About S.M.Peterson

Author Update - Summer 2015!

Hi friends! It’s been a while since I’ve told you what’s happening in my life. While I love posting about books and hearing your thoughts, I figured I’d tell you a little bit about my summer. NYCWork has been busy! I’ve been to New York, New York twice this summer for work conferences. They always say it’s the “city so nice, they named it twice,” but I’ve got to say—“nice” is one adjective I wouldn’t necessarily select for Manhattan. I’m sure most of you have been there, and would agree that it’s more “chaotic,” or “frenzied,” or even “smelly.” But, of course, none of those fit neatly into the rhyme. Our company recently moved into a new office space in downtown Denver with a lovely open floor plan and a lot of natural light. It’s an amazing space, but as it turns out, setting up an office with furniture, internet, etc, is a busy job! For those of you who have administrative assistants or office managers, don’t take them for granted!

Fishers IslandMr. Perfect sold his house within three days of listing it, which was exciting in Denver’s crazy real estate market. Leading up to the sale was a lot of cleaning and moving, organizing and fixing. But the closing date is this week, so there is an end in sight! After that’s done, we get to start looking for a home together. I’m not sure yet what we’ll end up buying—whether it will be a starter home or a “forever” home—but I’ll be sure to update you with pictures once we decide on something.

Over Labor Day, we visited Fisher’s Island and participated in the Harbor Open Golf tournament. I use the word “participated” loosely, as the amount of drinking taking place at said tournament makes real participation a challenge. But it’s all part of the fun! We got plenty of beach time, and celebrated Mr. Perfect’s grandfather’s 90th birthday. His grandmother also just finished reading my books!  Fishers Island 2

Since I started writing, I’ve noticed that most people have a similar reaction when they hear I’ve written a book.

Other Person (OP): You’ve written two books? That’s amazing! How do you even write a book?

Me: Yep, two books. And I’m not sure how you write a book. Like Nike says, “Jus’ do it!” Maybe. Shrugs.

OP: Doesn’t that take a really long time? I wouldn’t know where or how to start.

Now, I usually just smile and nod at that point. But what I SHOULD say is this:

Me: Yep, it takes a really long time. And I never know where to start. Actually, I sat at my computer and drank wine for about an hour last night, and couldn’t figure out where to begin. The more wine I drank, the harder time I had remembering what the book was even about. Finally, I just shut my computer and went to bed.

All of this leads me (finally) to a point. Book #3 is under way! With all of the updates above, it’s been hard getting started and feeling ready to begin another adventure. But I have a feeling it’s going to be better than the first two.

Hold onto your pantaloons!

S. M. Peterson

The Girl with All the Gifts Book Review and “Relationship Reading”

GirlWithAlltheGiftsLike most authors, reading is one of my favorite pastimes. I’ve always had this romanticized dream of meeting a man who wouldn’t think lying in bed and reading to each other was overly dorky. For the first time, I (sort of) realized that dream with Mr. Perfect! On a recent trip back to my hometown of Arnold, Nebraska, we decided to spend the five-hour drive listening to an audio book instead of the radio. We selected The Girl with All the Gifts because of the high ratings on Audible, Amazon.com’s audio book platform acquired for $300 million in 2008. Later we realized that this book was over 13 hours long, so it ended up taking us several car rides and many nights listening on the couch before we finished it.

But what a treat! Author M. R. Carey adds a chilling twist to the tried-and-true zombie apocalypse tale based upon real science in which cordyceps parasites take over the bodies of their hosts and eventually fruit, spread, and populate. One of the more impressive things about this book was the depth of the characters in this book—though the cast was small, each had a very clear goal they fought to realize and a distinctive voice that implants the reader into the brains of the narrators. The book is a bit verbose at times, and I can’t say the ending turned out as I hoped, but overall it was an excellent read/listen. ****4/5 Stars.

