Books I talked about


Reading for me is a pleasure, a passion, and a joy. Here are some books that resonated with me and I remember fondly. 

Written by Kate Quinn, The Alice Network is a story about two women whose lives were shaped by two different wars. I dragged my feet because I  wasn't really interested in another book about war. But it was recommended to my by my sister, and she has never steered me wrong. 

Speaking of which, she led me to Australian author Jane Harper. The Dry is a murder mystery set against the backdrop of a drought in a small farming community. The ending left me breathless. And the second book was equally as compelling. 

I in turn introduced her to Joe Ide. His first book is titled IQ, which is also the name of the main character. IQ investigates crimes in his community of East Long Beach. Very engaging and satisfying. You can't help but feel for the guy. 

Recently I discovered Rebecca Zanetti. Hidden is the first book in her Deep Ops series. This is a romantic suspense novel featuring beefy men with decidedly unromantic names. I mean who names their heroes Malcolm and Clarence? But the stories also feature a German shepherd dog with a drinking problem. What more do you want? 

I adored Amor Towles lovely book A Gentleman in Moscow. Set in 1922, Count Rostov is sentenced to house arrest in a grand hotel. Over a span of thirty years the count's life changes considerably. The book is both captivating and heart-breaking. 

2018 Reading List


In no particular order, these are the books that I remember reading.

     Maggie & Abby's Neverending Pillow Fort-Will Taylor;   Jane, Unlimited-Kristin Cashore;    Does My Head  Look Big in This?-Randa Abdel-Fatah;    The Water Seeker-Kimberly Willis Holt;    Dumplin'-Julie Murphy;    Nothing But The Truth-Avi;    The Diary of Anne Frank-Anne Frank;    Don't Breathe a Word-Holly Cupala;    Wizard for Hire-Obert Skye;    Girls Made   of Snow & Glass -Melissa bashardoust;   Alls' Faire   in Middle School-Victoria Jamieson;   The Confidence Code-Claire Shipman & Katty Kay;    A Blade so Black-L.L.McKinney;     The Invisible Library-Genevieve Cogman;    Restart-Gordon Korman;   Resistance-Jennifer Nielsen;    Camino Island-John Grisham;    Grant Park-Leonard Pitts;    The Worst Best Man,   The Christmas Fix ,  The Fine Art of Faking It,  Finally Mine,    Whiskey Chaser- Lucy Score;    Small Town Girl-LaVyrle Spencer;    Book Boyfriend,    Cocky Roommate,    Hot Single Dad,   Broken Miles,    Forbidden Miles, Sidecar Crush, Reckless Miles - Claire Kingsley;    Possession,    Kingdom,    Poet,    Let There Be Light,     Breakaway-A.M. Johnson;    The Purpose Driven Life- Rick Warren;    Christmas in Harmony-Philip Gulley;    Fresh Catch-Kate Canterbary;   The Dry-Jane Harper;    Lethal White-Robert Gailbraith;    Kingdom of the Blind-Louise Penny;    PRIDE-Ibi Zoboi;    Us Against You-Fredrik Backman;    Naked in Death-J.D. Robb;    Hot Head-Damon Suede;    The Life She Wants-Robyn Carr;    The War That  Saved my Life-Kimberly Brubaker Bradley;   Stud in the Stacks,    Mr. McHottie,    The Pilot and the Puck-up,    Royally Pucked,    Beauty and the Beefcake,    Rockaway Bride,    Hot Heir,   The Hero and the Hactivist - Pippa Grant;    Romancing the Werewolf-Gail Carriger;    Pride & Precipitation-Heather Horrocks;    Righteous,    Wrecked-Joe Ide;    Trudy Madly Deeply-Wendy Delaney;    The Kiss Quotient-Helen Hoang;    Crazy Rich Asians-Kevin Kwan;    The Outside World-Tovah Mirvis;    Pressure Head,    Relief Valve,   Lock Nut-JL Merrow;    Riptide-Kathryn Nolan,    Widdershins-Jordan L. Hawk;    Record of Blood,    A Bitter Draught,    From the Ashes-Sabrina Flynn     

Drop me a line if you want more information.

