I’m a guest blogger!

I’m guest blogging Mustard Seed Botanicals blog today!

The blog is an interesting one that features Shakelee products as well as an inaugural Mustard Seed catalog. The whole site is dedicated to living more healthy, with the Mustard Seed blog contributing ideas for that. I’m incorporating some of my ideas regarding that in my guest blog. The title is Cooking Healthy for the Week for One. I hope you’ll check it out as well as the cool Mustard Seed site. Here is the link.


New Year’s Resolutions

Well, it’s that time of the year again. Time to plan for the next year and to hope your plans don’t flop before March. For me, I make resolutions for my health and for my writing usually, as well as some others that are lesser ones, to an extent. This year, I’ve tried to keep them simple, hoping that will make them easier to stick to.

As far as my writing is concerned, I’ve resolved to get three publications out this year. It’s a doable number, as I have a day job and spend a good portion of my evenings doing paperwork for that as well. Three projects, including the next book in my Thorn Grove series, that’s it. Oh, and to have fun at any conferences I go to.

I’ve planned two so far and they only extend into the spring. First, I’ll be going to Romancing the Smokies on March 19th in Knoxville, Tn. This is my first event of the year and I’m looking forward to it. It’ll be a one day event, with lunch, a booksigning and, as always, a great opportunity to network with other authors and readers. Here is the link. If you are in the area or plan to be, it’s a great idea for a day. Even if you can’t make the whole event, we’ll be having a booksigning that is open to the public. Here is the link for more information.


The other event I’ll be attending is Weekend with the Authors, May 13-15th in Nashville, Tn. This event will incorporate panels, parties and a booksigning. It’s sure to be a lot of fun, but also another opportunity to “get my name out there”. An author in this day and age has to face the prospects of promotion and marketing their products, one of the things I still struggle with. At least this event will make the process less onerous. Again, here is a link to learn more.


So there are my writing resolutions for the year. I’ll be posting about my personal resolutions later this week.

Do you make resolutions? Or are you one of the people who have decided to let the year unfold as it will? What is your philosophy about resolutions?







My Love Affair with books

A couple of friends came by my house this weekend for a weekend writing retreat, a successful one, thank you. But one of the great things  that came out of it was the sharing of the books I love so much. We talked about favorite authors, books we’ve started as well as other writing related things, but I got to show off the books in my collections.

I’ve loved books ever since I started reading at three. I have a tattered, coverless Dick and Jane reader that I know is valueless and would make for a gorgeous craft project, but it’s in the bookcase. I have a collection of turn of romance novels from the turn of the century through the forties. Some of them are so fragile that I’ll never be able to read them, some are future reads.

My obsession with turn of the century books started with a loaned read. My great aunt, whom I loved, respected and I think, idolized, was reading a novel when I was twelve. Of course, I wanted to read the same book, so I asked her if I could borrow it. After admonishing me to be careful of the old book, she loaned me St. Elmo by Augusta J. Evans, a southern writer from the late 1800s. I ploughed my way through Dante’s Inferno quotes in Latin and dense 19th century language and fell in love. And in lust. I WANTED a copy of that book.

I asked my mother for the book for my 13th birthday. My mom is the kind of woman who looks for things that are requested but if she can’t find the exact item, usually finds something similar. But this birthday evidently was a special one. After an exhaustive search, she accidentally came across a copy of the book in a junk (now called thrift) store. My most treasured possession is a tattered, currently unreadable, second thing out of a fire (after my dog and cats) possession. It was the first of my book collection and love for romance novels.

St. Elmo

I now have copies of books I love and that in their own way, encourage me to write my own books that, someday, may be someone’s treasure. I’ve enclosed some pictures of the books. They may not be valuable in monetary measures but for me, they’re priceless.

photo 4photo 3 (2)photo 2 (3)photo 2 (2)photo 5photo 1 (2)photo 1 (1)

What I’ve Learned From Other Writers- BE a writer

If you don’t know by now, I have an issue with labels. I remember one time when a published author and I squabbled good-naturedly about the definition of a writer. The author said that a person wasn’t a writer until they were published. I argued that anyone that puts a pen to paper and crafts a story or poem or essay is in fact a writer. When you publish then you become an author. We agreed to disagree and continued on with a pleasant acquaintance to this day.

