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Monday, May 27, 2019

Old Manuscripts by Janice Seagraves

I wrote lots of stories before I was ever published. Twin Heart is a book-length manuscript that I had learned on but had never forgotten. The character in it are dear friends.

Feeling nostalgic, I pulled Twin Heart's file out a few months ago and started revising it.

It was a mess.

Missing punctuations, run-on sentences, and drifting POVs.

I have a lot of work to do if I'm ever going to get it up to snuff.

The first two chapters weren't so bad, but the further I dug into it the worse it got. Some chapters read like filler. They didn't further the plot or add anything to the story. And there are thirty-two chapters in my manuscript.


Once I get punctuation taken care of and the rewrite a great many run-on sentences, I'll have to write out the manuscript chapter by chapter just like if I was writing a synopsis so I can figure out what can stay and what can go.

The delete button has already become my friend.

Now, why did I start this project again?

Oh, yeah, old friends that are the characters in the manuscript.


Have you ever dragged out an old manuscript with designs on fixing it?

And what happened?


Year of the Cat

Morgan isn’t expecting romance when she accompanies her friend for a week of skiing, but when she meets Jared all bets are off.
Haunted by the loss of his parents, werecat Jared Catterick earns his keep working for the Catclaw Clan. Jared has secrets that he doesn’t mind sharing with a special lady, and he hopes Morgan is that special someone. When his past and present collide it’s worse than he imagined, and he’s forced to fight for his life.

Auntie walked into the middle of the hollow. “We the Catcall Clan are gathered here together to witness a challenge. Called by Munch son of Tiger, who challenges Jared Catterick son of nobody.”
“I am the son of somebody,” Jared yelled. The sudden flow of anger had his heart pounding hard against his ribs.
“Who? What are their names?” Auntie crossed her arm and leaned on one hip and tapped a toe.
“I donna remember. I was too young when they killed them and took me away,” Jared muttered. “And she knows that.”
“Is Catterick your real last name?” Killer asked him in the canine speech.
“Aye. I donna remember much about me old life, but I never forgot me name.”
“Just tell her Mr. and Mrs. Catterick,” Killer said.
“Me parents were Mr. and Mrs. Catterick,” Jared said in a loud clear voice.
A few people around the hollow snickered.
Auntie gave a quick nod. “Jared son of Mr. and Mrs. Catterick. Munch challenges you for the death of his da, Tiger.”
Munch marched to Auntie’s side. He was every bit as big as his father. Well-muscled and not just tall but wide. Where Tiger’s hair was gray and white, Munch was blond and black. Another man accompanied him, his second, a tall, lanky male named Boyd. Jared knew him well, even though he was younger.
“Och. Here we go,” Jared told Killer and walked out into the middle of the hollow.
“He’s big,” Killer said in the canine speech.
“And ugly. I wouldna want to ride him into battle.”
Killer stayed at his side. “Psst.”
“You can fight, right?” Killer asked.
“Good to know.”
Auntie looked at both males. “Jared, as the challenged, you may decide on weapons and forms.”
“Human and no weapons,” Jared said.
“Very well,” Auntie said. “You may use your feet, hands, elbows and knees. Even your head if you feel the need.”
“What aboot sticks and stones?” Munch asked, his voice youthful.
“Will break my bones,” Jared said under his breath.
Killer snickered.
“No weapons,” Auntie shook a finger at Munch. “That includes sticks and stones.”
“Well,” Munch crossed his arms, “since I canna change into cat form, I think I should be able to use whatever I find in the hollow.”
“This isn’t a free-for-all, Munch. There is discipline to a challenge. You must remain in your human form and fight like a human. With this match, we’ll have a square go.”
“Not very cat-like.” Munch sniffed.
Auntie fisted her hands and leaned toward Munch. “You’re not a cat. You are a shifter. You shift between three forms. Now stay with one for the duration of the fight.”
“Doesn’t he understand?” Killer asked.
“A bit daft that one,” Jared muttered back. Munch doesn’t seem have a lot of self-control. Unlike Tiger who would have done exactly what Auntie said to the letter.
“Seconds, to the side.” Auntie pointed. “You may view the fight only. Do not interfere unless your partner is hurt or someone breaks the rules.”
Both Boyd and Killer trotted to edge of the clearing.
Jared stood facing Munch. Several feet separated them. Jared shook out his arms, moved his head from side to side, and loosened his muscles.
Auntie raised her hand and did a karate chop between them. “Now fight.”
“I swear on me da’s grave, I will end you!” Munch roared and the skin on his face boiled. His hands burst out of his gloves and feet from his boots. The shift made Munch bigger, tearing his clothes. He stopped in the in-between state, like movie werewolves of old, but in this case half-cat and half-human. The only thing that remained of his clothes was his black overall snow pants and even that stretched taunt across him. Extending his claws, he snarled and reached for Jared. “I want to see you bleedin’.”


