Miscellaneous

Or, How I Slacked Off A Lot

NaNoWriMo pic

This first week of NaNoWriMo was tough for me. I started a new job recently, and I’m still exhausted from that so I didn’t have a lot of time to write. I did force myself to get up every morning at 5 am (boo!) and write for a solid 30 minutes before I had to get ready for work. That way, at least my daily totals weren’t zero.

Saturday I had my best day yet. With a lot of downtime I was able to crank out about 4,000 words. I was so happy! …Until I realized even with that burst I’m still behind.

How are your NaNo journeys coming along?

Ghosts, Hauntings, & Cheap Books: Sign Up For My Monthly Newsletter Today.
Enjoy this Free Red Plague Sneak Peek PDF full of excerpts and extras!

<3 Anna

Or, My Favorite Month Of The Year

NaNoWriMo pic

That high-pitched squeal you hear is me being super excited about November first rolling around!

November is my favorite month of the year because, thanks to the National Novel Writing Month, I get to obsess about writing for thirty straight days.

If you’ve ever considered writing a novel of your own, join me this month in all the fun. You’ll be asked to crank out 50,000 words in 30 days, but there are local write-ins all the time where you can meet other creative types in coffee houses and talk writing while sipping lattes.

If you register with NaNoWriMo, let me know. We’ll keep each other on the right track.

Ghosts, Hauntings, & Cheap Books: Sign Up For My Monthly Newsletter Today.
Enjoy this Free Red Plague Sneak Peek PDF full of excerpts and extras!

<3 Anna

P.S. This year, I’m writing a YA paranormal in the same world as my Red Plague series about the 212R zombie virus and the people who struggle to survive it. 🙂

Or, I Have Resolved Myself To The Chaos To Come

2015-06-11 10.48.13

Well, here we go…

The truck is packed, the cable is off, and the mail is being held. We’re really doing this.

I think I’m finally ready to leave. Though it’s bittersweet, we’ve said good-bye to all our friends and favorite places (I had to have Bojangles one last time, and I’ll probably swing by Smithfield’s for lunch today), we are headed off on a new adventure in the Pacific Northwest.

Job search update: I haven’t heard back from the school I Skyped with last week, but I have another phone interview with a different school today at noon. Is it a good thing or a bad thing that I’m so physically and emotionally exhausted from preparing to move that I could care less about an interview today? I’ll give it my all, but my heart’s not in this one. My mind is just in too many places.

Today Jacksonville, NC is a balmy 83 degrees with 65% humidity, which means I look like I’ve just stepped out of the shower at all times of the day, but today in Tumwater, WA it’s 60 degrees with 70% humidity. I’m not sure that’s any better, but I’ll take it.

Next time you hear from me I’ll be on the road!

Ghosts, Hauntings, & Cheap Books: Sign Up For My Monthly Newsletter Today.
Enjoy this Free Red Plague Sneak Peek PDF full of excerpts and extras!

<3 Anna

Or, I’m Starting to Lose My Mind

2015-06-06 15.41.18

We said good-bye to more friends Sunday. My daughter had a birthday party at an ice skating rink, and had to say good-bye to three of her best friends (and three of the most amazing young ladies ever). I only cried twice. No biggie.

Thank goodness for email, texting, and Skype. It’ll almost feel like they’re still in the same city.

On top of planning a big party last weekend, I’m now falling behind on absolutely everything else. I literally haven’t packed a thing, even though we leave in three days. Mostly because I’m spending a lot of time at end-of-year school activities and scrambling to finish a couple projects I don’t want to leave half done.

Tomorrow I have to stop by the dentist for a quick check-up, and then I’ll be trapped in an auto repair shop for a couple hours while my truck gets a new set of brakes. Luckily, I’ll have my Kindle with me.

I did hear a great idea today from my friend Laura. To help deal with boredom on long car rides, she recommends buying a present for every day of the trip, wrap each one, and don’t let my daughter open more than one a day. The best part is, each gift is something crafty and tactile that takes upwards of an hour to complete. Things like modeling clay, a yarn loom, or a design-your-own jewelry box.

I love that idea, though it will take time I don’t have to find fun kits, wrap them, and pack them into suitcases I haven’t even pulled out of the closet yet.

What do you think?

