Wednesday, December 26, 2012


Wow!  Where did 2012 go?

I don't know about you but I did not accomplish everything I'd hoped for this year. Our expectations of a new beginning are always grander than what we actually come away with... or maybe not.

HERE'S what I had in mind for 2012.
Basically, I wanted to be more organized, a bit calmer and more productive. In some ways I accomplished all three, just not necessarily in the way I imagined.

As far as organization goes, the Page A Day to do list thing just didn't work out. I still have specific things I do every day. To add them to every one of their appropriate days by hand would have given me writers cramp. So I tried printing them off in strips and gluing them to the correct days. Talk about BULK! I couldn't get the entire year in the day planner... and I never switched things out.

Trying things is GOOD. If we don't try something to see if it will work, we will never know. Well, now I know that didn't work... so I'm taking a different approach I'll talk about later in the week.

Calmer? Well, that is a relevant term. I felt calmer... until about mid-September when the freelance began to pick up. I started networking with an entirely new genre of people in earnest and found myself in a Texas-sized watering hole of incredibly talented people, and opportunities to go along with it. Then the first of this month, I did it again. This time I discovered the Symphony... the Polish Sinfonia of Krakow Poland actually. I'd heard them perform last year but this year I actually got to make friends with a couple of the members, and one of the conductors. Again, a new door to what I believe will be an incredible journey if I can just stay the course.

Which brings me to Productive. Definitely. Aside from meeting awesome people, I finished Nano in 18 days! Yes, you read that right. Not only did I hit the 50k mark, I actually wrote THE END of the novel. Unchained Hearts was a new bedroom for me to play in and I enjoyed it immensely. In fact, My JANO novel will have a bit of the same theme... 50s heroine and a 50s hero exploring their feelings for one another.

I also published in 4 out of 6 issues of Polymer Cafe magazine, as well as had a request for my first multiple -page article. I am blessed to have the support of my editor, Anne Huizenga. She is AMAZING and gives me creative freedom. I fear she will have spoiled me for ever working with another editor, but I'll give it a shot knowing I have her in my corner and on my reference list.

That about sums up 2012 for me. I spent a lot of time on the road, lots of time playing with my granddaughters and telling my own personal hero how much I love him every day.
For without him, none of what I do would mean anything.

In a couple days, I'll be back to talk about how I'm changing things up a bit for what will hopefully be a more organized, productive, and profitable 2013.

Creative Blessings

Monday, November 12, 2012

NANOing Along

I took the plunge again this year to play in NanoLand. Have you been there? If not, you really should check out the place. There's still time to at least acquaint yourself with the community and maybe you'll join me next year.

As you know I've been really focused on my freelance writing lately. I live and breath Texas music as well as some classics out of Nashville. So when I got the idea for this year's Nano Novel, I knew that whether it ever sees the light of day or not, wasn't important to me. I just wanted to tell a story. As added incentive, it puts my characters in the heart of the Texas music scene... between Austin and Galveston

Now there's a concept!

Do you remember crushing on an entertainer and wondering what it would be like to have him reciprocate those feelings? Have you ever wondered what would happen if that really happened?

My characters are finding out in Unchained Hearts

It seems back in the late 1980s Alana Cozins, at the age of 19, was in a safe marriage. Meaning she had married a someone she knew would rescue her from her current life. Anything had to be better than a dad walking out on you, a step-father abusing you and a brother whose life seemed to parallel both those characteristics.

Don Cozins is a good man. He's building his insurance company while letting Alana find out who she is in a safe environment. She loves to write and enjoys Top 40 country music. So she begins following the circuit and doing interviews. What she doesn't count on is crushing on Pieces of Eight lead singer, Trey Morison. He is one fine looking cowboy. And as she attends more and more of their shows, she feels as if Trey might feel the same way. It's the old Barbara Mandrell song, Married But Not to Each Other

About the time Alana discovers she is pregnant, Pieces of Eight disbands and the two lose touch.
But don't despair...
Fate will bring them back together. And this time, they are both free to explore the chemistry that has simmered for 25 years.

As I become one of those 'older readers', I find that although I enjoy reading about the twenty-something heroine, I'm not her and in today's world she's not easily relate able to me.  And I know I'm not the only one caught in this time continuum place.  So I wanted to write a story I would enjoy reading. And if somewhere down the line (yep, words from one of my favorite songs and the inspiration behind this story) it sees publication, that's just a bonus.

