Tag: Author events/book signings


Waseca Historical Society Author Talk

Seven Stones at the Waseca Historical Society!

Seven Stones at the Waseca Historical Society!

Hello, Everyone! Hello, Spring! As I sit here with my cup of tea on his lovely Sunday morning, it is 73 degrees outside. 73 degrees! During the last week, April shook off the last of  snow and chill, and we are officially DONE with winter.

And then I realized: it’s April 17th. April is more than half over. HOW IS APRIL MORE THAN HALF OVER ALREADY?

Last time I wrote a blog post, I was excited about my upcoming author talk at the Waseca Historical Society and getting ready to go to my friend’s wedding on the East Coast. Since then, I’ve been going into work early almost every day, making up time I missed in order to get ready for one of my biggest library events yet: Larger Than Life Games. It’s an Early Out (so, 3 hours long with over 50 kids attending) with a GIANT game theme. My volunteers and I have been hard at work making and prepping Giant Candyland, Live Pac-Man, Giant Jenga, Giant Dice Games, Giant Puzzles, Giant Bananagrams, and Live Angry Birds. I hope it will all be worth it! I promise to post pictures and let you know how the kids like all the activities. 🙂

But that’s not happening until this Wednesday. Let’s go back a few weeks and talk about the Waseca Historical Society! Thursday, March 31st, I wrapped up my morning Romp & Rhyme Story Time and headed over to the beautiful Waseca Historical Center. This was my first author talk/luncheon where people actually paid for tickets to hear me talk about my book! The Society sold over 55 tickets!

A full house!

A full house!

I was a little nervous (after all, these people PAID to see me. I better be worth it!), but had prepped a short PowerPoint to help me remember all my major points and had practiced my talk with Shane all week. This talk was different from my previous author talks because I got to delve more deeply into the historical aspect of Seven Stones and all the research I conducted. And I have to say, it was the most fun I’ve had giving an author talk!

Having fun at the Waseca Historical Society!

Having fun at the Waseca Historical Society!

As soon as I got up and started talking to the crowd, I felt comfortable and excited for the opportunity to share my novel with new readers. Afterward, I got to sell and sign lots of books and was invited to speak at several book clubs. I can’t wait! It was such a pleasure to speak at such a wonderful location (if you’re in the area and haven’t seen the Waseca Historical Society’s Timeline exhibit, you NEED to!). Thank you SO much to Joan and Carol for making my visit possible! I can’t wait to come back and talk about my sequel. 🙂

Thank you, Joan!

Thank you, Joan!

From there, it was just a few short days and Shane and I were off to Sarah’s wedding in Maryland! A whirlwind of traveling, enjoying ourselves heartily at the rehearsal dinner, and the day was HERE. Sarah and Patrick’s wedding was just amazing—a wonderful start to a truly wonderful couple. I love them both so much, and am so honored to have been co-maid of honor on their big day!

Best wedding party EVER! :)

Best wedding party EVER! 🙂

Shane and I danced the evening away and got to spend the night at the Vandiver Inn (we had the O’Neill suite). This place is so beautiful it shouldn’t be real. I felt like I was a character in Downton Abbey—seriously could get used to that kind of treatment (and FOOD).

Congratulations, Sarah & Patrick!

Congratulations, Sarah & Patrick!

This morning was the first time I’ve had to sit and relax since returning from Maryland. Shane and I made carrot cake pancakes with coconut whipped cream (recipe coming in my next post!), and I’m writing while we watch Liverpool (Shane’s favorite football club). It’s a warm, lazy, sun-soaked morning that I fully intend to indulge in before the craziness of this week begins. Starting tomorrow, I have three library tours, two story times, Mother-Daughter Book Club, Larger Than Life Early Out, a Summer Reading Program meeting, and am leading two sessions (healthy kids’ snacks and kids’ yoga) at the library’s How-To Festival. Oh, and I have a final research paper to write for my Youth Services class.

Wish me luck, everybody!


Halloween Pumpkin Chili

Halloween is THIS SATURDAY! For those of you who don’t know, Halloween is my FAVORITE of holidays. What is there not to love? Dressing up, delicious foods, bonfires, crunchy leaves, candy, caramel apples, pumpkins, hot apple cider, and a bit of magic–Halloween has it all.

This year, the holiday is going to be even more special because I am hosting a Harry Potter Party this Wednesday at my library. Three hours, fifty kids, Hogwarts classes, and Muggle Quidditch. Talk about magical! I have tried to plan everything so the kids literally feel like they are living the book (and, secretly, so I can feel like I’m living the book, too 🙂 ) Wish me luck, everyone!

When I haven’t been thinking about Harry Potter, I’ve been celebrating! Shane’s 28th birthday was this past week, and we had an amazing day hiking through Seven Mile Creek State Park and enjoying games and good food with people we love. Here’s to another year of love, adventures, laughter, and magic!

Happy Birthday, Hobbit Man!

