Category Archives: About the Books

Softball Addict


This week kicked off the SEC softball tournament which equates to: Cheryl ain’t gettin’ crap done this week. I grew up in SEC country, went to an SEC university (while rooting for a different SEC university…Geaux Tigers!), and foam at the mouth every spring for the start of SEC softball.

The beauty of being an SEC fan is that I’m happy regardless of who wins, yes, even if it’s Ole Miss. As a Mississippi State alum, I am required by Mississippi law to despise Ole Miss. I am faithful to abide by that law for all sports except softball. I love watching Ole Miss lose a football game. But give me a great softball game and I can forgive you for even being Ole Miss.

The SEC tourney starts the post season that leads into regional tourneys, super regional tourneys, and on to the NCAA College Softball World Series. Yes, I’m an addict. Yes, I probably need help. I’m sure I’ll get it after the softball world series is over. Yep, uh huh, just like I did last year.

The good news is the games aren’t on every single day of the week. If so, I’d have to take 2 months of vacation. I do still write on my days off of work, but my productivity does take a hit. Oh well.

I’m in MD this week, off to VA tomorrow, back to MD on Sunday, and home to ME on Thursday. More importantly, the SEC tourney continues with three remaining games today, semi finals tomorrow, and the final on Saturday.  When it comes to softball, I’m a happy addict.

The Blue Horse

denver horse

If you’re going to sculpt a gigantic horse statue, it might as well be blue with glowing red eyes. Why not? Pictured above is the fella on a wee hill on your way in to the Denver airport. My brain was goo when I flew into Denver last week late at night, but when I was heading back out on Sunday, I got to see him. Apparently there is a bit of history behind this particular pony that you can look up online. I’m just completely captivated by his color.

Love horses. Love blue. Yes, I wanted to take him home with me. He was a little too big to fit in the carry on though since he’s over 30 feet tall. He’d look amazing in my front yard.

Thursday, from Maine to Colorado, ended up being a 14 hour travel day. That amount of time is a round tripper to the UK from the east coast. The good part about that long, grueling day is that the wifi on the plane crapped out. Why would a 4 hour flight be good when you can’t get to any movies on your tablet? Because it opens up time for writing.

I pulled out my tablet and went to town with my stylus jotting notes. The few notes turned into more notes which grew into me creating multiple files and folders to hold said notes. These notes are the early pieces of laying out my next novel. I don’t have all the pieces in place yet, but I know the beginning and I know the ending.

For me, I have to know the ending before I can start writing. I can’t just get in a car and drive. I need to know where I’m going even if I don’t know how I’m going to get there. Writing is the same way for me. I might not know all the middle pieces and parts, but if I have the ending, I know where I’m going. Getting there becomes the journey.

Here’s what I know about this next story:

1. Female protagonist

2. The beginning

3. The ending

4. Will be geared more for an adult audience (rated PG 13 to R)

5. SciFi/Fantasy genre

It doesn’t look like much, but for me, it’s a gold mine with oodles of potential. :)

P.S. My Dad is neck deep in the 5th book right now. He told me today that he thought my mind was highly creative and a bit squirrely. I told him I absolutely agreed except that my mind had more than just a touch of squirrel in it. I’m in my head a lot. It can be a kooky place to be!

On the Grid, Off the Grid

11-6-2013 6-49-11 AMAs planned, the Campbells swooped in and descended on the deep south, obliterated a swath of food for the festivities, then scattered to head home back to the routine until next year.  I figure a good 12 months or so gives the region time to recover. We had a 50th Anniversary wedding vows renewal, a wet game of kickball, a truck stuck in the mud, and no arrests (that I know of or will admit to). It was a good reunion.

In my return to work travel and general shenanigans, I resumed my usual bouncing on and off the grid. I’m currently on a two week stint in Maryland for work and am enjoying a couple of days off to recoup from a hectic work schedule. Going from night shift to day shift on 3 hours of sleep in between the shift flip causes sluggishness, slurred speech, and drooling during the day. Go figure.

I continue to chip away at the rewrites of the first book, The Monster Within. To answer a few FAQs I get asked when I mention my plans with the first book, here we go:

  • No, I’m not changing the story. That all stays the same for characters and plot points and such.
  • Yes, I am rearranging chapters, culling out unnecessary exposition, and clarifying certain pieces of the story.
  • Yes, I have a bit of OCD.

After my tweaks are done, including a possible new cover, I will release the ebook as a free download. I will let you know when that happens, but don’t get all antsy over thinking the free release is imminent. I still have a few months to go before everything is complete.

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Gloriously Clueless


I invented this short phrase to describe myself a couple of months ago when relaying to a friend the new adventures headed my way in regards to stepping up publishing and agent hunts and such. I honestly don’t have a bloody clue what or how to do those things, hence, … gloriously clueless. I’ve always been a big fan of “winging it” so the phrase is quite fitting.

During my grad school time when I was out living in a tent and doing my research on island populations of garter snakes, I drove friends, family, and coworkers mad with my lack of knowledge on some things. These things being like where I planned to sleep for the night. I had my truck, I had my tent, and I didn’t necessarily need to know which campground I’d visit that night or which couch I’d crash on. One night while working in the ED one of the other nurses asked where I was staying that night. I told her I didn’t know yet. It was 9pm, I didn’t get off work till 11pm, so I still had time to figure it out. She was mortified by my answer.

Here’s the thing, there was zero stress on me about figuring out where I was going to sleep at night. There were always campgrounds available all around Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park. I knew where the more hidden ones were and never had trouble getting a tent site for one night or a few days before I headed back out to the smaller islands to continue my research. Other people might find that horribly stressful, but I didn’t.

As for what will happen once I launch into the agent/publishing realm, I haven’t a clue, and that is OK. I see it as a coming adventure where I don’t know where I’m going or where I’ll end up or how I will get there. It’s just details at this point. No point in stressing over the unknowns. That crap will make you crazy, and I have enough crazy stored up already.

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Boston Awards Ceremony


This past Saturday I made my trip down to Boston to the New England Book Festival awards ceremony. Burnt Mountain Rhyllia, the 4th in the 5 book series, received an award for winner of the SciFi category of the festival.  I am beyond ecstatic!

I had a wonderful time at the festival and met several great authors from around the US. To see the list of all the winners in the 2016 New England festival, click here.

The most notable thing that I learned a few months ago about these awards, and also conveyed to the other winners there on Saturday during my wee acceptance speech, was that these awards, including honorable mentions, are a big deal. We wrote a work that we put into a contest for critique and to be compared to other works. To come out of that process with an award is exactly how an author obtains critical acclaim.

I had never previously considered myself a critically acclaimed author, but that’s exactly what these awards mean. I am thankful for the patient person that pointed this fact out to me and even took the time to explain it to me a second time, and more slowly, to make sure I understood. Once that sank in, I realized how much I’d underestimated my previous honorable mentions. Never said I was smart! :)

So during my wee speech, I relayed this reality to my fellow winners, most of them first time winners and also those underestimating the festival’s significance. A publisher in attendance thanked me after the ceremony for reiterating what she had been trying to get her client, another award winner that night, to understand. Cool stuff for sure!

Photo above by another winner, Jared C, with my phone, Jan 2017.