Saturday, December 26, 2009

An Early Resolution

Two-thousand-nine is almost done

And twenty-ten will soon be here

When "Auld Lang Syne" is sweetly sung

We'll welcome in a brand new year


Our hopes and dreams will rise anew

In promise of a brighter day

We will commit to see things through

And clear those hurdles in our way


Fresh words will flow from brain to screen

And characters will spring to life

With writing always crisp and clean

And pages full of hope and strife


To all my friends and friends-to-be

Successful wishes I now send

And hope before next year is through

We all will smile and write THE END

Saturday, August 29, 2009

My new room

I got my own room today. One of the upstairs bedrooms is now my study / den / retreat / whatever I want to call it but it's where I'll WRITE relatively undisturbed.

Once I wrote in the bedroom and pretty much cluttered up half of it, but after we had all our floors redone (courtesy hurricane Ike) the bedroom looked so nice without my junk...

So I moved into the dining room because we never use it anyway. Well, twice a year. BUT - it's right between the kitchen / living room and my husband's study (where he leaves the door open and cranks up the music) and with all the carpet gone everything is much louder than before. Plus it's hard to be in the middle of an intense scene but have someone stop by to see if you know where the [insert item] is or when the TV is drowning out all rational thought.

So - I'm moving out - er up - to where I'll have a door and the opportunity for peace and quiet - I've promised my family I'll show up every now and again.

I finally framed all those contest finalist certificates so I can hang them up over my desk and use them for inspiration. But I'm wondering what else I need to put in there - books, knick-knacks, computers, printer, paper, toner, promo items, iPod, trash can, new lamp, comfy chair. The latter because I like to proof read a hard copy every now and again, it's amazing what the eyes will spot on paper and especially if you change the font.

Hmmm what else - any suggestions?

Friday, August 14, 2009

What's in a blog?

I'm cheating a little today. First I'm going to tell you all about the request for a full I received recently, that would be the full I made a significant plot change to.

I've been editing like crazy all week!

Secondly, I'm going to tell you about my other blog which really describes how I've felt for the last week. Except I forgot to mention I had dental work done that tore up my mouth and put me on antibiotics!

Check out:

and everyone have a great weekend, I have a story to read and another one to finish!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Fear, Stress, Worry

None of this pertains to writing directly. It is about the thing sthat my husband has going on with him health wise right now. We have been married 37 years and i so hope to go for the big 50 if God is willing. But right now we are staring at some serious illnesses. He has diabetes, high blood pressure, fast heart rate, blind in his left eye-cataract in right one-wobbles when he walks, peripherial artery disease (poor leg circulation due to blocked arteries), an abdominal aneurysm and last of all cancer of an unknown origin and type. All we know is it isn't the same as when they removed his left kidney in 1988. It isn't related to the urology department they ruled that out on Tuesday. Now we have more tests and more trips to San Antonio to look forward to in the future. He's a lot more upbeat about this than when they told him he had cancer in 2005. We both were devastated and when he couldn't get anybody to work with him at Fort Hood he sort of quit taking his meds and never went back. This spring he started having pain in his left eye and losing his vision. They think either glaucoma or a stroke caused by a piece of plaque from his neck arteries breaking loose and lodging in his eye. I am doing my best to trade days with coworkers and save my last day of vacation of 2009 for a day when I can't trade and need off. Thank goodness I have been at this job for 14 years and they know about all of this and are willing to work with me as much as possible. Still I'm holding onto God for all there is that he will do what is best for my husband and give me the strength to hang in there no matter what happens.

Odd Event

When we were at Fort Hood, TX on Monday they had an attempted baby kidnapping. Thankfully the baby is safe but no news if they caught the woman that attempted it or not. They locked that place down and at the entrance to every clinic on every floor someone was there checking ID's and making sure of who came and went. There was a picture taken of her from a security camera, I am assuming, posted to the news article I found online about it. Thanks to my niece, Laura, I was able to read the news report. They were having a press release or news conference when we were leaving after 5:00 pm. I was sleeping darn it in a chair and I almost missed it. I woke in time to hear the afterwards talk and search information. There were several comments made on the website where the news article was posted. This is scary because I have two great nieces almost a year old and how devastating it would have been to lose them. Now would be worse but as a newborn how harsh is that. As of Tuesday they had not located the woman I heard them say she kept changing clothes on them.Maybe at soem future date I can utilize some of this in writing. Right now would seem rude to the family even though they don't know me and I dont know them.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I got a release date!

