Thursday, August 20, 2020

New project...our new home

 We recently began making our dream of owning a good piece of land and building our new home come true. We love being in the country. We love nature and the quiet. This was our original 5 year plan 15 years ago but life happens. It's better late than never!

We bought 5 acres of land. Hubby has done remodeling and construction practically his whole life so this is an advantage! Our garage in our present home is chuck full and we had rented a PODS for storage also. So the first thing to be built was the new garage. It's still in the process as you can see.

And this clearing is where the house will be built (the foundation will be dug next week!):

And just beyond the trees to the right in the photo, there is a slope off...a hole basically...where somewhere down the road we will have a large pond.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Recent quiet vacation

 COVID has restricted our vacation options. So we did something that was close to home and relatively cheap. And no one else around...just us and nature.

We headed to the mountains. Hubby loves to fish and hasn't been able to in quite some time. And I just enjoy the peace and quiet being out in the woods. This gives me time to recharge and do a little writing. Working nights has its advantages but after working 3 or 4 nights in a row, I lose one full day just to recoup. That is also a day of writing out the window.

 I just wanted to share our little part of the river. So relaxing at night also as the bubbling of the river and the crickets are the only sounds we heard.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

The journey of Katherine and Mitchell’s story…Secrets of Jenkins Bridge

I started writing Secrets of Jenkins Bridge back in 2007. This book has traveled a long road. The lessons learned along the way helped improved my writing also. It was a rough go though. When they say you learn to grow some tough skin in this business, it is no lie. Here goes my journey with this book.

I finished it in 2008. I loved the story. Absolutely loved it. I thought without a doubt someone else would too. So, I sent queries out to the major publishers and a few literary agents…and waited…and waited. FYI, when you are told you should write the next story while waiting, do it. I didn’t and I drove myself insane waiting around. Finally, after about 3 months, the letters began to flow in. “Thank you for looking to us. However, Katherine and Mitchell’s story isn’t what we are looking for presently.” That was the basic spin. And as each one came, my heart and confidence sank lower.

Then one letter came that was not the typical form letter. It came from a major publisher, and she went into detail why this story just didn’t work. It was convoluted and Mitchell came off too aggressive/brash. Katherine was too wimpy. There were a few other things. The letter broke me. Really broke me. I boxed it and all the drafts up and put it away. My husband did not know I was writing. I was embarrassed to show him any of this. I felt like such a failure.

I did the worst thing a writer can do at that point. I stopped writing. I was so hurt that no one liked my story. Remember at this time there wasn’t really any self-publishing going on. Traditional publishing houses had been the way. I felt the story was dead in the water.

It took another 3 years before I jumped back in. In 2011 found Savvy Authors, a great place online that offers all kinds of writing workshops for a decent price. And I found that I needed to change my story a little. Not the basic storyline. But some work on the characters and in my delivery of the story. In the meantime, I took to Savvy Authors Summer Symposium which was like the writing conferences but online. I had another story that needed writing and used one of their earlier 30 days to finished classes to write it. And in the Symposium, smaller publishing companies were beginning to pop up and a few joined in on one of their pitching sessions. I pitched the story, The Swan Cove Murders. Soul Mate Publishing was about to open their doors and Debbie wanted my story to be one of the first when the company went live the following month.

She believed in me when I no longer believed in myself. Once that book was released, I sent her my revised story for Secrets of Jenkins Bridge. I received a response within hours that she wanted to publish it. This gave me more confidence in my writing and my stories. It was published in 2012. Since then, my rights were reverted to me at the end of last year. And I have taken on the journey of self-publishing.

I share this journey for those that want to give up and shelve their stories. Please don’t do that. Maybe set them aside for a time but do not stop writing. Do not stop learning. There are a ton of outlets now. And I never stop learning. I take all the classes I can and read all I can. I find the more I write, the more I am finding my voice.

Buy links: 



Google Play

Barnes and Noble


Saturday, July 11, 2020

It’s so exciting when after months of painstakingly writing a story, your baby, you can finally type those two little words that have so much impaction…The End. All the sweat and tears…all of the doubts…all of those times waking up in the middle of the night with a new plot or while you are driving down the road…all the times your characters came into your head to completely change the direction of the story against your will…all of this for those two words. All worth every second of the journey.

But alas, you are not done.
Not even close.

Now you must edit. It’s about shaping and molding…dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s if you will. Ensuring it shines.

I am sure there are many important issues to one must look for but I am going to list my top 5. And by all means, if you have a particular one not listed, please leave it in the comments.

1     Repeating words. As in using one such as ‘said’…she said, “blah blah blah” … he said “I don’t say blah blah blah” (sorry I couldn’t help myself as Hotel Transylvania is my one of my grandson’s favorite movies and if you haven’t watch it, why not?). There are tons of different words to use instead of said. I will look up synonyms of ‘boring’ words such as said, like, mad, etc

2      Grammar usage. You can’t go mixing up present tense with past tense. You will throw the reader for a loop.

3      Spell check. And this is not full proof by any stretch. You really have to read line for line. I found the word I meant to use ‘is’ was ‘us’ in a couple different places along the way. Spell check will not pick that up as an error.

4      Ensure your characters’ traits stay consistent throughout the story. I found I had inadvertently changed my heroine’s eyes from emerald to brown two scenes later.

5     Make sure your timeline stays consistent, especially if you are writing a series.

And with writing a series, keeping everything straight across several books is even more of a challenge. I keep a notebook for my series that contains each major character’s page, minor characters and some pertinent info for them, places as in a restaurant or hospital or even graveyards, and pages of major events that happened within each book. It may be a lot to contend with, but a evil necessity in order to ensure the books contain accurate information throughout the series.
What are your top editing issues you look for?

Monday, June 15, 2020

Back to the Grind

I haven’t posted in over 6 months. No excuses. Just real life happening. Since my last post, I did get a job as a Med/Surg telemetry RN on nights. So, I have had to adjust to a whole new schedule. And then the COVID virus struck. I had to learn how to homeschool my grandson with the whole e learning bit. I have to say the last few months have not been boring. I figure I can commit to 2 blogs a month for now.

I have finally published Secrets of Jenkins Bridge on Amazon. It just went live today. Now I am learning (the struggle is REAL) how to use Adobe Photoshop to make my print cover version for the book so I can submit it for the print version. I just may need to find a book designer for this one!

I have to say I have a new appreciation for editors and publishers. Now I know the importance of proper formatting for just kindle alone. And it seems every other reader (B&N, Apple, Google etc) all have different formatting rules. Like I said...a new appreciation. If you want to be an indie writer, take everything into consideration. I did not know it would take me several hours…yes several…to format for kindle. And then another several hours to format for print version for kindle. And that is just Amazon.

I found Smashwords which seems to be a great place to publish ebooks and their “meatgrinder” (love the name) will run it through and format for all the different readers and sites. That is what I am currently working on-setting my manuscript back up for their standards and submitting it to them.

I did receive my rights back to The Wishing Wreath, the All I Want for Christmas anthology with SoulMate Publishing. I am considering putting it up for free on Amazon. It is such a great short story.

Indie authors, how did fare self-publishing? Do you have any little gold nuggets or suggestions for me?