Tuesday, January 26, 2016

CURRENT PROJECT - The Case of the Missing Flash Drive

Today is January 26th. Bob left about 11 a.m. for his 21 days. I've not written more than about 8k on my JANO project. My last opportunity to add words was last Thursday while Bob was at a lodge meeting.

And that is the last time I've seen the flash drive.

We have hunted the three main areas of the house the office stuff has been shifted to over the weekend... without any luck. I know the FD is in this house. I've not written away from home so that little piece with tons of info is here somewhere.

But I'm not going to stress.

I could waste the last six days of JANO2016 trying to find it and not getting any writing done. I don't see the point.

Instead, I am focusing on writing as much of that 50,000 words over the next 6 days. That's only about 8400 words per day.

Bob is gone, I have my own schedule and sleep is over-rated.

At the end of the week I will have earned the title of my book..

How Do You Like Me Now?

Monday, January 25, 2016


Last week, I introduced you to VJ Schultz's new book, How to Eat an Elephant - 2016 I also listed my 'writing' goals.

1 - Finish rough drafts of two manuscript series'
2 - Polish A Christmas to Remember
3 - Submit more freelance

Once you've determined your Elephant and carved him up into sections (my 1, 2, 3 above), it's time to cut him into even smaller pieces. This is done by determining what you will do each month.

Write rough of Book 2 in the Branson series (JANO)
Query Writers Markets for potential freelance
List potential topics for Writers Digest articles

From there, we cut those marinated pieces up into 'bites' we can manage on a WEEKLY basis:
Week 1& 2 were a wash for me.
With Bob gone over the holidays, we have spent the first two weeks of the year celebrating Christmas and being together (thus the reason these blog posts on goals are a tad later than I'd have liked)

Week 3: I submitted 2 queries to the Songwriters Market (Writers Digest publication) and am waiting to hear if either have been accepted.
1 - Key ingredients to a hit song.
     With that topic in mind I've already contacted management for three artists and gotten approval
     for interviews
2 - Using Twitter for marketing

I still haven't started the JANO book. Yikes! There are only 14 days left!(I'm writing this on the 18th) I wrote the rough of Somewhere Down the Line in 18 days so I COULD do this but it's going to be tough. That said, nothing is more important than the time I spend with Bob. Even if it means not writing. He is only home one more week. Two nights of that he'll be gone and I can dive into writing the story swirling in my head. After he leaves, I'll have 5 days to write myself into a coma. :-)

Have you picked up your copy of How to Eat an Elephant? There's still time you jump in and set your goals to paper.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

AMERICAN MAIL-ORDER BRIDE - Lucie - Bride of Virginia

I am so excited for the next book I'm showcasing in the American Mail-Order Bride series. A bit of history - Tennessee was a 'divided' states during the Civil War. In fact, there is a park on the west side of the city with the division markers.

Today, we welcome author, Heidi Vanlandingham with her book, Lucie - Bride of Tennessee.  If you need a refresher in where these girls originated and what put them on this journey to find husbands, you can read the free prequel HERE.

Here's how Lucie's story began:
I attended RT and met Kirsten and a bunch of other wonderful PH authors. Kirsten asked Callie Hutton if she wanted to be a part of AMOB and Callie graciously asked if I could be a part of this fantastic group too. Kirsten said I already was, which floored me. I needed that gigantic boost of confidence. I chose Tennessee because of the state’s beauty. I’ve been there many times, driving to and from Virginia (where my mother is from) and fell in love with Chattanooga.

To protect her brother, Lucie Croft becomes a mail-order bride. For his daughter, Sebastian McCord decides to take a wife.

Two people overwhelmed by life…

Will they find love and create a family where there was none, or will life conspire to keep them apart?


Lucie’s gaze moved from the sheriff’s to Mr. McCord’s then back with a slight frown. “Sheriff, you said you needed to discuss something with me about my intended?” She tried to control the shivers taking control of her body.

