Tag Archives: Family Ties

Sabbatical Sunsets


Montana sunset

Last fall, Chaz was given six weeks off for a sabbatical. We spent five of those weeks on a road trip to the west coast and working our way down the coast before returning home. Part of the fun I had was chasing the setting sun. My first picture was taken in Montana because weather was bad in Wisconsin on our first day.

Some sunsets were difficult to capture because of where we were while in the car in relation to the sunset, but I snapped as many as I could. While working on the scrapbook, I asked myself why I haven’t shared them yet. I didn’t have a good answer.

So here you go, some of my favorite sunsets on our adventure.

Sunset 2

Washington sunset, headed for Seattle.

Sunset 3

Vacaville sunset while shopping at the outlet mall

Sunset 4

Downtown Napa sunset

Sunset 5

Fresno sunset from our hotel room

Sunset 6

One of my favorite sunset views – my best friend’s house in Los Angeles

Sunset 7

Encinitas sunset

If you read Family Ties, we were in Encinitas for almost a week and I took pictures of some points of interest from the book and shared them during a Facebook party. The above picture was taken our first day while driving my best friend’s mom home after taking her out to dinner.

Sunset 8

Cardiff Beach sunset

Cardiff Beach is one of the points of interest in Family Ties. The evening even gave us a burnt orange sunset.

Sunset 9

Balboa Park sunset

We had just spent the afternoon with two different author friends of mine before the sunset above. First was lunch with Kennedy Ryan, and then wandering Balboa Park with Richard Mellinger. I am going to share more from this day later – because writers.

Sunset 10

Carlsbad sunset

Sunset 11

San Elijo sunset

Sunset 12

Another Carlsbad sunset

Sunset 13

Arizona sunset

The above is from our hotel room while waiting to meet my partner in crime, Douglas B. Wimmer, for dinner. There may or may not have been a competitive game of miniature golf afterward. I’ll never tell.

Sunset 14

New Mexico sunset in the rearview

Sunset 15

Oklahoma sunset

Oklahoma was the the last sunset on the road. And yes, if you’re checking out the gas pump, it really says “Kum & Go.” We are all twelve right now.


Posted by on August 10, 2016 in Uncategorized


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Signed Paperback Copy of Family Ties Giveaway



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Giveaway ends midnight 11/23/15

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Posted by on November 13, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Writing What I Know

My character brainstorming and how each one relates to Sara.

My character brainstorming and how each one relates to Sara.

The question I’m asked most often from readers is this: Is Family Ties based on personal experience?


I’m not Sara. My parents aren’t Simon and Tibby. The Jerichos and Jason are completely made up.

“But it feels so real.”

Have you heard the saying, write what you know? Robin Cook was a doctor. He knows medicine and writes medical thrillers.

I worked in the mental health field for twelve and a half years. I spent ten and a half years working with boys, mostly teenagers, but some as young as three. Most of them were physically/sexually/emotionally abused/neglected by one or more family members. I did direct care work at first. I was with them from after school until bedtime and on weekends. I knew their histories and their pain, was forced to physically restrain them when they were in danger of hurting themselves or others, and sat with them as they cried and cried about how unfair life was.

I started the first draft of Family Ties while doing direct care work, because I needed somewhere to put their stories and the stress of carrying them with me.

While my roles and worked evolved through the years, one fact remained: I worked with many of the boys from the time they stepped through the doors to the time they left. In some cases, that was years.

I worked with parents who could fit the Simon and Tibby bill. I knew social workers like Shannon and school administrators like Mr. Croft. I’ve seen kids fall through the cracks and poor decisions made on their behalf. I’ve seen what precedes events that become headline news and had to bite my tongue. I remain tight-lipped on so many news events, because it is never as black and white as the media portrays it and people think when making hurtful comments on articles and social media.

The work is difficult. It is emotional. It is exhausting. But it is worth it when you witness true change happening before you. When you see everything click into place. When they return several years later, young men and in college or working full-time, or they call you on the phone because they want to hear a voice they know that truly cares for them.

I’m not Sara. My boys are.


Posted by on August 21, 2015 in Uncategorized


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