For now, after a passionate reunion between Alana and Trey, I have a shower scene to write.
Happy Nanoing!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Where am I?

Wow... other than guests popping in on occasion, I've really left this place in the dark. I've been writing, but not much fiction. Right now my passion is in resurrecting an old love... music. Specifically, working in the entertainment field. I've been doing interviews, reviewing albums and books. Most of who I work with on a daily basis are Texas entertainers, though every once in awhile a Nashville guest walks through the door.
If you'd like to check out this side of me, you'll find me almost daily at KellysCountry

The other area keeping me busy is freelance for Polymer Cafe magazine. I began working with their editor about three years ago with the occasional "The Last Word' column - more of an editorial style. It was a nice foot in the door for what is becoming more steady work with this editor. I love working with Polymer Cafe and this editor. I'm hoping to step through other doors under the Scott Publishing umbrella next year.

I have done some short fiction pieces for competitions and little things are pulling me back to the longer items I want to finish.

And then there is always NanoWriMo and JANO on the horizon.

I'll pop in here more regular over the closing of the year. 2013 will find me writing full-time and sharing it all with you.

What are you working on?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Spotlight Author - Bethany Aan

Today I'm honored to introduce you to a dear friend. Bethany and I began chatting on-line almost 20 years ago. I've watched her grow as both a person and an author. Her first release, Hearts of Ishira is the product of that growth. I hope you'll enjoy reading her book as much as I am.

Bethany has been a fan and a writer of romance, science fiction/fantasy, and erotic fiction for more than twenty years and is thrilled that the reading market has finally caught up to her love of all three so that she can share the stories she's always dreamed of writing.

Bethany Aan lives in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina with her husband and their dog, Loki. You can find her author's page on Facebook, follow her blog at, or keep up with everything at once by visiting

Q & A for Bethany Aan

1. What is the most difficult for you to write: Characters, conflict, emotions?
Believe it or not, the conflict is the hardest for me to write. My characters tend to tell me about themselves through their thoughts and actions. Emotions kind of come natural to me, for some reason. I’ve always been sensitive to emotions and very self aware of my own, so maybe that’s why. But conflict? I don’t like conflict. And I love my characters, so usually it’s hard for me to figure out who wants to hurt them, and why. I think that’s why my heroes and heroines rarely fight with each other… most of their struggles are internal, but the love is rarely in doubt. I like having them bond together and work towards defeating the big nasty, who or whatever that might be. 

2. If you could time travel would you go forward or backward?
That’s a tough one! I’d much rather be able to do both, to be honest. I’m just as interested in ancient history and the way people lived from day to day, as I am in what’s coming long after I’m ashes. 

3. You’ve been ‘at rest’ for awhile. What prompted you to jump back in with such a vengeance?
This is sort of a spiritual thing. I tried going back to college, and I did okay at first, but then things started happening that showed me that what I thought I wanted to do wasn’t right for me. So I changed majors, from Art Education to Entrepreneurship. I planned on opening my own bakery and cake decorating business, here in the small mountain town my husband and I live in.

The final straw was when both my rampant clinical depression and a severe chronic back pain issue flared at the same time. My depression meds stopped working and so did my back. That showed me that I wasn’t going to be able to do the cake decorating thing, as that’s a lot of hours on your feet and in weird positions. 

So I had a talk with the universe (my personal name for the almighty is Bish… He/She/It/Bob… ), and the universe told me to sit down, quit fighting it, and WRITE. I hadn’t been able to write much of anything in nearly 20 years, but when I finally stopped fighting ‘my destiny’, sat down and started writing… it just flowed out of me. It hasn’t stopped for much of anything, and I have several stories, a few novels, and an entire new world that is involved in an epic space opera. 

4. Tell us about your real life romance.
My real life romance… 
Well, the short version is that I was assistant manager at a bookstore. Sal came in to buy a box of Magic the Gathering booster packs. We started talking, I found out he liked Robert Jordan, and not even an hour before, my boss had told me to go ahead and put a special-ordered Robert Jordan book out. It was autographed, but the customer had never come to pick it up or pay for it.

We like to tell folks that I sold Sal a book he already had and we fell in love, but there’s so much more to it than that… as there is with any great love story. We’ve been together for 16 years this November, married for the past 5, and are more in love now than we were back then, if you can imagine!

