Saturday, February 8, 2014

Cover Reveal, Delay, and Superstition

Several months ago I received my first cover for my first novel! It was very exciting and I did the happy dance and made the phone calls and updated Facebook . . .  But, I just couldn't bring myself to reveal the cover on my blog even though I had revealed it on Facebook. I guess I thought my blog was so much more serious or something. I don't know. But, this morning is the day I've chosen for a specific reason. More on that later.

One reason I must make clear is this--I'm a Registered Nurse. Even though I'm retired I'm still a nurse and we are a very superstitious bunch. I was a Labor and Delivery nurse. That's a high risk specialty and any of the specialties are especially superstitious. Let me relay an example. Every unit has a status board. It's usually a basic white board with sections taped off for pertinent data depending on the specialty. When I was new to the game we had a slow day and we didn't have any patients so I decided I would clean the white board. Damn! One would think I had cut someone's throat! It seems the board must never be blank because it's bad luck. If it's blank it brings in the hoardes and they will be really sick or will have some kind of problem. What did I have to do? Make up a patient's name, assign her to a doctor, give her some fake physical data and move on. Alas, it was too late. The hoardes did arrive. Every bed was soon filled, we had a couple of patients waiting on stretchers in the hall. I remember at least one emergency cesarean section. And, this is the way  the charge nurse looked at me:

The reason I've decided to go ahead and reveal the cover today is because I'm still trudging through edits. My goodness, it's tough. I feel sorry for my wonderful editor, Ally Robertson, from The Wild Rose Press. It's been a long road for us. She sent me this latest round along with some more specific homework which I believe will help me. It narrows things down into small bites rather than having the intimidation of the entire manuscript in front of me. I suppose revealing it on my blog will also help me feel more professional or something. Today I'm feeling down but not defeated. My confidence is flagging but it will rise again.

I hope you've enjoyed a glimpse of my cover. Would you who have successfully published share any tips of getting past the first book edits and blues? I would appreciate it if you could drop off a comment for me as well. Enjoy your writing and your successes.

Sunday, July 14, 2013


For the second year in a row I traveled to Canyon, Texas and West Texas A&M University for the Writer’s Academy. The Academy is unlike a conference because participants choose an author with plenty of experience and name recognition to lead a specific group throughout the week.

It is a week of work beginning with informative lessons for every student at 8 am. Then, at 8:30 everyone takes off to their chosen class. Other classes occur in the afternoon. The groups choose what time to break and what time to return. Our group took a brief lunch and returned to class following the afternoon information class. We left each evening with homework.

Now, for more specific information. I chose to attend the workshop led by Alexandra Sokoloff, best selling New York Times author of thrillers and horror. Alex worked for many years in Hollywood as a screenwriter before turning to writing novels. She led our group in using the 3 Act 8 Sequence format for mapping out/outlining a novel. By the time the week was done each of us had our current work in progress mapped out and ready to write. We had eleven in our class. The experience level was unpublished to multi-published. The genres represented were Christian Romance, Science Fiction, Mainstream Mystery, Fantasy, Police Procedural Thriller, Women’s Fiction, and Paranormal/Time Travel Romance. At the end of the week Alex told us that each of us had potential bestsellers in our hands. Can you imagine how those words energized this tired group?

Alex has two workbooks using the 3 Act 8 Sequence format for writers available at Amazon for $2.99 each. I recommend each of them.




The Writer’s Academy is the dream and brain child of bestselling romance author, Jodi Thomas and musician/actor/author Tim Lewis. The popularity of this event is becoming well known and is popular.
Other class leaders this year were Margie Lawson teaching Creating Characters. Margie is a writing coach and author. She offers in depth courses in Deep Editing and Creating Characters as well as Immersion classes for small groups. She’s a small package of energy and knowledge. Find out more about Margie at
Margie and Me
Tim Lewis led the early morning Secrets of Publication. He has had a successful career but his dream will hit bookshelves in September. His novel, based on the true story of his great uncle, is being buzzed as the book that will hit as a bestseller and is being optioned for foreign rights and movie rights. The title is FOREVER FRIDAY. I guarantee this is a book everyone will want. You can reach Tim at
Jennifer Archer led a group seeking knowledge about writing and the business. She has several novels out and is a very popular author in west Texas. She can be reached at
Mike Bellah worked with a group wanting to write and publish memoirs. He is published in that genre and is a journalist. Find out more at
Linda Castillo was the keynote speaker at our banquet. She is inspiring and gives hope to others with every word. Amazing woman. Reach her at
Friday morning began with a question and answer panel featuring Alexandra Sokoloff, Margie Lawson, Jennifer Archer, Jodi Thomas, and Mike Bellah. Very interesting stuff. 


