Wednesday, December 31, 2014


Sparkling Happy New Year animation banner with rose beside brandy snifter
courtesy of

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


I am thrilled to shine the spotlight on today's guest - Selena Blake. Selena and I have been buddies on YIM for about seven years. Talk about a power writer! This woman can dump more words in a ten minute sprint than most of us can do in a 30 or 45 min. time frame. She is an amazing talent with multiple appearances on Best Seller lists to prove it. You can find out more about Selena by checking out her WEBSITE.

In the mean time, let's find out a bit about her newest release - 1 day old!

1 – The new website looks fabulous! What prompted the redo and what were key points you kept in mind through the redesign process?
Thanks so much for the website kudos and for having me over. The website redo was inspired by a shift in my writing. I wanted something that encompasses everything I'm writing these days (paranormal AND contemporary.) So it's got a somewhat contemporary, feminine feel but I kept the wolf and a bit of the moodiness of my paranormals. The other major component was escape. My books are an escape from everyday life. That's what I want to remind readers of each time they visit. One other area I focused on was having really organized, completely detailed book pages.

2 – Go For It releases today! This is the second book in the series. Does the sexuality amp up with each new title? What makes them similar yet different?
Woo hoo. Happy book birthday, Go for It! The sensuality of each book is completely unique. Of the Girls' Night Trilogy, Go For It is the sweetest. I write what's true to the story and characters and this story has amazeballs sexual tension, but for various reasons there aren't as many sexy times as in Ask For It. And Beg For It is just smokin hot. That one will come with a warning label.

3 – Are you still using a promotions assistant? If so, what were some of the things you felt you could hand over to someone else and what did you feel you needed to retain control of?
 I'm not using an assistant right now. I took several months off earlier in the year and without having a release out, it didn't make sense to me to keep an assistant.

4 – Your titles have appeared on some very impressive Best Seller lists. What do you feel is the key to hitting those high marks?
 I think the key to hitting the lists is building an audience over time, engaging with that audience in a genuine way, writing great books, writing in a popular genre, being prolific, and then promote, promote, promote. Easy peasy. ;)

5 – If you could write your next series, from beginning to end, at any locale where would you go?

Oh, good question! I'd have to say Jackson Hole. Incredibly beautiful and inspiring. I'm a sucker for an amazing view.

This one is for anyone who’s ever quietly loved another. For anyone who needs to be reminded of their innate self worth. Go For It reminds us to tell our loved ones we love them as frequently as we can because you never know what tomorrow will bring. This is the novel that make you believe in happily ever after, again.

Gretchen Mascoe has had a ‘thing’ for Greg Fairchild for years but the timing has never been right. So she's sat on the sidelines watching him date woman after woman. But the time has finally come for her to tell him how she feels or move on. But how do you move on when you know in your bones he's the one?

When a freak accident leaves Greg dependent on Gretchen's generosity and nursing skills he sees a whole new side to his sister's usually quiet and laced up friend. She's funny and even a little sassy. She bakes incredible cookies and she mends his wounds while healing his soul. He's falling hard but guilt is eating him alive. Can he get his foot out of his mouth long enough to win the girl?

Pick up your copy of GO FOR IT! Visit AMAZON

To catch up with Selena, please use the links below:

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


GO FOR IT by Selena Blake releases TODAY!
Due to some conflicts on my part, we are scheduling our chat with Selena for tomorrow. So Please come back and say hello..

In the mean time, here's a bit about GO FOR IT

This one is for anyone who’s ever quietly loved another. For anyone who needs to be reminded of their innate self worth. Go For It reminds us to tell our loved ones we love them as frequently as we can because you never know what tomorrow will bring. This is the novel that make you believe in happily ever after, again.

Gretchen Mascoe has had a ‘thing’ for Greg Fairchild for years but the timing has never been right. So she's sat on the sidelines watching him date woman after woman. But the time has finally come for her to tell him how she feels or move on. But how do you move on when you know in your bones he's the one?

When a freak accident leaves Greg dependent on Gretchen's generosity and nursing skills he sees a whole new side to his sister's usually quiet and laced up friend. She's funny and even a little sassy. She bakes incredible cookies and she mends his wounds while healing his soul. He's falling hard but guilt is eating him alive. Can he get his foot out of his mouth long enough to win the girl?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

CURRENT PROJECT - October 13- 19

Although this is a morgue file pic, you could just as easily be looking at my morning routine. However, today my desk location is the oversized lapboard with the built in mouse pad. I'm comfy on the couch with my feet up on the hassock and toes tucked into the fleece Pooh Bear blankie for warmth. But the laptop and the coffee mug are a matched set. Especially when I am behind on work as I am today. I doubt I'll catch up until hubby has gone back to work a week from today. I have two routines - one for when Bob is home and one for the twenty-one days he is gone.

Aside from him being home the past two weeks, I have been gone both of those weekends. The first for a ORA writer's meeting in Springfield then the OCW conference last weekend. This weekend Bob and I will scoot away for a couple days to celebrate our birthdays. He was gone for mine in September and will be gone for his next week.

After Bob leaves on Tuesday morning, my life will become 10-hr work days subsidized by 2-hr fiction shifts. At least until Nov. 1st. Then I strive to do a 6 and 6 shift on Fridays and full Nano days on the weekend.

While I had hoped for 1K per day, I fell horribly short. Between the travel schedule and a story that refused to move forward like a stubborn mule I just could not get a handle on four pages a day. There is hope for a fresh start on Nov. 1.

Are you Nanoing? Don't have any clue what I'm talking about? Check out NanoWriMo for a full 30 days of abandonment. A community where you are given license to spew a story that may or may not make sense. The point is to get the story out of your head and into a format that can be edited into a publishable story - like Somewhere Down the Line. Or L.A. Cinderella by Amanda Berry.

How is your week shaping up?

Monday, October 6, 2014


 Note: I offer an apology to Allison Merritt for my oversight last week. This review was suppose to run on Wednesday of last week. I dove into a deep cleaning frenzy around the house before my husband got home (he'd been gone 21 days) and I totally spaced doing any computer work last week.

WYSTAN Book 1 of The Heckmasters

The cool thing about reviewing books is often times you will be asked (or in this case offer) to review books out of your normal genre or comfort zone. WYSTAN was one of those books for me. While I read Western Historicals and Romance, I am not a demon kind of girl. Okay.. I did make the exception for the reaper series by Lisa Medley. What I have found out in both instances is that if the author gives you a well-crafted story, genre may not be an issue. After all, aren't we all just looking for a GREAT READ?