When Arianna wakes on a strange planet, she is the only human able to communicate psychically with the big, sexy Thorsani warrior who rides in with his men to rescue the Earth women from their crashed space transport. The Thorsani, humanoid but descended from sentient cats eons ago, are also marooned on this planet they have named 'Ishira'.

Hunter and his brother Jace are Commander and lead physician of Ishira colony. When the captured women tumble into their lives, the small Earthlings turn the men's world upside down. The girls bring drama and heartache, laughter and light...not to mention the first opportunity for sex in more than ten years. And though she's the oldest of her group, Hunter and Jace find themselves drawn to the lovely, curvy Arianna.

For Ri and her ladies, their tumultuous new life takes a very interesting turn when they discover that the Thorsani way is to marry in teams of men...
“Then why did you cry out?” Jace thundered. “You scared ten lives out of me!”
“I… I’m sorry,” she muttered. “I just didn’t… I wasn’t expecting… “
She threw a helpless look at Hunter, who merely grinned hugely and offered no assistance whatsoever. The beast.
“Did not expect what?” Jace asked angrily, crossing his arms over his muscular chest.
“That,” Arianna pointed, then covered her flaming face with her hands. Hunter nearly doubled over with laughter.
Jace looked down at himself, where she was pointing, and found nothing out of the ordinary. 
“What?” he asked, throwing a bewildered look toward his brother.
“I do not think she has seen men of our… er… endowments before, brother,” Hunter chuckled. “We appear to be more impressive than the men of her world.”
“They’re huge!” Arianna cried, peeking once more before hiding her face again. They continued laughing until she threw a pillow at each one. “Oh, stop it!”
“Your face, little one!” Hunter laughed, leaning back against the wall. “It was as though you have never seen one before.”

5. This is the first book in a series. Can you give us a sneak peek into Book 2? 
It’s hard to pick one that doesn’t reveal too much from book one, but I’ll give it a shot!

Ri wandered around the large balcony, wondering if he was hiding from her. When she reached the sitting area, she saw that he had slept on the couch out there. Again. The restless energy that had made sleep almost impossible for him still lingered on his pillow. Caressing the spot where his head had left an indentation, Arianna shook her head. She knew that she was the cause of his restlessness, but wasn’t sure what to do about it. Well, that was a lie. She did know. She just didn’t want to admit it, to him or to herself. 

The simplest answer to their issue was the most obvious. She could just take him as her lover, as her third mate. His brothers would welcome him, since the five brothers had been a team long before Arianna had crash landed on Hunter’s world. Ri had touched Sean’s mind far out into space, guiding him home to Ishira, the world where Hunter had built their colony when his people were driven from their home planet. 

I want to thank Bethany for popping in today. 
Happy Reading

Thursday, August 23, 2012

We have a Winner!

Congratulations to Barbara Huddleston. She won the free eBook from Candace yesterday.

Thank you to everyone who stopped by and for Candace for taking time from her immensely busy schedule to answer a few questions.

I also encourage everyone who stopped by to check out the blogs of the commentors. They are all very talented authors. It's all about the networking ;-)

Happy Writing!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Get your Vamp on- with Candace Havens

I am happy to introduce you to today's guest. Candace Havens is an amazing woman with more energy than a power plant. I've been a part of her Write_Workshop Chat (yahoo) group for several years. She always provides us with top-notch workshops for FREE from people who've been there, done that. Her networking skills are a big part of her weaponry. See, when she's not writing an outstanding book with powerful characters, she's interviewing celebrities like George Clooney and Tom Cruise for her day job! Dang!

Here's her official bio: 

Bestselling author Candace Havens has written six novels for Berkley including, Charmed & Dangerous, Charmed & Ready, Charmed & Deadly, Like A Charm, The Demon King and I and Dragons Prefer Blondes. Her books for the Blaze line at Harlequin include Take Me If You Dare, She Who Dares, Wins, Truth and Dare, and The Model Marine. She is also in the anthology Spirited, and the proceeds go to help literacy. In addition to Take It Like a Vamp, she has the steampunk novels Iron Demon (Oct. 2012) and Iron Blood (April 2013) from the Maisy Clark series debuting with Entangled Publishing.

Her books have received nominations for the RITA's, Holt Medallion and Write Touch Reader Awards. Model Marine is a National Readers Choice Finalist. She is the author of the biography Joss Whedon: The Genius Behind Buffy and a contributor to several anthologies. She is also one of the nation's leading entertainment journalists and has interviewed countless celebrities including Tom Hanks, Nicolas Cage, Tom Cruise, George Clooney and many more.

