Shirt + Jacket = Shacket!

A "shacket" is a garment that's too heavyweight to be a shirt and too lightweight to be a jacket. Perfect for layering, and oh, so practical, the shacket is making its way across womenswear and menswear this fall.

How to Paint a Pumpkin

When it’s that time of year, paint your pumpkin right. Key to painting a pumpkin that will last longer and withstand the weather better is to first, seal the pumpkin

Recipe for Taco Soup

Do you have a favorite slow cooker recipe? I certainly do. Taco Soup! Although, I’m not sure if it’s a soup. It’s more like chili. So super easy to assemble.

Word Games

Below are answers to the Word Games tweets released on my Twitter page every Saturday morning. Wanna play? Follow me on Twitter: @Julie_Valerie. Remember! When on Twitter: NO SPOILERS. “Like”

52 Inspiring Quotes about Writing

“A book is made from a tree. It is an assemblage of flat, flexible parts (still called “leaves”) imprinted with dark pigmented squiggles. One glance at it and you hear

Peacocks, Peahens & Primm

Did you know? The collective term for peacocks and peahens is peafowl. A family of peafowl is called a bevy, ostentation, muster, and/or party. Males are peacocks. Females are peahens.

Hottest Summer Color for 2019? Pantone’s Living Coral

I’ve been watching this evolve since Fall 2018 . . . I wrote about coral and pink in combination on my page last December. If you visit my page,

All Summer Long – Book Reads Giveaway 2019

What’s in your beach bag this summer? Can I tuck a few summer book reads inside? All Summer Long – Book Reads Giveaway 2019 JUNE BOOK READS GIVEAWAY June’s special

Dogs that Steal My Heart

There’s a somewhat naughty (okay, a lot naughty) chocolate labrador in my novels. Her name is Struggle. I love dogs so much, I couldn’t imagine writing a novel without one

Andy’s Favorite Cornbread Recipe: Skillet-baked Cornbread

My husband Andy’s favorite cornbread recipe is a skillet-baked cornbread recipe from A Chef’s Kitchen in Williamsburg, VA. We’ve dined there countless times and recommend—with enthusiasm—everything that comes from that

Topiary of the Month Collection

Residents of the Village of Primm, the eponymous seaside tourist town on which I base my series, love topiaries—and so do I. I love their trippy shapes. The way they

Typing FIN at Barboursville Vineyard

Barboursville Vineyard, positioned along the Monticello Wine Trail in Virginia’s Monticello AVA, boasts a stunning vineyard with rolling hills and quaint cottages, historic ruins of a mansion Thomas Jefferson designed

For the Love of Fine China

I didn’t register for china when I got married. No plates, platters, or place settings for me. Had I, I’d probably opt for simple banded china; white with a platinum

How to Build Your Own Bucket List

What exactly is a bucket list? A hypothetical to toss out when someone asks—a response akin to answering what you’d do if you ever won the lottery? I think most

What Rhymes with Mother’s Day? Giveaway!

Cheers to the women who wipe noses, tie laces, and remind us to sit up straight. Happy May to all and Happy Mother’s Day to many. What rhymes with Mother's Day? Giveaway. And I've got a great one.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside.

It seemed everyone was trudging through winter these days, keeping an eye on the thermostat, watching for signs of spring. The other day, pulling a living room curtain to the side, I looked for signs of spring beyond my window while curled up with a good book, a cup of English Breakfast, and wool blanket from Peru. Funny, I noticed a surprising number of birds that weren't there the day prior had suddenly appeared in my yard.

What Do You Love?

I love James River Writers. I serve on the board of directors of this 450-member community-based non-profit in my hometown of Richmond, Virginia. We serve as central Virginia’s literary hub and we welcome everyone who loves the written word. Would you like to learn more about our organization? Take a peek at some of our programs.

I Often Feel I’m An Odd Bird.

Like many writers, I write from home, so my workday often passes without human interaction. My dogs are always at my feet, but despite being English Labradors, neither of them speak the language. I'm not lonely, quite the contrary. As a wife and mother of four, I'm grateful for the solitude, but I also seek meaningful interaction with my writing tribe. My flock.