SHRILUGH is offically yours for the reading.

Get it at Smashwords or Amazon or iTunes today! And if you’re looking for a paperback version, check it out here!

After you’ve procured your copy feel free to tell your friends, neighbors, loved ones, enemies, pets, health care professionals, stylists, teachers, frienemies, local politicians, public-access tv hosts, neighborhood cat lady, mailman, and anybody else you can think of.  Here, I’ll feed you some lines:

*Energetic waving through open car window* “Hiya, guy in car next to me at red stop-light that I don’t know! I just downloaded/ordered this great book called Shrilugh. I haven’t read it yet, but I’ve heard it’s really, really, really awesome, and I felt I’d be doing you, my brother in humanity, a great disservice if I didn’t tell you about it! SHRILUGH! It’s called Shrilugh, spelled S-H-R-I-L-U-G-H. Don’t forget it! SHRILUGH! SHRIIIIIILUGH!”

You don’t have to use this speech verbatim. Feel free to improvise.



GUEST POST: Thomas Shafer (aka, the Hubster)

My Hubster is one all-around-very-cool-super-handsome-awfully-sweet-terribly-smart guy.  When I told him I was lining up guest posts to help me cover the blog during the first few months of Little Miss Took’s life, he quickly piped up, saying,

“I can help you with that!”

And so, my partner in crime has become my partner in blogging.

The Hubster works in a unique field – he specializes in (among other techie things) high-end two-channel audio.  Really cool stuff that will literally change the way you listen.  I feel like I’ve re-discovered my ears because of what he chose to do with his life.

Because of his profession, he’s had a front row seat to much of what happened when the musical world went digital, and he’s got some interesting insight to the change the literary world is undergoing – the digitalization of books.

Read on for his thoughts and opinions!


I’ve seen music media go through a certain kind of life cycle.  Back in the ’60s and ’70s, the only choice was gramophone records.  Then, round about the late ’80s, CDs came along and most everyone dove head first into the wonderful world of digital playback.  

What is amazing to me is that nowadays, it seems people want both!  

Digital music is still the medium of choice for most people, BUT a lot of folks are remembering the value of good ‘ol records.  I hear folks say..

‘I love the convenience of my iPod, but really enjoy the feel of a record in my hand’.

If you are one of us that agrees that Music Matters, I bet you would probably agree with that statement…I know I sure do.

So here is the observation.

It seems that books are about to go through the same cycle.  Just as little as a couple of years ago, if you wanted a book, your only option was to get it on paper.  But now, e-readers are literally on the verge of changing this to where you might not ever read your favorite new book on paper.

Do you think we can cut to the chase here?  Is it possible that book publishers could learn from music media’s life cycle and avoid the 10-30 year experiment it went thru to discover that people want both analog and digital?  I can just hear it now…

‘I love the convenience of my e-reader, but really enjoy the feel of a book in my hand’ 

Here is what I suggest.

Book publishers, with every new book being published, put it out there in BOTH ANALOG AND DIGITAL.  Put a hard-bound book on the shelf with a digital copy of it inside the front cover!

Music labels…with every new album you are going to produce, put it out there in BOTH ANALOG AND DIGITAL.  Put a vinyl record on the shelf with a digital copy of it inside the cover!

This is what the consumer wants!


I think he makes a great point.   It’s one of my very favorite things, to open up a fresh vinyl album – esp. when a digital copy came along with it.  After all, a turntable in my car just isn’t practical.  🙂  For me, it’s the same with books.  Personally, I would LOVE to be able to buy my books with a digital copy tucked inside.  I love the convenience of an e-reader, but nothing really compares to snuggling up on the couch with the weight of a book in my hands, and the smell of paper and ink in my nose.  People are analog beings, and we’re always going to be drawn to analog things, no matter how convenient digital might be.

What are your thoughts, opinions?  Let ’em fly!

Q&A: Alica McKenna Johnson

I am super-psyched to introduce you Alica McKenna Johnson today.  She’s not new to my blog – you can check out her guest post here – but she’s recently released her novel PHOENIX CHILD, which is super-exciting news, any way you slice it.  This seems like a fabulous time for you to get to know her a little better, don’tchya think?  Check out the little Q&A we had the other day…

ME:  Alica!  Your new book has just been published, which is so very cool.  The day after PHOENIX CHILD was available online, what was the first thing you did when you woke up?

ALICA: Great question!  Nothing too exciting.  I was working, so up at 5:20 AM, opened the computer and logged in.  Then I woke up the first child, checked email, squealed at seeing two more purchased from Smashwords, got kids to bus by 6AM, woke my two personal kids (hubby was also working), woke two more work kids, when they were done in the bathroom woke final two work kids, made breakfast and managed to get them all off to school while obsessively checking Amazon, Smashwords, Facebook, and Twitter.

ME: Holy cow, woman, you are busy!  Six kids, four of which are foster kids (is that the right term?)…it makes my head spin.

Quick, which do you relate most to?  Hamster in a wheel, kangaroo with a pouch full of rowdy joeys, or goddess divine who can breeze through anything life throws at her?

ALICA: It’s actually five kids, did I leave one out?  The term ‘foster’ works, but I’m technically a houseparent  in a group home.  

