Friday, August 15, 2014

Oklahoma Authors, Love and A Cursed Doll

Many of you know that hubby and I lived in Oklahoma for about eighteen months. I think Oklahoma must be one of the most interesting states in our country. It oozes creativity and authors. I loved it.

While there, I had the opportunity to participate in a series of novellas with the recurring theme of a cursed Scrimshaw doll. The curse began in the late seventeenth century when a father feared his daughter’s betrothed would betray her. A gypsy attempted to hex the girl with this spell: All those who betray you will suffer. Only true love can break the curse. Unfortunately, the curse went into the doll the daughter held, and has been passed on for centuries.

All our stories are written in various genres and all stand alone. They were published by The Wild Rose Press as individual releases, but we’re excited that they have been released in two boxed sets.

If you ever have an opportunity to write a series with a group of writers, go for it. It's a learning experience but loads of fun. We hope you enjoy our Scrimshaw Doll series!

Volume 1: Cursed includes:
Pirate’s Proposal – Diana Layne
The English Lily – Kae Elle Wheeler
Trail of Hope – Heidi Vanlandingham
Fading Rose – Tamrie Foxtail
The Last Daughter – Jessica Ferguson


Volume 2: Burdened includes:

The Color of Betrayal – Kathy L. Wheeler
Thicker Than Water – Alicia Dean
Skinbound – Anna Kittrell
Tessa’s Treasures – Callie Hutton
The Bone Bride – Tamrie Foxtail

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

IWSG: Rejection and Encouragement

Today is IWSG day-the first Wednesday of each month. IWSG stands for Insecure Writers Support Group and was founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Our purpose is to share and encourage.  You can follow other IWSG members here or on twitter using the hashtag #IWSG. We also have a Facebook page.

I submitted a mini-mystery about three months ago to Woman's World magazine, and received the rejection a week or so ago. I felt so certain it might find a home with them. We never know, do we? But I think it's good to feel positive about our work. It makes it a little harder when the rejection comes but still ... maybe next time. Hope some of you are getting acceptances instead of rejections.

I can't think of a better way to encourage you than to share Cindi Myers' newsletter with you.

Every year Cindi attends the annual Romance Writers of America conference and comes home to share market info with her readers. As usual, she allows us to pass the info on to our blog readers too. I think that's incredibly generous of her so invite you to check out/subscribe to her blog HERE

This week Cindi is spotlighting St. Martin's Press.  Read on:

The Spotlight on St. Martin’s Press was presented by Publisher Jennifer Enderlin, Associate Publisher Ann Marie Talberg, Associate Editor Rose Hilyard, Executive Editor Monique Patterson and Associate Editor Eileen Rothschild. St. Martin’s publishes all formats and all kinds of fiction. They produce three to four romances a month in hardcover, trade paperback or mass market formats. In addition to the editorial staff, they have an 11 person marketing team. All the St. Martin’s romance editors will accept queries from unagented authors.

Jennifer Enderlin began by talking about “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Publishers”:
1. They know their authors are a resource. They want the author’s feedback on covers, marketing, etc.
2. They are not slaves to trends. Once you identify a trend, it’s over.
3. They do not give up quickly.
4. They know they are working with an author. It is not a case of ‘us vs. them’ but ‘we.’
5. They understand we live in a global world, and take a global approach to marketing and publishing.
6. They listen to editorial passion. If an editor is passionate about a project, they will take a chance.
7. They have fun. They are readers and book lovers who are excited about their work.

Ann Marie Talberg is a former bookseller and romance buyer for Waldenbooks. She oversees the Heroes and Heartbreakers website and St. Martin’s ebook original program and welcomes romance submissions of both novels and novellas for the ebook program, and short stories for the website. Find out more details about Heroes and Heartbreakers here.

Monique Patterson is interested in all kinds of romance, except sweet and inspirational. She’d also like to see some high concept commercial women’s fiction, and she’s open to contemporary fantasy with strong romantic elements. She also edits some literary fiction. She loves paranormal romance and is still buying it. She prefers a snail mail submission of a query, synopsis and first three chapters of the book.

Ellen Rothschild is actively building her list of authors. She loves Alpha heroes, redemption stories and “quirky, sassy, interesting heroines.” She’d love to see a contemporary trilogy about brothers. She’s open to all sub-genres of romance except historical romance. She prefers an email query.