Janice's website:

Year of the Cat:

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Hey! I'm New Here!

Hey, Everyone!

I'm Deelylah Mullin, and I'm new to Romance Books 4 Us...and I am absolutely THRILLED to be part of this fabulous group of authors.

I've been part of the writing community since 2010 or 2011 when I started reviewing for That's What I'm Talking About. Then, in 2012, I responded to a Tweet from an author looking for Beta readers. After volunteering, I asked if I could send back edits b/c they were going to drive me nuts. Thusly, I broke into editing. It really wasn't much of a stretch--I have a BA in Music and English, along with expired teaching certification in Michigan for those subjects as well as special education, in which I hold a master's degree. I edited for a few small houses until they closed while building up my client list. I still edit for select authors, though I don't take as many manuscripts as I once did.

I currently have a #dayjob and work-from-home most of the time. As a developmental editor for a literacy nonprofit, I get to play with words all day--mostly in the area of research. This is the work of my heart--I always wanted to work with a literacy nonprofit, and after retiring from teaching after 26 years in the classroom, it was time.

Hubby, Mr. VampBard, and I will be full-blown empty nesters as of July 1; our youngest graduates from high school in a few days and she will begin her journey in the Navy. We have three in some stage of college: a sophomore, a recent graduate doing a year of research prior to applying to graduate schools for psychology, and one with another year of medical school to go. We also have a computer wizard, and the best damn welder in this part of Michigan (I may be biased...) as well as a daughter-in-law, two absolutely DARLING grandsons, and a spectacular son-in-law. In actuality, we're a modern-day Brady Bunch...except Alice never showed up.

As we're entering a new phase in our lives, I am super excited that Mr. VampBard is so supportive of my writing. We even recently switched cell phone providers because we wanted a hotspot so I would be able to work ANYWHERE, and our former service wanted ENTIRELY too much to add on a hotspot I wouldn't necessarily use a lot because I am pretty much a hermit.

As an author, I have contemporary romance published--but it's not for everyone. My characters have real-world issues to overcome which, I've heard, isn't the way everyone likes their romance. I write paranormal romance as Marilyn Harlow--and I am LOVING writing PNR! Thus far, they're much lighter than my contemporary romances.

I am always open for an informal chat about the writing world--I keep an ear-to-the-ground about what's going on, but I'm unapologetically in the Indie-published camp. I'm also happy to guest post when I have something to say--likely about a new release :-)

I look forward to being your blog host on the 26th of every month! In June, you can look forward to my Birthday Month post!

Until then,

Much love--


Friday, May 24, 2019

GPS For Writing

Today, May 24, is National Road Trip Day. In honor of the day, I decided to update a blog I wrote after a road trip up the California coast in 2009.

            Since I wrote this blog, self-publishing has forged a new direction for many of us, but the basic message is the same: start with a road map even if you decide to take a detour. Another update: after that trip we bought a GPS, and more recently, we bought a new car that has a navigation system. In 2018, my husband, son, and I took a road trip to Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Mt. Rushmore, and Deadwood, South Dakota. Our son, who lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, flew into Salt Lake City to join us. He drove the rental car through the whole trip, which was a help. He also taught us how to use Google Maps on our Smartphones. So, we no longer need to worry about a GPS if we are in a rental.

            Do you have a GPS in your car or as an APP on your phone? It seems everyone nowadays has a GPS in some form or another. Before our 2009 trip up the California coast, I decided we should buy a GPS and take it with us. My husband disagreed, saying the maps we got from AAA would be enough to guide us. (I know, so old school). When we picked up the rental car, we turned down the rental company’s GPS because we didn’t want to pay $140 when we could buy one for about $50 more at home. Big, big mistake.

