Quick JAB

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Dragon On Her Shoulder

If you have read the Maggie Sloan Thriller series, you might remember Kiki, the tiny imaginary dragon in Book 5 who rode on the shoulder of Maggie’s new friend, Tonya.

If you haven’t read any of the Maggie Sloan books, it’s okay. You can start with Book 1, I Always Wanted to Be a Spy. It’s available as an ebook, paperback, or audiobook. You have choices.  Maggie Sloan Thriller Series

Not to give too much away, but Maggie has two friends who are imaginary men; one is Palace Guard.

Here’s a tiny excerpt from “See Beyond the Fog.”

Tonya, who has been hard of hearing since birth, said, “I didn’t have many friends when I was a kid; only an imaginary dragon, and she was my best friend; she still comes around once in a while, but she really is shy. My husband can see my Kiki; can Kevin see your imaginary Palace Guard?”
“Yes, he can. Do you have any idea how strange this conversation is?”
“Yes, and it’s also why I don’t have many friends. When someone talks to me in a rude way, Kiki pretends she is wounded by their words and reels then drops to the floor and plays dead; unfortunately, I laugh.”
I giggled, and Palace Guard grinned. “I’m afraid I’d laugh too.” 

I went to a weeklong writers’ conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. So, given the fact that I believe in imaginary men and tiny dragons, can you imagine how excited I was to see an author with a dragon on her shoulder? I chased her down the hallway to get a photo with her dragon, Cobalt. I didn’t see anyone else waiting to get a snapshot with Cobalt, so I’m pretty sure he must be imaginary too.

Dragon on the shoulder

N. A. Davenport, author, writes YA and middle grade books. Check her out on Amazon. N. A. Davenport, Author Tell her Palace Guard sent you.

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Then and Now

Elevate Artisans Market 2019 to 2023

Elevate Artisans Market is my favorite event. It’s held every year on the Saturday closest to Halloween. The event is hosted at an Alpaca Farm by an amazingly energetic farmer and talented artisan, Della Lovett.


Elevate All Set Up 2019 First year

I had five books in 2019. It was my first in-person event at an arts and crafts show, and I  tried to make my two tables as neat and eye-pleasing as possible. I’m not sure why I didn’t take advantage of all the space under my tent, though. Doesn’t it look like it might be a little cramped for space where our chairs are behind the tables? Maybe I thought it would be more welcoming for visitors if there was room for them under the tent, but they’d have to be short. Hopefully, we raised the tent before the tall FarmerMan, who takes care of the $ transactions and everything else except the author-stuff  made his way to his chair.

It must have been warm because I’m in a short-sleeved shirt. Note that I am not wearing a ball cap…definitely back in the day!

What did I learn? I discovered how much I loved to ask people what they liked to read. I made friends and to my amazement, I sold books.


Elevate 2020 clipped_edited-2 smaller

The weather was cooler in 2020. I’m wearing a long-sleeved T-shirt under my Halloween shirt, and it must have been windy because we have our gallon jugs filled with water to keep the tent from blowing away.

I have three books neatly arranged on the table that is a little closer to the front of the tent and books on a table behind me. Those must be the rare collector’s items because they’re in a rack not within reach of anyone, not even me, because my chair is blocking me. I’m not certain what the purpose of the table with lone Halloween sack on it was. Maybe it was for all the candy.

What did I learn? I dearly love to listen to their excitement when people talk about what they read. I watched  people’s faces as they looked at my book covers and was fascinated by what attracted them.

2021 and 2022

Elevate 2021 smaller Barrett ELEVATE Arts and Crafts Oct 2022

2021 was cold, and 2022 was rainy, but visitors braved the elements and showed up. I had three then four series and more books. I’ll never be a decorator, but I tried to carefully arrange my table with only a few books, so it didn’t look too crowded.

What did I learn? Other than what a patient, kind-hearted man FarmerMan is for going to all these events with me, I’m surprised at how many readers really love a paperback. Ebooks might be cheaper and audiobooks might be better for a commuter, but there are a lot of people who prefer to hold a paperback while they read.


Elevate 2023 smaller

It was cool in the morning but heated up in the afternoon. We couldn’t have asked for a better day. I had books all over the place. I tried to be relatively neat, but with five series of 30 different books, I had books stacked and stashed everywhere.

What did I learn? I’ve been surprised every year at how many people tell me they read Historical Fiction. I realized after the event was over what a huge opportunity I’ve missed. I’ve never once asked anyone what time period or era of Historical Fiction they read. I’ll fix that.

What do you read?