Author, Allison Merritt gives the reader everything they could want in a story. From the Heroine with a problem and the Hero with issues to overcome. There are secondary characters that while not the focal point of the story, do play key roles in how the Hero and Heroine find their way to one another. In this case, even if it means stepping over the remains of a barghest (you'll have to read the book to find out what that is) or living in close proximity to half-demons. 

I found the story a book I could not put down until the very last word. I am waiting anxiously for Tell and Eban's stories... and by the time you've finished WYSTAN, you will too. 

You can purchase your copy at:

Allison loves to hear from readers:






While in the grand scheme of things 4 pages per day does not seem like a lot, apparently they are for me. This is Day 6. By the time I take up the keystrokes towards Jayson's Range tonight I should have written 5,000 words aka 16 pages on the novel. 

I have written 
400 words and some editing.


But true. I had three days at a hotel without household interruptions. I had a meeting on Saturday  and did some clothes shopping for an upcoming conference. Normally, I HATE to clothes shop but I found myself enjoying the experience this time and even came away with some purchases I was pleased with. Trust me, on this body that is a difficult task. 

I THOUGHT I had energy when I got back to the hotel. Instead, I found myself dozing over the keyboard. Sunday morning I even put the laptop aside and slept for 2 more hours - at 9 a.m.! Blessed with a noon check-out, this was not a problem. Except for two wasted hours I could have been writing!

I have a 4-day workweek then I'm headed to Eureka Springs AR for the Ozarks Creative Writers conference. This will be my 18th year.

So between the day job and trying to make sure hubby doesn't feel neglected, I hope to pound out the words. 

Now... to make a fresh cup of coffee.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT - Allison Merritt

Today, I am pleased to be one of the stops on The Heckmasters Blog Tour and to introduce you to a talented author from my local group, Ozarks Romance Authors. If you've not read her books yet, make sure you click on the buy link at the bottom of this post and be prepared for an enjoyable read! Also, Allison has brought an awesome Rafflecopter along.

Welcome, Allison!

You write in several sub-genres romance. Do you have a favorite?
Historicals have been my first love since I read my first one. I picked up Roseanne Bittner's In the Shadow of the Mountains when I was a teenager and I've been hooked on historicals ever since. But it's pretty clear I love adding wackiness to the Old West.

I’m always asked where I get my ideas. Where did you get the idea for WYSTAN?
This is my favorite where-did-it-come-from ever. In 2012, I was with my mom and brother at Northpark Mall in Joplin, MO when I saw a kiosk selling tombstones (that's so weird). There was one kind of sitting by itself and the name on it was HECKMASTER. I just knew the guy buried under that headstone was a serious badass. Not only that, but he was probably a demon-slaying hottie.  

If WYSTAN were to be made into a movie, who do you see a the Hero and Heroine?
You better believe I've thought this through. Henry Cavill would make the perfect Wystan and Anne Hathaway is my pick for Rhia.

Every good movie needs popcorn. Pick one – extra butter, caramel, kettle?
Extra butter!

You’ve had the experience of various publishing avenues and I’m sure you’ve come away from each with something different. What do you feel has been your most valuable lesson overall?
You actually have to make the attempt to get anywhere. I started out self-publishing, but was dumb chance that led me to Lyrical. A friend had an editor taking pitches on her blog, so I just wrote up a 3-line pitch for a book and threw it out there. I waited until Breathless was having a 5 page chapter critique, and submitted a book I'd written for them and the editor loved it. I entered Wystan in a contest and—surprise!—the editor wanted it. Take a chance.

When you began writing fiction, what was your main GOAL and have you achieved that goal?
Don't get me wrong, I love being on a best seller list and watching those numbers rise, but the main thing I always wanted was just to entertain. When The Wrong Brother's Bride came out, I did a review tour to promote it. The things people said in the reviews blew me away. Even the bloggers who didn't regularly read historical romance were saying things like 'I don't usually read this genre, but this book made me re-think my TBR list'. Knowing you've satisfied a reader is worth all the trouble of writing a book.

Do you have a writing mantra?
One hundred more words. One hundred more words. I took that from something I read when I used to run. Ten more steps, then you can finish. Works great for writing too.

What’s next on your writing agenda to close out 2014?
I've absolutely, positively got to finish Tell (The Heckmasters). Wystan's releasing, Eban is on the schedule for April 2015, and I've got to get their little brother finished. I have a good start to it though, so I'm not worried. Erm, much. I better get serious about NaNoWriMo this year.

Thank you, Allison. Here's a blurb from Wystan's story - the first book in The Heckmasters Series:

Her search for safety lands her in a totally new kind of danger.

The Heckmasters, Book 1

Certain that an ad for a job in a small New Mexico Territory town is the answer to her prayers, Nebraska schoolteacher Rhia Duke packs her sister into a rickety wagon and heads west.

Except when they reach the near-deserted town, she learns the truth. There is no job, no future, and no welcome in the bleak blue eyes of the handsome sheriff.

The minute Rhia’s runaway team thunders into town, Wystan Heckmaster feels the change in the air. One of three sons of a demon who dared love a human, he keeps watch over a Pit guarded by seven seals, and slays any Hellbound demon that attempts to free the master imprisoned within.

With a gut full of regret and a forgotten town filled with reformed demons, Wystan is certain of one thing: he can’t be the man Rhia needs. But when the truth behind Rhia’s flight from Nebraska comes to light, Wystan must open his soul—and pray there’s enough love between them to overcome the darkness rising from the Pit.

Warning: Contains a take-no-prisoners sheriff, a woman who can’t outrun her supernatural secrets, and a dusty town where hope is as thin as dust in the wind. Author recommends keeping a glass of cool spring water at your elbow while reading.