            We got lost a lot on that trip. A lot. My husband becomes unglued when he gets lost. We fought. At one point I was writing a story in my head titled, “A GPS Would Have Saved My Marriage.” We finally calmed down and resigned ourselves to getting lost at times. We missed many of the sights we’d wanted to see, partly because the state of California doesn’t believe in signs, partly because we didn’t have a GPS, and partly because I didn’t thoroughly read the books AAA gave us. We missed Big Sur, which was one of the main things we’d wanted to see. On the other hand, while lost we stumbled onto Ventura, a true gem of a beach town. Now I know where all the Sixties hippies went. We spent a wonderful, unexpected afternoon in sunny, beautiful, quirky Ventura and decided it was a place in which we could happily live.

            What does this have to do with writing? Do you have a GPS for your writing? Do you know what direction you want your writing to take, or are you barreling down the freeway and hoping for the best? When you started writing to sell, did you map out a plan? Did you decide to attend conferences and workshops to learn all you could about the craft of writing? Then, did you write and write and hone your craft? Or did you write with no real direction, feeling you didn’t need to study the market, that your books would find their way to the right publishers, like a GPS you plug in with no destination and wait for it to take you somewhere?

            I know writers whose plan it is to sell only to a big New York house, and if they don’t, they’ll put their manuscripts into the proverbial drawer rather than go with an epub or a small press, or indie publish. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s their choice. Yet, they may be cheating themselves by not recalculating their direction. I can hear that inner voice now going, “Recalculating, recalculating.” What if one of their manuscripts is a little too out of the box for the big houses? Maybe a reputable epub or small press would love it. Maybe indie pubbing that unusual story will bring major success. There are times when you might need to veer off onto small detours. You never know where those detours will take you.

            By all means, get back onto the main highway after the detour if you still want, but by opening yourself to new roads and taking a less traditional publishing route, you’ll have a book out there, a book people will want to read. Isn’t that better than keeping the book hidden in a drawer?  

            On our California trip, we didn’t get to see Big Sur, but we discovered Ventura. And I’m so glad we did. When I started writing, there were one or two epubs and they were very new and earned no respect from the writing community. Like most of my fellow members of RWA, I dreamed of selling to a big NY house. After I was rejected by several big publishers, someone suggested I submit to Avalon Books, a small press. I hadn’t considered a small press. I submitted and I sold to them. My book, a traditional romance, gave me entry into RWA PAN.

            Since then, numerous epubs have sprung up. Some fell by the wayside, but many others are thriving. I contracted for my second book, a romantic suspense, with The Wild Rose Press. In GPS terms, I haven’t found Big Sur, the NY publishers, but I found my publishing Ventura, small press and epubs, and now indie publishing. All places where I’ve settled comfortably. I’m no longer heading down the expressway hoping to someday sell to a large publisher. I’ve discovered the joys of going a less traditional route.

            You might have to change direction from time to time, but the important thing is to know where you’re going. Study the market, write what you love, learn all you can and drive forward into that publishing freeway. But be prepared for detours and know those unexpected twists in the road might lead you to greater adventures.

You can travel anywhere in the world through books. My latest release, Wedded On a Dare (Love On a Dare Book 2) is set in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. You can travel to all those places for the price of a book.

 A trip to Vegas...
A gorgeous man...
A beautiful woman...
What could go wrong?

When a struggling actress takes a role as the glamorous temporary wife of a wealthy playboy, she finds love doesn’t always come on cue.

Struggling actress Kate Carluccio showed up for her wedding but her groom bowed out without warning. He absconded not only with her heart, but also her parents’ life savings. Her confidence shaken, Kate’s determined to find a way to restore her parents’ money. Then she’s offered the role of a lifetime: step out of her colorful high-top sneakers and into the glammed-up role of socialite wife to a shallow, annoying playboy. If only Kate wasn’t also secretly attracted to him, the one-and-a-half million dollars he offers with his proposal of a marriage-of-convenience might be easier to accept.