You keep reading; I’ll keep writing! 

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Author at Work

authorwriting      Chickens with grass Jan 2023 clipped

My New Author Bio?

Judith A. Barrett: The Georgia-based, award-snatching author who’s convinced her chickens might be plotting the next big mystery, or are they burying the evidence? 

With her loyal husband as her alibi, two dogs who are terrible at keeping secrets, and a penchant for spinning yarns ranging from mysterious thrillers to cuddle-worthy cozies, Judith has a story for every kind of reader. She’s taken on the challenge of combining mystery and crime with just a sprinkle of sweet romance to all her stories to keep them mildly spicy like sugar and cinnamon – not like jalapeno and ghost peppers!

Her motto? “You keep reading, or the chickens get it! Just kidding… I’ll keep writing!

Bitter-barn-smaller-1 Chickens who go broody and won’t leave the nest go into the Bitter Barn to cool off. She’s crying fowl on the charges. If she begs you to open the barn door with a promise of eggs, she’s scamming you. Broody hens don’t lay eggs. There’s a story…

Buy Judith a cup of coffee!

Did you enjoy the new bio? Consider buying me a cup of coffee! Coffee is magical writer’s fuel and keeps me writing, researching, and sharing stories with you. Thank you for your continued support!


QuickJAB, The Latest Twist

Legendary Author/Legendary Readers

Pepper Festival Sept 2023

My latest festival was the two-day Pepper Musical Festival: I wore my taco socks and used my chili pepper apron to spice up my table.  I expected to see a pepper eating contest or some  reason for the event to be the Pepper Festival, but as far as I know, it was the Pepper Festival just because.

You might have noticed that we finally realized that putting up the side panels on our tent helped block the sun. We also remembered to charge the fan the night before. For some unexplainable reason, I forgot all my tablecloths except for one small, white one. Walmart to the rescue! We found the cheap (yay!), green vinyl tablecloth that is now my favorite.  I love a bargain!

The vendor sites were spacious because of the large field where the event was hosted; we didn’t feel crowded at all and had a perfect location for our booth. The stage for the bands and the bleachers were in front of our site with an open, spacious, grassy area between us.

The two-day event was a challenge because the festival lasted until ten o’clock both nights, but Friday night was a blast. The headliner band played Hispanic music, and the area in front of us was filled with families. In addition to our  all time favorite music from the southwest, we had live entertainment as the children chased each other and rolled in the grass, and the toddlers bounced to the music.  We enjoyed an impromptu wrestling match between preteen boys that could have rivaled any high school wrestling team for style and technique.

Saturday was exhausting. We had to take our books back to the campground Friday night then haul them back to the event on Saturday morning because books and morning dew don’t mix; however, our campground was less than ten minutes away, which was a wonderful bonus.

A young, local police officer entertained himself most of Saturday by stopping by my booth and teasing me about some imaginary flaw in one of my books. He brought  a group of other police officers and firefighters to my booth to show them my fan then expounded on the imaginary flaw. I told him he was fired as my public relations manager, and his buddies roared with laughter.

The Saturday night crowd was mostly teenagers who were there to see and be seen. They were entertaining enough to watch, but they couldn’t come close to  the bouncing toddlers. The headliner music was not their type of music or ours either. Adults sat on the bleachers and politely applauded; it must have been their type of music.

The most amazing sight of all on Saturday night was the number of food trucks that magically appeared; everyone we saw was eating something!

We quietly packed our things and left at nine o’clock.  In theory, we won’t be invited back as vendors because we left before ten, but we’re okay with that. Our campground was great, and we had a terrific time; we’ll go back next year to camp at the great campground,  shout out to you, Tifton KOA Journey,  and enjoy the Friday night music and entertainment.

Will we consider another two-day event? It depends…

Remember the pesky police officer? The police chief stopped by my booth later and told me I was a legend.  Legendary Author: should I add that to my biography?

You know who reads the works of a Legendary Author, don’t you?

Legendary Readers: readers who  form theories based on clues and stray, almost random, hints the author leaves along the way in the story. That’s you, isn’t it?

How’s this for a new tagline?

The Legendary Author Who Writes for Legendary Readers.

Buy Judith a cup of coffee!

Did you enjoy the story? Consider buying me a cup of coffee – it’s writer’s fuel and keeps me writing, photographing, and sharing stories with you. Thank you for your continued support and being a Legendary Reader!


QuickJAB, The Latest Twist

When the Wind Blows…

When the wind blows Jun 2023 smaller

Everybody knows that trees shouldn’t be planted too close to a house. When a particularly vicious storm roared through our area this summer, the wind took down a gigantic oak tree that was in the woods behind our house.

