Author Interview Author Recommendation CARE AND FEEDING OF WRITERS

Sit down with multi-publshed Anne Greene–Boxed-Set Sister #4. The suspense is killing me!

Anne Greene – confirmed panster!

So here we are, finally, getting cozy with the last of my Romancing the Billionaire Boxed-Set Sisters, Anne Greene. (That’s for the year 2019. I’m onboard for Winged Publications MISSletoe Mistakes, another boxed set, due out Christmas 2020. Stay tuned.) For now, it’s spotlight Anne.


What moves you to write, Anne, and what do you write (fiction only? poetry? plays?)

I write Suspense and Mystery and Historical and Historical Romance. Since I was small, as long as I can remember, I’ve written plays and stories. I believe I was born to write. I write for the Lord. (Can’t beat that motivation, and there’s something about feeling that niggle from childhood.)

Pansters, pansters EVERYWHERE with nary a friend to plot. Sniff, sniff!

Are you a panster or a plotter? (Why am I stuck on this question?)

I am a complete panster!

Okay, Sis, it’s official. I’m the solo plotter of Romancing the Billionaire. Still the BEST LITTLE BOXED SET at .99 cents thru December! But tell us more. Inquiring plotters could use a head’s up.) I might start with an intriguing setting, an interesting character, and very occasionally a plot drops into my mind. (I knew it!) I might or might not have a climax in mind and never an ending. But that’s it.

I’m FEELING this!

Once my characters are born, I turn them loose and sit back and watch what they do. It’s like enjoying a movie. This keeps the story spontaneous and fresh. I’ve tried to plot and found that avenue boring. So, I write the way I’ve always written.

If you have a craft bag–what’s in it? And/or if you don’t do crafts, what leisure activity or hobby is sitting there waiting for you? (Or is Anne on top of it all?)

I love doing crafts, but only with a group. I sing in our magnificent two-hundred-person church choir and I paint with oils.

Do you find family to be a support, a distraction, or an integral element of your writer’s life?

Family. A mixed blessing, but a blessing none-the-less. Although I’m partial to kiddos liking your books!

Interesting question. My children love my books as do some of their children. But family is a large part of my life and they come before any book deadlines and as such they are somewhat a distraction. But a loved distraction.

My husband is a huge support. He does the final proof on all my books before I send them to my editor. (Good man. Smart, too!) He designs my website, takes my publicity pictures, and the sweet man frames the cover of each book my publishers have published. My office is lined with pictures of my book covers. (Okay, our next interview will definitely revolve around cloning. LoL!)

What to do when a small town turns BIG?

Do you prefer city or country living? And does this impact the settings of your stories?

I like a town of 150,000. Where I live in McKinney, Texas has grown from 35,000 when we moved here to 200,000 in fifteen years. My lovely town is now too crowded.

Those were the days!

Yes, I’ve written about McKinney in two of my books, Mystery at Dead Broke Ranch – when McKinney was 35,000 and Red is for Rookie, the lst book in my Holly Garden Detective series now that McKinney has grown and become a suburb of Dallas. 

What motivated you to write this latest novel? And what would you like readers to take away from the experience of your words?

Romancing The Billionaire, the title intrigued me when my publishers proposed this anthology. My book is Hatteras Island Mystery. Wedding photographer, Misty Gordon, photographs a man at a late December wedding. He disappears before she can discover his name. Next morning as she walks the beach, she discovers his body floating in the ocean. As Misty summons EMT, the man wakes but has no memory. After he disappears from the hospital, Misty discovers him aboard a million-dollar yacht. As she talks with him, two assassins try to kill them both.

Is this a murder for hire, a revenge killing, or a political assassination? Is the man with no memory a drug dealer, an FBI agent, or a billionaire?

Can Misty solve the mystery before they both end in the morgue? (I’m betting Misty can, but its how that’s hooked me. I love suspense!)

What’s on the horizon for you? Books? Projects? Whatever?