I'm a little bit bleary-eyed.

Whew!  Just got back from Emerald City Writers Conference which is presented  by the Greater Seattle Romance Writers Association. 

I know, a lot of you do not, nor ever will write romance. But here's the thing, writers conferences are valuable. There are classes on marketing, project management, taxes, pitching, as well as the craft of writing itself.

 Add to that the value of networking with other writers, and a weekend conference is worthy of the time and expense.  

So check around and see if there are any writers conferences near you that may help you with your own particular project. 

And yeah, I have indeed started writing. But, I will always be a reader. 


Author to Author

 Writers offer up self-editing tips 

Find out more

It 's all about me!


I was born in Pembroke Ontario Canada, December 12, 1962 – the year of the big snow. I thought that I was the second of four girls up until the time I discovered that I was actually the third of  my dad’s five children. I have an older brother whom I didn’t meet until I was forty.


Two things shaped my childhood – the close ties to my nearest siblings (Dawn is eighteen months older and Kim is eighteen months younger) and having a mentally and physically disabled sister – Erin Joy Bells. I was a very good girl, well-behaved, decent student, polite, and respectful. We were brought up to place others before ourselves. My sisters and I live that way to this day – except for Erin. She’s a princess. ;-)

After high school I attended Trinity Western College in Langley BC before transferring to the University of British Columbia to study education. That was not to be so I graduated with a degree in geography. 

In 1989 Matt and I moved from Vancouver to the Bay area. Unable to work, I became pregnant and our son Will was born in San Rafael. Shortly afterwards, we followed Matt’s mentor up to Microsoft in Redmond WA. Joy was born in 1992 and that was the year we found Bothell UMC. Joy needed to be baptized and Will was ready for Sunday school. I have been serving in a variety of capacities at Bothell ever since. Giving of myself to others is easy when you are with the right people. Being in the background, doing something useful, makes me happy. 

I am influenced by two strong women. Virginia Searls, who after retiring from being an educational administrator worked tirelessly here at Bothell. Organized and efficient, she was a huge asset to this church. The other influence is my mum. If she had a motto, it would be to “put on your big girl panties and deal with it.” After her own retirement from health administration, she spends considerable time working at her own church. She is not a warm and fuzzy person. But she has always had my back, although often I did not realize the moments when she was being my champion. 

Becoming an editor has changed the way I view myself and has allowed me to finally recognize my spiritual gift. It is the ability to help others give voice to their love of God and their desire to share it with the world. By sprinkling commas and capitals, I transform (at times) inarticulate phrases into meaningful text. 

I am so thankful that I live in a family of readers. Dad took us to the library every week for new material. I wooed Matt with my library card, and to this day my children never travel without a book. 

It is through working with authors that I intend to make my impact on this world. 


What are you reading?

Why you need an editor.

December  10, 2017

I am almost finished reading a book that is not particularly good. At times, I considered adding it to my reject pile, but something kept pulling me back.

This happens to me a lot.    

In the past, I have kicked many books to the curb without a backwards glance. But since becoming a professional reader, I have become a more compassionate reader.

Yes, I managed to say that with a straight face.

The thing is, I have great respect for writers, particularly writers who have the grit and stamina to finish a book. And writers who are then willing to share their work with the world? Wow.

Which is why I don’t post negative reviews on social media or Amazon. Especially for books that have been self-published. Often, self-published books have never been professionally edited and have significant errors. I understand authors thinking that they are saving themselves some money, but in the long run, a negative review can cost a lot more than a proof-read.

An author’s first book is often not their best book. Like everything else, writing improves with practice. One friend gives an author a two-book try, before making a judgement. Another friend, when encountering a new author, does not start with the author’s first book. Not a bad idea, but difficult if it is the start of a series.

So tonight, I will finish reading that book, and appreciate the author’s efforts to take a story from an idea to publication.