The good news is that the gigantic oak tree fell away from the house. Even though the tree was in the woods, the root ball was so large  that it took our chain link fence with it!  An interesting fact is that people who lived in the county south of us didn’t know anything about our severe storm, so I’m positive you didn’t either.

We lived in New Mexico for a number of years where everybody knows about dust storms and tumbleweeds, but I didn’t know about the severe dust storms that plagued Arizona until part of our family moved there a few years ago.

Our oak tree and the dust storms in Arizona reminded me that there are things that only “the locals” know, especially when it comes to weather. I know about hurricanes because we lived in Florida and tornados because we lived in Texas. I also know about blizzards because we lived in Minnesota, but I’m hoping I don’t ever have a blizzard in any of the books I write because I’d get too cold. I have a very active imagination, but you knew that!

My latest novel takes place in Arizona, and my main character is from Georgia, so I knew she wouldn’t know about a ‘haboob,’ which is a word frequently used for the miles long, towering  Arizona dust storms with sand and debris. Thank goodness one of the locals told her, or it would have been my shortest novel ever!

What is it that “everybody knows” where you live that a newcomer wouldn’t know? I’m always looking for a weather story I can use in a book!

Interested in reading a book that takes place in Arizona?

Bloodshed in the Badlands Cover April 24 2023

Wren’s new writing assignment, a haunted campground in Arizona, is perfect except for the killer who wants her dead.

Shop HERE in the Barrett Book Shop

or Buy the new book  HERE if you have a favorite retailer.

You keep reading; I’ll keep writing! 

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QuickJAB, The Latest Twist

Where is the Best Place to Start?

In Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis G. Carroll, we read, “Begin at the beginning,” the King said, very gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.” 

Start here 4  Sounds logical enough,  Wait here  but how do we know when we’ve reached The End? 

I’ve been like most writers,  a great story pops into my head, and I start writing. Midway in the story, usually at the 40,000 word point, I realize I probably need a title, a cover, and a description of sorts. Let the scrambling begin!

With my latest new book, I started with the cover! And not just A Cover, but covers for all the books in the new series. After I had the cover and the title, the description was easy.

I’m just past the 40,000 word mark, and I don’t miss the scrambling. Starting at THE END has made the book easier (notice I didn’t say easy) to write. I think I even know how the series might end – rare for me!

Bloodshed in the Badlands Cover April 24 2023

Wren’s new writing assignment, a haunted campground in Arizona, is perfect except for the killer who wants her dead.

BLOODSHED IN THE BADLANDS Release Date: August 21.

Tap to Preorder NOW from Barrett Book Shop

or Tap to select your preferred Retail Book Seller.

You keep reading; I’ll keep writing! 

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QuickJAB, The Latest Twist

Current Affairs


Readers tell me that the events in the GRID DOWN SURVIVAL stories seem close to real life but are actually encouraging because of the hope and strength in the exciting stories of Major, Aimee Louise, Stuart, and the rest of their friends and family.

I published my first Grid Down book, DANGER IN THE CLOUDS, in 2019. I wrote it for my resident FarmerMan because he’d read all the books in all the post-apoc series that he liked.

He asked me to write a book for him, and I did. He liked it, and so did a few other people. When he asked me to write the next book, I did, and more people liked the stories, so I kept going from there. I’ve published at least one book a year since the first book. 

Book 7, DANGER ON THE RISE, was released a little over a week ago. Interesting trivia, at least   to me  and three other people: Five of the seven books were published in May, June, or July. The other two were published in December or January. 

This might be a stretch, but it’s hot outside in Georgia, and maybe where you are too, and we deserve a break! It’s time to celebrate the Series that hatches mostly in the summer!  (told you it was a stretch)

If you’re interested in becoming immersed in the exciting adventures of a small family that joins with their neighbors in overcoming adversity, start with DANGER IN THE CLOUDS.

If you’re intrigued AND love a bargain, buy two or more GRID DOWN SURVIVAL SERIES books between now and July 17. The bargain? Use the discount code GRID16 for 16% off two or more of the books in the series.

Tap HERE for the GRID DOWN SURVIVAL SERIES  and use your GRID16 discount code!

Have you already read all the GRID DOWN SURVIVAL SERIES, or would you like to see what other books might interest you more? (I have more series and bargains to entice you to try a new series!)

Tap HERE for BARRETT BOOK SHOP to browse for other bargains or on the Barrett Book Shop logo that doubles as a button. 

