The Winner Is . . .


The winner has been announced!

Remember when I shared the link For Karen’s Killer Fixins?  Go HERE

The winner is . . .

maybe I should make you go to her page to find out.  Hmmm,  NAH!!!

The winner is . . .Kate Benoit!  The prize package says  Red Wine & Roses and a pair of wine charms,  but it also includes a handcrafted bookmark!

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Congratulations to Kate Benoit!!!

If you haven’t read it yet –  why not?  Get your copy of Red Wine & Roses today.

READ!  Leave a review!

Well,  today is road trip day! I will be living ‘life on the highway’  (sang to the tune of ‘life is a highway’,  I will ride it all night long –  oh sorry,  I get carried away)  as I head South to visit my eldest spawn.  I mean daughter.  *clears throat*  Did I mention she dyed her hair blue?  My daughter,  not Kate.  Although,  I don’t know, maybe Kate did dye her hair and she hasn’t updated her picture.


I know, I know. There are worse things your kid could do!


Anyway,  have a fabbity fab weekend.  Enjoy the cooler air!  Sit by a firepit, have some s’mores, or hot-dogs, and a cup of cocoa.  I’m not crazy about the pumpkin spice stuff,  but if you’re into that sort of thing –  go for it!


Write on my friends, NaNoWriMo begins Sunday!  You know what I will be doing!


Blog with a Bonus – NANO help!

Five days to go until NaNoWriMo begins. Now it’s getting real.

What’s the big deal? Why are you so stoked about NaNo?  A 50,000 word novel in 30 days? Are you insane? 

The big deal for me is this: My first time doing NaNoWRiMo in 2011 was revolutionary.  It took my hobby of writing and moved me into establishing a daily habit of writing, making time for myself and my dreams, and whether I won or not,  I was amazed at what I accomplished. For the record,  I did not “win” in 2011. Not by their standards anyway.  In 2011 I did not have a daily habit of writing.  By November 30th –I was writing 1500 words per day average.  Not a great deal,  but a great deal more than I had been the previous months.

In January of 2012, I started blogging after talking with a friend I met online for nano and he  suggested that blogging was a way to “stay in practice”. I liked it. You have him to thank for my continued blogging efforts! Blogging keeps me in practice when I hit a wall in my story. When the blogs are few and far between – you know I’m head down, butt in the chair typing my little heart out! Or life has left me gutted and reeling in pain.  Or . . . both.

Why I’m stoked:  With life’s demands,  it’s very easy to get out of the habit of writing. And even though I’ve continued to write daily, I’ve let the amount I write daily slip. NaNo for me is about getting back to the basics.  Getting rid of the bad habits,  and re-establishing the  habits that bring success as a writer. It’s also kind of cathartic –  taking that deep breath and blowing out. This is what matters right now – focused writing efforts. Getting down the first draft.  In one sense, I very much consider myself a winner each and every time I do NaNo for 3 reasons:

  1. I make my writing a priority and during NaNo my family knows not to disrupt the writing mojo.
  2. There is a firm word count goal. 1667 words a day is what it takes to reach the final finish line. I tend to do more at the beginning of the month because there are days I will not be able to write  – like on Thanksgiving, unless I somehow manage to have energy at eleven at night to sit and type for about an hour.  More than likely, I will be in a deep near comatose sleep at that time. (I do the cooking and yes it takes a lot of time and effort.)
  3. The goal is to get 50,000 words –  a first draft down on paper, or virtual paper. You have to have something to work with.  I’ve hit 50K and wasn’t finished with the story. Never the less,  I had the words down.  Which means there is something to work with for  revisions and improvements. 

OK,  I’ll admit that on more than one occasion, when I’ve tackled the revisions of that first draft I am scratching my head thinking –  what in the wide world of NaNo-dom was I thinking? Half of what I had written was rewritten or removed. However,  I had something to work with.  You can’t work with what’s not written.

You can revise anything but you can’t revise nothing.

(Kind of sounds like a Yogi-ism doesn’t it??)

A 50,000 word novel in 30 days? Are you insane?   Yes, 50,000 words  in 30 days.  30 days of literary abandon. It sounds crazy,  but in all honesty this really isn’t that much.  For the newbie that isn’t in the habit –  it’s a LOT. But to be honest,  when the writer is in the flow state –  1500 or more words in an hour are  easily obtainable. Looking at it from that perspective, for the writer that has prepared for NaNo by writing an outline, it will take approximately an hour and a half a day to achieve the goal.  I will gladly give up tv for that amount of time.  I’ll give up the internet distractions.

