Thursday, May 6, 2021

WRITER TIP THURSDAY - Nicholas Sparks - Tips For Aspiring Writers

Good morning, everyone!

Today's writing tip video comes from Nicholas Sparks. 

This guy has written some of my favorite books that became movies. I think my favorite is Nights in Rodanth.  

I'd love for you to share your favorite in the comments below.

You can catch up with Nicholas Sparks via the various social media sites:

WEBSITE   Facebook   Twitter   IG ( NicholasSparks )  

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

THE KOREAN WAR - How Did the Conflict Begin?

Beginning today, I will be sharing things about my current work in progress (WIP)

The inspiration for An Ozarks Soldier's Homecoming began when I stook along side the road and watched the procession bringing CPL Donald Eugene Matney home to Seymour MO. I'd never seen support such as CPL Matney received on his journey. Even his Uncle commented in a presentation he gave at the Broomfield Veterans Museum in April of 2017 how the state of Missouri did his nephew (his wife's nephew) proud. 

From what I understand, nearly every overpass from St. Louis to Seymour had people lined up with flags and saluting as he passed below. I didn't realize at the time the importance of that motorcade, only that a serviceman was coming home. Here's a news clip from one of our local new stations KY3 (Springfield MO)

You only need to see the first 6 minutes or so.

By the time I'd driven the ninety minutes back home (I was on my way home from Springfield) I had a story idea in my head. My brain always goes to the 'What If... " when something catches my attention.

So, how did the Korean War begin?
Here's what I found from ( *) websight as well as (Wikipedia **)

The main reason the United States got involved in Korea was the purpose of doing everything possible to keep communism from spreading around world. *

United Nations Security Council Resolution 82 was a measure adopted by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on June 25, 1950. The resolution demanded North Korea immediately end its invasion of South Korea **

The resolution called on the North to immediately halt its invasion and to move its troops back to the 38th parallel. Seen as a diplomatic victory for the United States, the resolution was completely ignored by North Korea. This brought the UN and the US to take further action, setting the state for massive international involvement and the expansion of the Korean War.

The Korean Conflict was not suppose to be an all-out war. We were to be a police action... at least that's what the government told our boys. 

As I researched for An Ozarks Soldier's Homecoming, I learned so much about the Korean War and how our boys coming home failed to receive the welcome they should have. Very little is said about WW1. We hear about the economy boosts after WWII and what a political fiasco the Vietnam War was - the deplorable conditions for our soldiers, yet the Korean War truly has become 'the forgotten war'. After doing my research, I won't ever forget what our boys went through only to be treated as if their sacrifice didn't matter. 

The following video is actually in regards to a WWII veteran but I wanted to share - This Old Army Hat by Bill Anderson. 

We'll continue this next Wednesday...

All my best

Tuesday, May 4, 2021


 Okay, so I hit a roadblock yesterday. The book I've been reading on my kindle has disappeared from amazon. I haven't had the book that long! LOL who knows. 

So as I scrolled through really early posts on this blog I found one I thought might be appropriate.

The final day to file taxes is May 17, 2021. So if you've been dragging your feet you might find this post helpful.

If you've filed your taxes already, or haven't had to file as a business before, then Gae-Lynn's visit (from 3/5/2013) should be helpful. 

We see a lot of tasks as 'dreaded'. Taxes definitely fall into the category of forewarned is forearmed. Plan now and you won't be dreading this task next year. 

Gae-Lynn Woods

I don't know a single person who enjoys Tax time. I would rather write a synopsis than think about taxes as a self-employed filer. Okay, so that's not the best example since I don't mind writing the synopsis, but you get my drift. Last year I came across a blog by someone 'in the know' when it comes to taxes. Gae-Lynn Woods is a talented author and a CPA so she understands how this all works from both points of view. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comment section. Also, feel free to share a link to this and any of my posts.

Thanks so much to Angela for letting me stop by The Writers Studio to chat! Getting ready for tax season is a chore most of us dread. But as an author, you’re running a small business with all the privileges and responsibilities thereof. I know, I know! You’re an artist, not a grubby businessperson. But once you put your work out into the world for sale, you need to know how much income (or loss) you’re generating. It’s not as hard as it sounds. Really. All you need is a little discipline. And anyone who can produce a book can master the fine art of tracking income and expenses.
The tips I’m sharing apply to all sorts of businesses. We run four: my husband is a musician; we raise beef cattle; and I have an accounting business and a writing business. Regardless of your professional focus, there are two important reasons to track income and expenses during the year: the first is to provide you with a means to monitor your business performance. The second and most practical is to make tax time easier. If you’ve ever shoved your paperwork into a drawer only to cry when you dig it out during tax season, you’ll dance with glee when you pull your organized paperwork out!

There are oodles of ways to achieve these goals – this is my process, but use that creative brain of yours to massage it into something that works for you. Because we run four businesses, I try to update our records at least twice each month to keep the paperwork from getting out of control. You may find that monthly or even quarterly updates are frequent enough for you.
Confession time: this isn’t the most enjoyable part of my life. In fact, I whine a bit before getting started. But once I’m into the process – well, once I’m done – I feel great. I hope you will, too. So, grab a coffee (or something stronger), let loose with a few groans, and let’s get started!