I’m working on a book now titled Trail of Tears. This novel follows the nephew of John Ross, chief of the Cherokees, and what happened to a 1/16 Native American as he traveled the Trail of Tears after having lost his plantation, slaves, and parents to the US Government. Trail of Tears is packed with action, adventure, surprises, and history. The reader will feel as if he had traveled the Trail herself.

What’s your favorite animal—do you have one??? I’m a real animal nut so I have to ask.

My little brown and white Shih Tzu sits at my feet every day as I write. I often insert her picture into my newsletter. I use many pictures in my newsletter so my readers can know me better. If you’d like to join my newsletter, (and catch a glimpse of your furry friend) visit me at and sign up.

Where do you find your heroes?

My dear husband doesn’t like me to call him a hero, but he is one. He served in the Army forty years and retired as a Colonel, Special Forces. I’m sure each of my novel heroes has some of my husband’s fine qualities.

What’s your view on character flaws for heroes/heroines?

I like character flaws. (Me, too!) None of us is perfect and revealing a character flaw, shows the character is human.

What’s your least favorite character type?

I don’t have a least favorite. I love to write villains and heroes. I sometime find my secondary character tries to take over the story, then I use him as hero of his own story. (Wrangling secondary characters can be tricky!)

Get’s MY attention. How about yours?

What would you like to tell readers about yourself? Channel Jeopardy and give me the answer and the question. LoL!

I’d love my readers to stay in touch with me via my newsletter. The letter arrives once a month and is contains pictures of new books, recipes, family photos, some of my oil paintings, and pictures of my workspace as well as my travels. I have giveaways and contests. And you will definitely get to know me better by reading my newsletter!


Well, cool beans! That was fun. Thanks for stopping by, Sis. I appreciate the reveal of the woman behind the suspenseful, historical, romantic tales. And the opportunity to share your works and wit with my readers.

Anne’s books are available at
To contact Anne, visit her at

I’ll be Vegas bound on Monday. A main stop–THE MOB MUSEUM.

I’ll be chillin’ at the Speakeasy. Bet on it!

“The Mob Museum offers a bold and authentic view of organized crime from vintage Las Vegas to the back alleys of American cities and—increasingly—across the borders and networks of the entire world. Explore the real stories and actual events of Mob history through interactive exhibits and one-of-a-kind Mob and law enforcement artifacts found inside our restored 1933 former courthouse and post office building located just minutes from Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas.”

The perfect place to explore my resident Grinch’s Sicilian roots. And my own bootlegging backstory from Depression Days gone wild.

Read on, people. Enjoy this run up to Christmas. Family. Friends. And…

Write on!

#authorinterview #amreading #romancewriting #Christianfiction #suspensebooks #MOBMUSEUM #recommendedread #inspirational #family #writing #writingcraft #writingbooks

Author Interview Author Recommendation CARE AND FEEDING OF WRITERS

Sydney Winthrop, boxed-set sister #3, discusses the slings and arrows of “supportive” family! Special guest star: Last Light Falling’s Jay Plemons!


All right, guys, the countdown to Christmas is ticking. LOUDLY. It seems that way with deadlines, real or self-imposed, going blizzard in the confines of an otherwise calm headspace.

Imagine this scrolling in your mind when you’re supposed to be sleeping. Pretty menacing, no?

But I’m the nervous type who often imagines things being far worse than they are–could be why I write Romantic Suspense in between sweeter, contemporary romantic offerings like Her Toronto Tycoon! (Mercy Nation: Diamond Dogs Book 3 and a host of other sweet, but deadly romances are on the horizon.)

I’m absolutely not alone, though. My boxed-set sister, the multi-published, prolific Sydney Winthrop is right beside me in the metaphorical trenches. So let’s get to it.

(Warning: This is going to be a quickie. My black sheep family reunion in Vegas–a real nail biter–is under a week away. (That’s a shout out for prayers in case you were wondering. I’d prefer a Merry Christmas instead of headlining the news.) **********************************

1.) So, Sydney, are you a panster or a plotter? And why? (What does method bring to your stories?)

Am I the ONLY plotter?