Something changed in the air the moment the wagon crossed the town’s border. Too
early to be a supply train, and there was no way in hell it was visitors. Berner didn’t host
town fairs, theatre troupes, peddlers, or bible thumpers.
Wystan Heckmaster slapped his battered Stetson on his head, collected the keys to the
jail, then stepped out the door. The first thing he saw was a pretty woman with hair the color
of maple sugar—a rich brownish-blonde. The frown on her face spoke volumes, and the air
around her pronounced trouble. She made a straight path for him.
“Mr. Heckmaster. Or should I call you Sheriff? Or Mayor? I need to discuss the ad in
the Lancaster County Republican with you. Someone placed an ad, but your brother tells me
there is no school here. I’m sure there has to be a mistake. There’s only one Berner in New
Mexico Territory. I’m very capable at reading maps. If I wasn’t, I would be ashamed to call
myself a teacher.”
He doubted she had taken more than two or three breaths during the speech. If she
made talking in rambling paragraphs a habit, no wonder she looked so peaked.
“Teacher?” He glanced along the street, but it was deserted as usual. “Lady, we don’t
have a school here. Certainly no need of a teacher.”
Buy links:

About the Author:
A love of reading inspired Allison Merritt to pursue her dream of becoming an author who writes historical, paranormal and fantasy romances, often combining the sub-genres. She lives in a small town in the Ozark Mountains with her husband and dogs. When she's not writing or reading, she hikes in national parks and conservation areas.

Allison graduated from College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri with a B.A. in mass communications that's gathering dust after it was determined that she's better at writing fluff than hard news.

You can follow Allison on her various Social media links:

If you like FREE Stuff then make sure to check out this Rafflecopter for your chance to win a FREE copy of Wytan's story and a $10 Amazon Gift Card! ~ Thanks for visiting!

Monday, September 22, 2014

CURRENT PROJECT - September 22-28

Yes, it's me. No, I did not fall of the face of the earth. I have been writing. What I feel like doing right now is turning off the computer and taking a leisurely stroll through my property, on a path very much like this one. Though the leaves have not changed color yet, with today being the first day of Autumn, I know they will soon.

I put work aside last week to try and finish the first draft of Jayson's Range. I was not successful. But I wore myself out in the attempt. This week I am back to business during the day, then sprinting to work on Jayson's Range only for a couple hours at night. With no real deadline in sight maybe the story will flow better. Less pressure to write what isn't there.

Autumn begins at 9:29 p.m. CST. I hope you'll take a few minutes to welcome in the new season.

Off to write!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

FAST FIVE with Ashley Ladd

Ashley Ladd lives in South Florida with her husband, five children, and beloved pets. She loves the water, animals (especially cats), and playing on the computer.

She's been told she has a wicked sense of humor and often incorporates humor and adventure into her books. She also adores very spicy romance, which she weaves into her stories.

I've known Ashley for years so I was thrilled when she contacted me to see if she could be a guest in The Writers Studio. 
Please welcome Ashley Ladd...

1 – What draws you to write romance?
 I'm a born romantic, imagining romantic connections everywhere I go. There's a rare story I like that doesn't have a love story involved. I always hope for a happily ever after, even though I'm infamous with my family for also loving "end of the world" stories such as Night of the Comet, Armageddon, The Stand, Left Behind... If you're familiar with those stories, humanity triumphs in the end and there's a love story in every one of them.
2 – Are there recurring themes in your stories? And if so, what are they?
 I consciously try to change my stories so they're all different. However, I often have action-adventure and/or comedy in my stories. If not straight out comedy, there will be a humorous tone to at least a character or two in my stories.
3 – Writing is a business. What kind of a writing schedule do you keep?
 I have a full-time day job, so I get about 2-3 hours every evening after work to either write or promote. Lately, the time I was writing has been taken up by promotion as I just had two books release and there are two more books releasing in the near future.
I also try to write several hours on the weekends.
4 – Where is your favorite place to write?
 That's a really sore point. Borders WAS my favorite place to write, but of course they went out of business. I liked it there because they had power I could plug into in their café. Then of course there was the café in case I got hungry. Also my daughters liked to go to Borders with me so they could read all day.
Now that Borders has passed onto that big bookstore in the sky, I write in my bedroom. It's not my favorite place, but the best I've been able to find. We moved too far away from Barnes and Nobles to drive there often, plus they don't provide power so my computer dies too fast to make the trip worthwhile. I would go to the library more, but my youngest daughter doesn't like to hang out there as they don't have enough manga to keep her satisfied. I tried to write at Panera Bread but that got to be a little expensive plus I got tired of people wanting my table.
5 – What is your favorite promotional tool?
 Lately, I've been hosting other authors on my blog and also I've been doing blog tours for my own books. I hired My Family's Heart to help me set up blog tours, but I don't stop there. I also seek out bloggers who are willing to host me. Unfortunately, I don't have a large marketing budget so I have to do my own promotion. I can't wait for the day that I earn enough to hire a publicist so I can write full-time and let someone else worry about the marketing.

Here's a bit about Ashley's new book: Business or Pleasure

Guy Rogers is extremely attracted to his new realtor, Tom Beaudreaux. As a passionate vegetarian and animal activist, he’s ecstatic that Tom is a kindred soul. He could never be with a carnivore. Unfortunately, Tommy isn’t really a vegetarian or animal activist. He never said he was either, he just didn’t eat meat when he was with Guy. And maybe he emptied his house of all meat and dairy products before inviting Guy over. In fact, Tommy’s family owns the most popular barbecue restaurant in town and if his family has their way, he’ll manage the new location.

When Guy finds out that Tommy eats meat and his family owns a restaurant that is a monument to eating meat, he’s livid and doesn’t know if he wants anything else to do with Tommy.

But then Guy’s life gets crazy –his dad’s paranoia blossoms into violent dementia, he gets arrested for picketing a doggy mill, and then he winds up in even more legal trouble. When Tommy sticks by him through all his trouble and does everything he can to help him, Guy wonders if he’s been too militant and narrow-minded. Perhaps he can learn to live with people who have opposite views.

Guy finished his meal, wadded up his napkin and dropped it on his plate. “Do you think it will take long to find more houses for me to look at?”
“I’ll make you—it—my priority. Just give me a couple days.” Damn! A Freudian slip.
Guy reached over as if to put his hand on Tommy’s, but stopped in midair. His eyes softened and hope flickered. “I’d like it if you made me, not my business, your priority.”
Tommy’s throat went dry and his heart flipped over. “Do you mean what I think you mean?”
Guy lowered his hand and took Tommy’s in his. “I think so. I like you—a lot. You’re handsome and charming and I feel a connection. I know it’s quick, but I’m a forthright, fast kind of guy. Besides, if you find me a house as rapidly as I want, you’ll be out of my life before I can do anything about it. Do I have a chance with you?”

