Monday, June 1, 2020


Yeah, that seems to be the norm for Book 2.

I'm also still dealing with the identity theft, which as apparently the Unemployment Office in four states. If you've worked in Colorado, Illinois, Arkansas or Kentucky, you may want to keep a close eye on your credit and look into freezing your credit for the time being. Why can't people use their talents for good. I swear, all of our problems would be solved and World Peace would truly be possible.

Now, it's not about struggling with the book (okay, maybe a little) but it's more about getting my office to a state where I actually want to work in there.

My living room STILL looks like a Uhaul unloaded in there but I'm taking things little by little.

Sadly, little by little is coming to an end. I have a deadline I HAVE TO MEET! I Promised!

With that in mind, there probably won't be a lot of posts this week - at least not on a routine, but please check back. You never know.

Bob will be home on June 10th. I'd like to be done on June 9th so I can just tidy up and have a meal ready when he walks in the door after that long eight-hour drive from Chicago to here.

The other thing is I've not pressed about this book because with this whole Shelter In Place thing, I can't get with my book editor to help me with the formatting. She is teaching me how to do this so we don't always have to get together - though I'd still take her out for Sushi when I'm in town just cause she's my friend.

JANO 2016
That's me on the far right(second row) On my right is Tiereny James then My book editor, Sharon Holmes with PaperBack press (Just over Tierney's right shoulder)

I could have finished the book, sent it to Skizz to format and paid it for the process but that wouldn't teach me anything.

So.. with all that,  the room will be done and I'm back to writing two weeks from today. I won't write the first weekend Bob is home, nor the last weekend before he goes back. Everything in between is up for grabs for me to schedule things as I need to.

I can't wait to hide on my sofa in the office and get back to my characters. I know once I do, their story will  pour out of me. That's usually how I write.

Are you a writer? If so, feel free to share your process below and inspire others.
If you're a reader, let us know what you are reading during this Shelter In Place time.


Tuesday, May 26, 2020


Good morning!

This is a quick post written (Monday) as today is all about phone calls to Social Security. I'm not sure what has happened, nor am I going to speculate. I just know something isn't right. The only thing I can do is figure out the issue then move forward.
With that in mind, I'm not sure there will be any other posts this week. I'd planned to be back to work full force, though that  may not happen this week.

What I do want to point out is that I've done everything in my power to guardd my personal information. I don't do business on my phone, I don't bank on-line and I have one credit card to my name for business and hotel confirmations.

Sadly, the same precautions do not appear to have been take with the U. S. Government.

I have blog posts ready to roll... with a few changes in format for the remainder of the year. With the first half of the year winding down, this seemed like a good time to make those changes.

Hang with me - we'll get this straightened out! In the mean time, curl up with a good book. I recommend the newest one by Parris Afton Bonds:

The Brigands (The Texicans Book 1) by [Parris Afton Bonds]

Happy Reading!

Monday, May 25, 2020



Wednesday, May 20, 2020

CONFERENCES NEWS - Thrillerfest 2020 On-Line!

International Thriller Writers, Inc.

Virtual ThrillerFest XV
July 6 - July 14, 2020
Due to the pandemic this year, we've canceled the in-person ThrillerFest Conference at the Grand Hyatt in New York City. The health and safety of our attendees is our top priority.

But we have fantastic news! We are offering a virtual conference so our attendees can remain safe in the comfort of their homes yet still participate in the learning and camaraderie that is the hallmark of the annual conference of the International Thriller Writers. No travel, no hotel stay, but an even more extensive array of bestselling ITW authors who can help you polish your thrillers and top drawer New York agents and editors to whom you can pitch—along with attractive prices! 
Check out the incredible events ThrillerFest is offering
Mega CraftFest & CareerFest - Price: $149
We are pairing up some of the best thriller writers in the world to discuss the CRAFT of writing in BRAND NEW VIDEOS. There will be over 60 conversations featuring over 120 authors! You'll be able to access these dynamic videos in a private YouTube channel for at least six months. You’ll be able to watch these videos in the comfort of your own home, and even on your television (a smart TV and YouTube app are required). Learn from the best to hone your writing!
Master Class & CareerFest - Price: $399
Master Class will be held via Zoom (free download) with one instructor in a private Zoom room with up to 10 attendees. The traditional full-day class will instead be broken into two four-hour sessions. Eight instructors will teach, so there will be eight Zoom rooms running simultaneously. You'll need to submit a ten-page writing sample to participate in this session. More information will be sent once you register.
Pitching Sessions - Price: $50 per session (limit 7 sessions)