Her entertainment columns can be read in more than 600 newspapers across the country. Candace also runs a free online writing workshop for more than 2000 writers, and teaches comprehensive writing class. She does film reviews with the Dorsey Gang on New Country 96.3, and is the President of the Television Critics Association.

Here's a sneak peek of 'Take It Like a Vamp':

Vampire Nick Christos might have been born in the Middle Ages, but those days seem tame compared to the last eight years spent ruling the Supernatural Council. The only respite in his long days of governing is with his sweet neighbor Casey Meyers. Sure, he’s forced to take a cold shower after every encounter, but no way will he risk anything more with a human. Not with his blood thirsty ex on the prowl and out to ruin Nick’s life. But when said crazy ex shows up at the ball and flies her freak flag high, Nick has more to worry about then keeping his hands off his neighbor. He’ll have to stay closer than ever if he hopes to keep her alive, but will she want to leave him forever when she learns the truth?

Today, Candace has graciously agreed to answer five questions from me. I hope you'll leave a comment as you just never know when Candace will pop in for a few moments to say Hi! Just for a moment of your time, you'll have the chance to WIN your very own copy of the eBook - Take It Like a Vamp

Let's check in with Candace...

 You weren’t excited about writing a vampire story at first. What was it about the story that changed your mind? And is there another already in the works? 
There is another one in the works, with the best friend Linc. I know that will make some Linc fans very happy. And I really did swear I would never write a vamp story. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good vampire stories. It just felt like they’d been so done. Then, my editor, Liz, made a suggestion and the story popped out of my head so fast. I’ve never had a book fall out of my brain like that. 

You have a very impressive release schedule over the next fourteen months. What started the ball rolling? And did you expect the giant snowball that has followed?
No, I didn’t expect it all. A couple of years ago I was wondering if I had what it took to survive the business. It can be heartbreaking at times. But there always seems to be a carrot when I’m at my darkest moment. The day after I thought about quitting, my fantastic editor, Kathryn at Harlequin Blaze, asked if I might be interested in writing for them. Then, last fall I was wanting to dive into something new and I ended up writing steampunk (Iron Demon (Oct 2012), Iron Blood (April 2013). A few months later the whole thing with the Vamp story came around. And in the midst of all of that, Harlequin asked if I would do another Marine story and be in a Christmas novella with Lori Wilde and Kathleen O’Reilly – I mean, they’re two of my favorite authors. It was like, why the heck are you even asking? Of course, I’ll do it. It’s been a little nuts but I wouldn’t trade any of it. Oh, and there’s another paranormal that I can’t talk about, that will probably be out in the next few months. Again that’s my Entangled editor’s fault. (Smile)

There’s nothing like a crazy ex to bring a little interest to any story. Was their anything about their past relationship that affected how Nick views things now?
Oh, he and Casey have trust issues. And that nasty ex brought that all to a head. Oh, Alvinia how we all love to hate you so. I think she really screwed with Nick’s idea of what a woman could be. That’s why Casey is so special to him. She has helped him see what a real relationship is all about.

It appears Nick isn’t the only one with the power behind Take It Like A Vamp. 
Would you please tell us about the Vamp Squad and their importance?

These are the most amazing group of people. They tweet, they facebook, they tell all of their friends about Take It Like A Vamp. I’m giving away prizes, but most of them don’t care about that. They just love the book so much they want everyone to know about it. How great is that? I’m so darn lucky and I know it. If I was Oprah, I’d buy them all a car. Some day, gang. Some day. (Smile) Oh, and no one has won the iPad3 yet, so there’s still time to join through my website.

You are one of the busiest people I know. What is your one best time management tip for writers who are serious about this journey?
Stop talking about it and do it. It’s after midnight. I’ve been up since 6 a.m. and I have another two hours of writing ahead of me. Sleep is for the lazy. (I’m only sort of kidding.) You have to make writing a priority or you’re never going to make it. 

Thanks so much for letting me hang out!!!!  Candy 

Thanks for being here, Candy. Now I'm off to write!
For the rest of you, if you've not done so yet, I encourage you to join the Vamp Squad. You're in for some very cool prizes just for helping a girl out!
You can also follow Candy on Twitter:  She's always looking for writer buddies to help keep her awake and writing.