Like what you've read so far? Then check out the Buy Links below to grab a copy!

Ashley loves to hear from her fans. You can find her at any of the links listed.

Monday, August 18, 2014

CURRENT PROJECT - August 18-24th

Doesn't this porch look inviting?
While this is not the porch in my story - nor my own, I would love to be there right now.
I think sitting there with a cold glass of tea and this laptop would make writing so much easier.

I did not write any new words on my story last week. Thought about the direction the story needs to go. But I've been dragging my feet at writing a funeral scene. Sometimes, selecting the best way to approach a scene is more difficult than the actual writing. While I mulled over the challenge, I spent time polishing the first 2 chapters to perfection. My main focus was to remove all of the passive voice possible. Editors prefer 1% or less. Getting below 1% is difficult in that sometimes a character is remembering an event or has to describe something in a past tense.

Passive voice takes our readers out of the present story we want them involved in so reducing the percentage to that 1% is crucial to keep them turning pages.

I'll be talking more about Passive Voice Percentage, how to find out where your manuscript stands and how to fix later in the week.

For now.. I'm off to write a funeral. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

CURRENT PROJECT - Week of August 11, 2014

Welcome to the Old West...

For the next few weeks I'll be traveling back in time to 1884 in the first book of what I plan to be a trilogy - The McCracken series. The first is Jayson's Range.

Here's a sneak peek
When Kathleen Kennedy steps off the train in Merkel, Texas as a mail order bride with her young son she expects to meet the man she has come to marry. Instead, his oldest boy, Jayson, greets them. The tall man with the firm jaw is the farthest notion of a boy and where is Jay? Hearing her betrothed has been murdered, Kathleen refuses to show desperation. She and Charles have no place left to turn. Jayson’s temporary solution begins a journey for the three of them in a land where only the strongest survive and love is the tie holding everything together.

I can't remember how this story came to me but the characters began forming in time for Nanowrimo 2009. And here the WIP sits with only one polished chapter, the rest outlined and lots of work to do in between. Later in the week I hope to have a word count meter set up. My plan... to finish the rough draft of Jayson's story so I can pitch the series to Liz Pelleteir of Entangled Publishing at the ORA Conference in late September.

So hang onto those reins... we have a long trail drive ahead.

Friday, August 1, 2014

WEEKLY RECAP - Good week

Okay.. BUSY Week!

Wow. Let Bob leave for Chicago and my schedule turns into a traffic jam. Suddenly promotional opportunities came from all different directions. I am NOT complaining. LOL But WOW!

I'm slowly getting caught up on the tech stuff. Still need some studio time if my promo items are to be ready for ORACon2014 coming up in September.

Speaking of ORACon2014, today is August 1st. My Zone group has BIAW for the next seven days but I plan to use the entire month to hopefully get the rough finished of the western historical - Jayson's Range. The first chapter has placed well in the last two competitions. I want to pitch the book to Liz Pelleteir from Entangled Publishing at the conference. She is looking for historicals and this book is the first in a 3-book series.

I want to put a word widget on the blog sometime this weekend so we can track my progress together.
Creative Blessings

Monday, July 28, 2014

CURRENT PROJECT - Week of July 28th

Monday's are usually crazy but today is more so. I'm participating in a 6-day Facebook party launching Ropin Romance. This is a fabulous new site for romance authors and their readers. While the site is still in the early stages of life, there is so much promise here.

The Facebook party started on July 22nd and is going through today. I have a spot this morning. So I hope you'll come join me from 11 a.m. - Noon CST.  I'll be talking about my novella, Somewhere Down the Line, as well as giving away some prizes. Going to be a packed hour of fun!

I'm also spending time today and tomorrow on Facebook with Entangled Publishing's Christmas in July event. Another great opportunity to network with a publisher I'm planning on pitching to during ORACon2014 in September.

Bob leaves tomorrow morning and I dive in to long days trying to get ahead of some things plus finish the rough of Jayson's Range.

Hang with me this week. We're going to have FUN!

CURRENT PROJECT - Week of July 28

This is basically how my week will begin - as of tomorrow. After 21 days home, Bob will head back out to Chicago for 21 days for his job as a riverboat Captain. And I will become a hermit for most of the time he's gone. Occasionally, I leave the house to mail bills or go out to eat but for the most part I am happy right here.

I take my job as a writer seriously - most of the time. There are days where I just don't feel like working. But if I do want a day off, then I make sure to plan ahead - just as if I worked outside the home.

Most of the next week will be spent getting blog posts up and running for the month of August. Although I don't have to schedule them ahead, I found this month that having them scheduled made me less stressed. I didn't worry about something not getting done if the wind blew in a distraction I had no control over. I mean, face it, LIFE HAPPENS. Working from home means I have a very understanding boss - ME. But the 'boss' side of me also knows that if you fluff off a day, things still need to get done. Even if it means being up till 2 a.m. (which I've done but don't recommend) to get caught up.

Our tip on Thursday this week will be about Time Management. We're always looking for that one thing that works for us. Hopefully, this will be THE ONE.

Creative Blessings on your week!

Thursday, July 24, 2014


A little something different today. I thought I would introduce you to my co-worker.
This is Spirit. He is a 5th generation Black Panther... all 12 pounds of him. He turned 7 on Good Friday and is my baby... or as Bob calls him 'Momma's Boy' (Bob watched too much Bambi LOL)

As a 9 week old young kitten, Bob spoiled him. He has to lay in the crook of Bob's arm and snooze while we have our coffee. So when Bob's gone, this is where he and I have coffee. I have to watch that he doesn't snuggle up against the vent on the laptop. I'd have to fire him if he shut my computer down.  But after about an hour, he's ready to go in search of somewhere more comfortable.

Writer Tip for this week:  Get a co-worker. They can be distracting but also a bright spot in your day.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

CONTEST & CONFERENCES- The Ozark Creative Writers

I've been attending the annual Ozark Creative Writers Conference (OCW as we regulars refer to the event) about 20 years. Aside from Romance Writers of America conferences, this was the first writers conference I ever attended.