We’re offering a unique concept where we will hold virtual Pitching Sessions. These sessions will be held via Zoom (free download) in a private Zoom room with one attendee (you) and one agent/editor. A tech host will be there to make sure everything goes smoothly. We want to create an intimate experience, the best we can do for a face-to-face meeting under the circumstances. The benefits of this style of pitching? No standing in line as with the in-person event!
You can purchase up to seven pitching appointments and specify your top three choices from the list of available agents. We'll do our very best to match your requests, but there are NO GUARANTEES!
Consulting Sessions - Price: $75 per session (limit 5 sessions)
We’re also offering a unique opportunity for Consulting Sessions. These sessions will be held via Zoom (free download) in a private Zoom room with one attendee (you) and one agent/editor. We're trying to recreate an intimate face-to-face meeting the best way we can under the circumstances.
These consulting sessions are ideal for writers who are not yet ready to “pitch” a completed manuscript, but would like to discuss their synopsis, their query letters, and writing samples for 10-15 minutes with agents and editors. Our experts will provide helpful feedback and advice, and answer questions. But no pitching, please.
You can purchase up to five consulting appointments and specify your top three choices from the list of available consultants. We'll do our very best to match you to some of your top choices, but there are NO GUARANTEES!
FREE Debut Author Presentations
Debut authors will provide videos about themselves, with Steve Berry hosting, recorded and available on the International Thriller Writers Facebook page.
FREE ITW Author Videos
Our talented ITW authors are creating 15-20 minute videos with helpful content for aspiring writers and fans of thrillers. Please tune in and learn from our brilliant authors. These videos will be available on the International Thriller Writers Facebook page.
FREE Thriller Awards Presentation
All Thriller Awards will be presented in a recorded session, with special guests and music by Daniel Palmer and Brad Parks, available on the International Thriller Writers Facebook page.

Monday, May 18, 2020


Well, sort of.

The office still isn't done. While the cleaning part got done, one project towards moving back in took much longer than I'd planned.  For one, I've had two rolls of beautiful fabric since before the studio was built. I found the fabric at Tuesday Mornings and knew the soft chocolate brown would be perfect for a sofa cover. The rolls stood in the corner all this time. Bob asked one morning what I was going to do with the fabric.

So out came the fabric and the sewing machine. I had a clear workspace of the sofa and a clean carpet to work on. The timing was perfect. I didn't realize I would spend an entire day measuring, sewing the sofa cover AND the valances for the five windows. The curtain rods had stood at the end of the sofa, still in their walmart bag, for at least two years.

I now have a sofa cover and valances. Then Bob came home. The following day his best friend from grade school arrived and my time became about cooking meals, keeping dishes washed up and getting Bob's laundry done in prep for his next trip out - which is tomorrow.

Then on Monday afternoon - when I thought I could get back in the office..

courtesy of Pixabay

Not one but two HUGE storm waves moved through. Hail and wind like I've never seen. The Wall of Wind took out over 150 power poles in our area, including the main one going to our house. We were without power for 52 hours (for those of you not doing math, we didn't get power back until early Wednesday evening) While they did not classify the storm as a tornado, they did refer to the damage as being caused by a wall of wind.

I was raised to 'survive the storm' (to coin a phrase from our local weather channel) I had a supply of both drinking water and water for cooking/ flushing/ washing up. We have a gas stove so eating real food was still an option.

