Mystic Brew

Guess what? It’s #NewRelease day!


Mystic Brew - High Resolution(1)

Let me introduce you to my new release, Mystic Brew. A short story that dives into the dark side of friendship.

Blurb: Mystic Brew is a dark and twisted tale of friendship, secrets, and coffee.

Remember how your mother told you not to talk to strangers? That’s great advice.
Jane, a socially awkward writer, watches the world from the safety of the back corner at the Mystic Brew Coffee Shop.
A chance meeting, with vivacious redhead Margo, forces Jane out of her shell and into the world around her.
What secret is Jane hiding? Will Margo succeed in bringing Jane into the light? Or will the ghosts reemerge?


Currently Mystic Brew is only available on Amazon, $0.99.

It’s the perfect treat to ward off the sticky sweetness of Valentine’s Day.

If you enjoy reading Mystic Brew, leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads, or your blog.

If you would like to stay up to date on publishing news and events, sign-up for my newsletter.

-Caren Rich

Birth of an Idea

It’s February!

I do love this month. It’s generally the coldest month of the year for us and it’s been quite chilly lately.  We are out of school this week for Mardi Gras break. I know, really. Mardi Gras ends on Tuesday but so many people use this as an excuse to take a vacation it’s just easier to plan a school holiday. For that reason, I don’t know how much I will get accomplished.

How do you come up with your ideas?

Lovely question there. The truth is- they come from everywhere and no where. A spark can come from the smallest place, like people watching at the local coffee shop. Here’s an example:

I was driving my daughter to swim practice when I started thinking about Joe Cain. He brought Mardi Gras parades back to Mobile after the Civil War. In my mind I had a picture of him dressed as an indian leading his friends through the streets with rakes, hoes, and cow bells. Without doing the necessary research, yet, my mind began to plan out certain scenarios. What did the occupying forces of the Union army think of this parade? Was it meant as a morale boost for the citizens or a snub to the Union? What if the parade was just a decoy for a secret mission? That led me down a cluttered path of alternate realities and histories. Heck, the event could even be changed to fit a number of dystopian story lines.  Hmmmm…

So there you go a small glimpse of my tangled mind. How did you come up with one of your story lines?

On to Row80:

Be sure to drop by the hub and leave a word of encouragement for the other participants.

Participate in the weekly Health/Fitness Challenge at church.  Goal this week attend two workout classes and one day on treadmill.  I only made it to one class this week. The gym is closed for Mardi Gras but I want to go for a walk one day and class on Wednesday.
-Read 4 books a month, roughly 1 book a week. I am almost finished with I am Number Four. I should finish it tonight. Start a new book.
-Edit book 2 in my mystery seriesNada! I’m tossing this goal for now.
-Work on self-publishing Book 1. I’ve sent the MS to another beta reader. Thank you Beth for reading it for me. She sent it back with lots of insight. I think I will send it to one more person before I pick it back up.
-Institute Meatless Monday. Mostly meatless.
-Keep up with the local Critique Group.  No progress here. Critiqued one. Finish reading all stories by Sunday.
-At some point I need to write a story I’ve plotted. No progress here.

Edit/publish Coffee.
More to come later on this.

It doesn’t look like I made progress, but I feel like I have made progress on the writing front. Some projects have been finished others I have made important decisions about. Sometimes, thinking is as important as writing. But at some point you must get back to writing! I see that getting closer. My fingers itch with the thought of picking up the pen.

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How did your week go?




I See The Sun

The sun has finally come out. It feels like I haven’t seen the sun in months. It’s been cold and rainy. I forgot how pretty a blue sky was. It’s so pretty….

We are knee deep in Mardi Gras in the Port City. Fat Tuesday is Feb. 9th, the official end to the Mardi Gras season. My participation begins and ends with attending a few parades. I don’t belong to any mystic society. I will admit to being fascinated with the whole thing. An area known for it’s conservative social, political, and religious views goes insane for three weeks every year. I find that humorous. The history behind Mardi Gras is just as convoluted as the event itself.

In a nut100_9479shell:

Mardi Gras came to Alabama with the French and was first celebrated in what would become Mobile.

It was put on hiatus during the Civil War and brought back by Joe Cain. Who at this point is more myth and legend.

Mardi Gras parades are put on by Mystic societies. They can be expensive to join and historically have been segregated by gender and race. The membership is traditionally cloaked in secrecy. That’s why they wear masks. Not all societies parade. They’re like greek societies on steroids.

