The Doctor is IN

Keen Observations on Life … Whether You Need Them or Not

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Today, my husband and I are celebrating our 24th anniversary. Wahoo!



Homer’s The Iliad and The Odyssey are divided into 24 sections. There are 24 letters in the Greek alphabet. Twenty-four is the number of carats in pure gold. And 24 is the number of hours in a day that I love, with all my heart, my soul mate.



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I was a military brat until elementary school, when my parents divorced, and my mom and I put down roots. After college, and marriage and having our son, we moved into a small town in North Carolina where we put down more roots. We lived there for 19 years–the longest I’ve lived in one place. When we moved to our new house out in the meadow last summer, I did not enjoy the moving process. Selling and building a house: yes. Packing up our shit and then unpacking it: no.

One highlight was the bookshelves. I got in the habit of tucking important things in between books at random. Handwritten notes, letters to Santa, cards, photographs, playbills, admission tickets to the ballet I wrote … things like that. I also maintain a notebook for everything. I got in the habit of that years ago. I like a basic Mead 3-ring binder; nothing fancy or leather. To my delight, I discovered our son is a doodler, like me. I was getting my notebook cleaned organized so I can keep track of my WIPs, and ran across this doodle–one of my favorites. Think I’ll shake out the shelves, so to speak, to see what fun stuff I can find. Stay tuned!

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New Year, New Opportunity!

It’s exciting to have made another lap around the sun. The new year, for me, is lining up to be pretty exciting. Beginning today, I’ll be blogging with USA Today’s Happy Ever After community, making recommendations for my favorite romantic suspense books!

Check it out when you get a chance … I’ll be posting on Thursdays.

Happy New Year, y’all!

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Putting it all together

The continuing education creative writing adjunct instructors at Central Carolina Community College were asked to provide bios and headshots, and images of their book covers for the upcoming Carolina Women’s Show. My mom loves stuff like this, so we’ll most likely swing through. It’s kind of cool to see all of seven of my book covers put together. It reminds me that my TBI is nothing but a blip in my career, a five-year hiatus seasoning my imagination so my forthcoming books will be even more exciting. Onward and upward!

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New Semester, New Writing Courses!

I can honestly say that I’m never bored. But 2016 will go down in history as one crazy, busy year. We traveled to Barbados; sold our house of 19 years; we built a new house; our son graduated from high school; we traveled to San Diego, CA; we traveled to NYC; our son started college; my mother sold her house in a day; and we moved my mother in with us while her house is being built (expected completion: June 2017). WHEW.

It’s a good thing I like to be busy. One of the upsides of moving to a new county and a new community is finding fun new things. Like Central Carolina Community College in Pittsboro. I’ll be starting this spring as an adjunct instructor in their Creative Writing Program. AND I’ll also be continuing to work as an adjunct instructor in Wake Technical Community College’s writing program. 🙂 Check it out:

Introduction to Grantwriting
Wake Technical Community College
Tuesdays : March 21 – May 2, 2017

The Business of Writing Romance
Central Carolina Community College
Thursdays : March 23 – May 4, 2017

Sign up today!


Great advice from the keynote

screen-shot-2016-10-26-at-12-12-19-pmThis morning I had the pleasure of going to the Durham Technical Community College 2016 Scholarship Breakfast. Sometimes it’s nice to be the only Sickles in town … I had a lovely breakfast, and got to sit with this year’s scholarship recipient and her mom.

All of the speakers were interesting, but Vinnay Khanna, the keynote speaker, was particularly extraordinary. He spoke of meeting the Dalai Lama as a child, and kicked off his conversation with thoughts on not letting others dissuade you from setting (or pursuing) lofty goals. He shared three substantive pieces of advice, and I want to pass them on. These work for short- and long-term goals.

  1. Have lofty goals.
  2. Work hard. Even if you’re the most gifted person in the world, why would you not work hard? “Set your goals so high that you have to fail. Don’t set them so low that you succeed.”
  3. Don’t worry about others. Don’t let other people discourage you from aiming high. Where you have been is not as important as where you are heading now.

So … what lofty goals do YOU have planned for today?

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Sometimes, growing up sucks

The best thing about having kids while you’re young is that you get to grow up with them. Our son was born two weeks after I turned 25 and ever since, we’ve referred to ourselves as ‘the Sickles Three.’ We’re family, but more importantly we’re friends. A unit. And while we’ve been working toward preparing our son for college and adulthood and life, now that we’re there, it sure is difficult to bear.

Progress is important. Change is inevitable. And sometimes growing up sucks.

I’ve been struggling this week with Peyton heading to college. He is exactly where he is supposed to be, doing exactly what he is supposed to be doing, and I am thankful and elated and supportive … but I am so sad. While his college is only an hour away, and I know he’ll be back, dropping him off at college this morning signals a huge shift in life. Things will never be the same again, and the future is unknown … and sort of scary. There’s childhood. Then marriage. Then kids. Now … something else new.

For the past 18 years, we’ve had our little peanut at arm’s length, there to hug and talk to and just look at, anytime we wanted. So much has changed for us this summer. We lived in our house in Apex for 19 years — my Sweet Pea came home to that house — but we moved on June 1 to a beautiful house on two acres half an hour away. We’ve got a grown up house now. And we’ve got a grown up son who isn’t in grade school anymore. And by default that means that I, too, am a grown up.

And that kind of sucks. So while I usher in a thrilling new chapter in our son’s life, I must also turn the page and begin a new one. I think I’ve been so focused on mentally and emotionally preparing myself for Peyton’s college departure that I forgot it what day-to-day changes it will bring: I’ll wake up on Monday morning at a reasonable hour — not the 5:45 am I’ve done for the past six years. I’ll fix breakfast and lunch for myself. I’ll miss cross-country meets in the fall, and track season in the spring. I’ll miss harassing the shit out of him to finish his homework before midnight. I’ll miss watching his dog trot up the stairs after him for bed.

Sigh …

So here’s to all the college-bound kids and their exciting new adventures … and here’s to all the parents establishing a new normal. And here’s to growing up. May you face it with a smile on your face, your loved ones close to your heart, and adventure in your spirit.

With me in San Diego, 2016; at the beach, flying with dad in 1999; running in the NYC Summer Streets long run in 2016.

With me in San Diego, 2016; at the beach, flying with dad in 1999; running in the NYC Summer Streets long run in 2016.