Learning to Let Go will be available in epub format on November 20.

A little exciting and a lot overwhelming.

A perfect release date as that's the time of year the story takes place.

Catching up

I know I owe everyone a blog about DC - and I'll get to that, I promise! It was hectic, wonderful, hectic, exhauting, exhilarating.

And now it's over, sob!

I arrived home the day after my daughter got back from Australia. Two days later, we found out she'd been exposed to H1N1 on her trip.

My employer freaked and sent me home so I've been working remotely all week. Boring!

There are NO pigs flying at my house but any attempts to return to work were not well met. So I'll be back on Monday.

Meanwhile, I'll work on that "I survived DC" post!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Fear, Writing & Life

Recently I came across two posts that have been particularly enlightening and inspiring. The advice contained in these not only applies to writing, but all of life. So I wanted to share:

Have No Fear by Marjorie M. Liu

Faith In Your Writing by Jay Lake

Hopefully my linking worked...Enjoy! Maybe if it doesn't you can google the key words.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Blogging at the Roses of Houston

Is it lazy to cross-post your blogs?? ;)

I'm all excited about my trip to DC. Check it out here.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Different folks, different strokes.

I got score sheets back from two contest entries today. A third is a finalist in that contest. I skimmed through the sheets and read the comments, refusing to let myself be depressed.

I think one judge got all three of my entries, that's fine because at least she liked my stuff and gave me decent scores for each. A couple of the judges gave me fairly low scores and that's fine too.

What's always interesting is the comments on my h/h. I'll read about how someone can't bond with my hero at all, but love my heroine. Then next score sheet they love my hero but my heroine is bland. I'm sure many authors have the same problem, but is there a happy medium?

Or, should I be glad that readers have strong opinions one way or the other?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The contest train continues

Two sets of exciting news over the last few days. First – my Four Seasons finalist entry Rural Rendezvous garnered an agent request. I’m polishing up that partial!

Second, When Jonny Came was a finalist in the Golden Acorn contest. I get to spiff up my entry before it gets sent to a Harlequin editor for further review. I’m not holding my breath on that one, but being a finalist is still an awesome feeling.

And – I sent my thanks off right away! I was fortunate to get decent scores from all three judges plus useful comments.

I’m not sure about another part of my resolution though, I really want to submit an entry for Heart of the West but it closes tomorrow. Groan. I might have to break that one unless I can squeak something in tonight.

The moral of my story—if it needs one—is that contests are still a viable and valuable way of getting your stuff in front of editors!

Have a great week everyone, and a safe and happy Fourth of July.

I’ll be biting my fingernails and waiting for my galley copy of Learning to Let Go. We’re getting down to the wire and I should have a release date within the next month.

Much excitement!


Monday, June 22, 2009

My Contest Resolutions

I feel very proud of myself today - not only did I send out the last handful of thanks to judges for a contest I'd coordinated (with apologies for my tardiness) BUT I finished up my outstanding thank you notes as well.

I therefore resolve:

As a contestant -
*I will try to enter BEFORE the last minute. Like at least one day before entries close!
*I will send thanks to ALL my judges (even the ones that hated my work) as soon as I get the score sheets back. Well - within a few days ; )

As a contest judge -
*I will get my entries back to the coordinator in speedy order and NOT wait until she's tearing her hair out!
*I will be constructive and not destructive, encouraging and not belittling.

As a contest coordinator -
*I will continue to assist my contestants and answer questions / allow entry fixing until the cows come home. Or at least until entries close.
*I will celebrate with those that final and be supportive of those that don't.
*I will keep excellent records and get those score sheets back post haste.
*I will forward thanks ASAP.