I use a few simple tools to track our expenses:
1) We keep a small notebook in each vehicle. If we’re driving somewhere for business purposes, we note the date, purpose of the trip, and starting and ending mileage.
2) I transfer the details from each of our business related trips to a desk calendar and follow the same form in the notebooks: trip purpose, starting and ending miles, and total miles travelled during that trip. I also note any important work related events in our calendar (cow sales or purchases, hay cutting, gig income, etc.).

3) On each work related receipt, we note which business it’s for and then toss the receipt in a basket on my desk. When it’s time to update our records, I dump the basket and start sorting.

4) I enter all information into a spreadsheet to capture expenses by category. Each business has its own spreadsheet, but they all follow the same general format, explained below. This is the place where we keep an eye on how each business is doing, and come tax time, it’s a matter of ensuring each column adds correctly and then clicking the print button. Yes, it really is that easy!

5) I separate the receipts by business, clip one month’s worth of receipts together, and stick them in a legal sized envelope. This clears my desk and helps me keep track of what I’ve completed. It also keeps the receipts in the same order that I’ve used to enter them onto the spreadsheet, in case I have questions later.

The Spreadsheet
 One of the most challenging aspects of filling in tax forms is figuring out which number goes where. To ease the process, I follow the categories the IRS has set out on Schedule C, the form you’ll file at tax time (see it here: I only include the categories I use, and each has its own column. Each row represents a separate transaction (income, expense, and / or mileage with no related expense).

Some of your receipts won’t fit into the existing Schedule C categories. For example, if you subscribe to a writing magazine, you might need another column called “Publications”. Add it to your spreadsheet include these items on page two of your Schedule C.

I hope this has been helpful, and that the paperwork aspect of your writing business feels a little less daunting. Questions are certainly welcome!

Avengers of Blood (A Cass Elliot Crime Novel) – Blurb

A deadly game of cat and mouse is playing out in Forney County…

Detective Cass Elliot is still on suspension after killing a fellow officer and Sheriff Hoffner refuses to sign her release papers. But when four people are murdered in one night, one with the exceptional brutality of a lynching, the Medical Examiner side-steps Hoffner to hire Cass and loan her to Forney County’s overstretched police department.

As Cass and her partner investigate, they realize that three of the murders were committed by the same person but find no connection between the victims. Their frustration intensifies when another victim survives and disappears instead of coming to the police.

Sheriff Hoffner is frantic about anonymous letters claiming one of his star officers is dirty, and Cass suspects a link to the current crimes. The pieces fall together when she uncovers the true identity of the man who was lynched, revealing connections between the victims, the killer, and an unpunished crime committed nearly fifty years ago.

Author Bio:

Gae-Lynn Woods is a Texan who has traveled the world, lived overseas, and come back home. She and her husband, British jazz guitarist Martyn Popey, share a ranch in East Texas with a herd of Black Angus cattle and one very cranky donkey.

THE DEVILOF LIGHT and AVENGERS OF BLOOD are the first two books in the Cass Elliot crime series. When she's not playing the roadie, tending to cows, fixing fence, or digging post holes, Gae-Lynn is working on the third Cass Elliot novel.

You can learn more about Gae-Lynn and see what she's up to via the following links:

Website   Facebook   Twitter   Pinterest  IG - gae_lynn

All my best

Monday, May 3, 2021



Good afternoon, everyone!

I got home last night around 8 p.m. and I was exhausted. Why is it the drive home always seems longer than the drive to the destination?

I visited with Kassie and the grandbabies Tuesday night and Wednesday morning before heading back to Muscatine IA as my stopping point for a couple of days to write. A couple turned into four! I just knew I needed the time and as Bob said, I was already there and set up so I just ran with it. 

I'm a mixture of planner/ pantster/ quilter. From a planner perspective I know what needs to happen and a geneeral idea of where in the story. For the actual writing process I pretty much fly by the seat of my pants writing out things that come to my brain. I may write on one scene til I hit a block, close it out then jump to another. When all is said and done, I figure out how all the pieces need to fit together, then start the quilting process of putting things in order, filling in the bridges between scenes as I go. 

I didn't accomplish much Wednesday night except to finish a book I had started the night before - review coming tomorrow. Thursday after I breakfast I jumped right in putting a filing system in place on the computer to fit all the pieces in to then started writing. I did a lot of 20 minute sprints. Some were really productive. By Saturday night I'd written over 4,000 words on this story in three days. 

I'm home now and focusing on the blog posts as well as spending time with Bob. He leaves out on the 11th. I'm taking tonight off to just chill with him but starting tomorrow night I want to spend a couple hours every night working on the story. I don't want to lose momentum. 

Goals for this week:

1 - 2000 words. More would be great

2 - get a couple things done in the office I need his help with while he's home

3 - blog posts for this week and part of next. I'll worry about catching up the rest of the month next Tuesday after he leaves.

Remember,beginning this week I'll be combining Author Spotlight and Review on Tuesdays. Wednesdays will be posts that correlate to the book I am writng. 