Let me just say here,  speaking from the voice of experience – in 2011,  I had a vague notion of what I would write. Totally pantsed it! I ended up with 85000 words written,  deleted most of it down to 47000 as pantsing it took my story down rabbit holes and trails that had nothing to do with progressing the story. Word of advice –  DO NOT DELETE!  I revised and edited as I went –  DON’T!  You can edit come December 1st. That story is still in my files, because it was such a mess.  Last year I took Lazette’s outline advice and it is GOLDEN!  I’m telling you,  this method is like the easy button for me! I have hard copy index cards paper clipped together, that I add details on the back as I think of them.  One for each day of the month. Today I will be adding more details to each one.

In regards to the second half of that question – YES! but that has nothing to do with NaNoWriMo.

Get a system that works for you and kick NaNo’s butt! Now for the BONUS,  I am leaving  you with a bit of information that might help you get your NaNo novel off the ground. It’s a bit dry,  sort of classroom lesson-ish,  but it shows you a few options.   This is bare bones, down to brass tacks but it might help you take a step in the right direction for your story.

Story Themes

All stories have these four common elements that can determine story structure:  milieu, idea, character, and event. All are present but which one dominates in your story? (The next section is copied from an article by Orson Scott Cards.)

Milieu is the world—the planet, the society, the weather, the family, all the elements that come up during your world-building phase. Every story has a milieu, but when a story is structured around one, the milieu is the thing the storyteller cares about most. For instance, in Gulliver’s Travels, it mattered little to Jonathan Swift whether we came to care about Gulliver as a character. The whole point of the story was for the audience to see all the strange lands where Gulliver traveled and then compare the societies he found there with the society of England in Swift’s own day—and the societies of all the tale’s readers, in all times and places. So it would’ve been absurd to begin by writing much about Gulliver’s childhood and upbringing. The real story began the moment Gulliver got to the first of the book’s strange lands, and it ended when he came home.

Milieu stories always follow that structure. An observer who sees things the way we’d see them gets to the strange place, observes things that interest him, is transformed by what he sees, and then comes back a new person.

This structure is most common in science fiction and fantasy, but it also occurs in other types of novels. James Clavell’s Shogun, for instance, is a milieu story: It begins when the European hero is stranded in medieval Japan, and it ends when he leaves. He was transformed by his experiences in Japan, but he does not stay—he returns to his world. Other stories are told along the way—the story of the shogun, for instance—but regardless of how much we’re drawn into those events, the real closure we expect at the end of the story is the main character’s departure from Japan.

Likewise, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz doesn’t end when Dorothy kills the Wicked Witch of the West. It ends when Dorothy leaves Oz and goes home to Kansas.

When writing a milieu story, your beginning point is obvious—when the character arrives—and the ending is just as plain: when she leaves (or, in a variant, when she decides not to leave, ending the question of going home).

Such stories are typically most effective when seen through the viewpoint of the arriving character, as she’ll be surprised by and interested in the same strange and marvelous (and terrible) things that engage the readers.


The structure is very simple: The idea story begins by raising a question; it ends when the question is answered.

Most mysteries follow this structure. The story begins when a crime takes place. The question we ask is, “who did it and why?” The story ends when the identity and motive of the criminal are revealed.

In speculative fiction, a similar structure is quite common. The story begins with a question: Why did this beautiful ancient civilization on a faraway planet come to an end? Why are all these people gone, when they were once so wise and their achievements so great? The answer, in Arthur C. Clarke’s “The Star,” is that their sun went nova, making life impossible in their star system. And, ironically, it was the explosion of their star that the wise men saw as the sign of the birth of Christ. The story is told from the point of view of a Christian who believes that this must have been a deliberate act of God, to destroy a beautiful civilization for the sake of giving a sign to the magi.

When writing an idea story, begin as close as possible to the point where the question is first
raised, and end as soon as possible after the question is answered.

Character stories focus on the transformation of a character’s role in the communities that matter most to him. Sure, in one sense, stories are almost always “about” one or more characters. In most stories, though, the tale is not about the character’s character; that is, the story is not about who the character is.