I am totally a panster. I have a friend who completely outlines her story before she writes a word. One day I asked her, “How did you know who the murderer was?” She looked at me in astonishment and quipped, “How can you NOT?” (Team panster scores – AGAIN!)

My characters speak to me as I go. In Fibers of Freedom, I thought Brutus Keller was the bad guy and figured I’d either kill him off or he’d go to jail! He turned into a good guy, fortunately for Duo of Death and Romance, as he’s one of the billionaires! (I‘m glad this Brutus didn’t get in close for the kill!)

2.) Do you find family to be a support, a distraction, or an integral element of your writer’s life?

Writers may not be Julius Caesar, but naysayers are often those who envy our position and throw their lot in with those who would kill us. If not in truth, then absolutely in spirit! Watch out!

Two days ago, I would have said they were a support. Today, I have to say, they are not all in support. My husband is, unequivocally. So is my mother! (That’s experience talking.)

One of my daughters has voiced the opinion I’d make more money in a real job and should do so. (OUCH!) Well, true. I would make more money. It’s up to us as writers, however, to make writing a real job.

3.) Tell us a little about the method you bring when you sit down ‘not to work.’ My sweet spot for invention is between 2 and 5 in the afternoon. Mornings I edit. Around those times, if writing is a real job to me, I need to update my book bibles. File. Blog. Market. Research. Learn what other authors in my genre are blogging. That is all work related to my job. (And clearly visible to those like your husband, good man, and your dear mother who likely know better what constitutes a real job!)

Does it pay real money? And how long do I continue before I decide I need a real job? That answer is different for each one of us.


Sydney’s kept pretty busy not working! Check it out on Amazon!

No, kidding, Sydney. Self-determination gives rise to GREAT authors, fantastic fiction, and worthwhile experiences. Gray has its place, but not globbed over everything. So, good on ya, Sis, for the amazing display of patience, wisdom, and restraint–qualities that are required in any startup when dealing with those “frenemies” who would get close to better position the knife. (Et Tu, Brute?)

But it’s that time of year. My gift to my readers, my sister Stacey, and to those naysayers who may foolishly believe that real jobs are all about paychecks, are the wise words of Jay Plemons, a very talented author who is seasoned in following where the spirit leads. This charitable soul lifted me up from my own puddle of WHAT when I was splattered by friendly fire only last month. (Out of the mouths of babes.)

Jay’s words: I support you all the way. Never give up a talent that makes you happy. You’re awesome! (Isn’t THAT awesome? Talk about finding your tribe.)

And the message? We’re each tasked with a variety of jobs. One of which is the primary care and feeding of our true selves. Jay’s writing is raw and real. But if you’re keen to explore the edgy depths of a dystopian world to find exactly what faith can do, read him. Meanwhile, Sydney and I will tool the avenues of inspirational romantic suspense–and sweet contemporary–taking readers on our journey of self-discovery, wherever that may lead. A job, yes, but also a joy. Much like my writing and reading family!

I’d like to thank Sydney, Jay, and each and every one of you. Thank you for being yourselves, frenemies included. To discover more about the works of Sydney Winthrop, stop by her author page:

Read more about Jay Plemons at:

Write on!

Author Recommendation CARE AND FEEDING OF WRITERS Writer's Tool Box

ROMANCING THE BILLIONAIRE Book Trailer: Indulge me, please!

Feels like that … SOMETIMES.

Hey Guys. I’m back with an AMAZING book trailer. Amazing because I finished it this weekend with no fatalities. My boxed set sisters–Anne Greene, Stephanie Guerrero, Diane Tatum, and Sydney Winthrop–have been kind enough to let me take a stab at this shared promo.

I’m honored.

I’m also flying high–and no, I’m not sampling any spiked eggnog in anticipation of #Christmas. The creative end of just about everything trips my triggers. Always has. But that’s likely why a gazillion snap boxes full of whatnot are preventing me from parking in my garage. (Must. TRY. Everything. ONCE!)

And now it’s time to celebrate…. or check out my latest creation.

Filmora 9 is a fabulous video creation tool, but there’s a learning curve. This isn’t my first video and won’t be my last. God willing they’ll get BETTER. I’d love your thoughts!

