Last week, I told you guys that my first literary non-fiction piece had been accepted for publication. The piece was about suffering with migraine, and would be appearing in an anthology about living with chronic illnesses.

Today, we’re revealing the title of our anthology. Ready?



Letters to Me Title Reveal Art

That’s right! The title of the first book is…
Letters to Me & Other Chronic Illness Warriors: Volume 1

Mark your calendars if you’re excited to check out our cover reveal on October 7, 2017! I know I can’t wait to see it!

“Not Just a Headache” accepted for publication!

people-2568886_960_720Hey all,

This weekend, I got some great news, but between the wedding of one of my best friends, and my husband’s birthday, this announcement is a little late.

A few months ago, I stumbled upon an anthology that was looking for entries. The anthology was to be by chronic illness sufferers and for them as well, and was looking for the author to write letters to their younger selves about their chronic illness journey.

Diving in, I wrote a letter to my younger self about my struggle with migraines, tentatively titled “Not Just a Headache”. This weekend, I got the news that my letter was chosen for the anthology.

There will be lots to cover in the coming months, until the anthology is released, and I will keep you apprised of all of it as I receive it.

Thank you, as always for your encouragement and support.


Camp NanoWriMo 2017!


For anybody who doesn’t know, I’ve spent the last month doing Camp NanoWriMo. Now, most people know about NaNoWriMo. It takes place in the month of November and writers, or people who want to try something new sign, up to write 50,000 words of one novel in a month.

Camp Nano is a bit different. The writers who join up can set their own word count, hours worked, or even pages edited. It doesn’t have to be spent working on one thing either. And it takes place in April and July.


I decided to work on my new YA Fantasy novel, Never Say Never. For a look at what the project is about, you can check out its project page on the Camp NaNo site.  Things came up, and I ended up devoting about 35,000 words of my word count to the new novel, about 10,000 to a new first chapter for The Order of the Key, and about 5,000 to a new project called Not Just A Headache–a letter to my teenage self about how to cope with migraines that I wrote for an anthology I’m hoping to be accepted into.

I’m gonna go ahead and toot my own horn here. This month of writing came with a sinus infection that wouldn’t go away for two weeks, a surprise trip to the emergency room (I’m okay, I promise), and both medical and emotional ups and downs for other people I hold dear. To say I’m tired would be putting it lightly.

But I’m not going to stop working, because I’m crazy. And also, a life without writing for me, is no life, so I’ll persist. 😉 For the next couple of months, I will continue working on this book, continue querying the one before, and clean up my outline for the new book, which my writing this month made irrelevant in some places. In the meantime, I’ll find space for some blog posts and social media, because I always do.

Then…I’ll be back to Camp Nano in July.

Thanks, as always, for sticking with me on this incredible journey.





One Headlight Has Been Published…and more!

Cover of Best New Writing 2017It has been a strangely wonderful week, and we’re only on Tuesday. 

Today, Hopewell Publications released Best New Writing 2017 for purchase on Amazon. A collection of short fiction, Best New Writing features finalists for the Gover Prize for Short Fiction. Though I didn’t  win that award, my short story, “One Headlight”, was awarded The Editor’s Choice award. 

“One Headlight” is the story of a group of high school friends coping with the loss of one of their own. You can read it and many other wonderful short stories, here.  The collection is on sale for a limited time at 99 cents. I’d love to hear your thoughts. 

Thanks again for your support! 


Author Spotlight: Ross Smeltzer

For my first Author Spotlight of 2016, I’d like to introduce you to a friend of mine, Ross Smeltzer, a talented Dark Fantasy writer, whose collection of novellas, The Mark of the Shadow Grove, will be the first release from Fantasy Works Publishing, available January 15th. Pre-order now at the links listed below.


Synopsis: Daughters of the gathering dusk and students of blackest spellcraft, the women of the Schermerhorn clan are enigmas made flesh. Seers for time immemorial, they are keepers of primeval knowledge.

They are wise in the ways of the Old Religion.

And they are destroyers of men.

Do the women of the Schermerhorn clan drive the men they encounter to their destruction? Or are their actions governed by specters on the periphery of human consciousness?