The structure of a character story is as simple as any of the others. The story begins at the moment when the main character becomes so unhappy, impatient or angry in her present role that she begins the process of change; it ends when the character either settles into a new role (happily or not) or gives up the struggle and remains in the old role (happily or not). Most romances are character stories. The story begins with the protagonist’s unhappiness at being alone. The process of change begins right away, and the protagonist either learns about themselves and  realizes they are happy with who they are with the love interest,  or they realize how the love interest has changed them and their lives for the better.

In the event story, something is wrong in the fabric of the universe; the world is out of order In all cases, a previous order—a “golden age”—has been disrupted and the world is in flux, a dangerous place.

The event story ends at the point when a new order is established or, more rarely, when the old order is restored or, rarest of all, when the world descends into chaos as the forces of order are destroyed. The story begins not at the point when the world becomes disordered, but rather at the point when the character whose actions are most crucial to establishing the new order becomes involved in the struggle. Hamlet doesn’t begin with the murder of Hamlet’s father; it begins much later, when the ghost appears to Hamlet and involves him in the struggle to remove the usurper and reestablish the proper order of the kingdom.

Almost all fantasy and much—perhaps most—science fiction uses the event story structure.

Learn from Homer—and Tolkien, and all the other writers who have handled the event story well. Begin small, and only gradually expand our vision to include the whole world. If you don’t let us know and care about the hero first, we won’t be around for the saving of the world. There’s plenty of time for us to learn the big picture.

(The 4 Story structures that dominate novels by Orson Scott Card, August 24, 2010 for Writer’s Digest)

What type of story are you writing?

Write on my friends, write on!

There’s Still Time


It’s not too late to plan for NaNo. You still have a full week to  make an outline.  Why outline? It’s your game plan.  Because sometimes when you are neck deep in the writing you can’t see over the  hedge and you don’t know that  the next plot point requires you to turn left after the flesh eating beast in the corridor!

For more encouragement,  I want to share with you a note from James Patterson from a few years ago to encourage the NANO participants. (2013)

So Writer, you’re trying to write a novel in 30 days. Has anyone told you you’re crazy yet?

You’re not crazy. I promise. I know because I’ve written a novel in a couple of months. And yes, I’m a human being (just ask my editor, or my wife) and I do sleep. The book even got published. So anyone who tells you it’s impossible is wrong and you should probably stop taking their advice. Unless it’s your mom. Then just stop taking her advice about writing (you should still floss once a day).

There’s no getting around the fact that it’s hard, though, is there? By now you know that better than anyone. Maybe you should give up on this whole novel business and go relax. Or work at a paying job. But I say, keep at it. Because, like I said, it’s possible. And as you must suspect, it’s a pretty fantastic feeling to have written a book.

So how do you do it? Here are some tips on making it to December 1 without going crazy or giving up. (Though if you have to do one of them, I’ve always found sanity overrated.)

Outline. If you already have: gold star; proceed to the next piece of advice. If you didn’t, don’t worry, because it’s never too late to go back and make an outline. An outline isn’t something to be scared of, it’s just a chapter-by-chapter description of the scenes that, lined-up together, make your book. On the count of three, tell me the story that unfolds in your novel. All the way to the last chapter. Now write that down. There’s your outline. Easy, right?

Lie to yourself. Honesty is a great quality, but we’re writing fiction here, so you’d better get used to a little light lying. Tell yourself you can do this. Tell yourself your book will be great. The world will love it and you’ll be the next J.K. Rowling, J.D. Salinger, Art Spiegelman, or whatever flavor of author you hope to become.

Get into a writing routine. Think it’s hard to write every day during NaNo? Most professional writers keep this kind of pace all year round. Holidays, birthdays, vacations—you name it, we’re writing. The trick is making writing into a daily habit. Same time. Same place. Same hot beverage of choice. Every. Single. Day. Again. And. Again.

Don’t do it alone. If you live with somebody, tell them to be unpleasant to you if they see you doing anything else during your writing time. Buy them a water gun. If you live alone, have friends call and check on you. And if you have no friends, you will have no trouble writing a book in 30 days. What else do you have to do? (I’m not knocking friendless people. We’ve all been there.)

Don’t stress. I don’t mean to undermine the above, but remember this is one month, not your entire writing career. Try hard, learn from it, and if you don’t get to 50,000 words, figure out what you did wrong so you can get there next time.

Stop reading this. Start writing. Now. (Or at midnight your time.)