Whew - I feel better now!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My first novel

Not the one about to be published - but the FIRST one I wrote, almost two years ago.

I dusted it off and read through it yesterday, wondering if it could be salvaged. My writing is far from perfect now but oh dear! I broke a lot of rules back then. Lots and lots and lots.

But what fun to read the "one" that started it all.

And yes, it can be salvaged. I love the story. Need to add a hero POV, get rid of the !!! and was-ings, and use contractions!

A couple of dozen other things too but it is definitely on my to-do list.

Has anyone ever got the FIRST thing they wrote published? Or do they learn and move on?

Monday, June 8, 2009

Seeing the light - and it's a train

I was a little disappointed today. Make that a lot. In the first round of a recent contest I was a finalist in two categories. I scored highest with one MS and tied for highest with another. Can't get much more promising than that!

I've been eagerly awaiting results and comments from the final round judges.

Well, today I got the results. 3rd out of five with the one I thought needed the most work and Honorable Mention with the other. She apparently couldn't bear to place me fifth so I guess I got the HM by default. It's been a while since I received a failing grade and a little hard to swallow.

This is the second MS (of mine) the latter editor has seen. She does not like my work, will never like my work. I understand and that's okay. She probably enjoys stuff I hate to read.

These entries plus a third are (courtesy contest finals) under review by other editors at that particular, and my dream, publishing house, but it's occurred to me I'm wasting my time there.

I know there are, and will be, other dreams. But it's always sad when something turns to dust.

Chatting with Anna Kathryn

Hi everyone!

I'm blogging with Anna Kathryn Lanier today, come and check it out!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


I was working on the end of my WIP and began thinking about generations and age. If my heroine is 20 something in 1888 she would have been born at the end of the Civil War. Just as I fall into the Baby Boomer Generation by the year (1952) I was born. I started down this road trying to determine how many greats would be from 1888 until the present day and time. If you take the definition I located that a generation is defined as 20-30 years I chose 25 as an average since it is halfway between the end and beginning. My own great grandmothers were born in 1878 and 1864. I was born in 1952 but having no kids was looking at my sister's. Her oldest was born in 1978 she was 21 her youngest was born in 1989, she was 32. She has 4 kids. Three boys and one daughter. She has five grandaughters ranging in age from 7 years to six months. I can count 4 generations from my mother until my sister's oldest granddaughter who is a great niece to me. My mother was born in 1928, one of her grandmothers was born in 1864, her mother, my grandmother was born around 1906.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

It's here!

Another milestone - aka exciting moment - on the way to publication.

My book cover!!

Huge thanks to Tamra Westberry for her design - isn't it awesome?
Now I only need the next round of edits and a release date.
And probably another dozen things in between that I don't even know about yet!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

I didn't think it would be this hard

Or – The Evolution of a Novel (and its author)

The voices in my head aren’t real, but they have some really good ideas.

So goes a sticker my daughter bought for me. Fortunately she understands the “voices” while others think I’m crazy. It’s almost like dreaming, or watching bits and pieces of a movie in your head. Bits and pieces all jumbled while you, as director, yell CUT and start the whole scene over.

About eighteen months ago I had a random idea to write a story about a guy who lost his wallet outside a church. And make it an inspirational contemporary romance. That was it really, just an idea. Then I had to choose who would find his wallet. What would they do? What would make them do it? What would the wallet-loser do when he did or didn’t find it? Who was the wallet loser? Why was he there?

In no time at all I had my first chapter. Rudimentary at best and very old-fashioned in style. No matter, I sent it off to a contest. Gotcha! 2007. I changed it a little, added a few more pages, and then sent it off to another contest. Meanwhile – I began to read “da rules” on inspy stories. Hadn’t broken any of them so far, but what was going to happen next?

At this point I undoubtedly set it aside and worked on something else. Then I got my Gotcha! results.

