Tag Archive | Happy Endings

Happy New Year!

December is a blur. Unfortunately, I spent a good part of the month in bed, sick. And it carried over into January. This has been a bad winter for flu bugs, and all kinds of “icky” illness. But, just in time for my birthday, I recovered and am more appreciative of good health than I’ve ever been!

The frustrating part of feeling poorly was that I was at home, with plenty of time on my hands, but I didn’t have the energy to do much of anything. And, my imagination seemed to dry up, unlike my sinuses. I think I may have improved the Kleenex stock. So, if you have shares…”You’re welcome!”

And now, a year older and feeling spunky again, I’ve begun my newest writing venture. Still with a romantic theme, I’ve veered from Southern Historical and am writing a fairy tale entitled, “An Island in the Forest.”  It’s actually a book I first wrote about twenty-five years ago as a children’s story. I submitted it for publication and got some real nice feedback from a publishing house, but they passed on the book and I never pursued it further. And then, about ten years ago, I scripted the story as a musical production complete with twelve songs. The music is still being scored, (something I’m unable to do myself), and sooner or later I’ll get it up on stage somewhere. But now that I’ve started writing novels, the same story haunts me. I’ve dug in and am bringing the story to new heights. My characters are more complex, and I’m able to get further into their feelings and emotions. It’s becoming a real love story rather than a fluffy fairy tale. I would still give it a PG rating, but it’s definitely no longer a children’s book.

I’m excited for this new year and what lies ahead. I pray that this will be my year to achieve publication. It’s a long process, but one that I’m willing to keep plugging away at until it happens.

I hope that you have exciting plans for 2014. Reach for the stars, follow your dreams, and…


Feeling Great! Happy New Year!

Feeling Great! Happy New Year!

A Writer’s Acronym

Now that my most recent work in progress, “From the Ashes of Atlanta,” is complete, it seems that my mind is searching for new twists on creative thoughts.

Normally, while falling asleep at night, I think of my next scene, or perhaps my characters discover their dialog in the depths of my brain. Scary, huh?

Well, last night, my mind took a different direction. And yes, my husband thinks I’m slightly bonkers.

I’ve always loved acronyms, and some can be quite clever. So, here are my thoughts on what it means to WRITE:

What Readers Itch To Experience

Whatever Really Ignites The Editor

Watch Repetitive Ideas That Explode

Women’s Reactions Inadvertently Tell Everything

I had fun with this! If you come up with some of your own, please share them. And, thank goodness I’ve got them written down now. Maybe I’ll sleep tonight. 🙂

I’m still on that long, winding road to publication and the adventure couldn’t be more exciting. Well, that’s not exactly true. When I get my publishing deal, you will witness excitement like no other. I hope that you will continue to follow my blog and share your experiences with me.

Most importantly…


Civil War


Need a Tissue?

Yesterday was a two tissue day.

Some days I’ve gone through an entire box.

No, I don’t have a cold, or allergies, I’m an emotional writer. Is it good to cry over your own manuscript? And I’m not saying that I’m crying because it’s so bad that I want to burn it…I’m crying because I’m so caught up in the emotions of my characters that I’m feeling their pain.

So, I want to know, do any of you cry while you write?

How many of you remember the great scene from “Romancing the Stone” where Joan Wilder is hunting through her house for a tissue? She has just finished her manuscript, and is sobbing over the typewriter. I’ve always loved that movie, and now that I’m a writer, I appreciate it even more.

I’ve often been asked how it is that I can feel for fictitious characters. I think it’s because they become very real to me. They become a part of my days as I plan out their lives. It’s like molding clay into a new piece of art, or brushing color onto a canvas. We breathe life into our characters, so in many ways, they’re very real.

The good thing is that the more real they are to me, the more they’ll come to life on the page for my readers.

So, to all of you emotional readers and writers, keep a box of tissues handy, and go on and cry. It’s good for the soul.



Grandpa dried my tears with flowers.

Grandpa dried my tears with flowers.



Who Wouldn’t Like a Cute Puppy?

