Red Flags: How a book was “born” (Includes ordering information)

For every book, there is a story about how it came to be.

The story behind Red Flags starts in 1997. The figure skating boom of the 1990s was in full swing. The Internet was in its infancy. Instead of blogs and social media, there were primitive websites and Usenet newsgroups. The hive of Internet skating fandom at that time was a Usenet group called, also known as RSSIF. The RSSIF-ers were a knowledgeable,  passionate bunch. Flame wars between different factions were common, especially during the summer months when there weren’t many skating competitions to dissect. Gossip about skaters’ private lives was discouraged, but it seemed unavoidable in an era where elite figure skaters were A-list celebrities whose latest escapades routinely made tabloid headlines.


At some point during the summer of 1997, the RSSIF regulars got into a heated discussion over which topics should or shouldn’t be allowed. On a whim, I decided to write a little soap opera that covered all of the forbidden topics– closeted gay skaters, eating disorders, extramarital affairs, abusive coaches, crazy skatemoms, bickering pairs– albeit in a fictional skating world populated with characters who were completely made-up; they were not stand-ins for real-life skaters. I titled this soap opera The Strong and the Sequined.

I figured I’d keep the soap opera going for a few weeks, maybe a few months. But each time I posted a new chapter, I would be swamped with requests for back chapters. (Today, I would have posted them on a blog, but blogs hadn’t been invented yet.) I couldn’t believe people were actually reading my little story– I was literally making it up as I went along! I had only a vague idea of what was going to happen next. At that time, I was definitely a “pantser” not a “plotter.” The Strong and the Sequined took on a life of its own.

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Number Seven!


Red Flags is currently at Number Seven on Amazon’s list of figure skating/ice skating ebooks. Officially, this category is supposed to be for non-fiction books, but I see other novels on this list in addition to my own.

Sunday is the last day to buy the ebook version of Red Flags at the 50% off sale price. The sale ends when the Four Continents Cup is over.

For Amazon Kindle:

For other e-readers:

Added on 2/19/17: Red Flags is up to #2 now! There are still a few hours left to buy it at the sale price.



Feeling grateful!

Happy Valentine’s Day… Fake Book Covers #2

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I made another collection of fake book covers by fake authors. (You can see the first collection here.)

Once again, all of the fictional authors are members of the Rubinstein family. I was already aware that Lacey Rose Rubinstein had published a “romance memoir”. I asked if any other members of the family had written anything suitable for Valentine’s Day. This is what they sent me…


Groovy Rubinstein offered up the second installment of her ongoing series of memoirs. She described it as a “celebration of Arctic polyamory.”


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Nevertheless, She Persisted

I started a list on Goodreads called “Nevertheless, She Persisted.” I added a handful of books I’ve read, but there are so many to choose from! Feel free to click this link and add your favorites:

This is a list of books (fiction or non-fiction) that feature women or girls who have taken on the (usually male) powers-that-be. YA and kids’ books are welcome!


Larissa from Red Flags, age 5

Lately, I’ve been spending less time writing and more time doing various art projects. Here is a picture I made of Larissa from Red Flags at age 5:


I sketched the outline of Larissa the old-fashioned way. Then I scanned it into my 2005 iBook and colored it in using the Appleworks paint application. The ice is the same ice from the cover of Red Flags. I made it with my current Mac. The background is from Canva. I also used Canva to put all the pieces together.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I will soon post some more of my Canva creations. I’m putting the finishing touches on them now. (Spoiler: Groovy and other members of the Rubinstein family will be back!)

This Is Not Normal


Travel bans

Closed borders

A Wall

Foreign interference in our election

Media suppression


“Alternative facts” (WTF????)

As a writer, I feel as if I should say something profound here. But what can I say? We are only one week into the Trump administration, and my country is already beginning to resemble the Soviet Union of Larissa’s childhood in Red Flags. This is not normal!

On a brighter note, there is a Resistance, an opposition. There are massive demonstrations. (I took part in Detroit’s Women’s March last weekend.) There are civil rights organizations. There are some brave journalists and a few brave politicians. We need more of them.

Because this is not normal!

Fun With Fake Book Covers

Once again, I found myself playing around on Canva. I guess you can say it has become a hobby. This time, I designed covers for fake books by fake authors.

I don’t know who the Rubinsteins are– I started with Groovy’s book and it turns out she comes from a large family of prolific authors with bizarre life experiences.

First, we’ll start with Groovy. (Yes, it’s her real name– or so she says. I have learned not to believe everything a character tells me when I first “meet” them.)


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20 Ways to Get Yourself Out There as a Writer

I have done, or plan to do, most of what’s on this list.

How about the other writers out there? Which of these were most effective for you? Do you have any other items to add to the list?

A Writer's Path


by Kelly D. Smith

1. Get out there! Meet people, and don’t be scared to say you are a writer.

2. Blog- now, is blogging really worth it? I’m not sure, I’m actually going to be talking about that soon but I enjoy it!

3. Guest blog, because really if you’re going to do it why not start with someone else’s hard work?!

4. Make sure you have your books on your blog, website, Facebook, and anywhere else!

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I have included a blogroll on the sidebar of this page. This list of blogs is not complete. If you would like me to add your blog, please post the URL in the comments. It doesn’t have to be a WordPress blog and it doesn’t have to fit into the established categories as long as it’s somehow relevant to this blog.

Since I always like to include some kind of photo or graphics with my posts, here is a nice picture of my church’s Christmas village.


Going Wide

As I mentioned in a previous post, I decided to “go wide” and make the ebook version of Red Flags available on other platforms (in addition to KDP Amazon). I did this through Draft2Digital. Instead of setting up accounts at a half-dozen different outlets, I set up my account there, and Draft2Digital arranged to make the ebook available at iBooks, Nook, Kobo, Scribd, and Inktera. They may add other retailers to this list.

You can see all of the retailers on this page:

To order the ebook, click whichever retailer you prefer and it will take you to that particular retailer’s Red Flags page. It should also direct you to a retailer in your own country.

Red Flags

You can also order Red Flags in paperback and Kindle from Amazon:




JAPAN (ebook only):

AUSTRALIA (ebook only):


Red Flags is also available in other European Union countries.