Breathtakingly handsome, super rich, and sophisticated with a bad boy vibe, Zach Lyon is a tabloid favorite. He may be a vice-president at his father’s company, but up until now he’s just played a supporting role. But when he discovers two executives are conspiring to force his dad out and take over the company, Zach decides it’s time to step into the spotlight. What better way than to take a glamorous new wife to Las Vegas to spend the Christmas holiday at the home of one of the conspiring executives?

As the curtain rises on the eclectic house party, Kate and Zach play their roles against the backdrop of schemers and snobs, while hiding deep secrets of their own. Can Kate pretend to love Zach without revealing the true depth of her attraction? Can Zach prove to his father he has the stability to go from understudy to leading man? They may have wedded on a dare, but with the stage set for romance, their marriage-of-convenience might just turn into a marriage-to-last-a-lifetime.

Universal Buy Link:

For your reading pleasure, both books in the Love On a Dare Series are available in one set:

Love On a Dare Duet

Two women...
Two life-changing dares...
Do they have the courage to accept?

Universal buy link:



Sunday, May 19, 2019

Oh The Magic and the Power!

Sharon Hamilton here in NOLA!
I'm always haunted (in a good way) when I come to New Orleans. Some call it Party City, but I feel the spirits mingling with my muse when I come here. My hair stands on end as my muses get drunk on great food, spirits and just that sense that something bigger than me is behind all of it. Best advice? Go with it!
As I write this, my windows are shaking from the thunder and lightning going on outside, another reminder that I'm here, and although I wouldn't mind getting stuck here for a week or two, I have things to do at home, and much writing to finish. Hearing the sirens and the booms, plus these rolling clouds and dark skies do put me in the paranormal realm, I can use it to finish my latest book. The danger. The unknown. The hope that there's a Happily Ever After.
There always is.    

Who can forget the great coffee and beignets, the music, the pulse of the city and its people. We met a creative panhandler on bicycle outside our restaurant with his dog in a basket on the front – both of them wearing pearls. Pop beads. I wanted to break my own rule, but didn't.

Watched my Golden State Warriors achieve a third game win for the playoffs in what only could be described as a miracle come from behind. Something is touching my world. My antennae is up.
Tonight Game of Thrones will be up for the grand finale, another epic fantasy that I know will be opening up a new chapter. For what it's worth, I think there will be a golden egg on the throne, that will hatch. The new ruler will be a cute little dragon, and boy wouldn't that usher in a new season if the spirits are so inclined?
Let the magic continue and the words flow! Thank you NOLA and all your ghosts of lives past, both good and bad. I walk through the celephane of our worlds, and as long as I can come back home, I'm okay with the journey!
Somewhere in all that darkness and storm there is love!
And to add to the magic, my Big Bad Boy Bundle is now free on all devices. You can find the link here:     Big Bad Boy Bundle
And coming up in just two weeks, my new Bone Frog Brotherhood book, SEAL's Rescue, comes out 6-11-19.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

I Remember Mama by Marianne Stephens

I Remember Mama was the  title of an old TV show in the 50's. And yes, I know that Mother's Day has passed. But that doesn't stop people from remembering their mothers.

I miss my mother every single day. I find myself thinking, "What would mom think about this?"

Mom lived with us for 10 years. We created an apartment in our home for her. Things went well until Dementia took over. Suddenly I had a mother I didn't recognize; one who swore, couldn't remember anything.

With tons of guilty feelings, we put mom in a nursing home dedicated to helping those with dementia and Alzheimers She got great care, but I still felt guilty.

I can laugh now at some of the things she did as dementia took over:
Talking on the phone to a cousin - without a phone. I told her to hang up so we could talk.
Watching a Christmas parade outside her summer while she looked at a parking lot.
Telling me "You lied to me. It's not April. Shut up and drive." I'd gone to get her for a home visit for Thanksgiving. We weren't even out of the parking lot. That was the last time I tried to bring her home. 
Telling me that my brother lived in the nursing home basement and was chasing the nurses. Boy, was she angry at him! And, his band played at the nursing home...and my then 3 year-old grandson sang with the band - in Italian.

It was sad to see her fade away. On my birthday in 2015, she held a stuffed bear wrapped in a blanket and called it her baby. I had to hold it so she would eat lunch.