That also meant extra work and no lights to clean by in the studio. By the time we had power back, I just wanted to do nothing whenever possible.

Kevin left on Friday and I've spent all of the past full week doing things with Bob before he goes back out.  We didn't realize until the house was quiet how much we really enjoy our 'just the two of us' time out here in the middle of no where.

FYI, I'm finally able to sit and write blog posts today - Thursday 5/14/20. I am back to work and hope to get regular posts flowing again.

I have conference news coming on Wednesday. 

For those of you waiting, Book 2 will be slightly delayed in release. Between all that's been going on here and not being able to get with the lovely lady who is teaching me book formatting, this one could not be helped. I will say, if this is the only hiccup I have due to this stupid lack of normality in our life then I can live with this.


Friday, May 15, 2020

THE WRITER'S NEST - Velda Brotherton

I am terribly sorry for the mis-information this morning. I set the post yesterday and apparently should not blog when I'm not feeling well. My sincerest apologies to Miss Velda. She deserves better.

I am so excited to visit with today's guest. Velda Brotherton is one of the most prolific authors I know personally. We've been friends for close to 25 years.
The first time I met Miss Velda was at the Ozarks Creative Writers conference. To me, she will always be Miss Velda. I love her dearly and I think you will, too.

A bit about Velda Brotherton:

Velda Brotherton writes of romance in the old west with an authenticity that makes her many historical characters ring true. A knowledge of the rich history of our country comes through in both her fiction and nonfiction books, as well as in her writing workshops and speaking engagements.  She just as easily steps out of the past into contemporary settings to create novels about women with the ability to conquer life’s difficult challenges. Tough heroines, strong and gentle heroes, villains to die for, all live in the pages of her novels and books. Her love of history and the west is responsible for the publication of 25 books and novels since 1994.

This busy writer who has co-chaired a large weekly critique group since 1988, also gives two yearly all-day workshops and mentors promising young writers, plus teaches at conferences in a four-state area. She isn’t sure what will come next. With all those voices in her head, she’s bound to let some of them out to play before long.

Thank you for giving us a peek at your nest, Miss Velda. So happy to have you here.

Describe your writing nest?
My nest is a mirror of the way I write. Scattered, dis-organized and comfortable with a window to the world I live in where deer and squirrels and other occasional night time wildlife play. Once a bedroom, I usually visit with my mother who slept here. It has been refit for my wheelchair with wider doors and convenient lowered closet rods. On the wall is a quilt my daughter made from tee shirts I’ve collected that reflect my 30 some-years spent writing and traveling for research as well as some appearances I’ve made.

In a corner is a wardrobe made by my son in law who also built my computer desk. On it is a desktop computer and a printer. The laptop I’m working on today sits on a roll top table along with a scanner. I’ve also got a couple of larger screens to help with the reading of my work. Funny story about this double arrangement. I can’t seem to give up my Windows 7 and my laptop for use only of the Windows 10 which is giving me headaches and occasional fits. I’m too old for this huge change but still fight the battle of learning to use Microsoft 365.

What is it about this space that inspires you? 
The blessed silence touched only by birdsong and occasional music which I choose.  Never lyrics only instrumentals lest I begin to sing along and lose my concentration.

Has finding your space been an evolving journey? How so?
I down-sized five years ago when I could no longer manage the stairs in my original home which is across the driveway from where I live now. My mother had lived here until her death when we began to rent the house. I fought leaving my home of over 40 years but it soon became necessary. Considering my mother’s spirit here, the house surrounded by flowers she had planted over the years, I soon snuggled in and am very comfortable.

My daughter and her husband did everything possible to adjust my new place, especially the office where I would work. My new nest, you might say. For the first couple of years it was move this, refit that, get rid of these things. I finally have it the way I want it. Books remain in a smaller bedroom as I don’t use them often, except when the Internet fails to give me information I need. I still find myself once in a while turning to pull a book off the shelf to look up something, only to find no shelf there. Alas it is an evolving world to which I have a problem adapting.