Happy Reading!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Week of August 20th

Happy Monday, everyone!

I have 1 GOAL for this week. Rough out 3 contest entries.
The writers retreat last weekend was more about the stamping convention so I wasn't too upset with the fact that all I managed was an article for Polymer Cafe magazine. It's the first of three I have coming due so that's okay.

But the OCW contest deadline is coming up fast and I need to get my butt in gear. I may have found what to write about for the travel article category and I did get a thumbs up on a critique for one of the shorts. There's still time for you to submit something and/ or get in on the early registration for this awesome conference!

So my GOAL for this week:
1- paranormal short story
2 - My Favorite Things creative non-fiction
3 - 1 other short

Tomorrow, we have a very special guest so you won't want to miss her!
Keep Reading, Keep Writing!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Weekly Goal

Happy Monday, everyone.

Yes, I know I'm behind. The last post was about Bob coming home. I don't do a lot of computer time when he's home. I do the writing I need to do and that's it. He is the most important person in my life and when he's home, it's all about him. He truly is my hero.

That said, he leaves out tomorrow for his three weeks of playing riverboat Captain and I'll be back to my regular routine. Beginning Thursday I'll be spending four days with a friend from my Peoria crit group. We're looking forward to an intensive writing/ critique session - just us girls.

So tomorrow I'll work fast and furious on the rough draft of a paranormal/ time travel short story. Think the Ghost and Mrs. Muir. I love doing these kinds of stories. Part history and part contemporary, letting me play in both worlds. I'm planning to enter the story in the OCW competition. The deadline for entries is the end of this month and I have 'a few' I want to have done.

What are you working on?
Creative Blessings

Monday, July 23, 2012

Weekly Goals

Good morning everyone!
It feels good to not only be writing, but posting on a regular basis. Before I delve into what's on my plate for the week, I hope you'll stop by my friend Annie Bancroft's blog. I am her guest blogger and I'd love to see you over there! You'll find out 8 things you may or may not know about me, including which two authors I'd most love to chat at length with.

Bob comes home on Wednesday so I'm trying to get a jump on posts for the week. I've discovered the auto-post feature on blogger so I can write my posts the night before and set them to run the next morning while I enjoy coffee on the deck with my real-life hero.

Last week I was able to finish one of the contest entries for OCW. They're due the end of August. I also mapped out and researched for a second entry and know where I'm going with a third. My goal is to get the roughs of the contest entries out of the way so I can focus on the novel again for NanoCamp in August. Any of you participating?

Traditionally for Nano events you are supposed to write 50,000 words of a NEW piece. Well, for August I'm going rogue and hopefully finish the rough of my HonkyTonk Hearts target novel. I can't start something new right now. If I can get it finished then I'll reward myself with a whole new concept in November for the official NaNoWriMo2012.

Here's to another fabulous week on the writing journey.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Writer's Tip Thursday

Substitute “damn” every time you’re inclined to write “very;” your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be. ~Mark Twain

Did you know Samuel Langhorne Clemens took the name Mark Twain from his time as a river boat pilot?  Back then a line - or a 'twain' as it was called - was used as a depth finder as part of the navigation process. They would drop the line and when they had 12' of clearance they would 'mark the twain' - meaning 'clear to go'.

As a river boat Captain, I'm glad my husband has much more modern methods of navigating the river.

Monday, July 16, 2012

A Busy Week Ahead

Wow! Where does the time go?
Even though I've not been here, I've been trying to write while keeping up with my granddaughter. I honestly do not know how you published mom's do it! Seriously. My plans to write for 2 hours in the evening after she went to bed fell apart as I fell into bed. All I wanted was 30 minutes to unwind so I could go to sleep. She went back home on July 5th and I've been full steam ahead trying to catch up. I think I'm getting there.

This week I have several things to keep me busy. My blog posts ran well on last week (except for a couple) and this week is looking promising. Hey, it's still Monday!
Even though the list has been posted on the OCW website since April, I finally took a look at the contest entry opportunities yesterday. I didn't want my head working on potential story scenarios while I was trying to finish up other projects. I've chosen eleven possible categories to enter. Today, some of the seeds of ideas began sprouting.

Goal for this week: Rough draft 3 of the 11.