Thanks for sharing my excitement. I hope you’ll pick up your set of Romancing the Billionaire today–if not for you, then for that friend, relative, or special someone who lives on luxury and the lifestyles of the rich and soon-to-be famous. LoL. Did you catch that shameless plug? I hope so.

Buy here==>

It’s not #blackfriday yet, but this set can be yours for a cool $3.99. Whatta bargain?! I’m betting Filmora 9 has a promo running. If you’re a writer or someone who enjoys creating like me, you’re sure to have fun dabbling.

Write on!


Audio STAY-Cation. The best little getaway that takes you where you SHOULD go!

Snoopy is a TOTAL bonus!

Okay. This great pic of Neil Diamond–the soulful enchanter who can still capture the masses–is floating around on Facebook.

Best thing? I’m now listening to “Sweet Caroline,” and feeling darned sweet. Hallelujah. Yes, there are personal issues that could translate into a crown-of-thorns, but thoughts matter.

Where do you want your thoughts to be?

It’s about free will. Taking charge instead of being dragged helpless to the dark side. Think positive may sound corny, but upbeat brainwaves are often the greatest act of charity. To ourselves and others. Music–that’s melody and lyrics–fuels imagination. It helps alleviate those tensions that bunch our shoulders, block creativity, foment hate–another baddie to be avoided at all cost–and give us premature wrinkles. The wrinkles that crease our character and need ironing out are better avoided.

Indulge yourself–an act of pure charity!

Prevention is worth a pound of cure, right?

Okay, so I didn’t get the wording right. I “think” that’s not a big deal. (Get the idea?)

So think on that. Do you want to be positive? Create great BOOKS and an even better life? Tap into the soulful sounds of Neil Diamond or whatever artist takes you there. Wherever that happy place might be. FYI: Audio STAY-cations may be beneficial for your health. And the happiness of others!

Write on!


Fuel the soul—feed the stomach! A must for writers who need to write.

MGM in Maryland? Who’d have thought?

Do you feel like you’re in a rut? Spiritual or gastronomical? Well, Divine Providence strikes again. The Grinch and I discovered MGM National Harbor on our way home from Church last Sunday. (Whoever cast the deciding vote to purchase our new congregation digs in Maryland, WE LOVE YOU!) The drive from Virginia is beautiful and smooth. A perfect mental prep for Sunday services. But, and I don’t say this lightly, a man’s gotta eat.

Me, too. And routines, despite tendencies to cleave to them, can get pretty stale.

Looks like a space ship ready to launch!

No more. MGM National Harbor—besides the gambling flash which I try to avoid—has so much to offer. Yes, there’s shopping, nightlife, a sumptuous hotel, and all that goes with that. I’m ALL ABOUT THE FOOD, however, especially with a hungering Grinch who, despite kindness, tends toward the dark side if certain needs aren’t met.


Osteria Costa at MGM National Harbor is a casual reprieve where guests will enjoy a variety of wood-fired pizzas, handmade pastas, fresh seafood and Italian spirits. Each day, a fresh assortment of limoncello will be crafted in-house available to be poured neat, or as part of a refreshing cocktail. The wine program will reflect the southern coast of Italy and celebrate vines from the region. Osteria Costa’s vibrant design exudes the class and comfort of the Amalfi Coast with bright colors and rustic touches reminiscent of the picturesque villages clung to the Italian coastline.
The Grinch put in a double order!

You get the picture. And if you’re into Eggs Benedict…oops, I mean Prosciutto Cotta Benedict, then Osteria Costa is the place to go.  Check. It. OUT! Prosciutto to live for (Can’t eat if you’re dead.) The Grinch gives the homemade brioche a double thumbs up. The coddled eggs, molded into delightful little caps, are perfecto. Same goes for the accompaniment of chunky-cut potatoes that are boiled, baked, and fried.

Wow. That’s a lotta prep. Just like grandma didn’t used to make. Mine were Swedish. LoL! But the combo makes for a delicious bite–a tactile delight for the discerning palate according to he who cleaned his plate.