Ozark Creative Writers is a unique multi-genre conference in it's 47th year! Held in beautiful Eureka Springs Arkansas the second weekend in October, this is a conference you do not want to miss! Aside from two days of workshops, there is plenty of opportunity to network, pitch your next big seller as well as offer your own books for sale at an author's table.

The beautiful Best Western Inn of the Ozarks Hotel and Convention center is our Home for 3-4 days. I never stay anywhere else when I go to Eureka Springs. The staff are amazing. After so many years, this is like a family reunion for me - and we're always open to letting new folks in. Reservations fill up fast around town as this is when Autumn shows off a fabulous wardrobe of color. You'll find additional accommodation suggestions on the OCW or the Official Eureka Springs websites

Plus for the cost of your registration you may enter as many of the contest categories as you wish with the chance of winning prize money. But hurry... entries must be postmarked by Sept. 1

They've added a couple of new things this year.
One is a Jam Session in memory of talented songwriter, Nick Nixon. So if you play an instrument or just like to sing, plan to sit in on this fun addition to an already great conference.

Another continuation from the last couple of years but with a little extra umpf is the Fiddle Faddle Anything Goes Open Mic.  This takes place on Thursday evening as what use to be our Meet and Greet/ cocktail hour.

So polish up those entries, pack your walking shoes and be prepared for a conference you'll come back to year after year!

Monday, July 21, 2014

CURRENT PROJECT - Week of July 21

While I'm not crazy about the burgandy tulle around the base, these were the colors of my wedding. Perfect floral choice for a fall wedding, don't you think?

I'm starting to think about wedding cakes. After all, there will be multiple of them in this new series. Wedding cakes can be simple and elegant to the funny (remember the armadillo cake from Steel Magnolias?) to topsy turvy and everything in between. Traditional to the extreme lends a broad canvas to these sugary creations.

When Bob and I were married 30 years ago (next month) I chose a simple tiered cake incorporating the autumn colors. (See my post August 25, 2014 for pictures of our cake) I didn't realize until several years later when I stepped out of the broom closet how important those colors were to me at the time. And now here I go setting a book in Coastal New England. Hmmm I'm seeing a pattern here.

Tell me about your dream wedding cake. A version may just wind up in the bakery story.
Creative Blessings on your week!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

WRITER TIP THURSDAY - Time Management Part 2

Welcome back!
If you missed Part 1 - you can see it HERE.
I kept the same picture because I wanted to draw your attention to the journal in the center. That is a Documented Life Planner . The journal is just what the title says - Plan your life and document all the things you do on a daily basis. The original concept behind a DLP uses a Weekly Moleskin journal. Well, if you remember anything from my previous post then you know there is no way I'm fitting everything on a 'weekly' page. So I created my own using composition notebooks. I have 4 - 1 per quarter of the year and working on a DAILY system.   Here's what an inside weekday page looks like:

I only use the left hand side of the page for business. 
I have one daily schedule breakdown sheet adhered to the journal page with a colorful piece of Washi Tape (nothing says our journals have to be boring!). This is like a page within a page. I simply turn it back to keep my project notes underneath. 

But that top piece is the SECRET INGREDIENT to how  H. Reardon's book has changed how I move through my day. 
SUCCESSFUL business people work in TIME BLOCKS. That's why most dayplanners are broke down into :30 min increments. This allows those highly motivated, successful people to account for every minute of their day. 
I learned a long time ago that :30 min. increments are not for me. In fact, I didn't think they made sense at all for someone working from home. Boy, was I wrong... and why I never seemed to get on top of things. 
So I started by looking at what I HAD to do in a work day and the best way to break down my time AND  still allow time for family, fun, art, LIFE.
This is what I came up with:

You can click on the picture for a larger view but here's how I break my day down:
Up at 6:30 (note only a 1/2 hour earlier than I'd been getting up)
          I use this time to boot up the computer, make the coffee, check on all the critters, etc.
7:00-8:00 I ENJOY my coffee and cruise sights like art boards and Pinterest - not to work but to ENJOY!
8-8:30 I exercise. 
          I use a variety of things from videos, to Wii Fit to just walking on the treadmill while I watch something           on the DVR. Then a quick shower.
9 -10 All about the email. 
          This usually doesn't take an entire hour - for all 3 email accounts. 4 if I sign into Yahoo to do Groups
10 - Brunch
           Sometimes in this hour I will also get outside for a bit but usually I am multi-tasking household chores
           like doing dishes, hanging laundry, running the sweeper.
11 - You'll notice the exampled says Party List Part 1. 
        That's a Wednesday only thing. I have one blog post that must be on my music blog by 7 a.m.                       Thursday mornings for various radio stations. The post takes me all day on Wednesday to do. 
        The right hand side is for doodling and art work. 
        On other days I work on contest entries and critiques for other authors 
1 - It's lunch time. 
        I'll also spend this hour multi-tasking around the house and walk down to get the mail
2-5 - I'm back on the Party List post (Wed.)
        This part of the Wed post requires adding over 50 links to artist/ venue websites within the post before          uploading. Sometimes I'll move to the sofa for this part and let a movie play in the background.
5 - Final check of email.
        I respond to anything needing a response and take care of others. But no longer than an hour.
6 - Computer is shut down for a couple hours.
      I fix and enjoy dinner, take clothes off the line and anything else I can do.
8 - I'm back to write fiction for a couple hours.
      I do this by word sprinting with long-time writer buddies on Yahoo Instant Message. 
      Very productive time.
By 10 p.m. (sometimes 9) I am DONE for the day. I can sit on the sofa, put my feet up and enjoy some of my favorite shows - with or without Bob home. I'm not working til 11 p.m. or midnight AND I'm getting my projects done AND fiction time in.

That is my day when Bob is gone. 
Now instead of working weekends (at the computer) I'm able to go out to music venues and meet new artists without fear of falling behind.
When Bob is home I try to limit my time to morning email, and 2 full days - Mon/ Wed. With the rest of the time spent with him. 

I have explained to him that when he retires in 5 years that I will have to work more than 2 days a week. LOL but maybe I can work 1/2 days 4 days a week? We're still working that one out. 

How are you spending your day?
Are you accomplishing what you need every day or feeling like you're constantly playing catch-up?
Share your thoughts. And for those of you at ORA, I'll have my planner with me at the Aug. meeting if you'd like to see it. Goes everywhere with me.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


Okay... you made the deadline and got your WETA Nichols entry in last week, right? Next step is to plan to attend the conference where you can meet with editors, an agent, other authors - you know... people who speak your language.