James Patterson writes suspense and thriller books for kids, teens, and adults. He holds the Guinness World Record for the most New York Times bestsellers of any author.

Take the advice of a master! Write on my friends, write on!



NaNo Tips for Newbies

12:01 November 1, 2015 – NaNoWriMo begins.  I’ll be asleep thank you.  But when I am able to start on my nano project I have my 30 points of light,  er 30 outline points. Trouble is,  I only have my outline thought out to about 15.  Head scratching and brainstorming have been the brunt of my nano planning for the last couple of days.  Characters are solid,  as this is a continuation of a previous story. My world building is somewhat completed as I have much of it  planned out in my mind.

I have the major story arc, the main plot points, and some key points down. As I flesh this out from the are bones skeleton,  I thought I’d share a few points for the newbies.

Whenever you get stuck, here are 5 points that can move your story forward.

  1. Someone has to die.    In National Treasure, someone had to go to prison. IN your novel,  someone has to die. The possibilities are endless.  That lady that cut you off on the interstate? Change her to a male drunk driver that crashes into a truck, hindering your protagonists progress.  The person that made you feel like not only what you said or did was wrong but who you are is wrong –  yeah,  change the sex, change the hair color, keep one letter from their name –  let’s say A – and recreate them.  If it’s a person that you have to deal with often, like a coworker, a neighbor perhaps save their death scene for a climactic scene. Andrea dies on page 37. Alex died on page 98. Aella was spared in chapter 1, chapter 5, chapter 9, and again in chapter 27. In fact he is spared for this book.  Of course, stuff happens.  I’m not going to give it away, but bad stuff, lots of bad bad stuff!  See what I did there?  I extracted my writerly revenge on the person who I borrowed the A from at least 4 times in the first book.  I call it my Phoenix Effect – how many ways/times can you kill off the person that pissed you off without going to jail?  Remember also,  that Eric is the NaNo sacrificial lamb. Be sure to  utter the worship word to the NaNo gods before ending Eric.
  2. Wrong turns can be redeemed and are usable. Let’s say the protagonist made a wrong choice, work it!  I mean really work it.  Let’s say our protagonist decides to take off in the middle of the night alone when she sees a big burly man on the surveillance cameras.  Because we think we can do anything , right ladies?  How many times has your mother told you not to go out alone at night?  It’s not just a big city thing,  there are weirdos out there!  USE IT.  USE ALL OF IT!
  3. There’s a lull in the action. Why not seize this opportunity to express the character’s internal struggles? Or have a scene where they share some of their past that explains why they react a certain way?
  4. Plot bunny! Whether it is executed in grand Monty Python style,  or  it permutates into something insidious . . .  it can be like the Easter eggs in video games. What fun! How did that cute little bunny manage to turn into a tentacled sea monster that spews acid anyway? You never know what you will find in Atlantis, right?
  5. You have absolutely no idea where to go from here . . . . Let’s say for argument sake that you made an outline, however you have deviated from said outline.  A.) Go review the outline,  and make up something  of how you can get from where you are back on track to the outline.  OR B.) throw the outline away and the world is your oyster.  Seriously.  I mean after all, if Darth Vader can go from being the prophesied Chosen One  with the highest number of midi-chlorian in his blood as a child – ever, to suddenly accepting Darth Sidious as his master –  talk about plot hole that you could shove an entire universe through! I mean come on,  he back-talked and questioned everything that Quai-Gon Jinn said, questioned Obi Wan, questioned Yoda – but  suddenly is  ‘Yes master’ to Darth Sidious, talk about your character being inconsistent!  but then again we aren’t George Lucas. Maybe you should go back to option A.

Most of all, NaNo is supposed to be a fun challenge. It’s a first draft. I’ve been known  to type in XXXXX (Need a place-name here)  instead of stressing over those details while I am in draft mode.  Get it down. There is always time to revise come December 1. It’s not the time to stress over proper grammar or whether your tense is consistent. Don’t freak out because your friend shared a passage that rocked and you can’t see  anything you’ve written yet that is half as good.  Whatever!  Keep writing. Write like the wind, at least 1667 words per day.  I myself tend to  write 2500 to 3000 the first week,  around 2000 or more the second week, and between 1500 and 2000 the remainder. I am not online on the weekends, so any weekend writing is done with pen and notebook and is then translated with Dragon on Monday. Dictation goes much faster than typing, and my Monday word counts can be 12K or more, because it’s 3 days worth of writing.  Whatever works for you!

