32 Ways to Make Lemonade. She’s having her own lemonade year and it will take a twist or two to get it right.

Enjoy numbers 4-7 on the list.

#4 Blueberry Lemonade Float

#5 Mango Coconut Lemonade Slushy

#6 Rosé Lemonade

#7 Dragon Fruit Lemonade

Watch the video here and get all the recipes below it. (The video does them in a different order, but this is how they are written below it. A little strange, but the funky music makes up for it.)

Get the whole lists as it builds over at Lemonade 32 Ways 

Drink up and stay tuned for more!



Independent Bookstore Day Shout Out: Hub City

Hub City Bookshop!

I was thrilled to get to read in this shop along with fantastic author Elaine Neil Orr. One of my favorite things about doing this tour has been meeting other authors, especially seasoned ones who have wisdom to share with this newbie.

It was my pleasure to spend the afternoon in this lovely shop and to get to sign their author wall. Check out their store and the whole Hub City Writers Project!

Independent Bookstore Day Shout out: Scuppernong Books

The very first reading that I did for The Lemonade Year tour was at this amazing little store. Friend and fellow Press 53 author, Steve Mitchell is co-owner of this indie. I read on Friday the 13th and it was fantastic. This first official leg of the journey set a great tone for the whole tour. I was able to stay with friends, Dave and Judi Hill, whom Greensboro, NC would not be the same without, and I was honored to have some Wildacres Writers Workshop faces in the crowd.

It was a lovely experience. Come visit Scuppernong Books in Greensboro, NC

Independent Bookstore Day Shout Out: Bookmarks

Oh my, Bookmarks! This bookstore had me at hello. The second stop along my tour was a gem. Tucked in what seems like an alley in the heart of downtown Winston, Salem, I had to hunt this shop out a bit, but man, when I found it I didn’t want to leave.

You walk through a little alcove and then step out into to light to see this amazing little brick store hiding there like a treasure. Inside, wait for it… there are books and beer. Folks. Books and beer. Two of my favorite things in one place. A haven.

But seriously, I can’t tell you how much I loved this reading. The chairs were filled and the faces were smiling. My Press 53 family was there and I got to spend the afternoon with a friend and ZTA sister I hadn’t seen in far too long. (Laura, it was worth the trip, just to see you!)

I’m getting a little choked up thinking about this reading.

Kevin Watson, editor of Press 53 has been such a champion of my writing and having my story collection published with him was an important milestone for which I will always be grateful. (Check them out!)

I had such fun at this reading. Laughs all around. It goes down as one of the best for me! Thank you, Bookmarks and all my friends in Winston! I love you dearly!


Independent Bookstore Day Shout Out: Quail Ridge Books

My next shout out goes to one of the most beautiful bookstores I’ve been in: Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, NC.

This shop is an oasis. You think you’re in any given strip of shops, busy streets, big parking lot.. then you go inside and you call home and tell them to pack your things and ship them on the next FedEx truck. Ok, I didn’t do that, but I thought about it. (Quail Ridge, ever think about turning a supply room into a tiny B&B (bed and book) for writers to hole up and work. I’d sign up!)

This reading was extra special because there were so many friends there that it was like a little reunion. I had the pleasure of reading with friend and author, Leah Weiss. Friend, Mamie Potter–Miss Quail Ridge herself was there (what a great place to work), and friends I don’t see often enough sat in the audience.

I can’t wait to get back to this shop!

Independent Bookstore Day: Page 158

My next shout out is to Page 158 Books in Wake Forest. I cannot speak highly enough about Sue Lucey and the staff of Page 158. I had one of the best reading experiencing of my life at this shop.

First off, they have wine… just kidding! They do, but that wasn’t what made it wonderful. When a bookseller falls in love with your book and comes to reading with post-it flags sticking out all through the pages and can quote passages of the story to you… well, there’s not much better than that.

Sue and Page 158 Books have been such a crazy-amazing champion of The Lemonade Year, and I am forever grateful. Thank you! My heart is yours! (T-Rex had a great time, too!)


Independent Bookstore Day Shout out: The Country Bookshop

My next shout out is to a great indie, The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, NC. I had a wonderful time at this store. This whole section of town was fantastic. It’s like a dream. Really. Peaceful streets with gorgeous shops–there was even a dry goods store than had a little tribute out front for the book. (Ok, accidental coincidence, but still.)

I had never been to Southern Pines before and honestly, I thought I wasn’t going to find it. My semi-intelligent phone has a GPS feature, but it’s doesn’t always know where I am, so giving me directions to where I’m going sometimes proves wonky. I had to go old school and us the original GPS: fervent prayer to God to help me find where I was going.

He got me there. If you have never been to this town and to this store, please go. Make a day of it. I wish I had had more time to spend there. I would love to have strolled the streets and the shops letting time fall away the way you can in towns like that.