Have you been to ORACon?  If so, then you know what an awesome time we have.

One day FULL of GREAT : 
GOODY BAGS (these are FULL)

Seriously, who wants to miss out on all of this and MORE! 

One KEY thing to know:
Although ORACon is sponsored by Ozarks Romance Authors - this conference is NOT JUST Romance! We cover writing mechanics, marketing/ promotion, plotting.. anything having to do with WRITING.

ORACon 2014 takes place on Saturday September 21st at the beautiful University Plaza Hotel in downtown Springfield MO. 

For all the details about how to register, sign up for a pitch session, schedule your photo session

And I'll see you at ORACon 2014

Monday, July 14, 2014

CURRENT PROJECT - Week of July 14

I love weddings! So romantic. Full of hope and promises.

Over the weekend, we traveled to Nebraska for the wedding of our niece, TJ and her great catch, Nick. They are the sweetest couple. He spoils her, loves her and the feelings are mutual.

As much as I think 'love is sweeter the second time around', I pray this is THE ONE for both of them.

With just getting in last night and company due in here tomorrow, I do not see a lot of writing in my future. So consider this the beginning of a long week off. I've spent time scheduling posts wherever possible so things are not too quiet.

I can promise that once everything has settled down and Bob is back out on the boat, I become a workaholic again prepping these new stories and hopefully finishing one in progress.

Creative Blessings on your week!

Friday, July 11, 2014


Friday Posts are on Hiatus through the month of July. I've put most of my July posts on Auto-run as I'm spending much needed time with Bob. Any computer time will be spent actual writing.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

WRITER TIP THURSDAY - Time Management - Part 1

This is what my creative desk looks like most of the time. Always something going on... like the rest of my life.

Over the years I've tried different Time Management methods, a variety of day planners and every other way imaginable to get the most out of my day without feeling as if I were still behind.

When not writing fiction, I am a entertainment writer and promoter. On any given day I will:

Go through email for business and writing
Check and respond to FB feeds for both business and writing
Quick check of Twitter for both business and writing
Plug artists and authors through social media - as well as my own stuff
Check in with radio stations or other promoters
Schedule blog guest for this blog and send them the appropriate form
Set up or transcribe entertainer interviews to post on the music blog
Review a new CD and post on the music blog
Review a book from either a Texas author, about/ by an entertainer or both & post to blog/ amazon
Street team a chunk of about 300 musicians - meaning I promote the heck out of them
Check the music charts to see how specific entertainers are doing
Work on contest entries
Research my current work in progress via internet or pinterest
Work on edits of another project
Work on freelance articles in various stages prior to submission
Get a couple hours in on actual fiction writing

Somewhere in there I hope to get some art time in to keep the other creative juices flowing - and fodder for freelance articles
Try to make the house look less like a hoarder lives here.

Are you exhausted yet?
Keep in mind... like many of you, I have a day job. That is the music and freelance work that I do. And like you, I fit my fiction in the best I can afterwards - usually in the evening after supper (during if I'm home alone)

Initially, I was up by 7 and firing up the laptop as I went past enroute to the coffee pot. While my coffee heated and the laptop warmed up, I would check on the outside doggies, give the inside cats their treats and fill the hummingbird feeder (I go through 3 C. of syrup in about 10 hours!) and make a double batch of feed for the next day.

By then, my day began on the computer and with housework and a quick meal if I remembered, my day didn't end until about 11 p.m. or later. This was a 6 day week!

The problem?
I was tired
I still didn't feel as if I were keeping up
I wasn't getting any creative time in
I wasn't having any fun.

Before I share my enlightened solution, let me educate those who do not know me. My husband is a riverboat Captain - trust me, not as exciting as it sounds. He works hard and is gone 21 days at a time. Those days I am home alone. I work long hours so I don't have to work any more than absolutely necessary when he IS home the next 21 days. He is my life and nothing is more important than spending the time we have together. And with him driving from south central MO to Chicago to get on the boat - let me just say there are a lot of crazies on the road. You just never know.

Then I found a FREE book on Amazon. But I would pay for TIME MANAGEMENT 2.0- 15 Secrets of a Self-Made Millionaire for Getting Things Done in heartbeat! This is part of H. Reardon's 'Coffee With a Millionaire' series.

For instance, did you know that Successful business people only check their mail twice a day? Once when they first get into the office and again at the end of the day.

Did you know that we are the saboteurs of our destiny? How? By letting OTHERS dictate how we spend OUR TIME. It's okay to do nice things for people once in awhile during 'office' hours. But keep in mind, that is time out of your paycheck.

I'll leave you with that. Come back next Thursday to see how my life has changed since incorporating H. Reardon's book into my life.

In the mean time, tell me how you spend your day.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014


Yes... I'm blowing this up extra big so you can't say you didn't see. LOL
We only have 6 days left to enter the Weta Nichols Fiction Writing Contest.  SIX DAYS!

This is a great contest. I've entered (and placed a couple of times) over the years since being a member of Ozarks Romance Authors in Springfield MO.  Our group puts a lot of work both into the conference and coordinating this contest.

The Weta Nichols Fiction Writing Contest was started in honor of one of our founding members and has become the crown of our annual conference.



ContemporaryLiz Pelletier, Publisher and Co-founder of Entangled Publishing and Savvy Media                                                       Services, which owns Savvy Authors.
HistoricalNicole Resciniti, Literary Agent with The Seymour Agency.
Paranormal/Sci-FiHolly Atkinson, Acquiring Editor with Samhain Publishing.
Young Adult/Middle GradeNicole Resciniti, Literary Agent with The Seymour Agency
Submit the first chapter (up to 2,500 words) of your unpublished novel to win prizes and a chance to be read by one of the agents or editors serving as our final judges.
Contest is open to both published and unpublished authors, but the piece submitted must be unpublished (traditional, self-pub, or e-pub) and not under contract to be published.
Categories in which entries may be judged are: Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal/Sci-Fi and Young Adult/Middle Grade. Entries are open genre and not required to contain romantic tones.
Membership in Ozarks Romance Authors is not required in order to enter. There will be three prizes awarded in each category: 1st place $75 and a 1-Year ORA Membership, 2nd place $50 and 3rd place $25.
Please read all guidelines carefully. If you have questions about the rules, please email us (with WETA QUESTION in the subject line) at
So what are you waiting for. Polish up that chapter and join us for ORACon 2014!

