Friday, November 23, 2018

WRITER'S TIP THURSDAY - on Friday - Fran Thomas


I am thankful for all the authors who've shared their time and stories with me this year.

Fran's tip is all about finding your best writing time.

What works for me is to write first thing in the morning. If I allow myself to check email or look at Facebook, I usually don't get anything accomplished on my book that day.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

WEDNESDAY REVIEW - The Lady Is A Mayor - Fran Thomas

When Geneva Porter finds herself interim Mayor in the wee hours of the morning, lack of sleep becomes part of pattern. Once incident after the other make for sleepless nights and lots of coffee.
One reason for loss of sleep is her attraction to property developer, Seth Connor. Aside from being drool-worthy, he is also wreaking havoc in her small Florida community of Calusa.  He brings the promise of bringing her precious home town back from the edge of bankruptcy. The promise divides the town between business owners who see the advantages and the garden club ladies wanting to protect an orchid species on the brink of extinction.

Fran Thomas brings the Yankee Hero and the Southern Heroine together early in the story and keeps them working together for common ground both in their business and personal relationship. This novella was a quick, enjoyable read. I look forward to Book 2 in this series.


You can purchase your copy of THE LADY IS A MAYOR at: 

Tuesday, November 20, 2018


Today, I'm shining the final spotlight of 2018 on Fran Thomas

Let's get to know Fran:

Fran Thomas was born in Pittsburgh. She never intended to live in Florida, but Fate had other plans for her. She resides with her husband on an island in the Gulf of Mexico and spends her time observing its quirky denizens and their antics.

Thank you for joining me today in The Writers’ Studio. Let’s get started!

Here's My Five:

I’ always asked ‘where do you get your ideas’. So, where do you get yours?

For a time, I was the editor of the local newspaper. That job was an excellent source of ideas. Some of the events in my Calusa Town Tales actually did happen. I just twist them ever so slightly for dramatic or comic effect.

Which comes first, the story, the characters, or the setting?
In this case, the setting. The books are set on an island strangely similar to where I live, but the names of landmarks, of course, are changed.

Which of your heroines most represent you, or the ‘you’ you’d like to be? Why?
Geneva, the Mayor of Calusa, is most like me. As the title indicates, she is ladylike; however, she also likes to be in charge.

What is the single most important part of writing for you?
The most important part for me is finally finishing a book. I had seven or eight stories that I started and never figured out how to finish.

What’s the most romantic thing a guy can do (or has done) for you?
The most romantic thing to me is being listened to. I go off on tangents sometimes about music or some idea I’ve come up with, and my husband, bless him, acts as if what I’m telling him is interesting, whether it is or not.

Here are the THREE additional Fran chose:

How long have you been writing - have you always wanted to be a writer?

I actually started writing when I was in fourth grade. Getting published took a lot longer. The first time I earned money from writing was in 1995.

If money were not an object, where would you most like to travel?
I have always wanted to eat and mostly drink my way across Italy. Oh, I guess I’d take in some art and architecture while I was there.

City Girl or Country Girl
In spite of the fact that I have lived on a rural island in Florida for 20 years, at heart I am still a city girl. When I moved here from Pennsylvania, I spent the next year applying to jobs all over the country. None of them panned out, so I’m still here.

Let's talk about your book - THE LADY IS A MAYOR

Economy versus ecology
When the mayor of Calusa takes off in the middle of the night after emptying the bank account, Geneva Porter is left with the job of keeping the small, Florida town afloat. All she has to do is convince its quirky citizens to play nice. And keep her distance from the swoon-worthy hotel mogul.

Northern property developer Seth Connor thinks he’s found the perfect town for his new hotel. The gorgeous lady mayor is an added bonus. Half of the citizens are thrilled by his project, but the other half is determined the hotel isn’t going to happen. He is not about to take no for an answer from the town or from Geneva.


A puff of air shuffled the financial statements. Both women turned as the outer door opened and a tall, athletic man walked in. He wore gray, pinstriped pants, a crisp white shirt with the sleeves rolled up to reveal forearms dusted with blond hair, and a red power tie.

“Good morning, ladies,” he said, flashing a smile worthy of any dentist commercial.

The women greeted him in unison.

“Maybe you can help me out,” the blond man continued, his hazel eyes fixed on 
Geneva’s face. “My name is Seth Connor. I know I don’t have an appointment, but do you think your boss could possibly see me for a few minutes?”

