Welcoming Phoenix

This month, my husband and I celebrated our one year anniversary with a road trip.We both love road trips. Yes, flying is easier, but when you miss all that beautiful country along the way? Totally not worth it.

Especially when you’re traveling in Colorado. We drove down to Mesa Verde for the weekend, and the trip through the mountains was incredible. I always forget how much I love Colorado until we actually take the time to drive around, and then I can’t get enough of it. Especially when the aspens are turning yellow in the fall.


Despite the fact that I managed to catch a cold right before we left and that I had deadlines hanging over my head that I wasn’t able to complete before we drove away, we had a marvelous time. Mesa Verde National Park was gorgeous and wonderful and everything I wanted it to be, and thankfully, the day we drove through it was overcast and cool. We even sneaked a quick step over the border to New Mexico while we were driving. You know, so we could say we went out of state for our anniversary.

On Sunday, our plan had originally been to lounge around and make our way home at our leisure. Instead, we set an alarm and hurried out as quickly as we could pack up our car.

Something came up, you see.Allow me to explain. A year ago, on our honeymoon, we met the sweetest, gentlest greyhound. She lived at the Bed and Breakfast we stayed at, and both of us fell head over heels in love with her. And for the past year, we have been planning and researching and preparing to adopt our own greyhound. Just as soon as we could find one.

They’re not easy to adopt, you know. There are waiting lists to join. And enormous crates to buy. And space to make.

But at the beginning of this month, we finally took the plunge. And on Sunday, we drove the 7 hours to Denver to join an adoption party for greyhounds. They had probably 20 dogs their backyard, and they told us to walk around, mingle, and find a dog that we connected with.

Great! All fun.

Except none of the adult greyhounds would give us the time of day. I have never been so snubbed by so many dogs before in my entire life. They were friendly with all the other couples there—just not us.

And then we met Phoenix.

She liked us. And we liked her. A LOT.

But—and this was a big but, especially for me—she was a puppy. Three months old. And I was determined that we were going to adopt an adult, not a puppy. I don’t have time for a puppy. I work from home, full-time, and puppies have WAY too much energy.

Spoiler alert, we now have a puppy.

And she has way too much energy.

But we love her, and she’s here to stay! Meet Phoenix!

Any tips for surviving a new puppy? Tell me about them in the comments!

Autumn Books

Every year, I get way too excited about fall.

Annoyingly excited, actually.

I’m one of those people who plans out my autumn before it starts, just so I can be sure to get everything I want to done before winter blows in. This is the first year I’ve actually written down my list, but I think it’s going to be a yearly tradition.

How else am I supposed to plan for all my corn maze excursions and the hot apple cider bonfires?

But the very first list I always make is my autumn reading list.

It’s vitally important.

Some books just have a certain time of year attached to them, and what is autumn without a few ghostly stories and some thrillers packed into it? This year, I got a bit of a jump on my reading list, mostly because I barely read at all this summer. The combination of a new business, a month-long vacation, and a long illness put a huge dent in my usually lengthy finished-reading list, and this fall, I’m determined to make up for it.

I started with Death on the Nile, by Agatha Christie.

What better way to start an autumn reading list than with a murder mystery? Agatha Christie is one of my all-time favorite authors, and Hercule Poirot is my favorite of her characters. It felt very right to start off with this particular book. It has a chilling element of evil to it that captures that creepy, ghostly autumn vibe perfectly.

Sherlock Holmes has been on my list too lately. His books perfectly capture that rainy day kind of feel, and the minute I started The Hound of the Baskervilles, I knew it was just the right book for my reading list this year. Gloomy, dark, suspenseful, and with just the right amount of intrigue and action to make a good mystery. I’m a big fan of all the Sherlock Holmes novels, but this one is by far my favorite.

I have a few others on my list as well. Coraline, by Neil Gaiman. Frankenstein, Dracula, A Wrinkle in Time. Possibly The Witches and Anne of Green Gables too, if I can find the time. I have to remember not to let the list get too long, or I won’t have time for my Christmas reads this year either.

That’s another list I’ll be making soon. In a few months.

What are you reading this autumn? Tell me about it in the comments!

Woodpiles and Coziness

Is anyone else terrified of the idea of winter this year?

I am.

Just a little bit.