Listening to the book as a couple made me think a lot about the impact of reading on relationships. At first, I assumed it would be like watching a TV series together. But as we all know, translating the written (or spoken) word into pictures in our brains takes a little more effort than watching television. Perhaps because of this extra “work,” this experience felt far more interactive. There were many times when I paused the book to ask about some element of the plot. We talked about the book more than we do TV shows, wondering aloud whether or not they characters would make it safely to their destination or whether they were about to be killed.

The experience was particularly powerful to me right now, since Mr. Perfect has been working the night shift. He typically leaves around nine o’clock to head in to work, so listening to this book together felt like something we could share in the limited time we had each night. In fact, it almost felt like a private joke—we laughed together at the funny bits in the book and worried together about the fate of our favorite people. I think it’s because investing the time and effort into listening to or reading a book together creates a kind of special bond.

We’ve already talked about starting another book. Maybe this time we’ll read it aloud instead of having someone read it to us!

Has anyone out there ever done a little “relationship reading” of your own? What did you think? How did it make you feel?


S. M. Peterson

Why Women Must be Perfect (and The Girl on the Train Book Review)

girl on the train“Women are still only really valued for two things—their looks and their role as mothers. I’m not beautiful, and I can’t have kids, so what does that make me? Worthless.” I’ve always wondered if I’m the only woman who has ever felt this way. At least now I know Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train, has at the very least considered it.

When I was both single and without a particularly impressive career, not one person ever came to me with a twinkle in their eye to ask me, “What types of career successes are you chasing?” However, at least on a weekly basis, I got, “Have you been dating?” “Tick tock! You should try a dating site!” “Don’t you want to have kids some day? If you want to have kids, you really shouldn’t put your career first…”

In The Girl on the Train we become acquainted with two women, Megan and Rachel. At first, they seem to be as opposite as opposite could be—Megan is beautiful and slender; Rachel is fat and slovenly. Megan is sharp and successful; Rachel takes the train into London each day to pretend she wasn’t fired months prior. Megan has a gorgeous home and a handsome husband. Rachel, in contrast, says “It’s been a while since anyone touched me with anything approaching tenderness.” Megan is actually strikingly similar in my mind’s eye to Amy from Gone Girl. I’m not sure which of the two is more of a train wreck (pardon the pun!)—Megan or Rachel.

As we get to know the two women, we learn that they are actually quite similar. Both feel the weight of the pressure to be perfect, and yet deal with it in different ways. Rachel’s pain is all on the surface—she turns to alcohol and stops taking care of herself. Megan, on the other hand, hides her pain away, causing it to build and build in pressure until she has an affair and is ultimately murdered by a lover.

I really believe that as women, we’re saddled with much more pressure than men.

There’s the pressure to look perfect and pin-thin all the time. There’s a pressure to be “together,” with everything organized and planned perfectly. There’s pressure to have a personal trainer so you can talk about while showing off your toned calves, eat elegant meals so you can Instagram the photos, and travel to exotic places so you seem worldly and cultured. Don’t even get me started on Pinterest and the Martha Stewart-esque craft mania we’re supposed to recreate. (Disclaimer: I love Pinterest.)

And, of course, there’s pressure to have a picture-perfect family.

When we see women without these qualities and achievements, many of us are quick to judge. But at the same time, we HATE women who actually achieve this state of perfection.

In the rush to try to achieve more, we often forget to ask ourselves an important question: “Do I even WANT to be perfect?”

“Would I rather eat my ice cream and be a little rounder than go without, only to STILL fall short of the fitness levels of other women in the room? Would I rather spend my weekends with Mr. Perfect, or stuck behind my computer in pursuit of a career that will probably not end up as I imagine anyway?"

Do I hate Rachel from The Girl on the Train? I definitely dislike her. But extreme dislike is hard when there is so much about her to be pitied. It’s easier to hate Megan, because she at least has options, and she’s choosing wrong.

“I’m frightened and I don’t want to have to think,” Rachel says at one point. She’s so weak its painful. Part of me wants to tell her to sack up, put down the bottle, and get a frickin’ job. The other part of me wants to hug her and say, “I know exactly how you feel. Let’s snuggle and eat some ice cream!”

