A Wish for the New Year

This quote by the inimitable Mr. Gaiman passed my eyes recently and wanted to share.

“I hope you will have a wonderful year, that you’ll dream dangerously and outrageously, that you’ll make something that didn’t exist before you made it, that you will be loved and that you will be liked, and that you will have people to love and to like in return. And, most importantly (because I think there should be more kindness and more wisdom in the world right now), that you will, when you need to be, be wise, and that you will always be kind.” ~ Neil Gaiman

There is nothing I don’t love about this sentiment. As an enthusiasm aficionado, believer in kindness and being helpful, and a creative human constantly seeking wisdom, I would like to send this very same hope out into the world. Here’s to quashing cynicism with hope, trying new things, making some meaningful goals to strive for, and treating your life like an adventure.

Athbhliain faoi shéan agus faoi shona duit. 

Irish Flag

(A prosperous and happy New Year to you.)

Be safe out there.

– Corinne

Fab New YA: Island Fire by Toby Neal

I received an advance copy of Island Fire by Toby Neal in exchange for an honest review. I am super excited to share it with you!


In her first foray into books for young adults, Neal hits this one out of the park! Filled with the lush details that make you feel like you’re there on the tropical island yourself, Island Fire transports you to the small island of Lanai, when a freak disaster causes all technology to fail. An airplane falls from the sky, what little there is on the island is in flames, and Bea, her brother Sam, crash-surviving pick-pocket, Nick, and islander Jaden find themselves together, trying to stay alive. With fully developed characters who must work together to overcome real obstacles, this very visual adventure story simply flies.

I loved the relationship between Bea and Sam, and thought the dragon ‘aumakua was a fabulous addition to the story. Looking forward to more in this series!

What would you do if all technology failed? 

From the Blurb: 

In the very near future, on the tiny island of Lanai, teens from very different worlds must find a way to survive when technology is destroyed.

Bea and Sam, Hawaiian kids isolated by a paranoid, alcoholic father, are thrown together with orphaned big-city pickpocket Nick when a disaster fries all technology. Aided by a mysterious `aumakua dragon that may or may not be Bea’s imaginary friend, the kids face fire, plane crashes, gangs, pit bulls, thieves, sharks, hunger, thirst and abuse in a coming-of-age that explores a post-technology world where only the strong and connected survive.

ISLAND FIRE BY TOBY NEAL – Suitable for ages 10-100!

Raves from Advance Readers:

“Island Fire is another fantastic page turner from Toby Neal. It sucked me in until the very end and I feel like I know each of the characters personally. I still have goosebumps thinking of everything. Definitely a must-read!” ~Sophia, age 17

“My only complaint is that once again I am sleep deprived because I cannot put down your books. With Island Fire, I tried to go to sleep two nights ago, and I just kept thinking about what might happen and I finally had to read more. This is always the sign of a wonderful book, that the reader is so engrossed, so deeply enmeshed in the story and so invested that it is impossible to stop reading.” F. Pepoon

“Island Fire….unbelievable…I loved every moment of it. I was imagining seeing this in theaters and casting in my head!” G.Schneider

“Deep, fast-paced, filled with action, suspense, and heart, this little book is huge inside!” – B. Morrison, middle school teacher

Island Fire, a young adult novel, is now available on
Amazon   iBookstore  Barnes and Noble  Kobo  Page Foundry

Toby author photo 2 (1)Toby Neal is also the Author of the Lei Crime Series.  Toby Neal grew up on the island of Kaua`i in Hawaii. After a few “stretches of exile” to pursue education, the islands have been home for the last fifteen years. Toby is a mental health therapist, a career that has informed the depth and complexity of the characters in her books. Outside of work and writing, Toby volunteers in a nonprofit for children and enjoys life in Hawaii through beach walking, body boarding, scuba diving, photography and hiking.  Find out more at her website.

It’s Snowing Again (again!) – #dejavu2014

As we close out the year, I thought it would be fun to take part in DL Hammons‘ and Nicole Zoltack’s Deja Vu Blogfest, where you sign up and agree to post a blog from earlier this year that you especially liked, or that you felt deserved more attention. Check out the list of bloggers and take a trip down memory lane, or maybe find something new-to-you!


I chose this poem to share because I remember so vividly the morning I wrote it. It was back in February on an especially quiet morning and I found myself feeling like I was in that magical place between busy moments where the peace was palpable. My big goal ahead of me is to get seriously organized, and reading this post brought back that quiet mental moment that I crave, and which makes me feel like I can accomplish anything.


It’s Snowing Again


It’s snowing again.
The world feels small
and tidy… simple
through my morning window.