It isn’t all work at the Academy. There is movie night, the Panhandle Museum on campus, dinner at the best Mexican restaurant in the world, living in a dorm, spontaneous discussions in the lobby of the dorm, and making friends in the writing world. 

I believe any writer can find value at the Academy. I plan to go each year unless family obligations prevent it. It takes place in June each year. Save your money! I ask for the tuition as a Christmas gift each year. The tuition is approximately $500, the dorm is $25 an night ($125), there isn’t much time to go out and spend other money except for food but the dorm suites have kitchens. The Academy provides breakfast. Most of us gathered for lunch in the student union and snacked at night. Our group did go out twice. Canyon is the home of the Palo Duro Canyon which is the second largest canyon in the Unites States. It is breathtaking. This part of the country is where I was raised so it felt like going home to me. Find out more at




Friday, June 7, 2013

Learning in Canyon

Tomorrow I'll be leaving for a five day, intense work shop in Canyon, Texas. The Writer's Academy is sponsored by West Texas A&M University and Jodi Thomas, Writer in Residence. I went for the first time last year and knew on the first day that this would be one educational opportunity I would strive for each year.

Last year I was in Jodi Thomases class. We worked on the first 30 pages of our manuscripts together. I received 13 critiques and discussion. We all did. The novel I took "Dianne's Destiny", is now under contract. I couldn't be more pleased--and, a bit terrified, of the work after the contract. It is daunting for a debut novelist.

This year my instructor will be Alexandra Sokoloff. She's doing a workshop using screenwriting tricks for novelists. Her workbook is available. The link to her blog is

We will be using index cards and plotting our current works-in-progress to outline and plan the entire book. The participants who were in Alex's class last year had nothing but praise. Some are returning.

Enjoy your week. Write as much as possible. Read as much as possible. I'll be catching you on the flip side with knowledge I'll be eager to share. In the meantime, allow your mind to wander and wonder with words.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Contracts and Moving Forward

My goodness! I've received my first contract. It is for a novella I've written as part of a series 'Tales of the Scrimshaw Doll' for The Wild Rose Press. The title is "Dianne's Destiny".  Receiving that contract in my e-mail thrilled me like few things ever have. I wonder if others have felt that excitement that makes the heart beat faster, smiles and laughter to erupt unbidden followed by the feeling that this just can't be true. But, it is. I feel better able to write more, to finish the works I have in progress.

"Dianne's Destiny" began as "Hearts and Horses". Much of the book takes place in an arena for equestrian therapy. The names of the main characters had to be changed because they were too close to another book in the series.

I'm learning to write an author bio. Choose a graphic artist from the talented group at The Wild Rose Press. The beginnings of successful marketing and social media. It is all confusing but I have a wonderful editor, Ally Robertson and friends who are successful authors. And, next year I will be able to attend the TWRP writer's retreat at the Silver Spur Ranch in Bandera, TX.

Visit for a full list of the novellas waiting to be purchased and read. Learn about the scrimshaw doll that carries a curse only broken by true love. I've read them all and think one of the best thing readers will find is that each book is a stand alone story. The voices of each author is clear. The talent is astounding.

The Scrimshaw Doll authors are part of the Oklahoma Romance Writers of America We call ourselves Wild Okies. The books available in the series include:
"Trail of Hope' by Heidi Vanlandingham
"The Bone Bride" by Tamrie Foxtail
"Skinbound' by Anna Kittrell
"Thicker than Water" by Alicia Dean
"Tessa's Treasures" by Callie Hutton
"The Color of Betrayal" by Kathy L. Wheeler
"Pirate's Proposal" by Diana Layne and
"Home" by Calisa Rhose

Share with me and my followers how you felt when you received your first contract? If you are self-published how did you feel when you saw that first cover? Share your experiences. I would love to start a thread on my blog about the feelings, fears, and faith involved in writing. In the meantime, keep writing . . .

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Life and Reading

Gosh! This has been one of the craziest summers I can remember in both good and bad ways. The news first, I finished my manuscript "Hearts and Horses" for the Curse of the Scrimshaw Doll series with the Wild Okie group. What a grand feeling to finish the first round of edits, re-edits, and more re-edits and finally pass the manuscript on to a critique friend in the group.

I have a publisher interested in the "true fiction" work about my husband's aunt who died at the age of 18 in 1917. It was quite a scandal in small town Oklahoma. Keep your fingers crossed for me . . .

A Facebook friend of mine, Arlie, posted an interesting question recently. It made me wonder about you. I think your responses will be interesting and I wonder if our choices will be affected by location.

So, here are the questions and my answer.

What are the first books you remember reading? What were your choices from childhood through high school?