Perhaps the defining line is that Rachel has nobody in her life who finds her interesting, and she simply isn’t capable of becoming interesting on her own, so she inserts herself into someone else’s interesting story by force. Megan, on the other hand, is plenty capable. It’s laziness keeping her from finding a hobby or choosing a path for her life. That laziness eventually chooses the path for her—a path ending in death.

I keep searching for that line. How do we know the difference between trying—being un-lazy—and being so un-lazy it kills us? I’m not sure.

I'd love to hear your thoughts.


S. M.

Luce Launch Book Party at Denver Deep Dish Pizza

10389967_10100294746847076_7815068059528618322_nAttending a party thrown in your honor is a little awkward. I remember my high school graduation party—lots of great cake, punch, and friends and family congratulating me. On the one hand, I felt a lot of pride at my accomplishments. On the other, a “why is everyone looking at me?” discomfort. That’s a bit how I felt during the launch of Luce as well! I’m lucky to have Tami Milbrandt, a friend and expert marketer, helping me with the marketing for my books. She planned every detail of the party, from the surprise champagne toast to the arrangement of the book-signing table and much, much more. IMG_1287She arranged for the party to be held at Denver Deep Dish, a new, hip deep-dish pizza establishment in the super-cool Highlands neighborhood of Denver. Many attendees commented to me that they hadn’t heard of Denver Deep Dish, but would certainly be coming again soon!

Luce MenuFirst of all, let me say that the food was amazing. Tami orchestrated a Dynam-and-Luce themed menu that really hit the spot. The pepperoni pizza is quite literally award-winning, and you can tell! “The Calista,” my drink of choice for the evening was also a favorite with cucumber vodka, a champagne float, and you guessed it—a little Saint Germaine.

One of the most surreal moments of the night was when someone came up to the book signing table and earnestly asked, "Why did you change from 'Samantha Peterson' to 'S. M. Peterson'? Is that what the fans wanted?" I laughed. Fans? Do I have fans? No... I just know some really cool people who happen to spend some of their precious time reading my books. Those aren't fans... Are they?

I was so incredibly touched at the number of people who came by—members of my book club , friends from hours away, and fans I hadn’t met yet. A few notable guests were my aunt, uncle and cousin, who surprised me by driving all the way from Iowa to join us. What an amazing family I have! I also had the chance to catch up with my cover designer, Christopher Cover, who traveled from New Hampshire to attend and explore Denver. Thank you to everyone for helping me celebrate!luce ladies

If you didn’t make it to the event, you missed a great party! You can check out all the photos from the event on the Dynam Facebook Page.

If you haven't purchased your copies of Dynam and Luce, now is your chance! Grab them on Amazon today:



Thank you for your incredible support!


S. M. Peterson

4 Pitfalls to Avoid in Your Work Space

With the launch of Luce rapidly approaching, I find myself thinking of how easily I’m distracted when I have a lot of work to do. It’s too simple to pull up Facebook or Instagram, and suddenly my entire focus is on a friend’s new baby, or some Buzzfeed article about why Lindsay Lohan has still got it.

However, I have found a few ways that help me keep focused and productive. Here are four pitfalls to avoid in your work space, whether that’s at home or in an office somewhere.

clean desk1. Too Many Papers. When I used to work in an office, it boggled my mind to see desks drowning in stacks of papers towering on either side of a computer monitor covered with sticky notes. Especially because, with today’s technology, there’s no reason for most of the paper clutter!

Do you really need to print that email? Wouldn’t it be easier to save it in file on your computer? Rather than writing out a paper to-do list, use Asana.com, a tool that helps me prioritize and be productive even on the sleepiest of Mondays.

Plus, it’s better for the environment to have fewer papers. Go green!

2. Not Enough Screen Space. I’m a big fan of having more than one computer monitor. Great monitors are cheap, and getting a big screen is better for your eyes! I really believe that my productivity quadruples when I can have an Excel sheet open on one monitor and email open in another.

