New Release (& New Series!): Ruby’s Story

I wrapped my Ruby’s Place Christmas Collection last year. But it wasn’t long after publishing it that I already missed it.

I started thinking more and more about Ruby herself: How did she come to Sullivan? What’s her backstory? Who is she really? There were just so many questions that hadn’t yet been answered.

All those questions became a book (and a new series)!

Ruby’s Story opens on a Christmas Eve, as Ruby finds herself at the end of her dance career. On a whim, she heads back to her girlhood hometown. Once in Sullivan, Ruby relives her past and the love she lost there. Will memory drive her to make a leap of faith, changing the course of her life, and that of the entire town of Sullivan forever?

Ruby’s Story is a prequel to the Ruby’s Place Christmas Collection, but I’m also planning for this to be the first in a new series: Ruby’s Regulars. Each new installment will focus on another Sullivanite, and how they became one of Ruby’s tried-and-trues. In fact, Ruby’s Story also focuses on Ruby’s very first regular (but you’ll just have to snag yourself a copy to find out who it is).

The book’s available in print and e-form. (Well, it’s available in print via Amazon; I distribute the wide-release print through Ingram, and they’ve already warned that the end of the year’s gonna be a slow one. So paperbacks at B&N etc. are forthcoming; it’ll just take a while to go live.)

In the meantime, I’m so delighted to share this new book–and thrilled to continue on with Ruby’s Place tales!

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New Picture Book – A Small Kindness

I was lucky to get this sweet ARC just before Christmas. The conceit is simple: kindness is like a game of tag. The smallest gestures–a smile, a compliment, a bit of encouragement, writing someone a note–can make someone’s day. They’ll then want to spread that good feeling on to someone else, offering their own bit of kindness. Here, being kind isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s fun! The end of the text implies the reader is now it.

The children in this book are multi-ethnic and differently abled. (One child has a walker, and another wears glasses.) But that doesn’t matter in Ms. Jones’s class!

Young readers will love the bright, vibrant illustrations. A great classroom read to encourage students to play and work together.

Pre-order here.

Free Book Alert: Christmas at Ruby’s

I love me some Christmas movies…Christmas books…Christmas stories…

I’m definitely in the Christmas mood this year. I’m already looking for my ugly sweaters and digging through the attic for the decorations.

To celebrate, my book Christmas at Ruby’s (the first in The Ruby’s Place Christmas Collection) is free at all outlets!

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WHEN A LITTLE THING BECOMES A BIG THING

You ever have that happen? You think of something small, something you haven’t thought of in ages, and then suddenly, it’s everywhere?

It happened to me a while back with that old saying: “Cardinals appear when angels are near.”

I was drafting the first Ruby’s Place installment, and was working my way through the scene in which a cardinal knocks Angela’s knit hat off her head, forcing her to pause, take another look at the old Ruby’s Place bar. There’s really just something about cardinals and Christmas…In the first place, they’re so strikingly beautiful, those red spots on stark white snowy backgrounds. Almost like a bright warm ray in cold, brutal times. You can’t help but smile when you see a cardinal in the snow.

The cardinal–and the old saying–made it’s way into the first Ruby’s Place manuscript, and into the sequel, I Remember You.

This year, as I was drafting the new installment (Sentimental Journey), I began to see the saying everywhere. I’m not joking. Christmas cards and notepaper…I even got this T-shirt as a gift:

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It’s almost eerie when that kind of thing happens…but pleasantly so.

BTW: I’ve put the entire Ruby’s Place series (to date) in a single download–and it’s currently discounted to $2.99

Ruby's Place Collection

You can snag a copy here.

May cardinals brighten your windowsills all winter long!

NEW RELEASE: SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY: A CHRISTMAS AT RUBY’S PLACE

A few years ago—about the time my hometown of Springfield, Missouri decided to ban cigarette smoking in all public places—the local news ran a story of a small downtown bar and the woman who owned it. She was pretty upset about the new ordinance; her clientele came for affordable drinks and a smoke (and a bit of camaraderie and good conversation) at the end of a long day. She was older, and had been running this bar for I forget how many decades, and she insisted she knew how to do one thing really well—run that bar.

For some reason, the image that ran in the story—a closeup of her face peering from the front plate-glass window—really stuck with me. I kept coming back to that image, playing with possible scenarios for a story.

In 2017, I drafted a novella titled Christmas at Ruby’s, about a woman who had also been good at running a small-town Missouri bar…so good, in fact, that she was still running it, years after her own death.

My fictional Ruby’s Place is a bar populated by the ghosts of Christmases past. A nightspot where the term “spirits” refers to far more than just the top-shelf liquors…and it’s also a place where, on Christmas Eve, the living can enjoy one more evening with a long-lost loved one. Where it’s possible to connect with the dearly departed—to finally express what you never got to say. Perhaps to show gratitude. Express love. Explain a wrong. Even tell them you’re sorry.

After all, I thought—what would be a better Christmas gift that one more night with a loved one you had assumed you would never see again?

Readers connected with the Christmas at Ruby’s novella—so much so, I wrote and published another installment in 2018 (I Remember You). And now, this year, I’m releasing yet another Ruby’s Place novel, Sentimental Journey. The stakes are higher than ever in Sentimental Journey—the bar is in danger. A face from the past has returned to the small town of Sullivan, Missouri. And he’s determined to get his revenge…

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You can snag your own copy of Sentimental Journey at:

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Each book in the Ruby’s Place Christmas series is standalone, and you don’t need to have read the other two releases in order to dive straight into Sentimental Journey. But for those who are interested in the full series, I have placed the entire collection to date on Amazon in a single download:

Ruby's Place Collection

You can snag the full Ruby’s Place Christmas Collection on Amazon.

New Release: CHRISTMAS AT RUBY’S

Welcome to Ruby’s, where the Christmas spirit is alive and well…

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Ruby’s Place (the classy family-friendly nightspot that once lit the night sky in tiny Sullivan, Missouri) is no more—closed for decades—but that doesn’t keep those who once shared an eggnog or plate of homemade marshmallows from remembering the tinsel-wrapped moments Ruby’s supplied come Christmas.

On a snowy holiday evening, feeling a bit down on her luck, a middle-aged Angela finds herself back at Ruby’s, staring through its foggy, grimy window to remember the Christmases she spent there with her favorite aunt as a child. Could the best Christmas present of all simply be spending one last moment with that special loved one, in a place where memories were born?

At Ruby’s, it seems, the “spirits” are not confined to just the dusty liquors behind the bar, and such a Christmas wish might not be made in vain.

Available as an e-book or paperback.

I wanted to be sure to make the e-book affordable for the holidays; you can snag one for $.99. But I also love the design possibilities of print. The Christmas at Ruby’s paperback features some additional magical, sparkling, holiday  elements that I just can’t put in my e-books (people read on so many devices, I really have to keep e-books as simple as possible in order to ensure they’re readable).

At $6.00, the paperback is still affordable, as well. And you get the benefit of holding the book…to me, there’s something about print that just seems right for the Christmas season. Maybe it’s the old-fashioned-ness of it, which is so much like the tradition-filled holidays. Or maybe it’s just that print seems extra special these days. And the holidays are when we bring out the good china, the nice dresses, the ornaments collected by the family for decades. It’s when we pull out all our sentimental, special, story-filled trinkets. Print books just seem to fit in so nicely with all of that.


I get such joy from writing my holiday tales. And Christmas at Ruby’s has emerged as my favorite of all the holiday tales I’ve written.

I hope you love visiting Ruby’s as well!