Dream Talk: Buying My Book from B&N

When I started Almost There all those years ago (okay, like three years ago or so) I was still writing a plethora of books feeling like one day, ONE DAY, I’d be able to publish one of them. Turns out my “big break” wasn’t even in my head then. That doesn’t stop me from feeling like I accomplished the first step in several to meet my life-long dream of having a successful writing career!

March 17, yesterday, marked the print release of my first novel MANHUNT! Depending on the quickness of your local bookstores/stores that carry books (like Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million, Target, Walmart, etc.) there should be a copy of MANHUNT inside.

Here’s Holli Anne and her presh family with their copy!

Presh Fam

I went with Boy Tyler to see if our local B&N had them shelved yet. They didn’t BUT they gave me a copy from the back. I bought it because HEY it felt special!

And then I gave it to the woman who altered my wedding dress…which I also picked up yesterday!

So many things are going on this month that I’m having a hard time keeping up! Book releases, PR things, WEDDING, and hitting deadlines for my next Intrigue series…It’s all crazy but it’s all something I love!

For those of you who check back with Almost There from time to time, know that April and May will have a lot of posts about Life Things on my part!

And hopefully you’ll be able to take encouragement, humor, and a little bit of love from them!

Until then let’s freak out a little that I HAVE A BOOK IN BOOKSTORES!

Andy Dwyer!



Workspace Wednesday 2/25


I spend a LOT of time at my computer. I’d like to say I spend the same amount of time in my office…but that’s just a lie. Depending on the day, my mood, or whatever book or project I’m working on, I move around the house often. Always trying to find that spot of writing zen!

This week, however, I’ve managed to stay in the office at my desk. And, since it’s rarely ever this neat, I thought I’d catalogue this moment for Future Me to see what it’s like to have a neat place to write!

Things to note:
- My cork board doesn’t have anything else on it because it was DRIVING ME CRAZY! For a while it was covered in story and plot ideas for various stories…then I couldn’t take it and cleared it off. I’m sure it’ll fill up soon with my third Intrigue book underway. (Also, yes, I know it’s slightly warped! I’ve had it since high school!)
- That lovely cat calendar was given to me as a Christmas present and is not always that pink!
- You might spy my Big Trouble in Little China’s Jack Burton figure in his box still…and that’s because I love it so much I’m afraid it’ll get damaged if I take it out! We’ll see how long that lasts. (My wonderful Tyler surprised me with this gift as a pre-wedding surprise!)
- That colorful planner? Yeah that’s Holli Anne’s Christmas gift to me! It’s an ABM exclusive!
- I also was recently given a physical copy of The Rook by Daniel O’Malley by another bestie (thanks, Rachel!) so I could re-read one of my favorite books! Occasionally this week I’ve sidetracked to it…which probably isn’t a good thing for my work flow!
- Is that a mustache bank? Yes, yes it is. Again, I was blessed with besties who know how to reach my heart. This is a nod to you, Virginia!
- Last thing I’ll point out with love is the line of Polaroid above the board. I bought two packs of film for a camera I’ve had for years and took pictures at my recent bachelorette party! I want to eventually put them in a photo album but for now I’m happy where they are!

Where are YOU working this Wednesday?
(Quick, shameless plug! If you’d like a personalized video of me thanking you/talking about my book MANHUNT, check this out!)



My first year in parenting


Today my son turns one! (Que the tears!)

Obviously, I’m having a lot of feelings. Pride from watching my little man grow from a new born to a walking, babbling, always giggling toddler. Sadness at the first sign that my baby isn’t really going to be an infant anymore. Joy at how far our family of three has grown. Accomplishment at just surviving the year!

As part of my own little celebration of Gabe’s life, I thought I’d share some of the biggest (mostly sarcastic and a few serious) lessons I’ve learned in my first year of motherhood.

1. If you go outside with a baby (doesn’t even have to be yours probably), people will flock to you with advice.

2. Many of those people will share their “wisdom” by passively-aggressively asking your kid questions that indicate you are indeed a horrible parent. I.E. “Aww, where are your socks?” “Oh you don’t have pacifier sweetheart?”

3. Posting something remotely related to parenting on Facebook brings out more advice than it would if you just didn’t put clothes on your baby in the winter time ever. Also, someone who isn’t a parent will always have something to contribute.

4. Poop is less of a thing that happens sometimes and more just a way of life.

5. My heart does not reside inside my body. It roams around, climbs on furniture, and rests in my arms.

6. All things are passing. Way too fast. Way. Too. Fast. And I appreciate minutes a lot more than I used to because nothing makes me feel like time is slipping away more than watching this human grow.

7. Showers aren’t just for getting clean. They are the best form of escape there is (turn on that water and hear nothing!) In other news, my fastest shower record, to include shaving, is 4 minutes.

8. I can accomplish more in an uninterrupted two-hours than I could in five pre-baby. When you don’t have as much time, you can just focus more when you actually get it!

9. I don’t need as much sleep as I ever thought I did. On a related note, thank God for coffee.

10. Every single day gets better and easier.

11. Being a mom is the hardest, best thing I’ve ever done and nothing makes me have more self-confidence than growing a human and then keeping that human not only alive but happy and healthy.

12. On a similar note, nothing makes me feel more unsure of myself than navigating parenthood. Mom guilt is real!

I probably can’t honestly count all the lessons I’ve learned this year. It’s been a year of so many new things and so many changes. Constantly adjusting schedules, priorities, working, balance. After a year, I’d say I definitely don’t have everything all figured out. Not. Even. Close.

But like my #10, it does get easier every day. Not that every day actually is easier but the way I handle it does. It’s all just a season and it all will pass.

Happy first birthday little man! Thank you for bringing us so much fun and joy this year and I imagine, many years to come!