Ghosts, Hauntings, & Cheap Books: Sign Up For My Monthly Newsletter Today.
Enjoy this Free Red Plague Sneak Peek PDF full of excerpts and extras!

<3 Anna

Or, My Adventures On Pirate Island–Ocracoke, NC

One of the things I wanted to do before we moved away from North Carolina, possibly never to return, is visit as many cool spots as we can. We recently went to the Wilmington Children’s Museum, Onslow Beach, and a couple other favorite hangouts.

My friend recommended going to Ocracoke Island before we leave. Actually, she said, “You have to go. You have to.” But we only had two weekends left, and one of them is my daughter’s big birthday extravaganza weekend, so I planned a trip to Ocracoke last minute.

You’re not going to believe me, but I really did research the island before we left. The only way to reach the island is a 20-mile ferry ride from Cedars Island. There, the only thing I absolutely wanted to see was the Blackbeard museum and store. Their website claimed the exhibit was open daily from 11am to 5pm (except Easter Sunday).

Also, though MapQuest claimed it was a 5 1/2 hour trip to Ocracoke, I didn’t believe it. I assumed it was a GPS glitch.

Sort of at the drop of a hat, I hustled my daughter into the truck early Sunday morning and we headed off to Cedars Island. I fully expected to be back home by 8pm, at the latest.

In a way, the drive up the North Carolina coast was one of the best parts of the whole trip. We saw so many different kinds of animals (a black snake, a black cat, crows–sort of a macabre pattern beginning). When I spotted the house below, though, I immediately pulled over to take pictures. What a sight!

Ocracoke Island May 2015 001

The two-story home is so overgrown it’s barely visible through the trees, vines, and grass.

Ocracoke Island May 2015 009

I love the way the shutters are hanging crookedly, like a haunted house’s should.

This was my first trip on a ferry, and I thought it was amazing! It took us, what with all the stopping to take pictures and ask for directions once, almost three hours to reach the ferry terminal. The departure schedules said we’d missed the early morning ferry, but there was a 10am ferry and a 1pm ferry. Having no idea what we were doing, we rolled up to the boat at ten minutes till ten.

We were instructed to wait in the overflow line. By a stroke of complete, dumb luck, we were waved on the ferry as the very last vehicle.

Ocracoke Island May 2015 021

Our red pickup was the last vehicle allowed onboard.

Honestly, I didn’t know we were in for a 2 1/2 hour boat ride until we were already at sea. I might have reconsidered the entire trip if I had all the information. I’d assumed a twenty mile trip would take about thirty minutes. How wrong I was!

Luckily, we brought snacks and electronics to help pass the time. Though we didn’t really need the iPad. This was my daughter’s first time on a ferry and she couldn’t control her excitement. We were at the front of the boat, at the back of the boat, upstairs, downstairs, and back again. Which was fine. It helped the time fly by.

2015-05-31 11.30.05

Me enjoying the beautiful weather and the salty air.

The spectacle below blew my mind. I’ve never seen the ocean when you literally couldn’t tell where the water ended and the sky began.

Ocracoke Island May 2015 029

There’s no horizon! It’s like a sci-fi backdrop.

Once I knew how long a trip this really was, and having no plans to stay overnight and miss school the next day, I knew how important it was going to be to procure a ticket for the return trip as soon as possible. I tried to reserve one on my phone on the ferry, but the internet wasn’t cooperating.

So, as soon as we disembarked, I dragged my daughter into the ferry office. According to the schedule, there was a ferry leaving for Cedars Island at 4pm and a final ferry at 9pm. I wanted to be on the 4pm ferry.

The 4pm ferry was already sold out.

With no other option, I secured passage on the 9pm ferry, and then we set out to explore the island and see absolutely everything Ocracoke had to offer! (We had almost 9 hours to spend, after all.)

Ocracoke Island May 2015 076

I’m a huge Once Upon a Time fan, specifically a Captain Hook fan, so imagine my fangirl delight when we ate lunch at the Jolly Roger! Arrg!

Sadly, neither Killian Jones nor Emma Swan made an appearance that day.

Ocracoke Island May 2015 072

With full bellies, we went straight to be beach. It was my daughter’s top priority. And we had a blast! I looked for shark’s teeth while she battled the surf. We both dug in the sand, and she even got me in the water for a few minutes. But at 4pm I told her we had to dry off and move along.