Maybe if I wear shades, my scale won’t know its me!

The caciocavallo cheese curls are like, “snow.” Or so says the Grinch. Being on a high protein diet, I resisted temptation–Divine Providence reminding me that without pain there’s no gain. (Or loss considering I’m keen on dropping a few more pounds.) But I’ll be back!!

But the venture beyond the rut — for spiritual sustenance and good eats — fueled this writer’s soul. It’s an adventure I plan to continue. What fun places to eat are in your backyard? I’d love to know.

Write on!


To Burn or not to Burn!

Wegmans where are you???

That’s my question. It all began – well, recently anyway – with a Friday fish quest. Youngest kiddo and I – that’s Nick aged 20 – set out early to Wegmans. A great place for food if you don’t get lost and hungry on the way. Needless to say, yours truly, driving our red Dodge Ram sans GPS got lost. I’m not admitting for how long, but it took me a while to heed Nick’s encouragement to retrace our route and head for Harris Teeter. Virtually down the street, a straight shot albeit a long one. (My son would make an excellent hostage negotiator, psychiatrist, etc., etc., etc. Brag off.)

What makes a good fish go bad? No comment — who am I to judge fish behavior?

Anyway, afternoon came and Greg—my beloved mattress thieving Grinch—fried up our catch of the day. Gak. That was my reaction coming down from my writing lair to a cloud of unmentionables. How could it be? The fish looked good. Nothing like the lurid aroma wafting up the stairwell crept over the counter when the fish-man smiled and wrapped it up. Like a good soldier, though, I proceeded to eat what was set before me. (I always do having been the youngest of eight.) To my delight, my husband admitted the fish was awful. Gag worthy. Both the tuna and the swordfish steaks. Thank God, my effort to down the stuff ceased. But…

The Grinch may be a brown-shoe sailor at heart, but he wears suits now–every day!

How could this be? I’d tried so hard to bring home the proverbial bacon. Suffice to say, after I trotted plastic wrapped lovelies out to the garbage can, I was burning. Not angry so much as frustrated. The house wreaked. The reminder of my failed quest lingered and I wasn’t going to stand for it. Greg wasn’t either. Getting lost all the time is bad enough, but when your husband barks Lysol like a Navy emergency drill it doesn’t make mom happy.

So, after the disinfectant, I lit up. That’s candles. Plumeria, Violet Fields, Honey Something, and a double-discount blue discount thingie that transformed everything. I was in control. Maybe out of control considering the odd combo of scents driving bad fish back to the sea. But it felt GREAT. It smelled fabulous. It still does as I’m on a burning roll.

But I ask you. Is it the benefits of aromatherapy working its magic here or am I simply gleeful about having a positive effect on my environment? To burn or not burn is now the question. Greg is on the verge of hiding candles. (He won’t admit that’s what he was doing when he removed the two I had on the kitchen counter and relocated them to places unknown until I asked.) Older daughter—Melanie my self-care angel—suggests the solution is a DIFFUSER.

Say what? I can get those lovely scents without reaching for my extendo-flex Bic lighter? I’ll be finding out. That is if Melanie decides to send that diffuser she insists will keep both Dad and I happy. The closet full of candle jars awaiting repurposing is overcrowded.

What do you use? Candles? Diffuser? An open window? What? Inquiring minds—those that rarely rest—need to know if only to mellow out and…

Write on!


Care and Feeding of Roses: Not Your Everyday Garden Guide

David Austin Lady of Shalott rose. I love, love, love it!

Do you want to bloom? Reach your peak? Do you want passersby to stop and admire those showy blooms and drink in that intoxicating fragrance? It all begins with proper care and feeding.

That’s right. Authors are like rose bushes, roots dug deep into the ground, a channel of endless potential that can go either way. Beautifully bloomed or bug ridden and burned out.

It’s taken me a long while to adopt this love of rose growing and quoting aphorisms like my mother. But while times change, people don’t. You are what you eat. You do get what you put in.