There were lucid episodes, and I am grateful for those. She loved music and I'd dance with her when a band came and played songs from the 40's and 50's. 

After she passed away in Jan. 2016, my brother, sister, and I went through some of her things at my house. Tucked away in an envelope we found three for each of us. They all began the same:

These had been written long before dementia kicked in. How special she made each of us feel.
On her headstone at the cemetery, we wrote "Favorite Mother".

Yes, I remember mama for so many reasons!

What is your fondest memory of your mom/stepmom/godmother/any woman who helped raise you?


Monday, May 13, 2019

Mother's Day Musings

Yesterday was Mother's Day here in the U.S. I was lucky enough to spend it with the spouse, my two sons (aka the offspring) #2's wife and #1's fiancee, (aka the crazy ladies willing to put up with my offspring) and for at least part of the day with my two granddaughters (aka the grandspawns). Also with ffspring #5, wh isn't really mine but comes over on Sundays to watch Game of Thrones. The youngest of this generation is 25. Keep that in mind.

Spouse makes me French toast and bacon and brings it upstairs. No tray. Balancing a plate with syrup on your lap is tricky, but he's a wonderful cook and it was a very sweet gesture. Brunch devoured in to time flat. Nice start to the day. I shower, go downstairs and find yellow tulips in a vase by my comfy chair. More bonus points. A bit later he brings me a grilled cheese and a bottle of real Diet Coke. This is a treat, as with a horde of 20-somethings in and out of the house we usually buy generic. While I'm eating, Son #2, who lives here with wife and kids carries younger granddaughter past me. This is a mistatke. When Smallest Spawn (aka Squidlet) sees Gah! for the first time in a day, she demands her minutes of tribute. He puts her down in the playroom, but she makes a beeline for me, climbs up on the footstool by my feet, climbs into my lap, says very loudly, "Mine," plants smacking kiss on my nose, then clambers down and on her merry way. I am of the opinion that this was yet another Mother's DayTreat. I love that my grandspawns are part of my everyday life, and that I am part of theirs. She can claim me as hers any time she likes.

Spouse mumbles that my present is currently somewhere in Ohio accoring to his track shipping app. I am not surprised. Pretty much anything involving the state of Ohio has had it in for me since childhood. There is not enough alcohol in this town to make me explain that.

Right before dinner Elder spawn, (aka Squirrel) age almost 7, returns from a rough weekend at her birthmom's. She's not happy, but we cut her some slack, let her have some strawberry cake with strawberry-elderflower sauce after her steak and risotto, so she is pleased and goes to bed without meltdowns. A good day indeed.

I have lovely gifts from my kids--a hanging plants for my porch, a new handbag, and a few small odds and ends both sweet and thoughtful. I spend some time talking wedding plans and such, and spoke to my mother-in-law 2000 miles away who adored the elf-point ear wraps we sent. Not content to wait until the fantasy-themed wedding in September, she had to let us know she'd worn them to chruch today and gotten many compliments. I love my big, weird clan.

Of course days like this always bring back the harder memories too. My own mom has been gone for 14 years. I miss her down-to-earth practicality and our shared love of romance novels. She'd been gone just a year when I was first published, and I always wished she could have been there to revel in it with me. I can picture her, white curly perm, deep brown eyes and wicked smirk, playing cards and telling me she doesn't much care for my woo-woo (paranormal) books but my westerns aren't too bad.

Mothers, in romance novels, are very often absent. In the early years of the genre, I think the missing mums made the characters more vulnerable and more into the idea that they had to find the perfect alpha male (often the doctor to the nurse, or the tycoon to the secretary) to take care of the poor girl. I'm glad times have changed in that respect, Me, I write it story by story. If the mother's presence or absence is point plot, there you go. Otherwise? I'm just making it up as I go along.

Hug a mom today if you missed yesterday, or even if you didn't. Or a foster mom, a step-mom, a dad doing double duty as both mom and dad, a female mentor helping as a mom-lke figure, a big sister, an aunt, a mom whose kids are furry, feathered or scaled, or anyone, really, who's willing to go the distance and make a difference in someone's life.  Happy Monday!