“Our boss?” Geneva echoed. Her cheeks pinked at Seth’s stare, but she held his gaze.

“You mean the mayor?” Patsy asked. “You’re looking at her.”

“You’re the mayor of Calusa?” Seth asked, glancing from Patsy to the remains of the Crunchy-Creamy pastry still on her desk.

“No, sir, I’m not. She is. Meet Geneva Price.”

Geneva stood and extended her hand. Her slender fingers were enveloped in his. She took a steadying breath to regain her composure.

“Acting mayor. And as it happens, I can spare you some time,” she said. 

Fran is giving away a FREE copy of a short story, GIRLS OF THE MONTH to everyone who signs up for her newsletter. You can do that by going HERE a POP-UP should appear for you to fill out. (Note: If you have a pop-up blocker in place, then email Fran - address on her sidebar - and ask to sign up)

You can purchase your copy of THE LADY IS A MAYOR at: 

You will find Fran Thomas at these Social Media locations:

Monday, November 19, 2018


I know I'm way behind on getting this up. The conference was over a month ago. I came home and spent the first week just not doing much of anything. Then the second week a sinus infection moved in and I've been pretty much inactive since. Thankfully, as we move closer to the holidays I'm finally feeling like prepping for celebrations.

I shared a table with Tierney James. My half was ready for Christmas. Along with my books, I had a crystal dish of mini Hershey Chocolates wrapped in bands of Christmas scrapbook paper - the cut offs from the booklets I made to give away. Those are in the cherry-wood box on the far right. I made a booklet similar to THESE found on Frances Thomas' blog.

The booklets were approx. 3" x 4" when closed. I had copies of my the front and back covers of the book printed on gloss business card cardstock at Office Depot. I placed the cover on the front, the back on the inside front then my social media links mat on the back. The inside right formed a diagonal pocket to hold a tea bag.

The folks at Bigelow Tea were kind enough to work with me in creating my promo piece. I purchased three of their Seasonal Gift Boxes, giving me a wide variety of holiday tea flavors to tuck inside.

Bigelow Seasonal Tea Gift Box

I also offered the chance to win a tea pot/ cup/ saucer set when people signed up for my newsletter. 

I had the honor of speaking this year. I presented a workshop on Social Media - Choosing Your Top 3. I still want to put that into a workbook to have available some time after the first of the year.  I received great comments on the workshop though I felt rushed. 

Ozark Creative Writers board bring in top of the list speakers. 

Our keynote was the extremely talented Tess Gerritsen. Tess is as down-to-earth as you will ever find on the New York Times Bestselling list of authors. 
We were also enriched to have NY agent Doug Grad (Doug Grad Literary Agency

For entertainment, there is Open Mic on Thursday night, performer on Friday night then the Awards Banquet on Saturday. 

This year's Friday entertainment was Tessa Kate (2014 American Idol contestant).

The highlight of the conference, for me was the opportunity to remember a dear friend, and OCW board member, Dusty Richards:

Courtesy of

After dinner on Friday night, several of us sat in a circle and shared memories. Here is Casey Cowan proudly wearing one of Dusty's Stetson hats. Dusty thought of Casey as a son.

My last visit with Dusty and his wife Pat was during the premiere of PAINTED WOMAN - inspired by his 150th novel, The Mustanger and the Lady. We met up in Poteau OK. I felt honored sitting with this couple as we watched the adaptation of his book come to life. You can see my write-up about that weekend HERE on my CountryAngel blog

Afterwards, we gathered at the local Western Sizzlin to celebrate his 85th birthday - the last he would see. Though I have photos very similar to these, I can't locate them. These pictures were taken by the movie photographer, Priscilla Tran. 

Dusty's dual celebration cake

Screen Shot 2017-11-16 at 11.24.51 PM
Dusty with Painted Woman writers
Amber Lindley and James Cotten 

No conference is complete without food. Years of experience at OCW have shown the best food is a buffet. The plated stuff tends to become rubbery by the time you sit down to eat and who wants 'rubber chicken'?  The buffet provided by the catering at Inn of the Ozarks has something for everyone.

Saturday also offers a carving station of ham and beef roast. 

Finally, here's a few shots of people I look forward to meeting up with every year. Some I only see at OCW:

I hope you'll plan now to join us at the 53rd Annual Ozark Creative Writers Conference next year. 
Jodi Thomas is our keynote! I adore Jodi. She is a talented author and a pleasure to visit with. 

Tomorrow, I shine the spotlight on Fran Thomas. Come by and say hello!