Hmm, sounds like I need to plan a road trip…. T-Rex, pack your bags.

Indie Bookstore Day Shout Out: Malaprop’s

April 27th, 2019 is National Independent Bookstore Day: I’ll be posting about some of my favorites! Not only are these great shops, they are stops along my book tour from last year, so I’ll be posting some pics and memories from the trip. Join me today for a virtual tour of some great bookstores!

First stop: Malaprop’s Bookstore and Cafe!

I was overjoyed to have the launch of my first novel in my very own local store, my happy place, and my home away from home. It was wonderful!

The wonderful Caroline and Lauren of Gold Leaf Literary helped me set up the tour and worked with Malaprop’s to prepare the most gorgeous book launch.

You can find me often sitting in “my office” (the cafe) writing on a current project or making this post, for instance. I love this store!

Come visit this amazing pillar of the community in Downtown Asheville, NC!

The Road From There to Here

The long and Winding Road

Life really never goes as planned. Well, it doesn’t go the way I plan it, that is. I’ve spoken before about my overall publishing journey and learning to let God be in control. I mean he is already right? A friend once said to me, “I just need to let Jesus take the wheel.” I commented back to her that he already had it, she just needed to let go. I’m one that likes to grip that wheel, so I speak from experience.

Today, I want to share the publishing journey of The Lemonade Year.  My agent, Julie Gwinn, had actually signed me on a different novel, but in the course of shopping that one around, she asked if I had anything else.  I did. The Lemonade Year. I dusted it off and sent it out. Then I went back to life as I lived it. (Writer’s tip: work while you’re waiting. Live while you’re waiting. You’re going to do a lot of waiting.)

marketing office working business

The Call

Then one day, Julie called.

Called unscheduled.

Hmm, I thought, this could be news. It was.  Shadow Mountain Publishing had made an offer on The Lemonade Year! This was the call I had dreamed about. My first novel was about to be bought. I was elated. I was also alone. No one was home. So, after I jumped around in my bedroom for a minute, I finished the laundry and waited for people to come home.  ( Writer’s tip: Remember that you’re in the passenger seat for much of the ride. You can’t reach the gas pedal from there. That’s ok! The controls on this vehicle are sometimes beyond your scope of experience. That’s why you’re with a publisher. Let them drive. They know what they’re doing.)


Life keep rolling, and while I was waiting on the contract to get finalized and sent to my agent, I went camping at Lake Michigan with my family. A campsite with no cell service, no internet, no nothing. (Then again, you’re camping, you don’t need those things.) Of course, that’s when the contract came through. I happened to see the message when I went out for supplies. So my daughters and I set off in an and unfamiliar town to find anywhere that had a printer and a scanner. We got lost, turned around, lost again, laughed a bunch and then found a Staples. I got the contract, printed, signed, and sent in.


I had been waiting for my turn to post one of those “contract signing” pictures that I saw other writers share. They always looked so professional: Them at their dinning room table, or on their patio, or surrounded by friends at their writers group. I was at Staples rocking some “camp hair’… and it was fantastic!

Well, then, it got real. There were notes and edits and deadlines, of my! There were scenes to change and adjustments to make. Suddenly, I was “on deadline”—another thing I had longed for. I always wanted to say, “I’m so sorry, I can’t do lunch today, I’m on deadline.”

day electronics gadgets grass

Everyone brings their laptop camping, right?

So, I packed my laptop up (yes, I had brought it camping, of course) and went off in search of somewhere to work. It might not have seemed ideal on the face of it, but I loved every minute. I loved going to the bagel place to put In a couple hours of work and then going back to the camp site with my family. They were happily playing with cousins (annual week-long, extended family reunion), swimming in the lake, taking naps in the tent and riding bikes around the park, and I was getting some needed alone time and meeting my brand-new deadline. (Writer’s tip: Be open to suggestions from your editor. He or she has done this a time or two after all. You’re a team now and your best novel is everyone’s goal.)

Flash forward, the book came out the following April and that following August, I found myself back the campsite. It felt like I’d come full circle as that summer I had the actual book in hand and was even back at the bagel shop, writing again in the same city where I had signed my contract and my dream had started on a new leg of its journey to reality.

I am often asked if there were changes I had to make to the novel that I was not happy with. I happily say, not a one.  I loved my publishing journey from start to finish. I have the best agent (Julie Gwinn), the most amazing editor (Lisa Mangum) who totally gets my style and who made all the right calls on changes and edits, and a wonderful publishing house (Shadow Mountain Publishing) that has been so supportive. It’s been an honor.

Then there was you! Thank you so very much to everyone who has read this novel and been so encouraging. I love to hear people tell me that they have fallen in love with this story.  All my love to you! It’s been a wonderful ride so far!