Oh my. Not quite the bottom but almost there. Perplexed, I read the comments. One judge admitted if she hadn’t been forced to read the whole thing she would have put it down after page two. All judges commented on my poor sentence structure, backstory dumps, and wishy-washy POV.

All judges loved my heroine, encouraged me beyond belief, and told me to rework it a little but not give up. One, a published author, gave me her e-mail address and a bunch of suggestions. She offered to re-read the first chapter after I’d re-written it. Wow. I was inspired, and made some changes. But I still had a long way to go.

The story hit a crit group, I think I got through several chapters. It was tough, though. The critters wanted more action, more tension. And a few other things not conducive to inspies. But I did get some good feedback and encouragement, and kept rewriting the darn story. I frequently got sick of it, I admit.

An eBay fundraiser allowed me to meet one of my greatest mentors, Tracy Ruckman. I was high bidder for one of Tracy’s editing services. She took my three chapters and clumsy synopsis and tore them to shreds – very politely, of course. She also told me how much she loved it and gave me fantastic suggestions. I think I learned more from that single review than from anything else and all of my writing improved thanks to Tracy. I also came up with a “real” title – Learning to Let Go – a lot more exciting than the placeholder of The Wallet.

I embarked on rewrite number 257 and sent off entries to a few more contests. Then, in August of last year, something fantastic happened. A publisher requested revisions on my partial, and the entry began to final. I called in Tracy to help me with the revisions, and sent it off to the publisher. And waited. Meanwhile, it occurred to me I should probably finish the novel. I wrote and wrote and packed the first half off to Tracy. She loved it. Until page eighty-three when my heroine had issues with many things and showed a spiteful and bitter side.

Tracy said NO. Fix it. Well, darn. I knew she was right, but that meant more work. I hadn’t heard from the publisher and no one would ever buy the stupid story anyway. I ignored it and worked on something else, deciding this MS would be my learning material and nothing more.

Unfinished, it gathered dust.

Well – so much for that. In a few short months the thing finaled in six contests. The crowning glory was first place in the East Texas RWA’s Southern Heat, followed by first in Gotcha! 2008. I was pleasantly surprised. When I got the Southern Heat scoresheet back from the Wild Rose Press editor, I was ecstatic. The wonderful lady gave me a perfect score. After a nudge by the Southern Heat contest coordinator, Carol Braswell, TWRP requested a full. Goodness gracious. I think I was finally excited about this story.

Until Carol told me to send in the full ASAP, or at least within a couple of weeks. Eek!

I took time off work and about wore out my fingers but got it in AND my heroine stayed “true” throughout. TWRP replied quickly and told me I’d get their response by May 5th.

March 18th – I get a contract offer. I still can’t believe it.

(cross-posted at

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Win a Sony eReader from White Rose Publishing

I'm not sure why I'm posting this because I intend to win BUT - ; )

Cross-posted with permission:

Visit between April 1, 2009 and May 30, 2009 and purchase any title from any of the sponsoring authors. It's easy to enter: Once you purchase a book or short story from any of the participating authors (free read downloads, excluded), email your order number to That's it. In addition to the wonderful inspirational stories available at White Rose Publishing, SONY will include $25 worth of free downloads from their site with every reader we give away. So enter now!If you purchase more than one title, you can enter more than one time. For questions regarding the contest contact Rhonda Penders at*Full details, the list of participating authors, and no purchase necessary rules are on the website Winners will be announced on our website on June 1, 2009! Good Luck!

(One day you can go here to buy MY book!)

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Joys of Renovation - or - the hurricane continues

Sometime in a previous life (or perhaps last year), I had the joy of surviving Hurricane Ike. Which, I suppose, is a lot better than the alternative!

FINALLY we're on stage two of the repairs (stage one being a new roof), which means my torn and otherwise disgusting carpet is being replaced with tile. Yay!

And aaarrgghh!!