The other highlight of the week was going to the Spring Grove Public Library for an author talk. I had a FABULOUS time. The library itself is cozy, welcoming, and warm–but that was nothing compared to the people. I have been fortunate to meet some truly wonderful people while on the road with Seven Stones, and this trip was extra special because I was able to connect to a cousin I’ve never met before!

Shane, me, and Sue!

It was such a pleasure to meet my cousin Sue, spend time with her, and make a family connection that will last the rest of my life. Thank you to everyone who came out to meet me, support my writing, and tell me they were fans of my book! Did you hear that? I HAVE FANS! *Happy Dance!* I can’t wait to go back to Spring Grove for another event!

Reading an excerpt from SEVEN STONES

Reading an excerpt from SEVEN STONES

After such an exciting week, I was ready for a lazy Sunday afternoon cuddled on the couch with a bowl of chili with Shane and a romantic movie. Instead, we helped some friends move into their new house. But I DID get my chili! And this isn’t your ordinary bowl of chili. Oh, no. It is the best chili around: PUMPKIN CHILI!

I think I may have mentioned before that pumpkin is one of my favorite flavors. This fall, I’ve been processing pie pumpkins at a rate of about one a week. I scoop out the seeds to toast, then roast and puree the sweet pumpkin “meat” to bake into breads, muffins, and even put into main dishes like my pumpkin chili.

I love simple, delicious food. This pumpkin chili recipe delivers amazing taste, nutrition, and is comforting and warming—perfect for those chilly fall nights. To top it all off, this recipe couldn’t be simpler: just dump all the ingredients in the slow cooker and walk away! Most of the work you have to do is chopping: how easy is that? You can throw everything together on Monday and have homemade chili for the rest of the week. As a bonus, the orange of the pumpkin and black beans make a festive Halloween dinner!

Julia’s Scary Good Pumpkin Chili

Serve up a scary good Halloween feast!

Serve up a scary good Halloween feast!


1 can (15.9 ounce) black beans, rinsed and drained

2 cups diced tomatoes

2 cups pumpkin puree (or 1 15 oz. can)

4 cups vegetable broth

1 cup lentils

1 cup quinoa, rinsed

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 Onion, minced

1 green bell pepper, diced

2 carrots, diced

1 Tbsp chili powder

1 Tbsp cumin

1 Tbsp cinnamon

1 Tbsp Sucanat or other granulated sweetener

Dash nutmeg

Salt & pepper, to taste


Add all the ingredients to the slow cooker. Turn on “low” and cook for 6-8 hours (if in a hurry, crank on “high” and let cook for 3-5 hours).

That’s it! Top with grated cheese (non-dairy or dairy) or any other chili toppings you like. DEVOUR!

Happy Monday!


25 Days and Counting…

25 days until the book release party. All aboard the crazy train.

This past weekend was a fabulous blur of travel, family, and celebrations. Shane and I hopped into our car on Saturday morning and drove 9 hours to celebrate a friend’s wedding. We left at 8:30 in the morning and got to Hartford, Wisconsin just as dinner was being served at the reception. Perfect timing! We ate, danced, ate cake, and danced some more. We called it a night around 9:30 and drove to our hotel where we sunk into the hot tub. That time in the hot tub was worth the trip alone.

The next morning, we were up at 8:00. We ran from the hotel to the Sweet Spot bakehouse in Whitewater to pick up the cake for my nephew Ira’s baptism. When my sister-in-law asked if I’d be willing to pick up the cake, I shouted an enthusiastic “YES!” As I’ve mentioned before, NEVER pass up an opportunity to eat at the Sweet Spot. It was the first time I got to see the new bakehouse, and it was fabulous. There was doughnut wallpaper on the ceiling, whisk light fixtures, and, oh yeah, the FOOD. Date-filled cookies, cakes, breads, red velvet brownies, tiramisu cupcakes, peach chai scones…I could eat there forever and it wouldn’t bother me in the slightest. Though I would have to buy elastic pants.


Besides getting to eat the wonderful chocolate ganache and raspberry cake, I am now the proud godmother of my nephew, Ira Blaine. He is such a little blessing to our family, and I am so happy to have been there for his baptism. We spent the day with family, ate more food and cake, and then left for home on Monday morning (after a breakfast with friends at the Sweet Spot, of course!).

It was a crazy, wonderful weekend. The itinerary did not, however, leave much any time for writing. I spent the week leading up to the trip finishing two grad school projects and reading ahead, so I am pretty good on the homework front. The writing front is looking a little sad. I haven’t written anything in three days! The goal of this week is to get back into my groove and hopefully make up for some lost time with extra writing. Somehow.

In the mean time, I’ve officially been invited to be a part of the Brainerd Public Library’s Brown Bag Author series! My first real author gig! WOOOOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I gladly accepted the invitation and have been obsessively scouring the internet for “speaking tips for authors” and “how to have a successful book signing.” I’ll post when the official time/date for the event are set!

Until next time!

What do you like most about going to author events/book signings?