He gave her a short nod. “All right, ma’am. I came to tell you Mr. Crenshaw was found dead this morning. I would’ve been by the station sooner, but my deputy didn’t come across your letter until about an hour ago.”

She stared, unable to move. Her lungs refused to take in air as despair filled her heart. “What are we going to do now?” she whispered, grabbing for her brother’s hand. The room darkened; the men’s faces in front of her blurred. The small shivers turned to more pronounced shakes. She let out a small cry as she fell to the floor.

Heidi Vanlandingham writes young adult & adult paranormal as well as historical fiction. She lives in Oklahoma--a lone female in a house of males. Because her muse has a touch of OCD, when she’s not writing, devouring a book, or playing baseball mom, Heidi loves going to antique & vintage stores, taking long walks, and even longer road trips.

AMERICAN MAIL-ORDER BRIDE - Lucie - Bride of Tennessee is available on Kindle

Heidi is giving away a FREE copy of Trail Of Hope.  To enter, please leave a comment below telling us why you are looking forward to reading Lucie's story and your email so we may contact you in the event that you win. Good Luck!

You can catch up with Heidi on her:
and Social Media:

Monday, January 18, 2016


At our Sleuth's Ink Christmas party back in December, I sat next to a like-minded member of our group, V.J. Schultz. VJ had several copies of her new adult coloring book available and a sole copy of How to Eat an Elephant 2016 (available on Amazon). 

I love journals and I have been setting goals for years. I'm also a very visual person so having hard copies of things is mandatory for me.

The next day, I sat down with the journal and thought about what I want from 2016. Did you know the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time? I think deep inside we all know that smaller bites are easier to digest yet we still have a habit of biting off more than we can chew. 

In How to Eat an Elephant, VJ suggests focusing on no more than three goals. Well, I took slightly bigger bites and focused on THREE AREAS I want to work on this year.

My Elephants are:
1 - Author 
2 - Creative
3 - Health

Here's what My Elephant Goals for 2016 page looks like:

#1 - Author Goals
Finish rough drafts of two manuscript series'
Polish A Christmas to Remember
Submit more freelance

These are the goals I'll focus on for this blog

#2 - Creative Goals
Participate in more creative challenges
Keep up with All Occasion Card Challenge (I host this one)
Keep up with Christmas Card Challenge

#3 - Health
Get my health in check before serious issues arise
Build an exercise routine I can live with

Once you establish your Elephants, VJ walks you through Month by Month, Week by Week, Day by Day.

Next Monday, I'll show you what my January Goals have been and how I've broken them down into manageable bites.

In the mean time, please check out my review of How to Eat an Elephant on Amazon.

I hope you'll share your GOALS for 2016

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

AMERICAN MAIL-ORDER BRIDE - Katie - Bride of Virginia

This week we continue our journey with the American Mail-Order Bride stories with a stop in Virginia where we meet Katie, courtesy of Sylvia McDaniel. You can refer to the FREE Prequel HERE

Here's how Katie's story came to be:
Last summer at the 2014 RWA (Romance Writers of America) Conference, one of my goals was to meet Kirsten Osbourne. As a writer I was impressed with how quickly she had risen as a star in the western historical genre of romance. I met her there and asked her to be in a box set with me, Merry Farmer, Callie Hutton and Caroline Clemmons. That was how our box set, Wild Western Women was created. This year at the 2015 RWA  conference, Kirsten came up with the idea for the American Brides series and sent me a Facebook message asking me if I would like to participate. It sounded like such a wonderful idea and I immediately said yes.

The reason I chose Virginia was because I love the scenery and knew that it was one of the original colonies. Those thirteen colonies are where our great country was created and I thought it would be fun to write about a state that I had visited. 

A disastrous factory fire ends Katie Mavericks livelihood and she must find something quick. Convinced to become a mail-order bride, she receives an offer of marriage from Daniel OMalley.

Only Daniel isnt the one who put the ad in the Grooms’ Gazette. His business partner, secretly placed the ad in Daniel's name. When Katie arrives, a surprised Daniel agrees to marry her with the idea she could help make his life easier and still the gossip surrounding the death of his wife.