#1 - Write a 500 word piece of 'saleable' fiction. Easy enough. But the catch - Do NOT use any words containing the letter 'E'.  I tried this category last year. I wrote an 'Avatar' kind of story. It didn't place. This year, I think I'm going to play with a paranormal.

#2 - 1500 word Travel article. Write as if you were sending it to a reputable travel magazine. I admire the contest sponsor. As much as I love Texas, I think I'll stay out of his home state :-)

#3 - 2000  nostalgic short story about family life.

Friday, we'll check in on my progress.

Tomorrow would normally be Guest Blogger Tuesday. I've not had the opportunity to line anyone up so I'm taking tomorrow to kick-start these writing projects. I'll be back Wednesday to give you my perspective on the recent ORA Con and tell you about an AWESOME FREE writing course I'm taking. I hope you'll join me.

Happy Writing!

Friday, June 22, 2012

On the Road to ORA CON

I haven't had as much blogging time recently as I'd have liked. I thank all of you who've kept in touch while my life has been a bit busy.

I spent most of May trying to 'get ahead of the game' in preparation for our granddaughter's six-week visit. She's 4.5 and it's been a busy four weeks so far. She and I started out at a family wedding in OK and came home with horrendous head colds. Yeah... tending to a toddler who feels yucky when you feel just as yucky is not conducive to any writing. Since healing we've been trying to make up for lost time with gardening, blowing bubbles, reading books and making stuff. This six weeks is all about her.

I've barely had computer time to take care of email but it doesn't mean I haven't been writing. Well, if you count mental notes swirling through my brain like a tornado 'writing'. I've kept up with my weekly newspaper column, written a couple of feature stories and put together a workshop I'll be presenting to the Springfield Writers Guild the end of July.

I'm also beginning to get my brain back in the 'fiction' vein and anxious to finish some partial projects. For the past few months my brain has been on freelance overload, primarily with my music blog, Kellys Country. Aside from creating works of fiction, the country music industry has always been my freelance passion - primarily in traditional country and Texas music.

Today, my husband Bob, Adrian and I head for Springfield MO and the Ozarks Romance Authors Conference. They'll spend the next two days doing fun stuff around Springfield and enjoying the hotel pool while I network with some of the most amazing people in the business. ORA CON is the only time I get to visit with Leigh Michaels. I respect Leigh so much for her talent and how she does her job on a daily basis while dealing with personal stuff she has no control over. She is my hero and it's always a pleasure to visit with her.

Hopefully I can post a conference report while it's still fresh in my brain. But for now, it's time to wake up the Adrian, eat breakfast and hit the road!

Happy Writing!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Ozark Creative Writers Pricing Information

Ozark Creative Writers Conference
October 11-13, 2012
Best Western Inn of the Ozarks and Convention Center
Eureka Springs AR

I know I covered this conference in last week’s post but something was brought to my attention this morning and I wanted to share it with you. The only way to access Pricing Information is to begin the registration process HERE. Once you’ve filled in your information and clicked the SUBMIT button, you’ll be taken to the ‘payment’ page listing the prices. I think that’s a bit round-a-bout so wanted to post it here and make it easier for you to join me!

Registration only - $99.00
Registration + Friday Banquet - $121.00
Registration + Saturday Banquet - $123.00
Registration + Friday & Saturday Banquet - $145.00

These prices will be good through August 31, 2012.

On September 1, 2012 the Registration fee will increase to $125.00.

You can use Paypal or Credit / Debit Card. You may also register on-line but mail your payment to:
                    Lou Turner
                    2731 Cumberland Landing
                    St. Charles, MO 63303

I do recommend registering early, particularly if you’re going to purchase Banquet tickets for either night , as they go quickly.

If you want to sell books at the conference, the cost for ½ of an 8’ table is $20, $40 for a full table. Table spaces SELL OUT QUICKLY so make sure to register and reserve early.

Rooms at the conference site book fast. Many people stay at the Joy Motel across the street. I prefer staying on-site so that’s just a personal preference.


The Ozarks Romance Authors conference is coming up on June 23rd. There's still time to register, book your hotel room and schedule a pitch appointment.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Conference Info -Ozark Creative Writers

Many of you know this is my mandatory 'go-to' conference every year. I've been attending the Ozark Creative Writers conference since 1998. There would have to be a major catastrophe in my life for me not to go. For those of you who don't like to do math, this will be my fourteenth year. Aside from being an intimate conference (around 250 people) held in one of the most beautiful locations you'll find anywhere (just my opinion but it's my favorite city to relax in). I'm talking about Eureka Springs, Arkansas. A quaint little village packed with artsy vibe and ghostly history.