So authors, please, while our focus may be on that showy novel that delivers everything a reader could want while challenging the market to adopt our unique color, keep the basics in mind.

Try sleeping like a baby — take naps when you need them!
  • Get sleep: Roses don’t produce blooms 24/7. To everything there is a season. Exhausted people can’t write, not their best material. Cranky people DO notice flaws, even those that aren’t there. (The hamster wheel from hell.) So set a schedule to give your mind (your muse) the rest needed to meet demand.
  • Eat: Rose growers fertilize their plants for peak production. A projected 151 BILLION USD will be spent on soil enrichment in 2020. That figure includes far more than rose fertilizer, but you get the idea? If you want results, feed the team. That’s YOU. And I’m not talking caffeine and Cocoa Puffs.
The SUN is our friend!
  • Get plenty of sunshine: Roses need light and heat to produce blooms. Human beings need sunshine to produce Vitamin D. Depression, bone loss and back pain, muscle pain and fatigue are some of the lovelies that may visit those who disregard this basic need.
  • Drink water: Roses need water and so do humans. And while caffeine is my go to for energy, the side effects of premature wilting are all too real. Counter that caffeine with untainted H20. You’ll be glad you did. And you’ll look better, too.
I missed spraying this poor bud and LOOK what happened!!
  • Spray for BUGS: Beautiful roses often attract unwanted visitors, diners that will make a meal of your beautiful bushes. So if you find yourself visited by gnats of doubt, indecision, excessive criticism, please, don’t wait to pull out the big guns. Waiting to attack these issues is like letting a nest of aphids go unchallenged. Yes, the aphids need to eat, but if you let them get a taste for your roses, they’ll never leave. And you’ll be left with a blossoming cautionary tale. So when doldrums strike, recognize, resist, and redirect.
  • PRUNE: Roses are lovely, but wild branches that snag you on the sidewalk aren’t so much. Runway projects that take a writer away from what’s important are a nuisance, too. So reassess on a regular basis. Target extraneous clutter. Look seriously at those items sucking time and energy and ask yourself if they’re worth keeping. If not, cut them out. You’ll grow stronger!
Not my garden — yet! But maybe someday.
  • ENJOY yourself. Roses and other flowers can’t talk. But if they did, I can’t help but think they’d glory in the beauty of existing, especially among their fellows. Talk about flower POWER. So find your tribe and have fun. It’s good medicine.

Write on!


Friends: There’s no LIVING without them!


First, dear readers, thank you for being my friends. I love the follows, the posts, the connections being created by blogging on WordPress, engaging on Facebook and Twitter. Diving into Instagram and now LinkedIn is providing an even greater social circle. (Something I often lacked as a homeschooling mom whose husband’s career required our family pick up and move every two seconds. No kidding.)

I’ve recently discovered I love hearing from fans, too. Brittany, you know who you are!

No shameless plugs forthcoming, but publishing my novels has been the best thing that’s ever happened to me. To the family, too, as mom is either occupied with her own busies and/or oozing satisfaction thanks to all the support of her growing FUN-base. That makes the whole house happier. Boo, too. (She’s allowing my newest arrival to share her desk space!)

My bestie, Patrice Lewis!
She does it all.

And my biggest fan and bestie, Patrice Lewis, reminded me yesterday what it means to have the support of friends, long term and through all manner of muck that doesn’t bear repeating. Suffice to say we’ve been pals since our babies were in diapers—some babies not even born yet. We’ve had plenty of book babies together, too. (There’s nothing like a critique session where your toddlers learn first-hand how to use words, tone of voice, and body language to manipulate their surroundings. Our collective 5 have absorbed every lesson. Precocious was the word. Our kiddos are all grown, and nearly all flown. But they’re armed!)

Long-stemmed smiles

But, Patrice Lewis, who I know you’ll get to know and love as I do, sent me the most beautiful bouquet yesterday. Two dozen long-stemmed smiles (multi-colored roses) with an assortment of chocolate candy chasers. (A dieter’s must-have when cheating becomes a virtue.) She sent the same to our new friend Cheryl Williford of Amish Inspirational novel fame. (Thank you ACFW Scribes!)