Mystic societies have balls with the coronation of a King and Queen with a royal court. The gowns and dresses created for these events are amazing. They are custom creations that take a year or more to create.

The only day non-mystic people can parade is Joe Cain Day.

From a writer’s point of view, Mardi Gras is an endless source of inspiration. It’s weird and fun. In honor of Mardi Gras I’m posting fun bits of information on my facebook page.

On with my Row80 goals for round 1:

Participate in the weekly Health/Fitness Challenge at church.  Goal this week attend two workout classes and one day on treadmill.  I’ve attended two classes so far this week. No treadmill. Goal this week is two classes and one treadmill. I actually skipped Wednesday night because it was too cold to leave my lazy-boy.
-Read 4 books a month, roughly 1 book a week. Check! I’ve read 6 books in January.
-Edit book 2 in my mystery seriesNada! I’m tossing this goal for now.
-Work on self-publishing Book 1. I’ve sent the MS to another beta reader.
-Institute Meatless Monday. Mostly meatless! We had baked potatoes and I put a small spoon of chili on mine.
-Keep up with the local Critique Group.  Goal this week is to critique 2 stories. I’ve read one story. Same goal this week.
-At some point I need to write a story I’ve plotted. I’ve started working on character sheets. Goal this week is to finish character sheets and review previous plot work. still working on this.

Edit/publish Coffee. making progress. Need to finish blurb and promotion materials. Also need to finish formatting.

On the surface it doesn’t look like much progress has been made. But it has. I’ve been busy everyday, it’s just slow. There are elements to the writing life that take time. Editing takes a long time. Formatting takes time. Planning takes time. Even though it doesn’t look like much, I know progress has been made. So I’m happy.  Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter.

What goal is your hardest?


2016 Goals

Christmas break is almost over, school starts tomorrow. Yippee! The kids aren’t quiet as excited about that as I am. I’ve had very little time to dedicate to writing, but I’ve thought about my goals and how I want to attack them.

My overall yearly goals:

1. self-publish my first mystery novel
2. read more
3. get healthy
4. build a newsletter
I love #3. Can’t wait to see how long that one lasts! I’ve taken those four and adjusted them for Row80. Be sure to click here to read other blogs participating in Row80. Leave a word of encouragement.

Row80 Round 1 Goals

-Participate in the weekly Health/Fitness Challenge at church. It runs from Jan. 6- Feb. 28. I regretted signing up for this about 5 minutes after. I must attend each class and exercise. Yuk!
-Read 4 books a month, roughly 1 book a week. I’m doing the Mother-Daughter Reading Challenge with my girls. A book a week isn’t much, but it allows extra time for crazy weeks when nothing gets done.
-Edit book 2 in my mystery series. This is a holdover from December. I have a huge stack of things that need to be edited. Sigh. The only way I can see to do this is to assign days to edit. Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday are edit days.
-Work on self-publishing Book 1. This round that means- participate in a manuscript swap and send MS to editor. I’ve just received the manuscript I need to read. Every time I think of sending mine to the editor I get queasy. I’m not used to spending that kind of money on myself. It’s a bit terrifying. My target date for publication is August 1. Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday are days I work on this.
-Institute Meatless Monday. The slamming door you hear is my oldest threatening to move to grandma’s house. She’s a full carnivore and hates vegetables. I may have to do a mostly meatless. I don’t want her to starve to death.
-Keep up with the local Critique Group. I’ve had online critiques, this is the first “live” critique group I’ve been involved with. I now know why it’s so important. Nothing beats having eight separate pair of eyes. Of course that means I have eight critiques to return.
-At some point I need to write a story I’ve plotted. I have two waiting in the wings and I want to work on them before the fire is gone. May have to see how the above goes and tweak the schedule a bit.

Edit/publish Mystic Brew. This just finished critique group. I hope to have this ready by March 1. It’s a dark short story. Very different from what I have previously published. Full of twists and turns.

Wow. It always feels overwhelming when I write the goals up. I have to remind myself that it just takes a little time each day to accomplish. I have to show up and work every day. I’m easily distracted, so I need to make a list daily and stay focused.



For those of you that were in the last Round of Row80, you may remember we were working on a room for my oldest. I’m happy to say, it’s finished. We moved her in two days after Christmas and she’s been rearranging it daily.


It’s hard to see in the photo, but she has assembled a Lego army of mini-figures to take over the world!

What are your goals for round 1?