P.S. I am definitely serious about all the advice and unwanted advice out there, but I’ve also discovered there is a beautiful community of mothers who are all just trying there best, and I’d be remiss without saying thanks for all the support from fellow mom friends, mom blogs, etc.

P.S.S. My FAVORITE parenthood related post I’ve read in the last year? HERE!
-Holli Anne



It’s no secret that Holli and I love, love, love the show Parks & Recreation…in no small part thanks to the character of Leslie Knope. She’s an inspirational woman played by an inspirational woman. You just can’t beat that.

So when Leslie came up with Galentine’s Day we fell in love with it!


And we’re not alone!

Smart Girls at the Party (affectionally nicknamed “Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls” and born from a web series by Meredith Walker, Amy Miles, and Amy Poehler) shared this year’s Galentine’s Day post where fans have created LITERALLY the best graphics for this breakfast-eating-filled day. Before you scroll down through my favorite graphics (credited accordingly), here’s a quick rundown of what the site is all about.

“Amysmartgirls.com provides a hub for teens, parents, teachers and fans of all ages to learn, to become a part of the greater Smart Girl community, and to participate in Smart Girl projects. The website has grown and evolved toward online campaigns to engage followers in volunteerism, civic activism, cultural exchange, and self-expression through the arts.” More on their About page here.

I also have to highly suggest you Like their Facebook page for awesome content for all ages and gender!
Now, on to the love!

Galentine's Day Artist: Alyssa Wigant


Artist: Trudy Vinson


Artist: Kayla Lake


Artist: Amanda Peterson


Artist: Erica Patstone

For the original post along with other fun graphics go here!




DIY: Valentine’s Dinner Surprise


I’ve never been SUPER crazy about Valentine’s Day, but I really LOVE love. Who doesn’t, right?

My husband and I actually have a silly tradition of going to Waffle House for Valentine’s Day (this will be our 4th Annual Waffle House Love Extravaganza, a name which I just made up on the spot)! But since I’m a sucker for all pseudo holidays, I decided to throw a little early Valentine’s themed couple dinner for my husband as a surprise date night.

I have a mega-busy almost one year old so I promise you, this is an incredibly easy thing to pull off if any of you procrastinating souls haven’t come up with a plan for Saturday yet. Even if you have, this is a fun little thing to do for your boo that will surely be a hit.

In this post, I’ll share with you the decorations (which includes one simple DIY), the menu and recipes for making your own version of this Valentine surprise.


For any event/dinner/party/whatever, the details are always my favorite part. For this, I obviously wanted to keep it really simple but fun.

I did one DIY Mosaic Paper Heart taped on the wall above our dinner table. I actually made that ahead of time, and just told my husband I was making some February swag.


To make you’ll need:

  • Red construction paper
  • Silver glitter OR glitter paper (if you want to make it super quickly and less messy!)
  • Glue (if you are glittering yourself)
  • Scissors
  • Masking tape

Simply take your red and glitter paper (pre-glitter your paper and let it dry) and cut them into angular shapes. The bigger the shapes, the less time it will take to make your heart.


I started with just the red paper outlining a shape of a heart on the wall.


Then I just filled it in with glitter and red paper using masking tape. And there you have some easy breezy wall art!


Now onto the table. I just covered it in these lovely little white lace tablecloths. There are actually two of them layered so the wood of the table wouldn’t show through as much. I placed the ONE houseplant I own this swell little aloe (knock on wood, it’s still alive!) and put one of my leftover wedding cake toppers in it. And surrounded those with candles. All of these things were thrift store finds I had sitting around the house anyway!


I’m a sucker for place cards, so I wanted to make some even though it was only two of us. It’s just a simple detail that fancied up the dinner experience. I found these chocolate hearts at a dollar store and just wrote “His and Hers” on them with a Sharpie. And bonus, we now have chocolate hearts in our freezer!

Place Cards


I also wanted to write a physical menu out, so I took some white cardstock, cut a heart shape and wrote our meal out on it. The plates are set with a paper pink doily (Dollar Tree find!), with the menu on top of that and the place card heart on top of that. So sweet!


For the last little bit of decoration, I took some festive ribbon (also from the dollar store…I find those stores really do holidays up!) and taped them to the back of our chairs. (Don’t mind my insane-looking dog in the second pic).




The actual food we ate (while yummy) isn’t really anything to write home about. Like I said, SIMPLE.

We had Caprese Salad, Fettucine Alfredo & Chocolate Cream Cheese cupcakes which I bought from Fresh Market. To drink we had some Fizzy Lizzy Natural Cranberry Soda.






Even though these aren’t from-scratch fancy meals, I’ll post the recipes for you anyway.

Caprese Salad


  • Tomato
  • Mozzarella
  • Spinach Leaves (supposed to be Basil!)
  • Olive Oil
  • Basil Seasoning

To prepare:

Simply lay out your leaves on the bottom and top with sliced tomatoes. I sprinkled olive oil and a dash or two of basil seasoning on top of that. Then, I used a heart shaped cookie cutter on my mozzarella to make it more festive and put that over the whole salad. That’s it!

Fettuccine Alfredo


  • Spinach pasta noodles
  • 2 Chicken Breasts
  • Newman’s Own Alfredo Sauce
  • Garlic
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Parsley

To prepare:

Boil pasta in separate pot. Cook chicken in pan with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Once cooked, heat Alfredo sauce in same pan and mix in garlic and other seasonings (about a teaspoon of each but really to taste). Serve with noodles.

So that’s that. A super easy, festive little couples date night. Whatever you do, hope you have a Happy Valentine’s Day & share in a little love!

Oh, and because I like you guys, I’ll show you the crazy toy disaster that was REALLY taking place during this dinner. Just keepin’ it real!


-Holli Anne

Made Happy by Pictalo