Write on my friends, write on!



NaNoWriMo Prep – The Countdown is On!

It’s Thursday, that means that my post on Eclectic Bard Books is up here.  Go have a gander after reading this post.

NaNoWriMo is fast approaching. For those new to it,  it stands for National Novel Writing Month, aka  November, aka 30 days of literary abandon where you write a 50000 word novel in  month.  That  boils down to an average of 1667 words per day, every day, for 30 days. 

This will be my 5th year for doing NANO.  I’ve won some,  and lost some.  But really,  any words down are a win right?  I may not have won the NANO title,  but I won in making my writing a priority.  I won in practicing my craft.  I won in connecting with an amazing group of authors! Speaking of, . . .  a friend of mine posted something in the Nano group online and I asked her if she would mind sharing it with my readers. 

Sharing her words of wisdom,  Lazette Gifford  speaks from the voice of experience.  I shared with you last year  for Nano prep her advice on outlining.  I have been following her plan and it makes the writing so much simpler,  so there isn’t a lot of time spent staring at the screen wondering what next.  You can review that HERE on last year’s post – Tic-Toc nano o’clock.  


Let’s talk a little about doing NaNo the original way.

Back when NaNo started, the goal was to prepare everything (if you prepared at all) and begin on November 1.  A lot of people don’t see the sense in waiting when they get excited about their story and they leap in early.  That’s fine if that’s what you want to do, but I have to tell you . . . you’re missing out on some of the fun.

If you wait, there is an entirely different feel to NaNo.  No matter where you are in the world, as the clock ticks closer to 12:00 AM November 1, there are people sitting, just like you, watching the time inch closer to the start of NaNo.  The feeling of thousands of people preparing to write their first word just as you are preparing is something you will not get anywhere else.  There is no other intellectual challenge in the world like NaNo, and waiting with all the others for that moment when we all reach the GO GO GO stage is incredibly fun.  There are chat rooms all over the internet where you can sit in with others as they get going.   And even if you can’t start at midnight, you will find others who are joining in about the same time as you and rushing to get their 1667 words for the day (or more if that’s what you enjoy).

Over in Forward Motion we have a NaNo Chatroom where people gather, especially as the first hour nears.  This is usually fun for the US group.  The East Coast starts, Central joins in, Mountain a bit later, the West Coast — and finally even Hawaii if we have anyone that year.  Many of us stay as long as we can to see at least the group after us get going.  We come back often over the next month to continue to cheer each other on.

Zaphod -

Zaphod – one of Lazette’s furbaby.

The final word count for November isn’t as important as two other aspects.  First is to have fun.  NaNo is not anything to get upset about if you don’t do well. Second is to learn something about you and writing.  That might be that you don’t like the way you approach writing for NaNo and never want to do it again. That’s all right- NaNo is not for everyone and it certainly isn’t required for you to become a published author.

You might find out that you need at least a little plan to stay on target.  This is really helpful if you intend to submit to a traditional publisher.  If they like your work, chances are very good that they’ll want something more and you will be on a deadline to complete the work.  Learning to work to a deadline before one is forced on you will do wonders for your career.

I’m preparing for the November 1 starting line.  I might not be there at midnight, but I will still enjoy the feeling of joining all the others in that month-long intellectual sprint of writing madness.

So whatever you do, be sure you enjoy taking part!


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Lazette Gifford is a prolific author, photographer, and sometimes cover artist who lives in the wilds of Nebraska with her husband, several cats and a small but entirely useless dog.  She writes every day and has done so for decades, and soon will be working on her 100th novel.

After several years in the small press publishing world, Zette has moved to the exciting life of an Indie published author, with several novels and short stories released and often well-reviewed.  You can find links to her work on her personal website at:

A collection of novels written during NaNoWriMo can be found here:

I”m excited  to do NaNo again, there is just something about the atmosphere . . . and the volume of words on virtual paper whether I reach 50000 or not.  

Remember,  go read Eclectic Bard Books HERE.

Write on my friends,  write on!



Southern Snark aka Writer’s Revenge

Quotidiandose does not own this image - all rights reserved to artist

Quotidiandose does not own this image – all rights reserved to artist

No one really likes to write, they like to have written.