Rose Hilyard is open to submittions of all kinds of romance, including sweet romance, Young Adult, New Adult, women’s fiction, and erotic romance. Her favorite books are either really sexy or really sweet. She loves historical romance, and she’d love to see more Christmas books in all sub-genres. She accepts both email and snail mail queries.

The editors did not give out their email addresses at the workshop, however, the standard form for email there seems to be
********************************, the online short story magazine for science fiction stories, is closed to submissions until October 1. The magazine is separate from Tor Books, the publisher, which remains open to both agented and unagented submissions.
Eldritch Press is seeking steampunk horror stories for an upcoming anthology, Lost Worlds. Stories may be up to 17,500 words and should focus on post-prophetic or end-times scenarios in which the world has been reconstructed with mechanized curiosities and steam power. Payment is 6 cents a word and the deadline for submissions is December 30, 2014. Find all the details here.

Thank you Cindi Myers. Readers, for more about Cindi and her books, check out her websites here and here. And good luck with your submissions!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

IWSG - Encouraging Quotes

Today is IWSG day-the first Wednesday of each month. IWSG stands for Insecure Writers Support Group and was founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Our purpose is to share and encourage.  You can follow other IWSG members here or on twitter using the hashtag #IWSG. We also have a Facebook page.

I thought I'd share some encouraging quotes today. Maybe these ten will give you something to think about.  If you find one that speaks to you, share how and why.

1) No masterpiece was ever created by a lazy artist.~ Anonymous

2) You can do anything, but not everything. ~Anonymous

3) Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success. ~Dale Carnegie

4) Don't let the fear of losing be greater than the excitement of winning. ~Robert Kiyosaki

5) Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don't wish it were easier, wish you were better. ~Jim Rohn

6) It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see. ~Anonymous

7) If you want to achieve greatness stop asking for permission. ~Anonymous

8) Things work out best for those who make the best of how things work out. ~John Wooden

9) To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong. ~Anonymous

10) Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it. ~Maya Angelou

I'm afraid numbers 4 and 9 really say a lot about me. Way too often, I give in to my fear and let it control me. I need to get a tattoo that reads lose the fear! Unfortunately, I FEAR needles!

Do you have a favorite quote that says a lot about you? Share!

Saturday, June 14, 2014


The Greater Detroit RWA 2014 Booksellers Best Award announced the finalist for their annual contest, and guess what! The Last Daughter is one of them! If you remember, in my previous post, I wondered if I would ever write again so this is just the shot of encouragement I need to MAKE time. Sometimes it seems like too much of a challenge between the wedding planning, retired hubby, church work, renovation and decorating. Surely I don't have a touch of laziness! Surely not!

I'm not really familiar with this contest. Every month or so, we RWA members get our trade magazine that lists contests and conferences and I decided to enter The Last Daughter in the novella category. I chose this contest because of the judges. They're booksellers. That makes being a finalist even more special to me. I had to print out several copies of The Last Daughter and have them bound for the judges. It was time consuming and at times I wondered if I was wasting a tree, but now ... I'm so glad I took the time. I'm flattered and honored, excited and  super-pumped, even though I've got some wonderful competition in the other five contestants.
Winners will be announced at the RWA National Conference in San Antonio, Texas.
In no particular order, the following is a list of finalists. Those listed with an asterisk are also nominated for Best First Book.  When I see contest winners, I'm always curious about the publishers and editors so if you'd like to know who they are, go to the Greater Detroit RWA 2014 Booksellers Best Award link.
Congratulations! Congratulations! Congratulations!
Last Chance Proposal Barbara DeLeo
The Courage to Say Yes Barbara Wallace
The Cattleman's Ready-Made Family Michelle Douglas
First Comes Baby Michelle Douglas
A Marriage Made in Italy Rebecca Winteres
Crashing into Tess Lilly Christine

The Witch Finder Blythe Gifford
Before the Larkspur Blooms  Caroline Fyffe
Lachlan's Bride Kathleen Harrington
Surrender to the Earl Gayle Callen
At the Highlander's Mercy Terri Brisbin

Mystic Cowboy Sarah M. Anderson
The Time Between Karen White
Home to Whisky Creek Brenda Novak
Lost Melody Dolores W. Maroney
The Pieces We Keep Kristina McMorris

The Rancher She Loved Ann Roth
*Doctor, Soldier, Daddy  Caro Carson
Conceal, Protect Carol Ericson
To Tame a Cowboy Jules Bennett
His Southern Temptation Robin Covington