Hes unprepared for the way the bubbly girl from Massachusetts eases his loneliness. Not only is she helpful, she’s breaking through the walls he’s erected around his heart. Troubled by the suspicious vandalizing suddenly occurring in the vineyard, Daniel wonders if things might not be as good as they seem. Is it only coincidental that the damage to his winery coincides with Katie’s arrival?

Could this sweet, innocent woman and his dead wife share a common goal to destroy him?

Daniel gazed at his friend wondering about his message. "You said it was urgent."

It is," Frank said. "I may have overstepped the boundaries of our friendship."

Daniel frowned. Frank had helped him when the vineyard needed money. They were close friends. 
”What did you do?"

"I ordered you a mail-order bride."

For a moment, Daniel sat stunned. "What?"

The memory of his last wife was still too painful to think about and Frank had found him a mail-order bride. Was he crazy?

"A wife. You're alone and after what happened to Eloise, I feared you would never even look at a woman again. So I ordered you a bride."

His fists clenched. "You're right. You did overstep the boundaries. What makes you think I would even consider marrying again?"

For a moment, Frank didn't say anything. "A woman is arriving on the noon train today from Lawrence, Massachusetts. She thinks you ordered her."

"Then I suggest you marry her or you send her back, because I'm not getting married."

Sylvia McDaniel is a best-selling, award-winning author of western historical romance and contemporary romance novels.  Known for her sweet, funny, family-oriented romances,  Sylvia is the author of The Burnett Brides, Lipstick and Lead Series, Scandalous Suffragette Brides, The Cuvier Widows, and several short contemporary romances.

You can catch up with Sylvia McDaniel by following any of the following links:
Sign up for Sylvia’s Newsletter
Visit Sylvia’s Website
Follow Sylvia on twitter
Join Sylvia on Facebook

You can write to Sylvia at P.O. Box 2542, Coppell, TX 75019 or visit her web site. 

Monday, January 11, 2016

First Full Week of 2016

I am so excited about my first full week of 2016 in the new office! So many things I want to do and to share.

Wednesday, Sylvia McDaniel introduces us to her book in the American Mail-Order Bride series.

Next week will kick off a couple of changes in the Studio so I hope you'll join me.

Love Always

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

AMERICAN MAIL-ORDER BRIDE - Alice - Bride of Rhode Island

While the weather back east is usually horrid this time of year, we have pleasant weather for our trip to Rhode Island, where we meet Kristy McCaffrey and her American Mail-Order Bride, Alice. You can read the FREE Prelude to how this series first began, HERE.

Here's how Alice's story came to be:
My participation in the 50-book American Mail-Order Brides series is the first time I’ve collaborated in a multi-author project and it was a wonderful experience. When I joined the project, most of the western states had been spoken for—not an unexpected outcome since many of the participating authors are western romance writers. Because I couldn’t lean on my research of the American southwest (where my other books are set), I opted for an eastern state. I chose Rhode Island because it’s my eldest daughter’s favorite place and she seriously considered attending college in Providence. Although I’d visited the state a few times, I knew little of the history. I immediately downloaded three history books to my Kindle and set about to familiarize myself with the area.

Although I’d hoped to somehow incorporate a lighthouse into the tale (my daughter’s dream is to live in one), what I found most interesting was the fishing industry—specifically the menhaden fish. So my hero, James Martel, runs a fishing fleet while still nursing a great resentment against the man who stole his father’s business years earlier. It just so happens that unbeknownst to my heroine, Alice Endicott, she’s about to inherit that very business when she turns twenty-one. James marries her solely to gain her inheritance. Will true love prevail? I hope you’ll read Alice: Bride of Rhode Island to find out.

Alice: Bride of Rhode Island is thirteenth in the unprecedented 50-book American Mail-Order Brides series.