What does this have to do with what I’ve learned from other writers? In order to be a writer, one has to write on a regular basis. I find that difficult at times, since I have a full-time job and other interests that pull me away from the craft. But I’ve realized one very difficult fact; when I don’t write regularly, I get rusty.

Writing is like any other ability. You have to practice to become more adept and agile in the performance of it. When I write on a consistent basis, I find myself bursting with ideas and become more able to write with full knowledge and use of descriptive words, less likely to get bogged down in mechanics, and quite frankly, more enthusiastic about the job.

I run into a lot of obstacles, among them distractions like crafting, reading and watching television, as well as getting lost online. Unfortunately, housework isn’t much of a distraction! I also find sometimes that my own insecurities about writing may interfere with my own creativity. But, when push comes to shove, I come around to writing and enjoy crafting stories about the characters that fill my mind and my dreams.

I start each new year with intentions of writing every day. Sometimes it doesn’t happen. But I’m not beating myself up about it. I DO try to apply myself to my writing every day, whether it’s plotting, working on swag or giveaways, promotions or actually writing. When my daytime job interferes too much, I try to make time for the actual writing on the weekend.

So, are you a writer? Do you manage to write on a consistent basis? What gets in your way? And most importantly, how do you find the time to BE a writer

What I’ve Learned from other writers- Even if you don’t like them, booksignings can be fun

Yesterday I went to a Meet and Greet with the Authors at a small library in a small town. I loved the event. And for me to say that is amazing.

I hate tooting my own horn. Hard to believe maybe, in that I’m an author and want people to buy my book, but like many authors, I’m inherently a private person and book signings are almost painful for me. IF I do them alone. I’ve found a couple of secrets, as a result of watching other authors and experimenting on my own and I’m willing to share them. The first thing is that this event was touted as a meet and greet, not as a book signing. Though we did sell books and sign them, the distinction may have made me a little more relaxed. Psychology is a very good thing.

I don’t like private signings but I do enjoy a group event, even if it’s with one other writer. I guess it’s share the pain or share the joy. Or even to share giving directions to the bathroom with. I enjoy having an opportunity to talk with other authors and to be honest with you, enjoy talking with people. Yesterday I talked with one lady about Abraham Lincoln, which had nothing to do with my books but it was a fun, informative time for me.  So, if you have a book signing, try to find someone to go with you!

I make things. And I love doing it. I’m a craft nut and I’m cheap, so usually the giveaways I do are free and handmade. I always have candy of some sort to give away, so it draws people. I also have drawings for small things. All of this combined seems to draw people to my table and I’ve got something to use as an opening (” Do you want to sign up for a free giveaway? Did you get a free Tacky Tassel bookmark”).

Finally, I think participating in a group event amps up the excitement,  both for the readers and the authors. There’s a festival air about the room, with beautiful table setups, interesting giveaways, and more books to add to my to be read pile.

So, if you are like me and hate book signings, start asking around, you may find others that share the sentiment but would be willing to share a table, share a corner of a bookstore and share the pain/joy of book signings.

What I’ve Learned From Other Writers- Creativity Takes Time

When I started writing, I found ideas everywhere.I wrote them down, then immediately started on the new idea, sometimes to the detriment of an already begun work in progress. As a result, I ended up with lots of works in progress and very few, or no, finished manuscripts.

Other, more mature writers gave me an invaluable piece of advice. Wait for the creative spark to ignite and build. As I’ve grown as a writer, I began to realize the wisdom of this advice.

An idea is just that, a spark, a flicker of something that, with proper attention, will grow into a warm blaze. A creative idea often needs time and attention in the form of imagination, world building, and at times, space and time to grow. I usually write my ideas down and then leave them to rise, like bread. As new elements pop into my head about an idea, and they often do, I jot it down, just as a note to the idea. When an idea has taken hold of my imagination to the point that I’m obsessed with it over anything else, then that’s when I know, it’s time to start with that book.

How do you deal with your ideas? Do they emerge full blown before you? Or do they come in tiny increments, growing from a spark to a flame in your mind over time?

Don’t be afraid to let an idea rest and grow on its own while you finish another story. Given time, your imagination will take hold and nurture it into the book you HAVE to write.