Kidnapped Cowboy  Lindsey Brookes
Out of his League Cathryn Parry
A Kiss to Die for Gail Barrett
The Cowboy's Christmas Baby Carolyn Brown
Seduced by his Target Gail Barrett

Midnight's Kiss  Donna Grant
Omega Susannah Sandlin
Allegiance Sworn  Kylie Griffin
Fire of the Dragon Lori Dillon
Tempt Me Tamara Hogan
The Reunited Shiloh Walker

Vanished by  Irene Hannon
Cozy Christmas by Valerie Hansen
Shenandoah Nights by  Lisa Belcastro
Wedding On the Rocks by Rose Ross Zediker
Healing the Forest Ranger by Leigh Bale

*For the Love of A Soldier  Victoria Morgan
The Hunter  Monica McCarty
Lady Vivian Defies a Duke  Samantha Grace
Love's Price Cheryl Holt
What a Duke Desires Sabrina Jeffries

Camp Boyfriend J.K. Rock
*Running On Empty  Colette Ballard
Briar Rose Jana Oliver
Dirty Little Secret Jennifer Echols
*Playing Tyler  TL Costa

On her Masters Service Lexi Blake
Unforgettable Alison Kent
Avoiding Mr. Right  C.J. Ellison
* Masque   Lexi Post
Too Fast  Alexia Haynes

Trapped  Irene Hannon
Ashes, Ashes, They All Fall Dead Lena Diaz
Til' Death Sharon Sala
Hard Target Kay Thomas
Pieces of You- A Snowy Creek Novel Loreth Anne White

Christmas At Copper Mountain Jane Porter
Outside the Lines Kimberly Kincaid
The Last Daughter Jessica Ferguson
One True Love  Lori Wilde
Take Me, Cowboy Jane Porter
A Cowboy for Christmas Katheirne Garbera


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Insecure Writers Support Group

It's IWSG Day! IWSG stands for Insecure Writers Support Group and was founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh. You can follow other IWSG members here  and on twitter using the hashtag #IWSG.
Our purpose is to share and encourage.

These days I wonder if I'll ever write again. Retirement, renovation, weddings... set backs! Renovation is complete but now we have to put the house back in order. A challenge. Not as fun as it should be.

And while I'm contemplating where the new sofa will go, or what color rug to purchase to complement the new wood floors, time marches on, technology changes, marketing and social media become more and more important and complicated ... and I'm behind on keeping up with it all.

I know it's true that if we quit writing, we forget how to write. I've been there/done that before. The old saying if you don't use it you lose it is true. This is what writer's block is made of: fear. Fear that life is rushing by and I'm not accomplishing anything. I just pile ideas in my cell phone and hope someday my life gets back to normal.

Then I ask myself: what's normal? Haven't I been hearing a lot about the "new normal." Surely this isn't MY new normal! If so, I don't like it! I don't want it!

I'm keeping the quote by S.K. Gipson at the forefront of my mind: "Success may be measured in determination, but only those who persevere ever see success."


P. E. R. S. E. V. E. R. E.

Let's make a pact to persevere.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

CFBA Introduces Until I Found You by Victoria Bylin

Until I Found You is the third book I've read for CFBA this month. I have one word to say: AMAZING! And to think I almost didn't order it because the blurb sounded so cliché. The reason I did order it is because of the hero--he's a travel writer. Often, editors don't want characters who write or paint or play sports. Artists and writers are a big draw for me. How about you?
While I liked the hero and heroine, the grandmother truly fascinated me. I wish there was a prequel. I would love to read her story.
Another thing I found fascinating is that the hero was a new Christian, but the heroine isn't a Christian at all until later in the book. I was curious to see how the author handled it. I was somewhat bothered that neither of them referred to the Bible, yet the heroine talked about how one gets to know God. He wasn't real to her... she felt alone. I kept waiting for the hero to share his favorite scriptures, for her to pick up a Bible but she didn't. I wasn't really satisfied with her conversion but to each his own, huh?
You're probably wondering why I thought this book was so amazing. It's not just one thing. It's how everything played together. I wouldn't like this heroine at all, without this particular hero and his own vulnerabilities, though I have to say, I'd probably like this hero anywhere, in any book. What tied it all together for me--what really made it amazing--was grandma, her problems, her memories, and her relationship with the California condors.
What is a California condor? A scavenger that eats large amounts of rotting animal flesh. It's one of the world's longest-living birds, with a lifespan of up to 60 years. This author created a romance around what we here in the South call a buzzard. Interesting?
This is my first Victoria Bylin book. I like her writing style. Her characters are realistic. I plan to see what else this author has to offer me, and I'll look deeper than the blurb.
This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Until I Found You
Bethany House Publishers (May 6, 2014)
Victoria Bylin

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A word from the Author:

This may sound crazy, but I was driven to write romance by giant bugs and killer rabbits. I just couldn't take it anymore. My husband and two sons would be camped in front of the television watching a movie about spiders the size of bowling balls, and I'd be wondering when the handsome scientist would get around to kissing the spunky woman with the bug spray. When it didn't happen, I decided to write my own happy endings--without the giant bugs...

Known for her realistic, likable characters and vivid writing, Victoria Bylin writes both western and contemporary inspirational romance. Her books have finaled in the ACFW Carol Awards, the Rita Awards and RT Magazine’s Reviewers’ Choice Awards. She and her husband currently live in Lexington, Kentucky and have two grown sons.


Finding each other was only the beginning . . .

When Kate Darby swerves off a mountain road to avoid hitting a California condor, she ends up trapped in her car, teetering on the edge of a cliff. Terrified, she breathes a prayer that changes her life.

It's Nick Sheridan who comes to Kate's rescue. Nick is handsome and confident, and he seems to develop a habit of rescuing her, but Kate is in town only until her grandmother recuperates from a stroke. She's not planning to get involved with one of the locals.

Nick is a reformed veteran of life in the fast lane, a new Christian, and a travel writer. When he sees a car dangling on the edge of a cliff, the daredevil in him jumps into action. He doesn't expect to be swept off his feet by the car's occupant. He's made a vow--no dating for a year--but keeping that vow is going to be a lot more difficult now that he's met Kate Darby. . . .

If you'd like to read the first chapter of Until I Found You, go HERE.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Blog Tour and Happy, Happy Birthday

Late last year, I had an opportunity to be a part of a series of Christmas stories. While I don't "comfortably" write short stories, I jumped at the chance because Kathi Macias was spearheading it, and I knew anything that had Kathi's name on it would be a success. Plus, this would be my first real chance to write Christian fiction and be published by a Christian publisher. How could I let this opportunity get by me?

Kathi said the theme would be 12 Days of Christmas and that we twelve writers (that includes her) could write anything we wanted--a historical, a mystery, a romance, Amish fiction--whatever. The catch was that the story had to take place on a single day. Our stories would be epublished first, then come out in an anthology. It all sounded good to me.

My story occurs ten days before Christmas. The title is If You Believe, and the theme is "trust God's will for your dreams." My theme meant something to me. I knew when I married my husband after being divorced for nine years, and moved to Louisiana almost immediately (after living in Texas all my life), I was trusting God's will.

Thirty-one years ago today, our daughter was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Here's a picture of when we stood before our pastor and dedicated her to God. Look how tiny she is. Just looking at this picture, I can hardly believe she's real.

Here's a picture of her "reading" her little picture book. We put books in her hands from the get-go. We definitely wanted a young reader!  A few weeks after she was born, she attended her first writer's meeting--at our house. Her first public appearance was to the Goodwood Library in Baton Rouge.

By the time she was three, she knew many of my author friends and was a Hemingway fan...through me, of course. We lived in New Iberia, Louisiana and started a writer's group there.

Our daughter has always been chatty and had a beautiful, happy personality. You can probably see that by these other two pictures. 

On May 29th, 12 Days of Christmas will release. If you're wondering what my daughter has to do with any of this ... it's simple. She's always my heroine. No matter what I write--mystery or romance--the heroine is always the young woman you see here. 

Happy birthday, Chaney. Thank you for being the perfect daughter for me and your father. The years went too fast.
I pray God's blessings on you, and that you'll always trust God's will for your life. I love you.

 Please visit the other authors in our 12 Days of Christmas anthology. Several are giving away a copy or you can purchase one HERE. We hope you enjoy our stories and above all, we hope they bless you.

May 19 - Ruth L. Snyder at
May 20 - Anne Baxter Campbell at
May 21 - Marcia Lee Laycock at
May 22 - Mishael Witty at
May 23 - Christine Lindsay at
May 24 - Sheila Lagrand at
May 26 - Jessica Ferguson at
May 28 - Peg Phifer at
May 29 - Jeanette Hanscome at