The conference is always held at the Best Western Inn of the Ozarks. Randy and his entire staff are always friendly and helpful, ensuring our stay is something we'll want to repeat. And trust me... I do. I travel to Eureka Springs for pleasure and Best Western Inn of the Ozarks is the only place I'll stay. Though I would like to stay at the Crescent Hotel just once :-)

Over the course of those years, I've met some amazing people. I've talked radio with western author Richard Wheeler. He was the first speaker I ever heard at OCW and I was so mesmerized by his talk, I couldn't take notes. Other authors such as David Marion Wilkins,  Sarah BirdMax McCoyDusty Richards  and Velda Brotherton have shared their wisdom and experiences with attendees. Do you know that cowboy has written over 100 western novels? And that he's been inducted into the Cowboy Hall of Fame? Actor/writer/producer Todd Allen even provided an entire day's worth of instruction one year.

Editors and Agents like Rhonda Penders of TheWildRosePress, Gary Goldstein, Senior Editor at Kensington and Cherry Weiner (she's coming back this year!)  have given precious time to help us on this path. Pitch sessions for the agents/ editors in attendance is always high on the list of things to do.

Aside from the affordable cost of the three-day event and beautiful surroundings, there are opportunities for you to enter a myriad of writing competitions - for the price of your conference fee. All the contests carry a cash prize and some offer critiques. This year they've added something new. Short-dated contests prior to the event that give everyone the opportunity to win a) their conference fee paid, b) Friday or Saturday night dinner ticket or c) 2-hr private lunch with editor or agent. The criteria for each of the prizes is different so you want to check out that link.

Right now, I'd love it if everyone reading this took out their datebook, circled October 11, 12, 13 in their datebook and planned to join me in Eureka Springs AR for the Ozark Creative Writers conference. You'll be glad you came!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

I have known Jen Nipps for almost fifteen years. I’ve watched her grow as a person and a talented author. So when I heard she had released a book for Kindle on the ins and outs of Twitter, I knew it was a must-purchase. Jen is thorough with her research and will never steer me wrong.

The book is called GET TWITTER-PATED!

Proudly wearing the crown of `Twitter Queen', Jen helps you focus on why you may want to tweet. Using hands-on techniques, she introduces you to the basics of opening a twitter account, proper netiquette for social media and much more. Along the way, she shares some of her tips for making the most of your new playground without spending all your time there. You'll learn how to properly use hashtags (#) and why they are important to your business, as well as how to network effectively. Getting twitter-pated is easy. Just ask the twitter queen! I encourage you to pick up your Kindle copy HERE.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The deadline is fast approaching for the Weta Nichols Writing Contest, hosted by Ozarks Romance Authors!!! Be sure to enter the first 3000 words of your novel, along with a summary paragraph (flap copy) to orient and hook the judges!

Categories are:

The best part is the final judges-- Lucienne Diver with the Knight Agency and Cori Deyoe with Three Seas Literary Agency! Both are looking for great new authors to expand their client list!
Details are available at

So go polish up your novel and submit before April 1st, 2012!!!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Conferences and Contests!

One of my GOALS for this blog was to keep you updated on conferences and contests you might want to be aware of. Most of what I share with you will come from personal experience or at least knowing the people involved.

There is a great 1-day FREE conference coming up March 10th in Fayetteville AR. Here are the details:

MARCH 10, 2012


9 a.m. Greetings from Dusty Richards
9:15 a.m. *Marilyn Collins*

*Get More for Your Money at Writers’ Conference *
Maximize your time and money when selecting regional or national writers’ conferences. Learn ways to save money, get more visibility for yourself and your books (or to-be books), and make more face time with speakers.

Learn to be “pitch perfect” during 10-minute sessions with publishers, editors, and agents. Consider 12 conference “Do’s,” smart ways to handle the spouse or friends who come with you, and much more. Great workshop for new conference attendees and experienced folks may learn new tricks as well.
Marilyn H. Collins is an award-winning author of nonfiction books and over 100 magazine/newspaper features.