Monday, July 7, 2014

CURRENT PROJECT - Week of July 7

My first book is up on Amazon. Amazing how that one little seed can boost your confidence to move forward. Remember, I've been mud-bogging for months. Not any more.

In the past week I've decided to try and figure out why one of my stories has such controversy. One one hand the book gets 'The Call' from an editor and great reviews from two others, while as a contest entry the comments are total opposite ends of the scope. One will tell me the story is great (a multi-published author) while another basically says go back to the drawing board. One person even went so far as to say she was so confused she wasn't interested in reading anymore. Hmmmm

So I've sent the first chapter off to a trusted editor friend. I've not heard back yet. I probably need to nudge her as I'd love to enter the story in competition - this week.

The other thing I've been doing is researching my new Coastal Maine series. What started out as one book with a fireman as my hero has morphed into 3 books. My nameless hero now has an older brother who is a crab fisherman (Gotta love Deadliest Catch for research) and a younger sister who owns a bakery - specializing in cupcakes. Because of their various professions, I've selected three different seasons. Fireman for fall, Fisherman during crab season and all bakery goodness for Christmas.

I've set up a Pinterest Board titled 'Fireman's Promise' and have been researching all things Coastal Maine/ Boothbay Harbor Maine.

This week I won't get much done as I'm prepping for a brief weekend trip to a wedding followed by a week of company. But evenings and my netbook may become very good friends.

Here's to a Creatively Productive Week!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


FINAL 5.25 x 8.5

Today I am pleased to introduce you to a talented author and one of my best writing buddies - Lori Robinett. For those of you who missed yesterday's post, here's a quick update on how I met today's guest. Lori and I met through a mutual on-line writing group several years ago. Then she room-shared with me at her first trip to Ozark Creative Writers conference. We had never met in person. We reminisce how she had to calm her teenage daughter’s fears about meeting up with someone Lori had met only on line. We do teach our children that is a no-no.

Back then, Lori was hard at work on a sweet romance about a woman whose world has fallen apart... until she's give a second chance at happiness on her father's horse ranch in western Missouri.

NOTE: A portion of the proceeds from Denim & Diamonds will be donated to
Children's Miracle Network.

So, Lori.... Denim and Diamonds is due out any day now. Congratulations! I know this was a Nano project. Was this your first and if so, please tell us about the experience. 
Thank you! Yes - Denim and Diamonds was my very first NaNo novel - and my first win. It was such a rush, the feeling of being cosmically connected to so many other writers all around the world. I had written for years, but never gotten all the way through a story until NaNo. I wrote 31 pages on the last day. It was the Saturday after Thanksgiving. My stepdaughter offered to take her little sister for the day, and my husband was out of town. It was a mad dash to the end, and I had no idea HOW the story was going to end until I wrote it with tears streaming down my cheeks.

2) What is the most difficult for you to write: Characters, conflict, emotions? 
Conflict is definitely the hardest for me, because I tend to avoid conflict in real life. :)

3) What is your favorite Holiday and do you ever use it as part of the setting in your books? 
My favorite holiday is Halloween. I alluded to Halloween in Denim & Diamonds, but didn't spend a lot of time on the holiday itself. The Diamond J hosts an annual hayride at night, and a few of the ranch hands dress up in costume to scare the party-goers. It's quite a ride!

4) What do you want readers to carry with them from your stories?
I want my readers to feel that everyone deserves a second chance, and to recognize that true happiness and magic can come from those second chances.

5) What was the best advice you were given leading you to getting published?
To keep writing. Several people told me to keep writing and keep honing my craft. I've done that by attending conferences, reading craft books, and meeting with my critique group every two weeks. 

6) Would you share a bit of Denim and Diamonds with us?
I'd be glad to!

Attorney Beth Jameson might know her way around the courtroom, but doesn’t know a cutting horse from a carousel horse. That doesn’t slow her down when her estranged father dies and leaves her his horse ranch just south of Kansas City. True to form, the gift comes with strings attached – she has to be successful in her first year, or she loses her inheritance. All of it. Beau, the handsome ranch foreman, was her father’s right hand man, but she must convince him that she’s in it for the long haul – that she isn’t just some city girl that doesn’t respect her father’s legacy. She has to learn the business from the ground up, and must learn to trust others – not an easy thing for a woman who was abandoned by her father and then by her ex-fiancé. Beth can’t believe how quickly the ranch becomes home, and how hard she is willing to work to make it hers . . . and learns that everyone deserves a second chance at happiness.

It was all Quinn’s fault. If she hadn’t just broken off the engagement because of his screwing around, she never would’ve agreed to leave the city and move to the middle of nowhere at the drop of a hat. No one could blame her for starting a moratorium on men. They were lying, cheating – ugh! Her blood pressure rose just thinking about it.

The crackle of the radio irritated her. She frowned and glanced down to switch it off. When she looked up, brown and white fur flashed in her headlights. She yanked the steering wheel right and slammed her foot down on the brake pedal. The BMW careened across the wet blacktop. She spun the steering wheel trying to correct the skid. The sedan slid left, then whipped right. Time slowed as the car plowed into the ditch. The seatbelt cut into her stomach and chest, squeezing the air from her lungs.
It was all over in a split second.

About Lori Robinett:
Lori is a creative soul trapped in a paralegal's body. As a child she wrote pages and pages in longhand. As a teenager she pounded away on a typewriter. As a college student she learned about critcism (death to English Comp!). As an adult she found her hours filled with work and parenting. Then she rediscovered the joy of escaping into a world of her own creation. After all, it's not illegal to write all those twisted things that pop into your head!

She lives in rural Missouri with her husband and daughter. One very spoiled Miniature Schnauzer and Miniature Beagle allow Lori and her husband to live in their house, and the outside is patrolled by BK (short for Barn Kitty) and Patches (a sweet tom cat stray that missed is calling as a lap cat). The pasture is decorated with three miniature horses.

to CaryPress -

You can catch up with Lori:

Monday, June 30, 2014

THE BIG EASY Blog Tour -

I’m honored to be a part of The Big Easy Blog Tour. Author, Lori Robinett invited me to participate. Lori and I met through a mutual on-line writing group several years ago. Then she room-shared with me at her first trip to Ozark Creative Writers conference. We had never met in person. We reminisce how she had to calm her teenage daughter’s fears about meeting up with someone Lori had met only on line. We do teach our children that is a no-no.