I remember having Little Golden Books and especially recall "The Poky Little Puppy." The first chapter books I can think of were "The Boxcar Children Series." I loved the sense of adventure the siblings had as they tried to survive without parents. There was a time I was really into anything about circuses. I wanted to be like Toby Tyler and join the circus. Then came Nancy Drew and Cherry Ames--more adventure. Later, in the high school years I was especially drawn in by Gothic Romance. Dorothy Eden was one of my favorite authors. More mystery and adventure. I think there's a theme here . . .

When I was in junior high we moved to a house in Lovington, NM that had an apricot tree in the back yard. It didn't take long for that tree to become my haven. I would climb up with a book, a Dr. Pepper, and a snack then settle into the crook between two branches. I spent hours up there reading and dreaming. When the apricots were ripe I could reach up and grab a handful and eat them warm and juicy right off of the tree.

Questions like those posed by Arlie make me take fond trips down memory lane. I've recalled books I hadn't thought about in years. Books I will make sure my granddaughters have access to when they're old enough to read.

So, what did you read and where did you live when you read those books?

Friday, December 9, 2011

"The Visionary" by Pamela S. Thibodeaux

It is my great honor to focus this blog post about my friend, Pamela S. Thibodeaux and her new release "The Visionary," released by Five Star.
Redemption is the arching theme of "The Visionary." Love rides a roller coaster of doubt, insecurity, fear, and eventual release and acceptance toward a new life.

Taylor Forrestier and her twin brother Trevor have managed to build a popular and successful architectural and design firm in Lake Charles, Louisiana despite a childhood of horror. They are survivors, only trusting one another until Alex Broussard strolls into the business.

The characters are beautifully fleshed out. Every emotion in the realm of humanity is explored. Pam writes eloquently about the horror of child abuse which many authors are hesitant to address. She is able to show readers that healing is possible with faith and belief in God. I believe that God is truly the main character of "The Visionary."

I believe I've read everything Pam has written. She glorifies God, her characters are Christians with normal human struggles and battles. Pam has been tagged has "inspirational with an edge" and that moniker fits perfectly.

Readers will not regret adding"The Visionary" to their bookshelf.
*Please note: This post is part of a month long blog tour where 4 lucky winners will receive an autographed copy of The Visionary! Simply leave a comment to be entered in the drawing. Follow all the tour stops listed on Pam's blog (see below) and leave comments along the way - because the more comments you leave the more chances you have to win!
Award winning Author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the Co-Founder & Lifetime Member of Bayou Writers’ Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in romantic fiction and creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!” ™ and reviewed as
“steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.”

Friday, November 25, 2011

A Trip of a Lifetime

My brother gifted me with a trip to visit him in Idaho in October. Seeing that part of the country has always been a dream of mine because the westward expansion is one of my favorite times in history. The novel of my heart, "Rebecca's Journey," takes place in 1845 on the Oregon Trail.

The first day we visited Bonneville Point (see photo above). It was here that several emigrants stopped on a rocky and dry outcropping that overlooked a valley that must have reminded them of the Garden of Eden. It surely took my breath away. I could see homes. Roads curved around the area and looked like ribbons from my vantage point. A stream wound through the valley, its banks studded with trees. A herd of horses grazed. Everything looked like toys from on high. What must the emigrants have thought when they saw this valley knowing they had to continue working their way around and through hills and mountains? Did any of them stop and settle here? I think so. At this point the travelers were about two thirds complete with their harrowing journey.

And, day two . . . I visited THE Oregon Trail in Baker City. I can't begin to tell you how that made me feel. Tearful. Rapid heart rate. Giddy. The Oregon Trail Interpretive Center is jam-packed with information and exhibits. It is realistic. I saw and touched many tools, wagons, clothing specimens, photos, and diaries. The emigrants packed their entire lives into a wagon bed measuring 10 feet by 4 feet. They set out in faith. They walked, and they walked, and they walked. . . I stood in real wagon ruts remaining from the treks west (see photos above).

Actually visited Register Rock (see photo above). The signatures scratched on with knives and rocks reflect names and dates.The signatures make the emigrants seem brave for lack of a better word. Several large signature rocks mark the Oregon Trail. The most famous is Independence Rock, named because the emigrants had to reach this place on the trail by July 4th in order to avoid the winter storms and snows in the mountains.

To me the entire area was beautiful. Mountains on four sides. Valleys. Horses everywhere. History everywhere. I can tell you this--seeing the terrain and the hazards gave me a new appreciation of the difficulties the emigrants faced. I must change several scenes. I must add and delete much. I've heard of authors visiting the sites of their novels and how much it helps with the writing process. I know why it is so special and so important.

The nearly two week trip took me to other parts of Idaho. It took me to Oregon. It took me to Wyoming and Yellowstone. It took me to South Dakota and Mount Rushmore. Even now, my words bring back my memory pictures of the trip. Like I said, a gift. I'm a writer and this trip left me speechless more often than not.