Cheryl Williford – generous, kind, and TALENTED

Cheryl’s latest novel, Their Convenient Amish Marriage is available for pre-order on Amazon. (Pinecraft here we come!) You don’t want to miss her tender treatment of life’s unexpected happenings that occur whether or not you’re living plain.

To get the skinny on why this shower of roses, you’ll have to visit Patrice Lewis. You’ll find the sweetest example of serendipity. Providence. And everything from Patrice’s ‘Simplicity Primer’ – a guide to making the life you want – to e-booklets on cheese making, canning, and dehorning cattle! She’s got it ALL!

Who knows? You may know Patrice from her longtime blog Rural Revolution – a revolution that has left her homesteading family well fed physically and spiritually. She’s also the force behind REAL AMERICA on WND.

Check it out.  And if you like sweet Amish romance, get ready for some Patrice Lewis titles in the near future. She’s a wonderful woman – a dedicated writer – and the very best of friends. I couldn’t live without her.

Write on!!


Slow and Steady: Writer’s Life Lessons from the Oldest Animal on Earth!

Which are YOU?

Slow and steady wins the race. How often have you heard that tortoise and the hare reference? I’ve lived with it my whole life since I have a fascination with shelled babies. And yet a tendency to go wild-hare trips me up too often. (Remember, I’m the one who almost stomped her own tulips.)  

But times change and sometimes people have to as well. That’s how life shapes us. It’s shaping me.

Going rabbit may be my natural go-to, but I’m in time out. Why? I’m not certain, but Facebook put me in the holding tank so my book ads won’t be appearing in group chats for Kindle, Clean Reads, Sweet Romance, Christian Fiction, and/or any group that I don’t manage. Whatever will I do?

How about slowing down and eating some grass like Jonathan, the
Seychelles giant tortoise? Check out this long-lived wonder in the following video:

Well, maybe I can’t eat grass. Virginia isn’t St. Helena. My lawn is kind of brown considering we had ice and snow last week. But I’m back on my blog. Thinking, writing, and getting real with myself in between promoting FALLEN ANGEL and RODEO KING and penning my latest novel, Craving Grace: Diamond Dogs Book Two. (Methinks that title is a subliminal memo to yours truly.)

Anyway, here goes. Writer’s life lessons learned from Jonathan—the OLDEST animal in the world.

This too shall pass: Whatever your issues—writer’s block, Facebook jail (It’s no fun reliving life as a toddler, wondering “what” you did while being stuck in your playpen.), or fluctuating markets—IT WILL PASS. Either the situation will change or your response to the latest challenge will make it lose its power-over

LOVE it!!
  1. Make good use of your SHELL: Introverts often get a bad rap. But those with shells have them for good reason. A ready suit of armor is not to be wasted. It can protect you when you need it. Others will try to tempt you out of it–a fun exercise all around. But that shell can defend others as well, by demonstrating the quiet dignity of pulling back when need be and resetting in the mode of God’s good grace and timing.

EMBRACE routine: It’s okay to fall back on the structure of life’s rhythms to regain yourself and move forward. Jonathan, “typically spends his days lounging in the sun, munching on grass and relaxing with his tortoise friends,” according to MSN. A pretty dull routine and yet it has sufficed to see him outstrip his peers in the longevity department. At the ripe old age of 187 years, Jonathan’s oldest friend is 80-year-old “David” — a child by comparison–barely a twinkle. That brings me to my next observation.

We’re all in this TOGETHER!

DON’T discriminate. Toss the labels. Forget judging by covers (Although some cover reveals DO hook us!) True friends can be found everywhere, and in all age groups. As the youngest of eight, I always fit in with an older crowd, but my critique groups now include many young women. (Men, too. My Nick is 20 and gives me great critiques.) So keep an open mind, and an open door for friends to come in. Jonathan is so popular, “his portrait is on the back of the small island’s five pence coin.”

That’s some promo!

