Books to warm your heart, nourish your soul & spark your sense of adventure


MissSnoddyCoverJpeg 400x600“I wanna say I am somebody. I see pink faces in suits look over the top of my head. I watch myself disappear in their eyes. I talk loud but I still don’t exist.”   Precious Jones, from the book, Push by Sapphire.

I’ve truly enjoyed writing about the Orphan Train, my third book in the Mysterious Miss Snoddy series. Perhaps because my first job out of college was as a house parent at Lydia’s Children’s Home, established as an orphanage on the north side of Chicago in 1916.

Reflection Cover2

A couple years ago a few friends asked me to go to Sedona with them to experience the healing energy of the vortexes (or vortices) there. A vortex is believed to be special areas on earth where there are spirals of healing energy. Some say a vortex is powerful enough to take giant leaps in our spiritual development.

Save the moment DeanKMillerRecently, we hosted friends to our home in Colorado on their first trip to the state. Before their arrival we, scouted, researched, and planned. As we did, it felt as if our ideas might be stale, as we had already experienced so many of them. Still, our list was ready to go by the time they arrived.


 I hopped off my bike before it came to a complete stop and leaned it against a tree. Then I bounded up the stairs, two at a time. I was ten years old and at the library!

5280sDenverAs I stepped across the threshold, I was transported back in time to a decade filled with big hair, bright clothes, and MTV. I felt like Marty McFly, but instead of riding in a DeLorean along the space-time continuum, I had hopped into my Ford Escape and traveled to Denver to visit Fifty Two 80's; A Totally Awesome Shop.

Night SkyHot Chocolate Press author, Jerry Eckert reflects on his experiences under the night sky and the consequences of its slow disappearance.  


I remember my grandmother, Nana, telling a story about her mother, my great grandmother, who we all called Ma. Ma married young, as people did in the early 1900s, and had three children in quick succession. One day, Ma had just put the two youngest down for their naps and had returned to the kitchen to finish washing the laundry (by hand) and begin making dinner (from scratch).

VisionBoardI’ve never considered myself especially skilled in the arts and crafts department. Cruising Pinterest makes me break out in a cold sweat of inferiority. I still haven’t started a baby scrapbook for either of my boys, and the oldest one just turned eighteen. So I surprised myself when I accepted a friend’s invitation to commemorate International Women’s Day by making a vision board.

Hygge book

A couple of weeks ago I listened to a podcast showcasing Meik Wiking and his book The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happing Living. His book and the concept of hygge (pronounced hoo-ga) is evidently taking Europe by storm (a precursory search of Pinterest confirmed this) and is now making its way over the Atlantic to America.

390 01 Sea Cave KayaksI readily confess that I am not a particularly adventurous person. Activities seen by some (namely my teenage sons) as “awesome” and “exciting” are classified by me as “insane,” “terrifying,” and “potentially fatal.” Need someone to accompany you on a bungee jump or riding that roller coaster on top of the Stratosphere in Las Vegas? I’m not your gal. Nope. No, sir. For this reluctance, I blame my body, which apparently has only two adrenaline settings: “Totally Chill,” and “Being Chased by a Lion.”

make today ridiculously amazing smallIt feels good to roll over in the morning and catch a few more winks of sleep, but you know what feels even better? When you throw those sheets aside, hop out of bed and begin the day. Make the choice to wake up a little bit earlier tomorrow and accomplish one extra thing that might not have gotten done, had you gone on dreaming.

CrossingFinishLine Hot ChocolatePress2

Those who become successful writers are not always the most talented ones, but they are always the ones who did not give up. They pushed through the tough times, they passed those who dropped out, and they made the decision to cross the finish line. 

LoveYouForeverMy son recently turned 18. My 4-lb, 7-oz preemie is now 170 pounds and six-foot-one. As he grew up, hitting all those important milestones, I’ve managed to keep myself pulled together, knowing I had time.I’d tell myself, You’re fine; this isn’t The Big One. Well, like an earthquake, this one sneaked up on me and I admit, it’s been tougher for me to pick up the pieces and rebuild my composure. Then again, it doesn’t take much to make me cry. Case in point: Love You Forever by Robert Munsch. 


 This year at Thanksgiving, we did something we’ve only done once in the last seventeen years; we left home for the holiday. Since moving to Colorado, there have been a few tweaks to our turkey day program, but all centered on family, food, and fun in our home in Loveland, CO; all things that warm your heart.

GilmoreGirlsCastHang out in any literature class long enough and you’ll hear the term archetype. The concept of archetypes says that only a set number of characters appear in all fiction, the most well-known of which are the Greek archetypes based on the mythological gods and heroes. Whenever an author uses these archetypes, which our human brains seem hard-wired to recognize, readers immediately feel a sense of recognition and familiarity, even if very little about that character has actually been revealed.



 The 80s--A totally rad decade that continues to seep into pop culture today. When writing our new book, 100 Haiku for the 80s Generation, we revisited this memorable era and thought a lot about what made it so great. We came up with our top ten reasons why the 80s were totally awesome!

Jenny is the author of the newly released novel, Passing Through and the short story, When the Wolf Comes. Passing Through is a supernatural mystery where the main character, Dana, travels between the afterlife and life on earth, to help a newly deceased man find out what happened to his wife and she ends up uncovering truths about her own death. 

In my last Gilmore Girls post, For the Love of Stars Hollow,  I wrote about how creator Amy Sherman-Palladino took everything that was cozy, comforting, and loveable about Americana and distilled it into the town of Stars Hollow, the setting of her series.

Going on a jackal hunt with his children. Here is an Excerpt from Jerry Eckert's memoir, Weeping Kings and Wild Boars. This selection is from his time in Pakistan and part of the essay Ten Cents. 

Music is the rhythm of my life, and nature’s music is a key component. When I escape the noise of society and discover a place of quiet solitude, I find it is easy to listen with my heart. Nature creates its melodies so that we can become part of them.


November 25th, 2016 is a date that is etched in my brain. Not because it’s the day after Thanksgiving, which means no cooking (leftovers, yippee!). Not because it’s two days before my husband’s 40th birthday (are we really that old?). No, November 25th is the song my heart sings because at 12:01 am PT, Netflix will release four 90-minute revival episodes of Gilmore Girls. 

Kelly Baugh

An interview with Hot Chocolate Press author, Kelly Baugh. This mother of two from Colorado, talks about her Nana, the south, and her book, Miss You Once Again. 

LittleMissSunshine HotChocolatePress

The Hoover family does nothing but argue. When seven-year-old-Olive gets invited to compete in the Little Miss Sunshine Pageant, the whole family load themselves and all their emotional baggage into a VW bus for a memorable trip from Albuquerque to California for the pageant.

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Professional Photographer Suzette McIntyre share tips on taking great photos. 

Have you ever been flipping through a magazine and a photo on the page makes you stop a little longer and contemplate it? What is it that made you stop? What is it that makes a dynamic photograph?

According to her father, Erin Gruwell has been blessed with a burden. As the teacher of Freshman English at a newly integrated high school in California, Erin will not rest until she finds a way to reach out to her troubled students.