Friday, May 10, 2019


Posted by R. Ann Siracusa


This was one of the favorite expletives used by Dick Dastardly, a cartoon antagonist created in 1968 by Hanna-Barbera, based on English actor Terry Thomas.

We never find out specifically what misfortunes D. D. is wishing upon his enemies, but the kind of curse we’re talking about today is the “invocation of a supernatural power to inflict harm or punishment on someone or something” kind of curse, not offensive words or phrases kind. We know those.
English is a rich language, with many ways to describe things, actions, and feelings, some words adding subtle differences to the overall meaning. Words are the tools of writers. It’s our job to put together words to amuse, teach, scare, entice, and entrance readers and put them in places, situations, and times they know well and those they have never experienced.
Yay Words! Unfortunately, sometime we use the same ones over and over.
Somewhere I read an article by an author commenting on the use of swear words. He said that, in English, about the worst thing you can wish on a person is to go have a sexual experience. He compared that to Jewish curses, which he felt embodied a true sense of inflicting harm.
Taking that to heart, I did a little research on Yiddish curses, and I have to agree with anonymous.
Anglo-Saxon curses often deal with body parts, Catholic curses go for blasphemy, and the Middle and Far East insulting ancestors. According to Marnie Winston-Macauley, “the Yiddish curse has a baroque splendor in its intricate ability to prophesize. The most spectacular lull the victim with a positive opening, which then turns into a juicy, literate, malediction that no mere obscene word could possibly convey. According to the Yiddish proverb “A curse is not a telegram: it doesn’t arrive so fast.
Like Jewish caviar, the Jewish curse must be savored. So, writers who don’t like using swear words in their novels or who perhaps want to enrich the quality of savoring ill will, you should take heed of the following examples
● May what I wish on him come true (most, even half, even just 10%).
● May he should drink too much castor oil.
● May someone throw salt in your eyes and pepper in your nose. 
May you turn into a blintz and be eaten by your cat. 
May you run to the toilet every three minutes or every three months.
● May you crap blood and pus.
● May you grow a wooden tongue.
May your mouth be in your rear.
May your head fall off.
May your intestines be turned into a telephone cord.
● May God should visit upon you the best of the Ten Plagues.
● May venereal disease should consume your body.
● May all your teeth fall out except the one to give you a toothache.

May leeches should drink you dry.

● May I live him long enough to bury him.

● May a wheel run over your skull.

May your tapeworm develop constipation while trolley cars run through your intestine as thieves camp out in your belly and steal your guts one by one.
     ● May you grow like an onion with your heard in the ground.

● May you live to a hundred and twenty years with a wooden head and glass eyes.
● May you enjoy a good time with plenty of good Vodka – and may your blood turn to
whiskey, so that 100 bedbugs get drunk on it and dance the mazurka in your belly button.

● May you be transformed into a chandelier, to hang by day and to burn by night.

●May you swallow an umbrella and may it open inside you.

● May you get passage out of the old village safely, and when you settle, may you fall into the outhouse just as a regiment of Ukrainians is finishing a prune stew and twelve barrels of beer.

And last, but not least, my favorite.

May you have a thousand mother-in-laws.

Well, some of those curses are pretty graphic, and they definitely have the impact of some serious ill will. Can any other culture match that? I took a look at some others. I believe the Irish are second in the running. They have many of the same ideas of ill will and misfortune, but they tend to lack the dramatic flourish of the Yiddish curses. I was a little disappointed.

I do like this one, though, probably because of the cartoon that went with it.

● May the gates of Paradise never open to you. 

I’m sure every culture and religion in the world has its own version of “curses” to wish misfortune on others, just as they all have their “blessings”.

Curses are not as easy to find on the internet as you might think. When you Google most of them, you get plain old curse words or definitions of malediction, ill will, curse, or whatever word you used to indicate willing someone bad luck.
It’s true you can add “May you…” to many of them and get a curse, just as many folk sayings can be turned into curses by adding the correct words to put the saying into the proper format.
Writers can spice things up a little by using one or two creative curses in a novel instead of everyday swear words. For those writers who are uncomfortable using too many swear words, try putting a few of them in other languages if it's logical for your story, and one character can insult another with legitimate words that not many people know.
Just sayin’.