All my best


Tuesday, April 27, 2021

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT & REVIEW - Jodi Thomas - Picnic in Someday Valley

 Good morning, friends.

I have been waiting months to share this post with you. PICNIC IN SOMEDAY VALLEY - the new release from Jodi Thomas - is finally available for purchase! Did you pre-order your copy? If you're read it, please remember to leave a review. I'd also love to hear your comment below.

Picnic in Someday Valley is Book 2 of 3 in the Honey Creek series. 
I think one of the reasons I fell in love with this book is that, while anyone not knowing the behind the scenes or be familiar with Texas wouldn't notice, the setting resembles a town in the Texas Hill Country.  If you don't know by now, while I was born in Colorado, spent a large part of my life in central IL and now have retired to Missouri, Texas holds my heart. 

The story opens up with the Mayor, Piper Mackenzie, anxiously awaiting the arrival of her love interest, Colby McBride. We first met these two in the Book 1 - Breakfast at the Honey Creek Cafe. I loved that Jodi began by reintroducing these two before bringing on the other characters this story revolves around. She also brought in Marcie Latimer. Texas music is a genre all it's own and I was pleased to see Jodi shine the light on this part of the great state. FYI, while I'm sure Jodi doesn't reference any real place where Marcie sings, Luckebach (it's own zip code)  as well as Poodie's Hilltop Roadhouse (Spicer) would be fitting locales to find someone of Marcie's talent. 

Like pieces stitched together to create a warm, comforting quilt, Jodi Thomas brings smaller intricacies of the story together, forming a larger picture. Each piece compliments the others, taking us from one step to the next. Through the journey we find heartbreak, laughter and love - mirroring our own life while reminding us there is a happy ever after. 

I'm givng Picnic in Someday Valley -

While you're purchasing your copy of Picnic in Someday Valley, go ahead and Pre-Order Book 3 - Dinner on Primrose Hill

You'll find Jodi Thomas via the following Social Media links. She'd love to hear from you!

Monday, April 26, 2021



Good morning, everyone!

As you read this, I am on the road for Iowa to meet my 'grandbabies'. Mia and Lia are four months old and I have yet to meet them. This is a quick trip but on the way home I'm stopping at a hotel for a couple of days so I can write. 

I am way behind on where I need to be with my word count. I'm hoping to amp that up in the coming days.

In the mean time, please come back tomorrow where I'll be sharing my review of  Jodi Thomas' new book:

Thursday, April 22, 2021

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT & REVIEW - Samantha Chase & Ford (Book 7)

 Good afternoon, friends!

We have reached the end of the 7 Brides for 7 Soldiers series! Wow! The diversity in how each of these seven authors - Barbara Freethy, Roxanne St. Claire, Christie Ridgway, Lynn Raye Harris, Julia London, Cristin Harber and Samantha Chase - each wrote a separate story while blending the collection together was nothing short of masterful.

Today's spotlight is on Samantha Chase.

Here's a bit about Samantha from her website:

Samantha Chase is a New York Times and USA Today bestseller of contemporary romance that’s hotter than sweet, sweeter than hot.  She released her debut novel in 2011 and currently has more than sixty titles under her belt – including THE CHRISTMAS COTTAGE which was a Hallmark Christmas movie in 2017!  When she’s not working on a new story, she spends her time reading romances, playing way too many games of Solitaire on Facebook, wearing a tiara while playing with her sassy pug Maylene…oh, and spending time with her husband of 28 years and their two sons in Wake Forest, North Carolina.

On to the series:

Fall in love with seven sexy and irresistible soldiers who find their courage and heart tested like never before in the battle for love! This multi-author collaborative series of contemporary romance novels is brought to you by bestselling authors Barbara Freethy, Roxanne St. Claire, Christie Ridgway, Lynn Raye Harris, Julia London, Cristin Harber and Samantha Chase. You won't want to miss a single one!

We've had glimpses of Ford Garrison throughout the series. We also saw that Eagle's Ridge is the last place Ford wanted to come back to for any extended length of time. Right down to the beginning hos his story when he thought this trip back to repair damage to his grandmother's house was a 'get in, get the job done, get out' kind of thing. He didn't count on the cute little kindergarten teacher, Callie Shaw, to give him a reason to stay. Well, you know what that reason is, right? It's the reason we read, and write, romance novels!

Unlike the previous six books, Ford's story wasn't about his struggle after leaving the military. Instead, we saw a real internal war with himself about the people he loved and a town he didn't feel like he had a connection to, other than those people. Nothing that made him want to stay and everything that kept him running away. 

I loved this story for lots of reasons. One in particular... while Ford and Callie do wind up in bed in the very beginning, Samantha Chase took her time taking us to the heat level. Slow and steady won this race for me. Maybe that's why I've enjoyed a lot of Samantha's books including one made into a Hallmark movie (which I've watched repeatedly)

I've read and seen The Christmas Cottage, but I don't believe I've read the second in the series - Ever After - The Christmas Cottage Book 2. I'll have to fix that - maybe a Christmas in July?

Let's give this series, FORD in particular, a final ink & quil:

You will find Samantha Chase via the following links: