Saturday, May 30, 2009


Let us re-visit Louisiana Saturday Night. I'm happy to introduce Dorris Jean Shaw. I met Dorris at our Bayou Writers Conference last year. She's a regular attendee. Dorris is also a member of The Inkblots.

1. Tell us about your path to publication -- how you sold your first book.
For me, the path to publication was all about making contacts. At a Bayou Writer’s Conference, I pitched an idea to Anna Darclon, Editor for Wild Rose Press. I should have been better prepared with a ready to go manuscript. She liked my idea, I e-mailed her my draft and she helped me through the process. I have learned so much.

2. What is your background? (education, work, etc.) And how long have you been writing.
I always wrote as a way to stay in touch with family and friends, we moved a lot. I began writing plays for my classroom when I could not find what I needed. I have a Master’s degree in education. I’ve written travel articles and devotionals. This was my first foray into romance.

3. What is your writing process? Do you outline or just sit down and start writing?
My writing process depends on what I am working on. For my self-help, I outline. For the romance story, I just sit down and write then review to be sure I have enough details and etc.

Then I do research to be sure that for the Vintage, I haven’t added something that shouldn’t be there. I like the research part.

4. What does a typical day look like for you?
Read in the morning, write a while, check e-mail, do some checking of facts and things, write and print out what I wrote so I can read it up close. Have to cram in all the other things: cooking, washing, dishes, cleaning and going to town. We live in the country.

5. What is your favorite self-marketing idea?Marketing has been the hardest for me. I e-mail a lot and ask them to send the notices on to others. I do a newsletter of sorts that I send out as a bonus. I love writing it.

6. What is the biggest challenge you face in writing and publishing? Marketing, I am getting better at time management. As my name gets out there, I hope to spend more time on writing or be able to hire someone to do the marketing for me.

7. What are the biggest surprises you've encountered as a writer?Writing is work. It’s a good thing I am passionate about what I do. I struggle with editing. I take classes in that area to improve my skills. I was surprised how long it takes to get something out from contract to publication.

8. How do you inspire yourself? What are your sources of creativity?For devotionals, if I read something that strikes a cord, I write it down. I look for scenes and study people when I travel. People have stories to tell and I want to tell them. Watching a sunset reves up my spirit.

10. What is your proudest writer moment?
My first contract had to be the best, so far.

11. What's the best advice you were given about writing and do you belong/believe in critique groups?.
Don’t give up. Believe in yourself and keep after it. I would write if no one read it. I wrote to cheer up my military family. The critique group told me I “could use big words and long sentences.” Too many years teaching first grade and special ed had me in a certain mine set, hard to break the cycle.

12. How much (and what) do you read for pleasure?
I like to read the Newberry and Caldecott Medal Winners. If you can write for children, you have accomplished something. They are fair in their assessments of a work.

14. What are you currently working on?
Caribbean Soul, a romance novella set in Belize and an exercise book to go with my workshop that I do on women’s issues. My workshop, ‘Reclaiming Me’ deals with such topics as forgiveness, making a place for yourself and taking charge of your life. I have been asked to do something with mentoring.

15) What professional organizations do you belong to and why?
National Press Women because I have always been interested in newspapers since high school when I wrote for the clubs I attended. I am thinking of joining Romance Writers of America for the things that they offer their membership.

Wrap it up, Dorris. Anything exciting happening in your publishing world? And be sure to list your blog sites/websites, etc.
The Wild Rose Press is releasing two Rosettes, “Shadows in the Fog” on May 27, 2009 and ‘Liv’s Struggle’ out June 17, 2009. I have also had some interest in doing my workshop as a self-help book. I'm considering other options for the workshop. I am still writing romance and have a mystery that I just finished.

Shadows in the Fog by Dorris Jean
Vintage Rosette
Amanda yearns for adventure--to drive an automobile or ride in a flying machine--but her parents expect her to marry well. When she won’t cooperate, they order her to a mountain spa to cure her 'nervous disorder.' Unhappy and alone, Amanda watches out her window every day as a solitary stranger appears at the foot of the mountain like a shadow in the fog. Amanda knows nothing about him except she must meet him. Iaon has his own scars from The Great War and believes he has nothing left to offer anyone. In each other, they glimpse the happiness missing from both their lives. Can they let go of the past and make a future together?

Liv's Struggle by Dorris Jean
Vintage Rosette
Liv married Sal after a short courtship. He made her feel like she had never felt before. Her own father had kicked her out, rejected her. Would Sal do the same or could Liv find a way to ask the question that haunted her? When the old dog has puppies in the midst of the storm, Liv finds the courage to grasp for the life she wants.

Note: Dorris' blog site and website are under construction but you can order her books from the Wild Rose Press. If you would like to receive Dorris Jean Shaw's newsletter contact her at

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Twenty Six Years Ago Today...

Twenty-six years ago today, I gave birth to a precious baby girl. She's still my precious baby girl but now I have many more adjectives to describe her: smart, talented, creative, hilarious--to name a few.

I'm proud of all that she is and all that she will become.

Happy Birthday, Chaney!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Soldier - An American Hero Tribute

Lord, hold our troops in your loving hands. Protect them as they protect us. Bless them and their families for the selfless acts they perform for us. Amen.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

How Does My Garden Grow?

I wish I had a green thumb. I'd love to know all there is to know about gardening and blooming plants, pruning trees and bushes. I want to know but I don't want to take the time to educate myself. Our house looks deserted because all our shrubs are over-grown. We have a fantastic courtyard with so much potential, but we haven't done anything with it.

This is what it looked like a month or so ago. I love it when it blooms like this. This year our bridal wreath shrub really outdid itself. For that matter, so did our azaleas. And they stayed this way for quite awhile. I think it was because my husband did some serious pruning last year. QUESTION FOR YOU: IF THIS WAS YOUR COURTYARD, WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH IT? Today it's colorless.

I've been re-potting some plants. I like to buy them half-dead at the store and see if I can save them. Dumb, huh? Sometimes I can't. We've planted some tomatoes, squash, and peppers. We've birthed several little tomatoes. What fun. I hope they make it . . .

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"Google Always Takes You to Johnson Bayou"

My daughter and I have had a good time writing for The Times of Southwest Louisiana. I think what we like best of all is getting out of the house and meeting people. Of course, when we schedule interviews, we never know what might transpire: a faulty tape recorder, a wrong address, a quirky misunderstanding, a no-show. I seem to be more 'accident prone' than she is--it's probably an age thing.

Yesterday, daughter and I took off to Cameron Parish for another interview. We needed to be at the courthouse by 9:00 A.M. Everyone knows there isn't much left of Cameron Parish after the hurricane so I thought nothing of it when I printed out google-maps and the driving instructions pointed us down Highway 82 in the direction of Texas. I figured we were going to make-shift offices while the real courthouse was being re-built. We traveled a desolate area. No cell phone reception. An hour later, we were still driving, still looking for Smith Circle.

Cell phone reception had been sketchy. "Try to call Mr. Hebert and tell him we're almost there--fifteen minutes, twenty at the most." Sometimes I actually sound like I know what I'm talking about. :)

Finally, she connected with our interviewee. "No problem," he said. "I'll be here."

Twenty, thirty minutes later, we were still on the lone stretch of vacant highway. We spotted a Cameron Parish Sheriff's vehicle. We stopped. Daughter bounced across the highway to get directions. I saw the officer laugh and knew we were in deep trouble. We called Mr. Hebert again to tell him the bad news. His response: "Awwwwww, sheee-itt, Google always takes you to Johnson Bayou."

An hour, one port 'O pottie, and a ferry ride later, we arrived in downtown Cameron. Whew! What an adventure.
Now according to Wikepedia, and for those of you who don't know, on October 12, 1886, Johnson Bayou was completely destroyed by the "great storm of 1886;" a storm surge of between seven and twelve feet that swept inland at Johnson Bayou, killing between 50 and 100 people. Between Sabine Pass and Beaumont, thirty miles of track of the Sabine and East Texas Railway, were damaged badly and partly washed away. It was hit again by Hurricane Audrey in 1957, and yet again by Hurricane Rita on September 24, 2005. On September 13, 2007, Hurricane Humberto made landfall west of Johnson Bayou at High Island, Texas, bringing heavy rains to the community. On September 13 in 2008, Hurricane Ike, a very large and nearly category 3 storm with massive storm surge made landfall on the upper Texas coast, causing extensive damage to the region (NOAA).

Why does Google insist on sending unsuspecting travelers in the direction of Johnson Bayou? It does. It really does. And there's nothing there.

Today, daughter scheduled a photography shoot in the same area. Thankfully, the woman warned her: "Now if you have a GPS in your car, it's going to send you to Johnson Bayou. You don't want to go there." She's right. Been there, done that!

WARNING: Google always takes you to Johnson Bayou. Always. If you're looking for a port 'O pottie, I can recommend the one nearest Jesus. It's saved us a couple of times.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

CFBA Presents Beloved Counterfeit by Kathleen Y'Barbo

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing
Beloved Counterfeit Barbour Publishing, Inc (May 2009) by


KATHLEEN MILLER Y’BARBO is a tenth-generation Texan and a mother of three grown sons and a teenage daughter. She is a graduate of Texas A&M University and an award-winning novelist of Christian fiction whose first published work jumped onto the Christian Booksellers Association bestseller list in its first month of release. Kathleen is a former treasurer for the American Christian Fiction Writers, and is a member of the Author’s Guild, Inspirational Writers Alive, Words for the Journey Christian Writers Guild, and the Fellowship of Christian Authors. In addition, she is a sought-after speaker, and her kids think she’s a pretty cool mom, too…most of the time, anyway.



Washed ashore on Fairweather Key, Ruby O’Shea and her three nieces─the offspring of the pirate Thomas Hawkins and Ruby’s late sister─have a chance for a new beginning as Ruby takes a job in a boardinghouse and the girls are passed off as her daughters. But will Ruby be able to confess all when she falls for Micah Tate, a widower, wrecher, and soon-to-be preacher?

Micah is determined to marry the young woman who has captured his heart despite knowing she has something to hide. But will he be able to remain true to his vows when his lady love’s shady past comes to light?

Captain Thomas Hawkins will go to any length to discover the whereabouts of his daughters. What will his determination cost the folks of Fairweather Key?

When Ruby finds herself bereft of her newfound love and protector, will she run away in an attempt to escape her present as she did her past? Will Micah’s love cover the multitude of Ruby’s sins, or will Ruby’s duplicity cost her everything?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Beloved Counterfeit, go HERE

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

People I Love

This is a picture of Susan, my very sweet sister-in-law and my husband (her brother) Jim. Sus and I have always enjoyed talking books, writing, authors. She used to read romance but switched to mysteries. She enjoyed reading Patricia Sprinkle. Once, years ago, Susan and I wrote a couple of books and short stories together. Nothing ever came of them but it was fun. I think we tried hard not to step on each other's 'creative toes' when it came to the rewriting and editing.

The other picture is Susan and her husband, Raymond. I can't imagine why he's in a cowboy hat. I've never seen him dress like a wrangler, but I love the pic. It reminds me of a romantic hero and heroine I might enjoy reading about. I think it shows how much they love each other. Look at her smile. See how he's gazing down at her? Usually when we go to Longview, we'll call Susan and Raymond to meet us at Bodacious Bar BQ for a quick meal before we get with the rest of the family. We're going to Longview this week but things will be different this visit. We're going in for Susan's funeral. We're in shock from her unexpected death. We're in denial because it just doesn't make sense. I can only imagine what trips home will be like from now on. Different. Empty. Forever sad. There will always be something sweet missing.

Thank God for my sweet sister-in-law, Susan Wingerd. I hope she knew how much I loved her.

Jesus said...

I am the resurrection, and the life:
he that believeth in me,
though he were dead, yet shall he live:
And whosoever liveth and believeth in me
shall never die

<>< <>< <>< <>< <>< <><

Amanda Susan Ferguson Wingerd

Amanda Susan Ferguson Wingerd went to be with her Lord and Savior on the 5th day of May, 2009, surrounded by her precious sons and loving husband. She was born in Longview, Texas, on October 21, 1954, to Travis and Flora Ferguson. She graduated from Longview High School in 1972 and attended Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches where she graduated in 1976 with a Bachelor of Arts in Education. On June 12, 1976, shortly after graduating from college, she married Raymond Earl Wingerd at the First Assembly of God Church in Longview. She is survived by her husband, Raymond Earl Wingerd, and their four sons and families, Zachary Daniel Wingerd wife, Lindsey, and grandson, Joshua Alexander Wingerd all of Jacksonville, Texas,Taylor Aaron Ferguson Wingerd of Longview, Pierce Caleb Wingerd of Longview, and Lincoln Joseph Wingerd of Longview. She is also survived by the following brothers and sisters and their families, Jim Ferguson wife, Jessica, and children, Brian and Chaney, of Lake Charles, Louisiana, Thomas Ferguson wife, Cynthia, and children James, Sommer, Skye, and Storey, of Carrollton, Texas, Janet Traylor husband, Gary, and children, Matthew, Caroline, Lucas and Rebecca of Dallas, Texas, Carol Ferguson and son, Trey Wilson of Frisco, Texas, Samuel Ferguson wife, Lisa and children, Olivia and Levi of Longview. Susan also is survived by niece, Jennifer Lynn Ferguson, of East Mountain, Texas. Susan taught Economics, History, French I and II, Bible, and Geography at Grace Christian School, Maranatha Christian High School and most recently at Longview Christian School from 1990 through May, 2009, where she will be remembered as a teacher who loved her students and took an interest in their lives outside of the classroom. She was a member of Victory Assembly of God Church in Longview and been active in church ministries all her life.
Funeral services are to b e held at 10 a.m. today, May 9, 2009, at First Assembly of God Church, 2900 Fourth Street, in Longview with Pastor Curtis Brown officiating. Burial will follow at Rosewood Park. She was preceded in death by her mother, Flora Ferguson, and grandson, James Darcy Wingerd. She will be sorely missed by all.
A memorial guestbook may be signed at