Author R. Ann Siracusa
Converting oxygen to carbon dioxide for more than three quarters of a century
Travel to Foreign Lands for Romance and Intrigue

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Thursday, May 9, 2019

It's All About the Mom #MothersDay #RB4U #melissa_keir

It's All About the Mom

Welcome! Mother's Day is approaching and children all over the United States will be bringing their mothers breakfast in bed along with beautiful hand drawn photos of a smiling mom. A Hallmark moment for sure....But do you remember a TV show from the 90's where the catch phrase was "Not the Mama?"

Jim Henson dreamed up and Disney made the show happen. It was a weekly prime time comedy about a blue-collar family of dinosaurs who lived in an alternate reality where dinosaurs were never extinct. The family featured a father, mother, teenage son and daughter, aged mother-in-law and cute small baby dinosaur. 

The cute baby loved to hit the father (or anyone else) with a frying pan and scream "Not the Mama" to the delight of the audience. As mother's know, sometimes your child only wants you and no one else will do.

Even when you are an adult....

Now that another Mother's Day is practically upon us, I spend a great deal of time reminiscing about my mom. She's been gone for twenty years. She missed so much...her children and grandchildren have grown, gotten married, and had many celebrations without her. (although she was always in our hearts)

This year, I've felt closer to her as I worked to get her novel published. She had a dream in the early 80's and wrote a sweeping love story about a fiery young woman and the undercover spy who was trying to stop the gunrunning after the Civil War. (Available in ebook and print- Amazon)

I was excited to be able to bring her dream of becoming a published author to reality. But there are still times when I miss her and would give almost anything to spend time with her, sharing all she missed, especially as we celebrate our moms.

If you are lucky to have a mom still in your life, be sure to give her a hug, a flower or breakfast in bed. And if your mom has passed, like mine, spend some time on this holiday celebrating her memory. 

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers and the "Not the Mamas"

Until next month,

Melissa Keir

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

World Joanne Jaytanie

How do some authors jump from world to world and achieve wonderful outcomes so successfully? Every fiction story has a certain amount of world-building. It might not be extensive in stories such as a contemporary romance, but even so, the author builds a world for their characters to come to life in. Granted, there are different levels, for example, fantasy and Syfy writers create entire worlds, complete with their own vehicles, dwellings, clothing, atmosphere, food, traditions, vocabulary, just to name a few aspects.

I know authors who can work on multiple WIPs simultaneously, I’ve never been one of them…until now. But to be fair, my projects are all at different stages, and I’m not going back and forth between stories…at least not too much.

Salvaging Truth was published earlier this year. Yes, that book is published, but that hasn’t stopped my mind from constantly coming up with ideas, plots, what-ifs for book two…and three. I jot down ideas because let’s be honest…even when I say—“Oh, that’s good. I’ll remember that”—I don’t. So now I force myself to stop what I’m doing and write it down or take a note on my phone.

I’ve completed writing, Twice as Bad, book 2 for Miss Demeanor, P.I. and I’m working on edits as they come. This novella differs from book 1 in that it is longer, grittier, and has more twists.

I’ve been listening to Chasing Victory and I’m working my way through the series to reacquaint myself with the Winters Sister’s world and the copious number of characters. Yes, I do keep a book bible. Thank goodness I learned that strategy early on. Right about the time I was two-thirds of the way through writing Chasing Victory, and I couldn’t recall something important and had to search through the story. Book 5 will be in a brand new three-ring binder and the second book bible of the series. I try to update my bible as I write. However, that didn’t happen when I wrote, book 4, Corralling Kenzie and I’ll be adding it to my bible soon.

Each of these series has their own worlds. Fortunately, I have set all my stories in present time, which makes for slightly less world-building, except for The Winters Sisters. Once I dive into the Winters Sisters, I become immersed in their world and have a difficult time trying to write anything else. Theirs is a more intense world, especially when you add in the distinct supernatural abilities of all the major characters, along with sub-plots, personalities, Dobermans, and villains.

This is the closest I’ll ever get to writing multiple stories at once. To those of you writing gods and goddesses that find the process of world jumping very doable, even easy…I’m in awe of you.

Until next month…


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