Being a writer has to come out of a true passion because sometimes the act of writing is in fact like opening a vein and bleeding onto the page.  Or it can be like banging your head against a cinder block wall and then finger painting in the bloody mess.  Or it can result in hours upon hours of . . . unusable prose.

The sense of accomplishment comes from the “have written” position where you have a great scene,  a great essay,  or whatever piece it is that the words were strung together in such a way that it tugs on the heartstrings,  evokes the passion,  or makes the reader ponder.  THAT is when we get the feelgoods.

I’ve shared my list of projects before on my blog.  Long lists of in progress,  shelved, set aside, partially finished, finished but needs revision, and those ‘I have a vague idea of what to do with this but  not definite, so I’ll just file it away’ pieces.

As any writer, I have spent countless hours at my craft. I’ve compared it before to piano lessons that the beginning student doesn’t give a concert performance. You have to practice. I can remember doing scales and arpeggios. Writing exercises such as flash fiction or free writing are akin to practicing those scales and arpeggios.  Practicing scales teaches the piano player proper fingering techniques, when to use the pinky and when to cross over another finger. (Simple explanation but it’s a real thing!) Practice writing does the same thing for the writer.  If you are using pen and paper,  it teaches us to limber up,  to flex the writing muscles,  and how to hold the pen so our hand doesn’t cramp.  If you are using a keyboard,  it improves the typing skill and speed.  It also loosens the mental cobwebs so  the ol’ creative engine can run.

When I first started seriously writing, my typing speed was around 65 words per minute with minimal errors.  I have to admit, my error ratio is probably much higher but my typing speed has increased to around 125 words per minute. Thank goodness for spellcheck,  that’s all I can say.

Writing is hard work.  It’s aggravating when every third person comes up to you and says,  ‘I’ve been thinking about writing a novel. If I ever get some free time, I think I’ll do that.’  Let me translate for you. What the writer hears: “OH. You’ve written a book.  Yeah, I could do that too if I wasn’t so busy.  I don’t have time to just sit on my butt and play on the computer. When I get some free time when I don’t have to work a real job,  I might tackle that book I’ve thought about because you know, everyone has a book in them, right?”

Don’t believe me?  Ask a writer friend.  Or better yet, can I get some feedback from my writer friends? What do you feel when people say that to you?

Let me break it down for you.

“I’ve been thinking about writing a novel” translates=  OH, you are getting the spotlight for having completed a novel.  I would like the spotlight. I could do that it’s not that hard.

“Yeah I could do that too, if I wasn’t so busy.”  Translates= I have a real job that requires 30 to 40 hours of my time every week.  A real job where I work and get paid. Writing isn’t a real job,  it’s just playing because writing doesn’t take any real effort. [insert plastered on fake smile to cover the smirk from being dissed here because every writer knows just exactly how much work it truly is.] I don’t have time to just play.

I posted slides on social media as the release date drew near for my debut novel.  Yes,  I was rather proud of myself for achieving a goal that I have worked towards for years. Notice I said my debut novel,  I plan to write many more.   Immediately two glory hogs popped up to say,  they could write a book if they weren’t so busy.

Hello?  I work  a professional job,  manage my household (Ignore that stack of dirty dishes!),  have two daughters, do volunteer work through a counseling based course.  I don’t sit around and eat bonbons.  I don’t have time to play.  Like all writers, I make the time for what I am passionate about.

In one sense,  it’s really no big deal.  But in another, it is infuriating when  you get that smug response from the person who is really talking down to you. The southern lady in me wants to say: “well bless your heart.” (Anyone who doesn’t speak southern hospitality  it means: well aren’t you a special kind of stupid.) The Missourian in me wants to say: “Show me – either put up or shut up about writing.”  The part of me that starts singing the “manumanum” song when they go into their diatribe while plotting a way to utilize them in the next death scene, is amused at their ignorance.

What if writers started responding with “You know,  I could have been a nurse but I don’t want to change bed pans.  I could have been an accountant,  but  I couldn’t get the debits and credits to work it out with the secret withdrawals.  Debits threatened to  expose secrets,  so he had to die. It was a formulaic death.”

I don’t think the glory hog that laid out the myriad of reasons why she hadn’t written her own book yet appreciated my response. “Well,  if you are serious about wanting to write, you should pursue it. I know this ritual that you can do.  All you need is some quilting pins, an effigy doll,  a blank journal, and a small animal to sacrifice.”  Nope,  she was not amused.