The Schermerhorn women will soon learn what dwells in the oldest books and what lurks in the flickering shadows beyond the candlelight.


I saw her close to the fire. I approached her. Instinct—animal’s blood—controlled my fatigued limbs and I felt no fear, though the flames blazed high and the hilltop was forlorn; the night was black as deep water . . . She turned and approached me. “There are no masters here. Only you and me,” she said.



Fantasy Works Publishing        |           Amazon           |           Smashwords


Head Shot_Ross


Author Bio: Raised in Chatham, New York, a small town in the Berkshires that looks like the setting for a Washington Irving story, Ross grew up surrounded by overgrown woodlands and tumbled-down, derelict farmhouses. He grew up with an awareness that the past was omnipresent, a slyly pervasive power and a subtle influence on the present.

Ross now lives in Dallas, Texas with his patient and endlessly supportive wife, a hopelessly brainless terrier, and an alarmingly unhinged cat. Ross works as a social studies teacher but writes fiction whenever he gets a chance. Sadly, he seems capable only of crafting stories of the weirdest kind. His imagination—apparently corrupted in adolescence by Hawthorne, Bierce, Machen, Lovecraft, and assorted other misanthropes, weirdos, and purveyors of high strangeness—can only manufacture demented little yarns.

Ross’s fiction has appeared repeatedly in Bewildering Stories magazine, Quantum Fairy Tales, and Enchanted Conversation, an online fairy tale magazine.

Find Ross here:


Twitter: @RossTellsTales

To My Thirties, With Love

Before I really get started with this blog post, I’d like to say that I hope all of my readers had a great holiday season.  Wishing you the best in this New Year we’ve got before us.  Also, the world did not end.  Which is always a good thing.  I’ve been saying this wasn’t going to happen forever, but nobody listens to me.

Now the confession: I wrote the first draft of this blog a month ago, and when I came back to post it, I realized how different my views were in just that short a time.

Initially, the blog was written to absolutely bemoan the fact that this coming Saturday, I will be turning 30.  The big 3-0.  THIRTY.

And then two things happened to derail that train of thought.  Both good and horrifically, mind-numbingly bad.

1) The Sandy Hook shootings.  There are no words to describe the way this left me feeling, but my brother wrote an amazing blog about what it says about our media and the way they handle coverage of incidents like this and I feel like he said it better than I ever could.  You can read it here.  Upon hearing this news, it seemed incredibly foolish to complain about getting another year older when so many others would not be getting that chance, especially when so many of those involved would never reach their double-digits, let alone 30.  This was an instant reminder to cherish every second of your life, and not to complain about trivial things.

2) That would have been enough of a reason alone to let go of that whining blog post.  But then, something amazing happened.  One of my chief complaints about turning thirty was that my fiction work had yet to be published.

And then, on Christmas Eve, sitting beside my mother, my husband and my son, I got the news that I was getting published.  As a matter of fact, I had won second place in a speculative fiction contest, the resulting anthology being set for release by StoneThread Publishing on February 1, 2013.  More info on that can be found here.  I squealed ridiculously upon receiving this email and managed to scare the crap out of everybody around me.  I realized in that moment what I should have already believed, but hadn’t allowed myself the luxury.

My thirties are going to be my decade.

And so, I write this letter to myself, to read whether I’m on the verge of turning 31 or 39 – my list of things to remember, written right now, while my brain is still clear and happy, still riding off the Christmas high.  My list of lessons I’ve learned in my twenties.  Here goes…

Dear 3_ year old Justine,

Your thirties are going to give you the best times in your life.  Don’t waste any of it.  This is when things are going to begin to happen for you.  Save well.  Don’t overspend.  Make your money count for something.  Don’t worry about the thoughts and opinions of others.  Those that count will still be around no matter what you write or what you believe.  Keep working – don’t let anything sway you from your dreams.  And most importantly, appreciate what you have – it gets you through those moments where you feel like you don’t have enough.  

Love always,

Your 20-something year old self – AKA She who worries too much.

Happy 30th birthday to me.  This blog is to remind myself, and all of my readers that every day older is another day you’ve got – an important thing to remember.  So stop complaining and let’s start making our lives into something we want.

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year!