Do you like Christmas letters? I do. But I know a lot of people don’t. They see them as permission slips to brag about … well, everything. Family, jobs, pets, vacations—if something great happened, chances are it will be covered in the Christmas letter. The past couple years, I’ve seen fewer Christmas letters, and some…

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Writing is a solitary act. What happens between a writer and the page is personal. My kids tease me about going down the rabbit’s hole when I go downstairs to write, but it’s a pretty accurate description. With each step, the real world recedes. The laundry disappears, the grading disappears, the grocery list disappears. Copper…

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Every semester, I tell my students how important school is, yet sometimes my words fall on deaf ears. I state it as strongly as possible: college can change your life. But for students who’ve always known college was in their future, it’s hard for them to understand. For me, it was much easier. I graduated from…

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“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” I could have uttered the best-loved first line myself. Though it’d been years since I read the novel, I instantly remembered. Manderley. How could I ever forget? I returned to Rebecca for its strong sense of place. I, like the novel’s characters, am enchanted with the setting.…

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Recently, my family and I traveled to the Black Hills, a 365 mile drive across the state. I always look forward to the trek though I’m not sure why. I’ve made the drive many times, and not much has changed. I stop at the same places I did with my parents years ago on summer…

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Last weekend, I attended Malice Domestic, a conference for traditional mysteries in Bethesda, MD, where writers and readers discuss topics related to the genre. If you’re considering attending a conference or wonder what happens during a typical weekend, read on! Being a relatively new author, I’m always curious about what conferences work, and by “work”…

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I’m so excited to announce book three, A Very Merry Murder, coming in October 2018!  It’s December in Copper Bluff, and from hillside to hallowed hall, everyone is merry—or will be as soon as semester break arrives. Students are studying, professors are grading, and Emmeline Prather is anticipating the university-sponsored holiday concert. Friend and colleague…

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The March saying goes, “In like a lion, out like a lamb” or “In like a lamb, out like a lion.” But what happens when it’s lion in and lion out? South Dakota weather can feel that way some days. Well before the snow melts, I’m looking for a small sprout or seed to plant,…

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F. Scott Fitzgerald once wrote in a letter, “I love her, and that’s the beginning and end of everything.” He was, of course, talking about his own dear Zelda. February is the perfect month to celebrate love letters such as the ones between Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. Unlike valentines, letters go beyond holiday love to…

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A long-lost relative, a trampoline gun, or a hero named Jack? Why not read a mystery with all three! Today on my blog, I’m sharing Andy White’s short story “The Mystery of the Space Bombings.” Andy White is the winner of my 6th Grade Writing Workshop Contest at St. Katharine Drexel in Sioux Falls, SD. Please…

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