Anything you would change? 
The answer to that question takes me directly from my last statement. No. I find myself too old for much change. Note the problems with Windows 10 as a huge example of that problem. I want to know when I reach for something I may have to paw through a stack or two. I usually find something else I’ve been hunting for on such an occasion. I’m thinking only of one more change and that is one I cannot control that eventually comes to all of us. The final move and I hope to make it gracefully. Let my daughter get to know me all the better by going through my piles of stuff.

What advice would you give to someone looking to build their own nest? 
Make your own plans. Don’t listen to someone else, but have it your own way. If you like to scatter notes and copies and books make sure you have lots of flat surfaces. If you’re a neat freak then have plenty of filing and storage holes. In other words, design it to suit yourself not a magazine photo or the advice of a builder.

Our group meets on Zoom every week and I’m happy to see writers in their own “nest.” Each one so different yet so like the person who sits there. It is evident each one is comfortable and happy in their surroundings and not ashamed to let everyone see it.

Thank you, Miss Velda. Let's take a look at your follow up to Beyond the Moon

The shot rings out and I come awake choking on my own heartbeat. Golden eyes shimmer in the night like bourbon struck by moonlight.

It’s dark, the bed I lie in huge and empty. Tears hot on burning cheeks. My fingers wipe them away, but they come back. No sound in the lonely house. Shadows wrap around me cold and silent. The bottom of a gaping black well embraces a lost and lonely heart.
No more sleep. Toes grip the furry rug, hands fumble for a robe to wrap around my shivering nakedness, socks to keep my feet warm. The coffee smells good making but turns to ash on my tongue. I pad into the living room and snap on the light over the painting above the cold fireplace. Each brush stroke, each shadow and highlight harsh reminders of the new, the old. The memorialized figures. Youth to warrior. A man I will always love for his amazing courage. His eyes speak words he cannot say. A sketch pad filled with all manner of depictions until they’re just right, until they express his every emotion. His desires, disappointments, hopes and dreams. His love. My Immortal Hero. Only he isn’t. Immortal, that is.
You will find Velda on various social media forums.
You'll find her books on AMAZON

Monday, April 27, 2020


As you can see from the picture, my living room is a disaster. My dining room looks the same way – like someone just unloaded a large U-Haul. This is only one of 5 areas of the living room/ dining room:

I've not even begun to really tackle the writing corner. That will be another time.

When we moved me into the studio four years ago, nothing went as planned. Bob was anxious to turn my old office into his man cave. That meant nothing got put away in the studio the way I wanted… more dumped wherever it would fit.

Since then I’ve also added more things – mostly planner and Mixed Media items – that I’ve had to find room for. Instead, those items just got added to the already disorganized mess.

I’ve been trying since January to get my office/ studio in order – all while trying to carry on with my daily work routine, write a book and keep the house presentable. I finally came to the conclusion that plan of attack wasn’t working.

First off, I have OCD. I can’t work on something unless everything is in order. Just makes my life more complicated.

Last week, after writing all my blog posts for the week, I emptied the studio into those two rooms. I’ve worked all weekend with the cleaning part. Washing windows, shampooing carpet, detailing furniture… you know what a deep clean entails.

This week I HAVE to get stuff back in place so that office work can resume as usual. Bob comes home on Wednesday. He’d really like to be able to sit at the dining room table in the morning with coffee or sit in his recliner in the evening to watch TV. To add insult to injury, his best friend is planning a visit for the coming weekend. Kevin helped us move in thirteen years ago. He hasn’t seen the house with the addition of my studio. So yeah…. This room HAS TO GET DONE.

With that, I’m taking this week off of all of my blogs, no book writing and only the 1 crafting deadline I have for Wednesday.

Blog post should resume next week – Monday May 4th or Tuesday May 5th. If Kevin shows up, I’ll have all weekend to hide in the studio and get ahead of the week. Otherwise, that’s what I’ll be doing on Monday. I always devote Bob’s first weekend home to him. He’s been gone for twenty-one days, after all.

Thank you for your patience and I’ll see you next week!