Even when writing I have a thesaurus or dictionary open here, and my Word document open there. Not losing time or focus on finding that correct tab can pay off in the end.desk org

3. Not Having a Place for Things. It sounds vague, I know! But I’ve found that if I don’t have a hook for those keys or a drawer organizer for those paper clips or note cards, I end up losing track of everything.

Lately I’ve been realizing I need to do some spring cleaning. If I look through my stuff and fix ‘er up a bit every now and then I won’t be thinking, “Where’s that pen?” when I should be thinking, “What happens next in my story?”

4. Ignoring Your Health. Earlier this year I upgraded to a standing desk. I’d been having back aches a lot, and realized it was likely from crouching over my desk like Scrooge counting his pennies. By setting up my standing desk properly, my monitor is now at eye level.

ProductivityFor some people, it’s one of those ball chairs. For others, it’s a standing desk. Still others might find that just adjusting the lumbar support in their chair helps them feel better, stay focused, and be more productive. No matter what it is, you only have one body and one life. Take care of it.

Happy Friday!


S. M. Peterson

Love, Travel, Write!

Dynam fans! I’ve missed you! Gosh, has it really been nearly a year since my last blog post? I hope you don’t feel abandoned—I promise there is GOOD reason for my absence. Keep reading. :) I woke up Sunday morning thinking, “Is it really March 1st, 2015 already?” Wow! How is that possible? Where did 2014 go? Last we spoke, it was April 2014 and I was still living on cloud nine with the success of Dynam. From the book launch, to the display in Tattered Cover and even making it to the 2nd round of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, I had to pinch myself—my dreams of becoming a published author finally came true.

Your support inspired me and it wasn’t long before I jumped right back into writing…and a few other things. 2014 was a busy year for this working gal. Thought admittedly, it wasn’t all work. There was quite a bit of play too! Confession time!

Samantha and Chuck 2One of the main reason for my absence on the blog is a certain love interest. Gah! He’s totally going to blush when he reads this. But, since you guys are my loyal fans—and since we’re coming up on our one-year anniversary—I think it’s time to tell you that Ms. Peterson is officially involved and completely smitten. You’re going to love him, I just know it! I’ll keep you updated on things with Mr. Perfect, but in the meantime just know this hopeless romantic is all smiles these days!

The past year also harbored many exciting travel adventures for Mr. Perfect and me. This last October, life took us to Panama. It was absolutely incredible! We enjoyed visiting the Panama Canal, but my favorite part of the trip was flying in a prop plane to Las Perlas Archipelago, named for the pearls once harvested there. Panama Prop PlaneUnfortunately, the man-friend came down with a bit of a bug one day—perhaps it was the seafood we’d had the night before—but overall it was a fantastic trip.

In November, we headed to Fisher’s Island, New York for Thanksgiving. It has already become one of my favorite places in the world. If you haven’t visited, you need to! We topped our year off in December with a trip to Vero Beach, Florida for Christmas and some much-needed beach time. Ah! Is this really my life? Can you see why there was no time for blogging? Ha! Chuck on Vaca

And lastly, as some of you already know, in 2014 I re-located to a beautiful loft in Downtown Denver. This is my happy place. I absolutely love the city life and I even created my own little “zen space” to craft the perfect inspired spot for writing! You can check it out here: 5 Home Office Must Have’s for Real People.

Speaking of inspiration…(drumroll please)…I am bursting at the seams to tell you that the sequel to Dynam is COMING SOON!

I can’t wait to share what Calista’s been up to, but until then—any guesses on the title for book #2?!

You guys are the best! Talk soon!



Losing the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Competition

It's a gray day at the Peterson residence. I didn't advance to the Quarter Finalist round of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition. As a highly competitive person, there has been a nagging little burn in my chest all day. It's like when you're in junior high -- a guy you have a massive crush on walks across the cafeteria to talk to you....r best friend, who is standing right beside you. This is the part where I burst into an explosion of inspirational quotes and feel-good success statistics. Hold onto your pants, ladies and gents!