I was afraid Teach’s Hole, the Blackbeard museum and store, would close early on Sundays and I didn’t want to miss it. Visiting Teach’s Hole was literally the only reason I wanted to go to Ocracoke. I’m a fan of pirates, and I wanted to learn the local history. And maybe buy a couple souvenirs.

2015-05-31 16.18.02

Can you read the sign in the window? 🙁

Despite what their website says, Teach’s Hole is closed on Sundays. Yep. Closed.

The best we could do was get our pictures taken in the Blackbeard cutout.

Not exactly what I was hoping for.

2015-05-31 16.17.37

By this time it was around 5pm and we were on the downward slide toward the 9pm ferry.

We took our time at the island’s lighthouse, one of only two still in operation.

Ocracoke Island May 2015 099

The Springer’s Point trail was amazing. For a couple girls bordering on sunburnt, it was nice to stroll along a nature trail almost completely canopied in trees and bushes. Along the way we saw an old well and an even older cemetery.

The bugs, though, were vicious. My daughter made me walk in front so I’d be her bug shield. And when they tried to attach, I told her to just keep moving. Stopping only encourages them.

Ocracoke Island May 2015 103

The history of Springer’s Point. Unfortunately, there are no remains of the pirates’ meeting place.

After dinner, we spent the last couple hours playing at the boat launch. My daughter temporarily adopted two hermit crabs, Bob and Earl. They had a lot of fun together.

Ocracoke Island May 2015 122

A view of one of the island’s tide pools at sunset.

The best surprise of all? The park near the ferries is rampant with fuzzy baby ducks. Luckily, their parents weren’t overly protective and we watched them bumble about in the grass until full dark.

Ocracoke Island May 2015 142

We didn’t get home until 1am, but overall the trip was one I’ll always remember. Mostly, because the island was unbelievably beautiful, from top to bottom. We weren’t in any rush, so we took our time enjoying everything.

Ghosts, Hauntings, & Cheap Books: Sign Up For My Monthly Newsletter Today.
Enjoy this Free Red Plague Sneak Peek PDF full of excerpts and extras!

<3 Anna

Or, Relocating From NC to WA

the-united-states-of-america-map

Last night I had to say good-bye to my Wilmington writing buddies, and it was the first time it hit me that I’m leaving my friends and my home and for the last five years. Today, I’m feeling a little melancholy. Leaving didn’t affect me when I packed boxes or searched houses online, not until I had to say good-bye.

In an effort to feel more productive, I’m spending the morning scheduling blog posts and a newsletter for June during the time I’ll be on the road and living out of hotels.

Ghosts, Hauntings, & Cheap Books: Sign Up For My Monthly Newsletter Today.
Enjoy this Free Red Plague Sneak Peek PDF full of excerpts and extras!

<3 Anna

Or, Relocating From NC to WA

the-united-states-of-america-map

On June 11, 2015 I’m packing my pickup truck and taking off across the country. My husband, ten-year-old daughter, our dog Nia, and our tortoise Princess are tagging along. I have no idea how I’m going to manage, but I’m just going to take a deep breath and jump off the cliff.

nissan frontier

My husband’s last day as a member of the active-duty military is Halloween 2015. Rather than wait with him in Jacksonville, NC and travel together with a moving van to our new home, I want to be in our new city in the summer so I can interview for a position that starts in early September.

olympia schoolBesides, I don’t want my daughter to start middle school in North Carolina and then yank her out after ten weeks to start a new school in a new time zone. I decided the best idea for my daughter and myself was to drive to Washington as soon as her school year ended and get settled. My husband will follow a couple months later.

I figured the best way to stay sane is share the pain with you. Join me on this wild ride?

Ghosts, Hauntings, & Cheap Books: Sign Up For My Monthly Newsletter Today.
Enjoy this Free Red Plague Sneak Peek PDF full of excerpts and extras!

<3 Anna

Or, Check Out All My Oopsies

Making a video is harder than it looks! You can watch my very own blooper reel on my YouTube channel.

Ghosts, Hauntings, & Cheap Books: Sign Up For My Monthly Newsletter Today.
Enjoy this Free Red Plague Sneak Peek PDF full of excerpts and extras!