I like to imagine that I’m a divine goddess, but really I think I’m more a kangaroo desperately trying to keep everything together.  Hey, what happened to my opposable thumbs?  I need those!

ME: Okay, first of all, anybody who’s a houseparent immediately gets rockstar status in my book.  Secondly, opposable thumbs are an absolute necessity.  How else would I drag the offspring around by their ears all day long?  And thirdly, I clearly can’t count, because now I totally see that you listed five kiddos, not six.  Scary thing, isn’t it, to think that I’m responsible for teaching my kids math…

ALICA: Don’t worry, Myndi.  Your kids will help you learn math.  🙂

As for rockstar status, I don’t know about that.  Most of the time I’m desperately trying not to lose my temper!  

ME: That’s okay – I’ve heard rockstars have been known to lose their tempers a time or two…

Hey, speaking of homeschooling, you’ve been down that path before, and are looking to start up again.  In the spirit of homeschooling camaraderie, riddle me this: What’s the silliest question you’ve had to fend from non-homeschooling folks?

ALICA: I loved homeschooling, and most of the people we hung out with either home-schooled, or were alternative thinking, so I didn’t get too much flack.  But while we were on vacation in Denver some guy in a shop asked my son some weird question about a quarter – it might have been who was on it, or what the newest state quarter was?  All I remember was thinking he was crazy and a regular school kid wouldn’t know the answer!

My mom used to worry that my son was ‘too smart and active’ to be home-schooled.  And of course, there’s the ‘but what if you don’t know it?’ question.  Umm…I look it up?  I learned a ton homeschooling my kids.

ME: As I’m sure you’re well aware (because I can’t seem to shut my yapper about it), I’m about ready to pop out my fourth child.  You’ve mentioned in passing that you’ve home-birthed more than once.  Again, rockstar status is in order here.  I kind-of dig the idea, but I’ve never been able to get the Hubster on board.  How did you convince your Hunny it was the thing to do?

ALICA: Well, with my first hubby – once I stopped crying, realizing I was unmarried, 19, and pregnant – I said, ‘By the way, you know I’m having this baby at home.’  He wasn’t sold on the idea, but once we went to Bradley Child Birthing Classes, he was good with it.  We felt very secure with the midwife I picked.  Good thing, too, because he almost delivered Logan by himself!

Hubby #2 is as alternative as I am and dislikes hospitals as much as I do, so that one was easy.

I was blessed with a midwife that I trusted, and easy, healthy pregnancies.  I’m so glad I had my babies at home, and have even been invited to attend a few births.  So amazing…and I always hold my breath until the baby cries.

ME: Isn’t that first cry of life the most amazing, relieving thing?

ALICA: It’s amazing.  I don’t think I can describe it.  Just thinking about it fills me with hope and joy.

ME:  How old are your kiddos now, and what’s the one thing that sticks out in your mind that motherhood has taught you?

ALICA: Let’s see…my kiddos are 17 and 12.  What has motherhood taught me?  That being a good parent is more than just how you raise your children, it’s also how much work you’re willing to do to become a better person so you can show your kids how they can be their best.  Does that make sense?

ME: Absolutely!  So much is taught through observation.  I don’t think we can underestimate how much they learn from us when we don’t realize they’re watching.  

Back to this book of yours.  What did it feel like when you got to the place with your manuscript and realized, “THIS IS DONE!”?

ALICA:  At first I was shocked.  I just stared at the computer screen.  Then I jumped for joy and told everyone I could think of.  Then I realized I still had to edit and revise, and then I wanted to cry just a little bit.  Okay, a lot.  But after some moral support and chocolate, I pulled myself together.

ME:  Mmmmm, chocolate.  Favorite kind?

ALICA:  Is there any bad chocolate?  LOL.  I do prefer dark chocolate, and I like quality chocolate.  No cheap stuff for me.

ME:  …can we still be friends if I admit I have a love affair with Hershey’s with almonds?


ME: Um….back to PHOENIX CHILD, shall we?  *grins awkwardly and throws Hershey’s wrapper behind sofa*  Give me a fast run-down of what the book’s about.

ALICA:  PHOENIX CHILD is a Young Adult Urban Fantasy.  Sara lives in a group home and is trying to make the best of her life in the system.  Waking up the morning of her fourteenth birthday, she finds her appearance has changed, and she has powers – like bursting into flames – that she doesn’t want.  

Soon she finds a family.  Not only others like her, but an uncle she never knew existed shows up in her life.  Confronted by the evil that killed her parents, Sara has to decide if she will let her fears win, or find the courage to accept her destiny and save her people.

ME: Sounds totally fantastic!  Who do you think would most enjoy PHOENIX CHILD?

ALICA:  I hope I have written a book that will appeal to teens and adults.  I know so many adults who love YA that I didn’t want to focus on just one age group.  

ME:  Where can folks purchase your book?

ALICA:  You can purchase PHOENIX CHILD at Amazon and Smashwords.  Both places have a free preview – 30 pages, I think.  

ME: Lovely!  Thanks for stopping by Alica!

ALICA: Thanks for having me, Myndi.  I’ve had a great time.