“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” - Robert F. Kennedy

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” - Thomas A. Edison

Howard Schultz, founder of Starbucks, was denied bank loans 242 times while trying to start his company.

"I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed." - Michael Jordan

“Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” - Napoleon Hill

J.K. Rowling was rejected 12 times and told "not to quit her day job" when trying to publish Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.

“As you proceed through life, following your own path, birds will shit on you. Don't bother to brush it off. Getting a comedic view of your situation gives you spiritual distance. Having a sense of humor saves you.” - Joseph Campbell

And don't even get me started on Walt Disney...


Still have your pants on? Whew!

We could go on with these all day. All of them are really great, but it doesn't help that nagging burn go away, now does it?

No, it doesn't. And the reason is that, while we all aspire to end up like J.K. Rowling -- richer than the Queen of England with a tower of best-selling books, or like Thomas Edison -- one of the greatest inventors of all time, we know deep down that it's not always going to be us.

The best we can do is reach for a high bar, do our damnedest, and evaluate our failures in the hopes of doing better next time.

So here you have it -- an evaluation of myself, losing the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition.

There were 10,000 entries. Making it to Round 2 (which I did) took the count to about 300 entries per category. Since there were five categories, that means that Round 2 consisted of the top 1,500 entries. I made it to the top 15%! That's pretty damn good! But even if I didn't get past the first round, should it matter to me that a small group of people did not like my novel?

Maybe not. Perhaps I should look at this experience and remember that writing, like so many things, is ART.

Just like theater, or painting, or any other kind of art, the worship or disgust of an artistic endeavor is subjective. Some people will like it, and others may hate it. Lots will ignore it entirely. But in the end, the most important person to please is the artist herself. The question we've got to ask ourselves is whether or not we would do what we do if nobody ever applauded our efforts.

For me, the answer to that question is yes.

Maybe it's not about how many times you fail before you finally succeed. Maybe we should simply adjust our definition of success.

And, maybe losing the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition wasn't such a bad thing after all. :)


5 Home Office Must Haves for Real People


To say that I'm a "nester" would be a colossal understatement. Anytime I move to a new apartment or house, I drive the people unlucky enough to exist in my crazy-sphere nuts with my overzealous, Type-A desire for everything to be just so. I also tend to combine moving with a general refresh of my living space, since it always seems easier. It's not.

When moving in February, I decided my color scheme would be pink and gold and girly, and proceeded to complete the following tasks -- while simultaneously working full time starting our marketing company, Streamline-Marketing.com, keeping up with book stuff, maintaining friendships, and getting general life things done.

  • Painted a random of assortment of vases, picture frames, knickknacks, and the mount to my deer antlers gold.
  • Found pleasing arrangements of fake pink flowers.
  • Printed a ton of new photos to frame.
  • Searched high and low for a pink rug that didn't make me feel like a third grade girl.
  • Slept on the couch while new carpet was laid in the bedroom.
  • The list goes on...

That's not to say that I buy a bunch of crap I don't need. On the contrary, I like my space to be clutter-free and organized so I can be productive. I find it particularly annoying when I come across articles that stress how much I need a giant pen-holder with a minimum of 50 pens in it. (I only use one at a time, so why do I need 50? And if I don't have 50, why do I need the giant pen-holder on my desk?) Or those articles telling us how we've got to buy a shredder. And not, just a shredder, no. It has to be an expensive shredder. Considering my business is almost entirely paperless, I have no idea what I would do with a shredder.

So, let's chuck all that out the window.

Here are 5 home office must haves for real people.

1. A desk that suits you, and only you.Home Office Desk Ikea Samantha Peterson Author

Okay, it's obvious that you need a desk, unless you prefer to work from the couch with your computer on your lap (which I've also done). For all intents and purposes, we're calling that a desk too. My desk is from IKEA and is three parts, two cabinets that each hold up one side of the glass table top, which looks like a giant fingerprint.