Follow the FOOD: Yes, I am a foodie. Can’t help it. My husband wooed me with his culinary skills, long story there, but the man knows the way to my heart. He surprised me with pizza on Thursday when it seemed my writerly world was crashing to bits. He’s cooking Eggs Benedict right now. (My husband is not the Grinch after all, despite his ditching my beloved mattress.) But, hey, Jonathan seems to agree with the wisdom of following what fuels you.  

What FEEDS you?

It’s often the simple things, something that’s everywhere in abundance that will get you through this life of writing. Family, friends, the quiet of your home, the routine of your 9-5 job. And there’s something to be said for following instinct, and God’s grace. Jonathan is said to be blind and yet,
“He knows my voice and he knows the vet’s voice and reacts by walking toward us,” Teeny Lucy (the chairperson for the St. Helena SPCA, and one of Jonathan’s main caretakers) said. “It’s all about the food!”

So what feeds you? Sustains you? What keeps you going through the long race that seems unending and fraught with show-stoppers? Find that rock and never let go. Storms will come, but they will pass. Thank you Jonathan…and all my FRIENDS and FAMILY who keep me going no matter what comes. I thank God for you all.

Write on!!


Is your Muse giving you grief?


Is your Muse giving you grief?

Does she demand to be wooed? Mooned over? Treated like a center-stage diva? Yeah? Well, what do you expect? Muses are fickle. The reason is they’re fantasy, tied on the balloon string of feelings that float on the wind. Forever taunting us with what lays just out of reach with zero regard for what needs must on the ground

Words on the page is what counts for a writer. Rough. Ugly. Sometimes not what we dream of producing. There’s no magic about it. But muses don’t scrub floors or scour toilets. Right?


If you like your muse, you can keep it. Not the fantasy, but the truth behind it. You are your own muse. Authors are their own creative resource. We draw from outside influences, yes, but nobody puts words on paper for us. But the power to do so—our energy—can be sapped by not taking care of the functioning human being behind the muse mask. A MUDE adjustment, not mood is required.

  1. Motivation: That’s an actual goal and a tangible reason for wanting achieve said words, pages, etc.
  2. Understanding of oneself and the process: A book doesn’t happen overnight. People are different. What works for you may not be an obstacle to someone else.
  3. Discipline: The big D is a success must-have in any endeavor. A person dedicated to maintaining a routine of laziness will become quite good at being a slug. One who writes regularly will become better just by doing it.
  4. Encouragement from inside and out: You are your closest neighbor, so be KIND to yourself first. It helps with the trickledown.

What you think, you think. What you do, you become. I’m not sure who said it, but I love repeating it. The saying isn’t a slam against positive thinking, but an acknowledgment that “doing” is required.

The work. 

Truth sets us free, not fantasy.  Start with an honest assessment of haves and have not’s and you’ll be a step ahead at figuring out how to get where you want to go. If something doesn’t work—method, routine, chosen market—give yourself the liberty to change directions. That’s okay.

Proper care and feeding of the animals—humans, although when not tended that’s questionable—is also okay.  It’s not only women and writers who neglect themselves. Time outs and naptime are for everyone.

Remember that inner child. I do. I have to.

Take that hot bath. Indulge in a hot mug of tea or chilled glass of wine. (I did last night to the benefit of the entire household ;^) Do that once or twice around the block to catch the autumn breezes while reminding your legs that walking around feels good. Something I’m trying to get back to.

I have a tub date with a turtle this weekend. Check it out:


This bath-friendly fizz bomb is a gift from my oldest daughter, wise in the ways of self-care despite being a twenty-something. She sends me the handmade pearl-studded spa soap, too. And face masks. Love ‘em. I have a shelf-load of serums and delicious moisturizer, too.

Thank you, Melanie! (I’m not braving the closet where I keep the box with more of the same.) But that’s no goddess tribute, that’s no feeding the muse, but a tangible reminder that even though I’m a wife, mom, writer, etc, I’m a human being. I need care. Not a fantasy.

So shed the muse mask (Unless it’s the latest and greatest in Korean skin care) and take care of you. You’ll have a lot less trouble on all fronts.

Write on!