Ah well.  You never know what’s going to come out of the mind or mouth of a writer.

Write on my friends,  write on.


Thrills and Chills!

I am a product of the 80’s.  My hair still thinks it’s the 80’s!  I didn’t need volumes of hairspray then like my friends, but now unless I want to keep my hair in a braid I have to use various products to tame the mane.

80's hair, no hairspray. (Notice the windblown side that's all out of place.)

80’s hair, no hairspray. (Notice the windblown side that’s all out-of-place.)

Anyway, what’s hair got to do with this anyway??  When you think of 80’s you automatically think big hair! This post isn’t really about hair.  I just thought y’all might get a kick out of that big hair photo. (You know since so many do that throwback Thursday thing.)

*Just a note –  When I wrote this, minus this line it was 666 words. I had to add a line quick!*

Moving on . . . 80’s . . . where was I going with this?  OH yes, the HORROR movies.

Back in my day . . .  my boyfriend took me to the drive-in to see a HORROR movie triple feature.  It was a stormy night.  NO really, it was!  There was lightning ripping through the air,   had to have the wiper blades on for half of the first show, then again on the main attraction.  This was a very memorable night in my foray to horror movie watching.

I remember it distinctly. The first movie was Night of the Living Dead, the black and white 1968 classic by George Romero.

Movie poster for Night of the Living Dead

Movie poster for Night of the Living Dead

                                   Johnny: They’re coming to get you, Barbara, there’s one of them now!

                                   Johnny: [in a creepy voice] They’re coming to get you, Barbara!

                                   Barbara: Stop it! You’re ignorant!

                                   Johnny: They’re coming for you, Barbara!

                                   Barbara: Stop it! You’re acting like a child!

                                   Johnny: They’re coming for you![points to the cemetery zombie]

                                   Johnny: Look, there comes one of them now!

                                   Barbara: He’ll hear you!

                                   Johnny: Here he comes now!

It was creepy,  a little scary, but  didn’t really get much of a reaction from me.

Next up was  a classic that I had seen before,  Invasion of the Body Snatchers.  This was the 1978 remake,  not the original. I don’t think it was as good as the original.  We talked through the entire movie, comparing it to the original.


Then the third movie, which of course they waited until the end to show.  Friday the 13th!

Oh MY! From the start this movie had my attention.

A group of camp counselors is stalked and murdered by

an unknown assailant while trying to reopen a summer camp

which, years before, was the site of a child’s drowning.

Movie poster for Friday the 13th

Movie poster for Friday the 13th

Five minutes into the movie,  the skies opened up. With the added feature of thunder rumbling, lightning flashing through the skies, and sheets of rain assaulting the car,  I don’t think  this movie could have been more terrifying if it were planned.   The storm let up with fifteen minutes left  in the movie. My boyfriend,  now husband thought it was cool. He didn’t think so at the end.

I knew better than to relax and think it was all over.  She was trailing her fingers in the water out in the boat.  I just knew that something was going to grab her hand and pull her under, then it didn’t happen. Dawn is breaking,  the water looks serene.  I knew there was something in the water.  I knew it!  But nothing grabbed her.  Then the cops finally show up, she sits up waving to get their attention, and BAM!

My fingers were clasped around his wrist in a death grip, my eyes as wide as saucers. breath caught in my throat. After a few minutes he pried my fingers apart to get some circulation in his hand.  I didn’t sleep once I got home.

For weeks I had nightmares.  It’s not funny!   I had horrifying nightmares as a child and have had some serious nightmares as an adult.

But every once in a while . . . . for some strange reason I still will watch a horror movie.  What is it about them?

Was there a Horror movie that scared you?  I mean really scared you?

Write on my friends, write on!



What a Sweet Gig!

I’m super stoked for a multiplicity of reasons!!