You keep reading; I’ll keep writing!

QuickJAB, The Latest Twist

Small Town, Big Heart for Reading

In May, we packed up books and dogs and took our camper trailer to Ellaville, Georgia, population 1,500 (not a typo), for an Arts and Crafts event sponsored by the town’s Chamber of Commerce who named their event Luau in the ‘Ville. Kind of snappy, don’t you think?

I wore my  flowered shirt, which is my version of appropriate luau attire (my grass skirt is at the dry cleaners), for the occasion, and if you carefully examine my tent, you’ll see my new “ceiling fan” is in place to keep us cool.

My new friends from the Wine Festival who told me about the Ellaville event were two booths away from me with their son who was selling his debut novel. We were too busy to chat very much, but I told them about the arts and crafts event that is close to me: Elevate Artisans; I hope to see them in October.

The most amazing sales wizard I’ve ever had the pleasure to witness was next to me in the purple tent. She sold  jewelry, T-shirts, drink cups, and stickers, and she knew how to work a crowd.  She maintained a constant, almost musical patter, and people were drawn to her booth.

  • Mother’s Day is coming up; do you think she’d like earrings or a T-shirt?
  • That’s our best-selling T-shirt, feel how soft it is. We have your size.
  • What’s your mom’s favorite color?
  • You need to get yourself a Mother’s Day present. You deserve it.
  • You’re ears aren’t pierced? These earrings make great charms.
  • You need a Georgia Bulldogs drink cup to go with that shirt.
  • You’re from Alabama? We still love you. Here’s an Auburn drink cup: you won’t see another one here.

Her charming delivery made her aggressive-sounding style a magnet as she magically became everyone’s favorite friend, including me.

It was another scorcher of a day in the afternoon in Georgia. Remember my fan? It was great until it wasn’t. We forgot to pack the charger, so we weren’t able to charge it fully the night before the Luau. It fizzled out around two, and I baked in the heat until five when the party was over.  I have a new addition to my packing list: the charger for the fan.

Because all of the ebooks for each one of my series are included on my online Barrett Book Shop, I was fully prepared for anyone who said they didn’t read paperbacks. I asked everyone who stopped (or kind of slowed down) by my booth, if they read paperbacks or ebooks. The readers of Ellaville and the surrounding towns surprised me when they almost 100% said, “Paperbacks.”

I was even more surprised when many of them bought one or two of my books or an entire series. While all of my First in Series books sold, the number one favorite was TAGGED BY DEATH. I sold out before the end of the day. In terms of sales, Ellaville  far surpassed any other event that I’ve ever attended. You’ll find me in Ellaville next spring trying to figure out how to get next to the sales wizard’s booth.

Pro tip: Readers are Everywhere.

You keep reading; I’ll keep writing!

QuickJAB, The Latest Twist

Fences in My World

FarmerMan has fenced in our peach trees. Do you see that the left side of the tree is bare? There is another peach tree next to it, and it looks just the same.

We had apple trees growing in the same two spots for the last few years, and they were always bare on that east side, just like this peach tree. We thought we had a strange weather environment in just that small spot because the rest of our fruit trees were fine. Or maybe there was a type of bug that ate only part of the tree because they were too lazy to fly or crawl to the other side.

We had two fig trees that were west of the two suffering apple trees that also finally died after all their fruit that was almost ripe disappeared and their leaves were stripped. We pulled up the dead trees, so they wouldn’t spread their strange virus to the rest of our trees.

When we planted the peach trees this year, FarmerMan fed and fertilized them and double-checked their irrigation. All was good until it wasn’t, and we were perplexed.

Our son visits regularly; FarmerMan showed him our troubling trees.

“Deer,” he said.

FarmerMan used what we had on hand, and the fences went up around all the peach trees. The green tape gives a little more height to the fence.  We’re hoping to slow the all-you-can-eat free  buffet for our deer neighbors.

Have you heard the old saying, “good fences make good neighbors”? I’m hoping our hungry neighbors decide to move on for their night time snack. I’d like to rewrite the old saying: “Good fences make absent neighbors.”

TJ and Toby, however, don’t share in our fondness for fences. They’d much prefer no fences or at least an open gate, so they could visit their friends who live half a mile away and find new friends that might be two or three miles from the farm.

Ella Fitzgerald sings TJ and Toby’s theme song: Don’t Fence Me In

My world revolves around what’s happening outside. What is your world?

Looking for a great book to read to be immersed in an exciting world?

Browse, shop, read, enjoy!

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