Fleeing her stepfather and an arranged marriage in Newport, Alice Endicott finds work as a seamstress at the Brown Textile Mill near Boston. When a devastating fire destroys the factory, she and all the girls face dire unemployment circumstances. But hope arrives when their manager, Roberta McDaniel, shares the Grooms’ Gazette with them. Each woman will choose a husband and become a mail-order bride. As Alice’s friends—Lottie, Leora, Judith, Beth, Lessie and Josie—embrace the idea, she too becomes caught up in the excitement of a grand new adventure.

When fisherman Frank Martel contacts her, Alice can’t pass up the opportunity to return to Rhode Island despite her stepfather’s presence. Upon arriving at the train station in Tiverton, however, Frank neglects to meet her.

James Martel is shocked to find a woman at the rail depot claiming to be his brother’s fiancĂ©e. Even more surprising is her connection to a man who ruined James’ father years before. When Frank confesses that he can no longer wed Alice, James steps forward to fill the role since the beautiful young woman holds the key to avenging the Martel name.

Can Alice convince her new husband that their marriage is worth saving once she discovers his subterfuge? And will James learn that love is more important than revenge?

A sweet romance set in 1890 America.

Alice paced near the tiny fireplace, female chatter from the kitchen beckoning. Making up her mind, she moved to the entrance where her friends were preparing supper.

“I have a dilemma,” she announced.

Judith looked up from the table, blowing wisps of reddish brown hair from her face as she ceased the chopping of two large heads of cabbage. They’d been lucky to purchase them with the rationing of funds from Lottie’s betrothed. Samuel Cooke had kept them fed when few resources were left to them; Lottie was lucky to have found a good man.

Beth stopped at the edge of the table, the pot in her hand poised mid-air. “What’s wrong, Alice?”
“I need to make a decision. I need everyone’s help.” Alice held out a letter.

Leora gasped. “Did you get a response from Mr. Hughes?”

Alice shook her head.
Leora crossed the room, took the missive from Alice, and began reading it. Finally, she raised her gaze, her dark eyes pools of concern. “I don’t understand. Who is Frank Martel?”

“I received this letter nearly a week ago,” Alice said. “He learned of our predicament through business channels and sought me out. I’ve yet to hear from Mr. Hughes in Iowa.” Alice paused, seeking to quiet her nerves. She was both distressed and excited. Taking a deep breath, she continued, “In fact, I’m beginning to wonder if I ever will. And this Mr. Martel shows great promise.”

Judith frowned. “Has he proposed?”

Alice plastered a half-smile onto her lips. “Yes.”

Silence engulfed the room.
“This sounds very untoward,” Leora said quietly.

“I know what you’re thinking.  I thought the very same thing. So I took the letter to Miss McDaniel.” Roberta McDaniel had been their manager at the Brown Textile Mill until it had burned down a month ago. In her efforts to help all the unmarried women in her employ, she’d encouraged them to consider the possibility of becoming mail-order brides. To that end, she’d instructed the girls to choose a husband from the Grooms’ Gazette, an advertisement of prospective grooms. “She contacted the matchmaker responsible for her sister’s happy union—I believe her name is Elizabeth Miller—and they both investigated. Frank Martel passed inspection.”

“Why would you change your mind?” Beth asked. “You liked that Mr. Hughes. I think you should wait.”

“How much longer can any of us delay?” Alice asked, panic rising in her voice. “We’re running out of money. In no time at all, we won’t be able to put food on the table. If I accept, it not only helps me, but all of you. The less people in the house, the better.”

American Mail-Order Bride - Alice- Bride of Rhode Island is available on Kindle Unlimited.

Kristy McCaffrey writes historical western romances set in the American southwest. She and her husband dwell in the Arizona desert with two chocolate labs named Ranger and Lily, and whichever of their four children that are in residence. Kristy believes life should be lived with curiosity, compassion, and gratitude, and one should never be far from the enthusiasm of a dog. She also likes sleeping-in, eating Mexican food, and doing yoga at home in her pajamas.

To find out more about Kristy McCaffrey, visit her social media sites:

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