I spent a lot of time trying to decide what desk I really wanted, because a lot of the modern desks that have no drawers look really neat-o. But then, I thought a little harder about what I really need in a desk.

See that top left drawer? That's full of a windstorm of brightly-colored index cards that hold the rough outline of my next novel. There are two pens in there (not 50), and some ear buds. The second drawer has a lot of gum in it, because when I'm writing I get a super bizarre oral fixation and chaw and chaw and chaw.

For me, this desk is perfect, and it's big enough that I don't feel cramped when I need to spread my notes out. For you, it might not work at all. Maybe you're the kind of person that needs all of your files right where you can see them. Maybe you'd feel at home with just a tabletop rather than a formal desk.

I have a couple of chairs that I use interchangeably. I don't like rolling office chairs. I realize that's pretty uncommon. But again, it's all about me! Just like yours is all about you.

What kinds of things are you looking for in a work desk?

2. A System

Pink File Folder System Pink file folder system

I don't have much by way of papers, but I do have a lot of things that I feel guilty throwing out. For example, I have owners manuals, vaccination records, maps I've used traveling, and sheet music for the piano. I really don't like file cabinets for this type of thing. They look impersonal, cold and are pretty expensive.

Instead, I created my own system for organizing these things. I bought two packs of Ikea file folders and some pink scrapbook paper. Girly labels that I trimmed in gold completed the look. It cost less than $30.

Whatever system you decide upon, it has to work for you.


3. Things That Make You SmileOwl Scentsy

That's right folks -- an owl Scentsy makes me smile. Oh, come on, you know what a Scentsy is. It's one of those little ceramic things with a light inside and yummy smelling wax that goes into a dish on the top.

And it's DAMN CUTE. <Insert Smile Here.> See! It worked!

On the left, there's a photo of my brother and I. Clearly, I'm pretty amped that I'm smashing him. He's pretty amped to be smashed. Without fail, this makes me smile.

I also require a lot of natural light. I'm a little like a plant that way -- stick me in a dark cubicle and I will die. I'm sure of it. Notice in the photo above that my desk faces a giant window. During the day, sunlight comes in and half-blinds me. I love it.

What are the little things that you need to make you smile through the day? Anything that can help you reduce stress and get done what needs to get done is worth some valuable desk real estate.

4. Equipment & Stuff

Of course you need your computer, printer, mouse, or whatever else you need to do your job. But that stuff is boring to talk about. So let's move on to the last thing you (a real person) must have for your home office...


5. A Pal

Black Cat on a White Fur Rug Ciaran

If you're lucky, you have a pal as good as mine. Ciaran (pronounced Keer-in) is my kitty. He likes to lay on the white faux-fur rug beneath my feet and sleep.

If you're lucky enough to work from home, I hope you have a pet, friend, or someone to hang out with.

It can get pretty lonely without one!


Denver Novel Launch Party for Dynam

Hey Everyone! As you know, I hosted the official Dynam novel launch party on Friday, December 13th 2013 at Our Mutual Friend Malt & Brew. The launch was a great success! I was lucky to have a large number of friends, family, and strangers in attendance. Here are some details and photos about this Denver novel launch party!

The Venue

In case you haven't been there, Our Mutual Friend Malt & Brew is an amazing micro-brew on 28th and Larimer Streets. They opened one year ago, and have contributed to the rapidly expanding neighborhood atmosphere in Five Points. I am lucky enough to know a few of the employees at OMF, which is why my party was hosted there. (They are also mentioned in the book! Can you remember what page?)

Our Mutual Friend Malt & Brew Logo

Our Mutual Friend Malt & Brew Denver Colorado

Our Mutual Friend Malt & Brew Denver Colorado

Our Mutual Friend Malt & Brew Denver Colorado

The Set-Up

I made a giant book cover because it seemed like a fun thing to do. No other real reason. I have two amazing friends who brought flowers (awww!) so those dressed up the table nicely. In the lower right picture, you can see Jaime Palmucci, who is the cover model!