Right now all my downstairs possessions are in the garage, master bedroom, or small corner of the living room. Supposed to take three or four days - let's add a week to that. At least we've only spent one night in a motel (the rest have been spent sleeping on recliners) and my two "youngest" kids cleaned their upstairs bathrooms so hubby and I could use them without shuddering. Replacing the master shower is stage three. It's all torn out but I guess a new one will be put in eventually.

Problem is - when it's all done I'm not going to want to move the junk back in! And boy, do we have a lot of junk. At least we can unpack at a slower pace and throw a lot of it away.

We now have a new stage four - removing the baseboards pretty much trashed the paint and wallpaper. Time to redecorate!

My writing time has been very meager this week and the dust and mold that the workers uncovered have given me a nice cough. All good fodder for my hurricane WIP though!

I'm still waiting for the signed contract to arrive from WRP, I have a feeling that will perk me right up and get me motivated!

Plus - I found three contests I can enter - happiness!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I'm a 'Tweenie

It's hitting home I have a contract (or will when it shows up in the mail, anyway) and have shuffled a very small step from the pre-published to the almost-published!

But - right now - I'm in between published and unpublished.

For me that means - NO CONTESTS! And I am, after all, a contest junkie.

Yes - there are a few that accept entries from published authors (or us 'tweenies), but not many.

Never mind - I'm going to have plenty of work (and edits) to keep me busy.

Now - what to do with all that money I'll save? Hmmm.

More conferences!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Excellent blog on STORY

A friend passed this along to me. The sort of thing you have to read three or four times and each time you get hit by the WOW factor! Read the whole thing, he really gets into some interesting stuff.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The "Call"

Or in my case - the e-mail!

After being lucky enough to place first in the East Texas RWA's Southern Heat contest with LEARNING TO LET GO, I got a request for a full from The Wild Rose Press! Mostly thanks to the persistence of the contest coordinator, Carol Braswell!

I polished it to pieces - still wasn't happy but couldn't stand to work on it any longer so sent it in at the beginning of February. I got a nice note from Elizabeth West, telling me I'd hear from her no later than May 5th.

Meanwhile - TWRP spun off it's White Rose or Christian Romance line into its own division - White Rose Publishing. I was thrilled to read about it and secretly crossed fingers and toes they'd like my stuff.

March 18th. I see an e-mail from Elizabeth West. Well, phooey. Everyone says rejections come quicker than acceptances. I took a deep breath. Got up. Walked around. Had another look at the list of unread e-mails. Still there.

Another deep breath and another walk. Telling myself it was okay. I'll learn to let go of this rejection and move on. I'm okay. You're okay. Doesn't mean I can't write. All is well.

Sat down and opened the e-mail.


Still can't believe it. I'm a coordinator for the Daphne contest so am swamped in entries - trying to get them out to judges - trying to do everything right (having some issues with that part) AND trying to come up with a bio for myself and a back cover for my book.

WRP sent me a whole sheet to fill out so they can do a nice front cover. They asked things like h/h eye color and I had to go look it up! I've been immersed in another WIP and LTLG had GONE out of my head.

So this weekend I'm going to print it and read it. In between packing up the ground floor of my home because they're coming to lay tile on Monday (finally getting fixed after Ike damage in September) AND getting out the rest of my entries.

A thrilling ride!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Contest Wins are on a roll for the Texas Typos

Ok I posted my win I saw on a site we share where Rashda won and I had an email from Elizabeth stating she won a contest also. Now ladies why not post your good luck here. Kathy andSusan hope you had a safe Christmas and New Year. If you find time to drop a line to one of us let us know you are still out there somewhere. Do either of you have any news to share?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Well as of December 24, 2008 I am a work in progress writer? I received the neatest Christmas Present ever. I received official notification that I won the Southern Heat Contest's Historical Category. The contest coordinator also informed me the judge wanted to see a partial of my manuscript. So I started the New Year of 2009 off by emailing the judge to see when she would like to see my partial and how much of the manuscript she wants in the partial. So ladies where do we go from here? I am out of the dumps. No more thinking it was a mistake. No more thinking she will hate it and I will be back to square one. All I can do is try. Cross your fingers for me this is so fast to me.