What Am I Working On?
I have three projects in various stages. I've taken out a completed manuscript that’s run the gamut from placing in competitions to getting ‘the call’ to still sitting in the drawer. I want this story out for readers to enjoy. I just need to figure out what is holding the novel back. I also have a Western Historical in progress and a contemporary set in Paducah KY, featuring a musical trio, a road manager and my favorite character, Granny Pearl.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
For years I was told editors did not want stories set in the entertainment field. Like fashion, story lines seem to come in cycles and entertainment –themed stories are coming up everywhere. Because I work in the music field, I am able to educate about the business while providing my readers with characters to love and settings I hope they’ll visit.

Why do I write what I do?
While Happy Ever After endings are great, I think the ones that are a result of second chances are the best. I cut my romance teeth on Second Chance at Love romances of the 1970s. I am living a Second Chance at Love, and I know the music business. Those are my worlds.

How does my writing process work?
I’m getting better about a process. I use to be a hard core plotter. And I still use outlines as a guide, but I’m learning to let my characters walk me through a bit more. That’s hard for a controling/ OCD person to do. Since Somewhere Down the Line, I’ve been turning to song titles more. I’ve always loved music. I use to play songs on the jukebox to convey messages to my boyfriend in the early 1980s. What I do now is very similar. I take the song title and say ‘What if…’ and I’m off.

Monday, June 23, 2014


NOTE: Although this post ran previously, I am reposting for my RSS feed on my Amazon Author Account:

Everything happened so quick, I did not even have the opportunity to do a cover release here. I am thrilled to have my first novella out AND to be working with Chris Keesler. I've admired him as an editor for many years and one of the reasons I entered the 'Whats In A Name' competition with Boroughs Publishing last spring.

Imagine my surprise when I opened my email on Thursday morning to find my novella was LIVE! Keep in mind, I had just turned the final edits into Chris on Monday morning. My real life hero and I already had plans to be away for the weekend so I had no opportunity to do any promo what so ever. So here I am beaming from ear to ear as I share my baby with you.

Allow me to introduce you to Trey and Alana:

It all began twenty-five years ago on the road: a charming crooner with a boyish grin fronting an up-and-coming Country/Western band, an entertainment journalist with everything to prove, and a love that could never be. A love that was wrong.

Things have changed. Trey Morison and Alana Cozins are finally free to act on their desires, but is it really possible after all this time? From the Abilene Fairgrounds to a storm-swept beach on Galveston Island, from a reunion of friends to a fast-and-furious realization of their passion, Trey and Alana will test the boundaries of what they think they know—and what they know they want. They’ll find a renewed career, a deeper understanding of themselves, the past and each other. And it all begins with a hit song that’s a heartfelt prayer that unwavering love might finally be rewarded…

     “And the award for Songwriter of the Year goes to…”
Alana took a drink of her wine, watching the teen pop star mutilate the envelope and remove the certificate.
     “Trey Morison. For ‘Somewhere Down the Line.’”
     Alana choked and sputtered, sending a spray of the merlot across her notepad and down the front of her tank top. Tears clouded her vision as she attempted to scan the crowd along with the camera—in search of a man she’d thought she would never see again. 
     “Trey couldn’t be here tonight, so we accept this award with thanks on his behalf,” said the co-presenting action star, raising aloft a glass trophy and dashing Alana’s hopes. Hearing his name opened up a sealed part of her. She would like to have seen him again. Had he changed much?
     The next music spot began, and Alana tossed her notepad aside and went into the bathroom to strip out of her wet clothes. Her uneven gasps for air had nothing to do with the rawness in her throat. Trey Morison had always made her heart skip a beat. Hearing his name was like resurrecting a ghost. More than twenty years had gone by since she’d last seen him, or felt his arms around her. 
Her fingers shook as she turned on the taps and set the drain plug. The water felt good as she splashed it across her face. 
     Supporting herself on the edge of the vanity, she leaned close to the mirror. Motherhood and what she’d once thought was a good marriage hadn’t left any telltale marks. Granted, she didn’t look nineteen, but she definitely looked younger than the forty-five she was fast approaching. Since Don’s announcement he was in love with his office assistant, followed by him packing his bags, she had run the gamut of emotions from shock to confusion about what she’d done wrong. Only when she calmed down enough to put things in perspective did she realize it wasn’t her fault. Her husband had hit a mid-life crisis point. 

     She’d thought they were at the very least content, though. He had a good insurance business, having worked his way up from ground floor sales to senior agent over the course of their marriage. Their sons, Chris and Devon, were off on their own. Now the house was empty, and so was Alana. Except for rebuilding her career.
resurrecting a ghost. More than twenty years had gone by since she’d last seen him, or felt his arms around her. 
     She had always wanted a career as an entertainment journalist specializing in the music industry. Now, it seemed, she had another chance. Texas was a melting pot of music, ranging from the traditional Americana style to alternative rock, some contemporary pop and everything in between. Anyone could find a constant rotation of great music in a myriad of places from fine establishments like The Wine Bar to traditional venues such as Luckenbach. Many musicians opened up their homes to concerts for more intimate evenings; and if that all wasn’t enough, some artists were creating personal venues on their properties. 

     Getting back into the business had been surprisingly easy. After Don’s departure she’d converted Chris’s bedroom into an office and spent most of her daytime hours there. Evenings she frequented one of the many musical venues in Austin and surrounding communities. The first thing she’d done was check out the Texas music websites to see who the regulars were with particular venues, as well as who had been nominated for various awards or recognized for contributions to the industry. She’d started a blog, showcasing artists from all different genres, reviewing new releases and doing interviews. But she’d never imagined her foray back into the business would bring Trey into her sights.

Some of you may recall, I wrote the rough of this book in 18 days for NanoWrimo2012. Serendipity kicked in when Boroughs offered up the contest perfectly matched to the story's theme AND title. I love the characters and the premise is centered what I do pretty much 'round the clock' for my day job. Texas music (as well as classic/ traditional country) is my passion. I hope this comes through in my story.

You'll find Somewhere Down the Line available:

Reviews always appreciated ;-)
Happy Reading!