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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Amazon Unveils First East Coast Bricks and Mortar



I would like to see Amazon open one of these stores in my area. I miss going to the bookstore! Nearly all of the ones I used to frequent are gone now.

A Writer's Path

by Alex Green at Publishers Weekly

Amazon opened the doors to its first East Coast bricks and mortar bookstore on Tuesday. The 5,800 sq. ft. store, in Dedham, Mass., which is the first of the e-tailer’s physical stores featuring a cafe, is located at Legacy Place, a large commercial retail center ten miles from downtown Boston. The opening is part of Amazon’s nationwide push to open six physical bookstores by the spring. Once all six bricks and mortar locations are open, Amazon will have a total of nine stores across the country.

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Happy Paczki Day!

It’s that time of the year again!

Jens Lyon


In other parts of the world, the day before Lent is called Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Tuesday, Mardi Gras, or Carnival. But in metro Detroit, today is Paczki Day.

“What is a paczki?” you ask.

First of all, it is pronounced poonch-key. A paczki is a Polish pastry. It looks and tastes like a jelly-filled doughnut, except it is denser and heavier. The fillings come in numerous flavors– raspberry, blueberry, lemon, apple, strawberry, prune, buttercream. Some have powdered sugar on top, some don’t. One bar in Hamtramck even fills theirs with vodka!

When I was a kid, Paczki Day was only celebrated in Hamtramck and other Polish immigrant enclaves. Now you can find these yummy treats at pretty much every major bakery or grocery store in metro Detroit. Just as the non-Irish as well as the Irish celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, those (like myself) who are not Polish…

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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!