Samantha Peterson & Brittany Conrad  Dynam Novel Launch Party at Our Mutual Friend Malt & Brew Denver Colorado

Denver Author Samantha Peterson Dynam Launch Party Our Mutual Friend Malt & Brew Denver Colorado

Jaime Palmucci & Samantha Peterson at Dynam Novel Launch, Our Mutual Friend Malt & Brew, Denver Colorado

The People

A large number of people showed up, but unfortunately I neglected to get a final count. Maybe next time!

Rick Peterson, Justin Peterson, Chris Depew at Dynam Novel Launch Party at Our Mutual Friend in Denver Colorado

Me and my big brother!

Justin Peterson & Samantha Peterson Dynam Novel Party Denver Colorado

This big crowd of people is from my hometown of Arnold, Nebraska!

Dynam Novel Launch Party Denver CO

Dynam Novel Launch Party Denver CO

These are my parents, Rick and Barb Peterson, and my brother, Justin Peterson.

Barb Peterson, Rick Peterson, Justin Peterson at Dynam Novel Launch Party Denver Colorado

Rick Peterson, Justin Peterson, Joelle Carlson at Dynam Novel Launch Party Denver

Samantha Peterson Denver Author, Brittany Conrad, Glenn Pelster

Thanks everyone for the support and love! I was truly touched at the number of people who came out, and the book sales weren't too shabby either!



Quotable Quotes - Favorite Love Quotes and Empowering Quotes


I've always had a thing for quotes. She is incandescent.   Just like the first time I saw her, those vast and fervent eyes took me by surprise, because in them I realize a reflection of my own soul.   She is my weakness, the chink in my armor.   My undoing.   -Dynam by Samantha Peterson

There's something magical about a few sentences that are so well written and/or so emotionally poignant that they slap you in the face.

They are forever posted on my wall, as a background on my phone, and on my Pinterest boards. I'm back in good ol' Arnold, Nebraska this week for Thanksgiving, and I have discovered that this fascination must have started sometime in my childhood. There are framed quotes around my room, empowering quotes written in journals, and even a feeble attempt at decoupaging a quote to a book end.

More specifically, I've always had a thing for love quotes and empowering quotes.

Some favorites among the millions...

Love Quotes

  • "I asked her if she believed in love, and she smiled and said it was her most elaborate method of self-harm." - Benedict Smith
  • "The smell of her hair, the taste of her mouth, the feeling of her skin seemed to have got inside him, or into the air all around him. She had become a physical necessity."  - George Orwell
  • "According to Greek mythology humans were originally created with four arms, four legs, and a head with two faces. Fearing their power, Zeus split them into two separate parts, condemning them to spend their lives in search of their other halves." - Plato


Empowering Quotes

  • "When something goes wrong in your life, just yell, 'Plot twist!' and move on." - Anon
  • "If you have good thoughts, they will shine out of your face like sun beams and you will always look lovely." Roald Dahl
  • "And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt." - Sylvia Plath
  • "The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been before." - Albert Einstein
  • "You're off to great places, today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way." - Dr. Seuss


And my current favorite, which is the background of my phone:

"You can, you should, and if you're brave enough to start, you will." - Stephen King

That got me to thinking, "I wonder if anything from my novel would ever be considered quote-worthy..."

So I had to create a pin for myself. :)

Happy quoting.


Rediscovering What We Love

A little over a year ago, I looked at my life and realized I wasn't really sure which elements of it made me happy or unhappy. Work? Meh. Not really. Shopping? It's fun, but a sort of transitory happiness. Cooking? Nope. Never! I was just doing things, without really considering what brought me joy. Which felt very strange, because as a kid, I was happy all the time without thinking about it.

Justin and Sammy Thought BubbleWhat changed?

So I went to a little coffee shop one day and mused on the subject over a nice big lunch. I discovered that many of the enjoyable things I used to do as a child were forgotten or pushed aside, while obligations always took their place. Resolved to uncover my own personal formula for happiness, I came up with this list.