Architecture and Interiors photography by Jim Stephenson / clickclickjim

  1.  Coffee – There is nothing more shocking to the writer’s system than to go for coffee and there is none.  I don’t mean the coffee pot was empty,  It was.  I mean,  after finding the coffee pot empty and you search the cupboards and find NONE in the house. I know, right?  After an urgent mandatory trip into town, dealing with crazy drivers that don’t know how blinkers work,  and slow people that are determined to get between you and the shelf that contains the elixir of life – the precious  substance was obtained!  SUCCESS! OH, and the 24 ounce cup from the gas station  didn’t hurt matters either!  I am now fully caffeinated for the next few weeks.  (Or months, depending on how long  8 cans of  my favorite brew last, and how many people I have to share with.)
  2. Freelance Writing Opportunity – I’ll fill ya all in after I know more details but  if it goes well. it will be a decent second income for doing what I used to do  when I worked for the government, and what I’ve done for free for a charitable organization for years. Anyway,  I’m super thrilled that my name is in the hat, and the potential is there. Hit or miss,  at least I tried!
  3. Reviews–  I am so happy to have reviews on Amazon for Red Wine and Roses! Doubly stoked that they are good reviews!

For a rating of 4.3 stars out of 5!!

  1. Speaking Engagement –Tomorrow night. Held at our local library. I get the opportunity to gush about my work.  SQUEE!  A chance to  put in my two cents worth to a captive audience. Mwahahahaha!          meet and greet
  2. Chocolate! – While assembling my giveaway baskets for tomorrow’s event,  I found a single serving bag of M&M’s that my daughter bought for me last week.  SCORE!

So, while I indulge in a little chocolate to  go with my caffeine buzz, have  a peak at the reviews!  Then you can buy the book and leave your own review!

I hope it give you the feel goods, because . . .  that’s what a romance novel is supposed to do!

Write on my friends, write on!

Marketing the Love Child




For a writer, every project is a Love Child.  The first-born holds a place of honor and prestige. The union of  the creative talent that drives the writer to  put pen to paper or virtual ink to virtual screen combines with the hard work and diligence of  writing produces  this love child.  For some, the heavens part and the angel choir sings  it praises. For others it’s a more subtle victory but a victory never the less.

Much like the natural birth of a child, the initial adrenaline rush wears off.  Somewhere around the third sleepless night the parent is wondering “What have I gotten myself into?” There is no turning back from this point.  You’ve entered the parent zone.  For an author, once the initial adrenaline high wears off  – somewhere after a week or so  after the book is released the nurturing of that baby hits us with a similar realization. You’ve entered the author zone.  Inside the author zone, we have to decide whether we are content to have  our baby released out into the world and exist, or do we  let everyone know of their existence? Do we send out ” birth” announcements?  Do we invite people to the “christening”  (aka launch)?

The release date is akin to the  birth of our natural children. From there, we look for milestones. The first smile – the first sale.  The first tooth – the first review.

I’ve hit a few of those milestones with Red Wine & Roses. Released on September 19th, 2015 I had 3 preorders and one individual received her print copy before I got my print copies for the Kentuckiana event. Go figure! AND . . . I got 2 reviews so far – WOOHOO!  Not bad, both have rated it as 4 out of 5 stars.

All writers secretly or not so secretly wish that their baby will be the next success like J.K. Rowling’s or Stephen King’s. How do we get there?  How do we get our baby in front of people who will read  our Love Child?

Social  Networking – Facebook isn’t just for sharing your selfies! Social Media is part of the author’s  Platform, a means to get your baby out into the hands of  readers that don’t realize they want to read your book yet. We’ve all seen the eager author that floods our wall with BUY MY BOOK.  WE ignore those, don’t we?  However,  if you offer teasers, draw interest, bring up interesting  points about  your book and give them a link of where they can find it, people are more likely to give it a  squiz.

Personal Networking – Share your accomplishments with your circle! Your friends know more friends, and their friends know more friends and so on and so on. Network at bookstore events, trade shows, conferences, writing groups,author events, and anywhere you connect with people personally.

Website and blogging – Have all your information in one centrally located easy to find spot. My website isn’t  done yet, but I very much enjoy blogging.  Most of the time I use my blog to voice my opinion, my thoughts, my struggles – yeah I guess you could say it’s a very egotistical venture. I often have a lot to say,  with strong opinions about most  things. Used correctly, a blog or website  can connect you with potential readers and eventually –  fans.  I feel privileged to  have a couple avid fans.  Can’t express my Love for them enough!

These are just  a few means of marketing your love child. I have to be honest,  pursuing the creative bent within me to write my stories, I didn’t realize that I was training to become a PIMP for my LOVE CHILD!

What  grabs your attention  in  a book that you will purchase?  Is it cover art?  Is it the blurb on the back?  Is it how it was marketed? Share your thoughts with us – please!

Write on my friends, write on!