10:30 a.m. *Doug Kelley *
*Adventures in Writing *
A career as a corporate pilot allowed Doug to visit many museums in researching his book, The Captain's Wife. He will speak about the adventures of his researches, and the adventures of writing in general.
As Jack London said, "You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club."
Website (goodreads) : Doug Kelley

11:30 a.m.
*The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pens: A Panel discussion *
*Linda Apple* Writing from the Soul, Speaking from the Heart. Author of Inspire: Writing from the Soul, Connect
Website: Linda Apple

*Ruth Weeks* writes it all from ghosts, cowgirls, rooks and ravens. Author of Soldiers From the Mist; The Rook and the Raven
Website: Ruth Weeks

*Claire Croxton* will rip your heart out and tickle your funny bone. Author of The Redneck Ex

*Pamela Foster* catapults the reader into the heart of her quirky, funny characters.
Author of Redneck Goddess

Don't tell anyone, but Jan Morrill learns the secrets of her characters, then shares them with her readers. Author of Broken Dolls
Website: Jan Morrill

12:15 - 1:30 Lunch $7.00

1:30 - 2:30 *Velda Brotherton*
Building Your Platform-Before and After Publication

Velda is an award winning author of numerous historical fiction and
nonfiction books, articles and short stories. Her latest releases are Wolf
Song and Stone Heart's Woman.

2:30 - 2:45 Break

2:45 - 3:45 *Dusty Richards* Writing 101

Dusty is an award winning author of more than 110 western fiction novels and numerous short stories and anthologies. His latest releases are:
Between Hell and Texas; Outlaw Queen
For further information email Dusty at or Velda at

Although I've not had the opportunity to attend the conference, one of the contests I enter every year is associated with the Arkansas Writers' Conference in Little Rock AR. The conference takes place the first weekend in June each year with some great literary speakers and a wide variety of contest categories to challenge you.

The contest categories are broken down into three divisions:
1) May enter categories 1-4 if you plan on attending at least one day of the conference
2) Open to all writers
3) Open to Arkansas residents only

#2 consists of 16 categories ranging from rhymed/ metered poetry to short stories and everything in between. Each carries it's own theme and requirements that must be met.

Here's the BEST part. You may enter AS MANY of the categories you are eligible to enter for ONE $10 bill! And all the categories offer a CA$H PRIZE for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place.

If you attend the conference, you'll receive your award during presentations. If not, they'll mail any certificates/ checks you have won usually within about two weeks after the conference.

Some people ask me why I bother with these types of contests if they aren't going to garner the attention of an editor or an agent. I have two reasons.
1) These give me the opportunity to flex my writing muscles with things I might not normally play with. To try out new ideas to see if they'll fly before I work on a full-blow project
2) Cash. Padding the writer resume with contest wins doesn't hurt, but padding the bank account has it's own rewards.

I'm working on getting better about posting here. I've just been busy .... writing :-)

Creative Blessings!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Looking good!

I spent yesterday getting caught up on the net stuff I'm responsible for. Boy was that a long day. Today I've updated my blogs (5 counting this one) and am set to start working on the WIP. Updating my Country Angel blog helped get me in the spirit. The nominations for the 10th Annual Texas Music Awards are posted so I had to research some of the nominees. Great talent in Texas. Feel privileged to be a part of that community.

Now I get to spend the rest of the evening writing about cowboys, Texas music, dance halls and good ole' boys. Man being a writer is AWESOME!

How's your day going? Writing? What's your current project?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Year - New Goals... sort of

You know that saying... 'the best laid plans...' well, mine got waylaid right off the bat. With everything in place to start my week off on the right foot, I started new years eve off with a head cold. I've spent the last 2 days medicated and sleeping in hopes of knocking it out fast. Today is better. I might actually stay up all day. I need to step right into those GOALS I want to talk about.

With the new day planner all set, I know what needs to be done on specific days... items aside from the DAILY writing on my current WIP.

My Writing GOALS:
1. Write every day on the current WIP
2. Push the Freelance writing - focusing on Texas music and paper arts
3. Work actively on at least 1 non-fiction book.
4. Keep the blogs updated and Twitter more.

My Personal GOALS:
1. Make time for my art. It's not frivolous if it's important to me.
2. Spend more time outside enjoying my 25 acres
3. Spend time on the Wii Fit every day (as soon as I'm over this cold)
4. Make and Keep Artist Dates
5. Read all the books on my read/pass on bookcase so I can get my keepers out of storage!

Those should keep me out of trouble for the year.
What are your GOALS?