I am the kind of person who is cold. All the time. I sleep under a heavy blanket in the middle of summer, and my wonderful, loving husband is constantly shocked by my ability to have cold hands no matter where we are or what is happening.

Last year, I’m pretty sure I almost froze.

To be honest, there are things that I really like about winter. Hot chocolate, fuzzy socks, warm fires, cozy soups—because soup in the summertime just hits different—and even the occasional snowstorms. Really, it’s just the wind that I resent. And the freezing days were the sun is shining down on our frigid world and mocking me by pretending to be warm. And the icy roads. And snow inside my socks. And . . .

You get the idea.

I’m pretty sure that I’ll have warmed up to the idea of winter by the time it actually gets to us, but until then I am enjoying our crisp fall days, the changing leaves, the glorious weather . . . and my husband’s and my current project of attempting to construct the largest woodpile known to mankind.

Okay, not the largest.

Maybe the second largest, or something like that.

Basically, we heat our little cabin in the woods with a wood-burning stove. And unless we want to be out foraging for wood at 17 degrees Fahrenheit— we do not—we need to drag all the dead branches and old logs out of the woods around our house, chop them up, and build an enormous woodpile that will last until spring arrives.

This usually takes more than a single weekend.

In fact, it’s been going on for several weekends now, and probably will continue until winter comes knocking. It might possibly go a tad bit faster if we were the kind of people who chopped trees down for firewood, the way they always seem to in books and movies, but in real life, that’s a no-no, unless the tree was dead anyway.

In Colorado, trees grow about an inch every year. We have several trees on our gorgeous property that are probably several hundred years old, and you don’t chop down a three hundred year old tree just because you need firewood.

Not unless you’re a psychopath, anyway.

So, we’ve just been picking up the windfall and using up the trees that die and have to be cut down so they don’t fall unexpectedly. It seems like kind of a pain, but really, when it’s all finished, a good woodpile is the perfect way to get into a wintery mood. We can see ours out the front door, and it gives me a kind of safe, cozy feeling that makes winter feel less intimidating and more like something to look forward to.

As long as we can get it finished before it starts to snow.

How are you getting ready for winter this year? Tell me about it in the comments!

Building a Business

Did I tell you all that I’m officially a business owner?

I’m a business owner.

What a weird thing to say. I am, after all, all of about five years old, and definitely don’t know the first thing about business or management or what might go into a sales report.

And yet, I have my own business. Story Nook Productions. It’s even registered with the state of Colorado, which means that it’s very official and grown up, which is odd, considering that I never set out to be a business owner. When I was little, I wanted to be an archeologist.

Have I ever told any of you that?

Yep, I was going to find clay pots and use a paintbrush to unearth the most amazing discoveries and probably live in Egypt or somewhere equally far away and fantastic.

The fact that I was terrified of skeletons and mummies and anything bone related didn’t bother me in the least. I just figured that I would leave those discoveries to other people. We don’t all have to find mummies, you know. Some of us can dig up clay pots, and that’s fine too.

Since I was about ten and didn’t know what an archeologist did for a living or even how to become one, that dream fell by the wayside. So did my plans to become a missionary, own my own ranch, manage an orphanage, and own a bookstore that doubles as an ice-cream shop.

Secretly, I’m still holding onto the bookstore/ice-cream shop idea.

It would be the perfect match for me. I love books and I love ice-cream. What could go wrong?

Melted ice-cream and bankruptcy come to mind, but I’m trying not to think too deeply about that.

But, for the moment, I own a business. I sell stories.

Lately, I’ve been swamped with work. I am still selling as many scripts as I can possibly bang out to the radio show that I’ve been working with for the past two years. I’ve also, just recently, sold a short story to a magazine that asked me to submit to them. They thanked me very nicely, said the check would be in the mail asap, and asked if I might like to sell them stories regularly.

I said yes very professionally, after I finished dancing around my kitchen and telling every single person in my family just how proud they could be of me.

Selling stories is kind of an odd business. I do my taxes, keep track of my expenses, and have a schedule, but at the same time, everything I sell comes straight out of thin air. I spend hours and hours thinking very deeply about people and places that don’t exist, and weirdly enough, someone pays me to do it. And at night before I go to bed, I pray that I’ll have good ideas the next day, because without those, I really will have to look into that bookstore/ice-cream shop plan.

I still think it would be the perfect fit for me.

Do you own your own business, or have you ever thought about starting one? Tell me about it in the comments!