<3 Anna

Or, Join Me On A Road Trip Up The Eastern Coast To Berks County, PA

In March, I set out with my mom and daughter on a four-day road trip from North Carolina to Pennsylvania to explore historical sites before I move away from the area permanently this summer.

Third stop–Gettysburg, PA Gettysburg 2015-03-14 13.15.11

Gettysburg 2015-03-14 14.31.17

Gettysburg 2015-03-14 14.34.19

Fourth Stop–Fredericksburg, PA

Fredericksburg March 2015 145

Fredericksburg March 2015 156

Fredericksburg March 2015 118

Fredericksburg March 2015 122

 

Ghosts, Hauntings, & Cheap Books: Sign Up For My Monthly Newsletter Today.
Enjoy this Free Red Plague Sneak Peek PDF full of excerpts and extras!

<3 Anna

Or, Join Me On A Road Trip Up The Eastern Coast To Berks County, PA

In March, I set out with my mom and daughter on a four-day road trip from North Carolina to Pennsylvania to explore historical sites before I move away from the area permanently this summer.

First stop–Berks County, Pennsylvania.

Berks County PA March 2015 058

The Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church. Berks County, PA. Est. 1743.

My family settled in the area in the mid-1700s, and I’m lucky enough to be able to visit the actual church they attended, baptized their babies in, and were eventually buried beside.

Berks County PA March 2015 084

The Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church. Berks County, PA.

Walking the same ground my 18th century ancestors walked is an exhilarating experience. And what’s even better is the land around the church in rural Pennsylvania looks a lot like it did in those days.

Berks County PA March 2015 085

The Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church. Berks County, PA.

In the ancient graveyard beside the church rest some of my family. The stones are so worn it’s impossible to read them, but we know from church records at least two of my male ancestors are buried there, side-by-side. Most likely there are many others, now lost to time.

Berks County PA March 2015 087

The Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church. Berks County, PA.

The photo above is of the church as seen through the old cemetery’s gates. I love this picture, almost as much as I love the actual place. I’m so glad we got to see it one more time.

Second stop–Chocolate World

Hershey 2015-03-13 16.22.17

Chocolate World, Hershey, PA.

If you know anything about me at all, you know I love chocolate. Naturally, I snuck a trip to Hershey’s Chocolate World into our history tour.

Hershey 2015-03-13 16.19.30

Chocolate World, Hershey, PA.

Unfortunately, because it was still winter the theme and water parks were closed, but Chocolate World is open all year round, and I enjoyed every minute of it. Above, I’m holding the (very heavy!) world’s largest chocolate bar.

Hershey 2015-03-13 17.17.37

Chocolate World. Hershey, PA.

And you can bet I took advantage of the park’s Make Your Own Chocolate Bar attraction! Above is my scrumptious candy bar coming out of the conveyer belt.

Hershey 2015-03-13 19.26.02

Chocolate World. Hershey, PA.

I ended the long day savoring my personalized candy bar while snuggled inside a hotel bed. A very fun (and yummy) day!

Ghosts, Hauntings, & Cheap Books: Sign Up For My Monthly Newsletter Today.
Enjoy this Free Red Plague Sneak Peek PDF full of excerpts and extras!

<3 Anna

 

"A sizzling and sweet paranormal romance." 5 stars.
--Christine Rains, author of the 13th Floor Series

"A wonderful, suspenseful love story." 5 stars.
--Coffee Time Romance

"A great paranormal adventure with many twists and turns." 5 stars.
--Community Bookstop

"This book kept me on the edge of my seat." 4 stars.
--The Reading Cafe

Anna's bookshelf: Read

The Duke Is Mine
5 of 5 stars true
I'm not ashamed to say I cried at the end of this book, or that I read it in a single day because I couldn't stop.
Forbidden
3 of 5 stars true
The story started out a page tuner I could not put down, but by the middle I was skimming to the end just to see how it all wrapped up. I think the James' are wonderful storytellers, but this particular story didn't do it for me. I'd lov...

goodreads.com
My Newsletter!

Subscribe Today

* indicates required
Email Format
My New Release!
Beasts of Vegas!
Want to Chat?
InstagramFollow Me on Pinterest