Things That I Love(d)

  • Time with family and friends
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Taking purposeless walks
  • Listening to music
  • Freedom



I also really like making lists. But I wouldn't say that I love them, so that didn't make the list. :)

That day of musing was the precursor to Dynam. I wrote the first chapter that same afternoon, determined as I was to reclaim the things I loved, but had forgotten about.

I wonder how many of us out there in the world forget about what we did when we were kids. Summer vacation meant endless hours to spend (mostly) however you pleased. The time to figure out what you actually like doing existed.

Now, there is rarely enough time.

At the suggestion of a close friend, I added a speech bubble on this old photo. That's my brother, Justin, and me, reading a story together. At the time I was called "Sammy." NOT something I miss or love in any way. :)

There we are, reading away. Because that's what we wanted to do. It made us happy.

Writing a Novel! From Childhood Poems to a Novel

For as long as I can remember, I've loved reading and writing. As a girl, I used to stretch out like a cat in front of our wood burning stove on a rug and read for hours on end. My dad commanded the remote control at all times, so rather than watch sports or documentaries-which I was not particularly interested in-I would consume books. We lived just one mile outside of our small town in Nebraska, and I would often ride my bike into town and pick out some books from the library. The librarian always looked upon me kindly as I nervously asked if I could take home more and more books at a time. Why was I nervous to ask to take MORE books home than was usual? No idea. But at the time, it seemed pretty damn scary.

We had writing classes in elementary school, which meant even more exercise in stories and creativity. I loved making up stories and poems. The exhilarating freedom of creating a world or person from thin air and writing it down as truth was tantalizing. But I never dreamed of writing a novel.

One day last year, I found a poem I wrote in fourth or fifth grade I thought I would share. It’s pretty weird.  But hey, most creative people are a little strange.



The Thing

By Samantha Peterson (Year: 1995)

The Thing came from beneath the sink, It was slimy and oily and boy, did it stink. I’ve always tried to avoid that place, With that slimy green thing and it’s purplish face.
But one day Mom said, “I really should think,” “That’ you’d notice what a mess is that porcelain sink,” “Please help me clean it I don’t have the time,” “If you clean it well I will give you a dime.”
“And now,” said my mom, “I am off to my job,” “Don’t spend all day playing with your friend Bob,” So I picked up the phone and called Bob, my friend, “I can’t play till two,” he said, “I have clothes I must mend.”
“Well bye,” I said and hung up the phone, And that is when I heard the loud groan. I walked to the sink and thought it must be the thing, It gave out noises and grunts and even a ping.
Then all was quiet and I knew that I must, Clean the sink well before it started to rust. So I got out the scrubbers and started to scrub, And then on my leg, I felt a strange rub.
It was tiny at first, and ever so small. I refused to go, and I reached for the wall. But the thing pulled me into the sink’s dark place, I saw that slimy green thing with its purplish face.
I shrieked and I screamed, I raised quite a fuss. But I was no match for that slimy muss. And then that green thing, just pulled off my face. And smoothed it on him with his own embrace.
Then he took all my clothes and got all dressedup. He looked at my things, even my plate and cup. Then he called my friend Bob, and said, “Come and play,” And that thing and Bob played all the rest of the day.
Then Mom came home and said, “Here is your dime,” “Thanks for cleaning the sink, I did not have the time,” And so now I’m the thing beneath the sink. I am slimy and oily and boy, do I stink.
Everyone tries to avoid this place, Cause I’m a slimy green thing with a purplish face. And OH! How I’m looking for a child to take, too. Are you absolutely sure that it is not you?

Like I said, I was a creepy little kid. But hey, my mom liked it. And that's good enough for me.

In any case, reading through poems and short stories I constructed as a child helped me gain the courage to begin writing a novel, my first! After all, if I was that unabashedly weird at such a tender age, why should I change now?

And so, in late November 2012 I sent out on a journey to write my first novel.