It’s snowing again.
The day feels slow
and manageable… simple
over the top of my steaming mug.

It’s snowing again.
The house feels quiet
and secluded… simple
and blank, ready for anything.

Living Your Own Dream – IWSG

Happy December! It’s the first Wednesday of the month, and that means it’s time for my first-ever post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. Shout out to Alex J. Cavanaugh, who created this amazing group of insecure writer/bloggers which has been going strong for years!


Today, I want to talk about dreams, goals, and expectations.

At the beginning of November, I shared a quote here by Elizabeth Gilbert about not living someone else’s dream. She shares some beautifully insightful things on her facebook page, and many of them resonate with me, but this one… it’s a great post about choices and letting go of what other people want for you. I haven’t stopped thinking about it since. I realized the reason why is because I’m insecure about the choices I’m making.

It’s so easy to get caught up in other people’s expectations. To measure the “right path” based on what the rest of the world says I should be doing. I’ve always been one to follow my gut and my heart, and allow the Universe to steer me on my path without that niggling concern. I don’t usually worry about expectations. But now that I’ve decided to publish my book, a lot of my life has shifted. I find there are a million things I “should be doing”, according to those in the know. I should be working to market it, to track sales, to build, and build, and strategize and plan and network and become prolific in order to have “success.”  There is so much advice! How is anyone supposed to know which guidance to follow?  What does success look like when you’re just starting out?

So far, I’ve been allowing myself to take the time to explore and test the waters of different roads, unwilling (unable?) to fire all pistons. I’ll be honest, I worry about burning out. I worry about turning something I love into a chore. I worry that giving myself permission to slow things down is the wrong move, that I’m missing something important. I worry about sharing this so openly!

I guess I’ve got some stuff to think on, and let go of.

It’s good to have something to work on.



Mission: Organized Writing Life

I was talking to a friend of mine recently about the things I have been up to lately. It wasn’t one of those “I am soooo busy!” conversations. Because seriously, nobody wants to hear that. The way I see it, we’re all ridiculously over-busy and this isn’t a contest, it’s life. I was simply sharing and complaining and being excited about all the various things that are happening with my life and my family at the moment, as you do. Her response was the same thing she says whenever we talk about our goings-on: “I don’t know how you do it all.”  To this I usually scoff and roll my eyes and move on to talk about other things.

Because, truly, half the time I have no idea how I get it all done. This past month—the entire month of November—has felt like a complete write-off as I dealt with a respiratory plague that really knocked me out. I’m still recovering! But when I look back at the month of November, things still got done.

Despite my illness and my absolute inability to stay on track with NaNoWriMo, I still managed to:

  • write my monthly blog posts for This Dark Matter, (there’s a super fab contest going on over there, btw)
  • maintain a marketing schedule for book 1,
  • plot a bunch of book 2,
  • post some flash fiction on my new Wattpad account,
  • read two books
  • stay up to speed on my classwork (thank goodness for online classes!),
  • maintain the planning and prep schedule for my nonprofit’s annual event coming next weekend,
  • help a friend at a 3-day trade show,
  • help another friend with her website,
  • get a holiday project that I’ve been thinking about for 2 years underway,
  • keep four kids and a hectic home life generally up to speed (super shout-out to my awesome husband for picking up the major slack).

Like I said, my point in sharing this isn’t to humble brag about being so busy. My point is that while it wasn’t pretty all the time, and while this past month has been a comedy of errors and reacting and shooting from the hip and yes, even total blunders… despite all that – it all got done. 

So that got me thinking back to the times when I was healthy and things were rolling and totally on fire around here. The times when I was mindful about planning and being proactive, and how the level of productivity was stunning and incredibly satisfying. I’d like to get back to that. I’m going to get back to that. I plan to document my adventure here. And I’d love for you to join me! We can do it together!

I’m not talking about the Martha Stewart Pinterest-perfect photos of a writing life. Even if that was truly attainable, it isn’t sustainable—not for me. I’m talking about finding practical methods and building usable systems to make things simpler so writing can happen. I’m talking about getting the admin of life out of my head and moving back into that magical place where ideas are channeled and creativity flows. I know it’s possible to get there… I’ve been there many times. But now I want to stay there. I want to dig a groove so deep it’s really hard to slip out.

Consider this a new manifesto about my plan. I’m making myself accountable by putting it out in public. This isn’t a year-end resolution. This is a deliberate no-excuses movement toward something better, simpler, and mentally uncluttered.

This is about tapping into the magic.

Who’s with me!?  Click here to sign up for my Mission: Organized Writing Life newsletter.

*grabs torch and dips it into the roaring bonfire*


*runs screaming down the beach, wind in her hair and sand in her toes*