So, you’ve written a book or short story, and took the plunge to send it out for review…

Whether you entered a contest, submitted to an agent or publisher, or just gave copies to a few friends, you’re looking for feedback, right? Be prepared. As much as I hate to say this, not everyone is going to like what you write. And, being human, you will probably be like me and dwell on the negative feedback wondering why that particular person didn’t like you. But this is something that you don’t want to take personally. Most likely, they didn’t care for that particular story. But, strangely enough, someone else will probably love it.

I know I’ve written other blogs about this subject, but I had to vent again because in many ways I’m reminding myself. After recently entering several contests and getting mixed reviews, I can’t get the negative ones out of my head. But, I learned so much from the professional feedback that it was worth the pain.

We had a speaker at one of our meetings who talked about this subject, and brought up the fact that even if you write a book about cute puppies, there will probably be someone who doesn’t like the book, because they don’t like puppies. Cute or not. I honestly have a friend who is scared to death of dogs. Big or small. She feels about dogs the way I feel about snakes. I don’t want them near me in any way, shape, or form. I get nauseated if I go into the snake house at the zoo. I have seen her hide behind her husband when we’re out somewhere and someone walks by with a “cute little puppy” tucked under their arm. My reaction is “oh, how cute” and I want to pet the dog. Her reaction is: “Why are people allowed to bring those beasts out in public?” She would never buy a book about a cute little puppy.

I think you understand where I’m going with this!  🙂

Write what you know and love, and polish it until it shines brighter than any star. Then put it out into the universe and see what happens. And when you receive a one-star review on what you believe is your five-star book, let it go. Don’t try to defend your masterpiece, just remind yourself that that person probably doesn’t like puppies either. And…smile.


Cute little puppy, or horrid beast?

Cute little puppy, or horrid beast?

Write Another Book

As an author, it can be discouraging when you can’t seem to get an agent or publisher to notice your work. You’ve put yourself into every page and want to share it with the world, but at every turn you keep getting a “no” or, “sorry, but I’m going to pass on this one,” or my most recent favorite, “pass, but God bless.”  Hmmm….

So, what do you do to keep yourself motivated? My suggestion: Write Another Book.

I keep a quote from Edgar Rice Burroughs on my refrigerator:

“If you write one story, it may be bad; if you write a hundred, you have the odds in your favor.”

I don’t want to believe that all my stories written thus far are bad, they simply haven’t found the right home. That being said, with every book I write, I believe my writing improves. So, eventually, I know I’m going to write that masterpiece that the world will be chomping at the bit to read! Yes, I believe in the power of positive thinking. ;0)

In an age when everything seems to be “on the plate” so to speak, it’s hard for me to understand why an agent didn’t like my “accidental incest” story line. I write emotional, epic sagas, and I didn’t feel my theme was out of line. However, I’ve gotten the reaction of “OOOH” from more than one person. But, I’m not going to change the story, because it’s what drives it. Without it, there would be no story.

I decided to make my new book a bit more traditional, and maybe I won’t get that stomach churning reaction when I pitch this one. But one day, when I’m published, I may just reintroduce my saga. By then, I hope to have a following that loves my writing, and understands that things happen in life that aren’t always “happy” and pleasing to the stomach.

So please…I urge you…





Should Have Gone There First

Sorry I’ve been absent on my blog again! Shame on me!

If any of you have ever orchestrated an estate sale, then you will understand that all my time was consumed. But now, I can breathe a relieved sigh, and get back to what I truly love…writing!!

In the midst of the craziness, my husband and I got away for a one-day trip to Chattanooga, TN. Beautiful city with a gorgeous downtown area and riverside. The purpose of the trip was to meet up with an old friend who now works with her husband on the American Queen and other steamboats. They’re both entertainers and have been working on the boats for the last fifteen years. (What a great job, huh?!)

Laura Sable and I used to do theater together. We hadn’t seen each other in twenty years! Of course, neither of us have aged. ;0)

So, here’s my advice to you. When you write a book about steamboats, and have only traveled on a pint-size one on a lake, it’s wise to take a tour of a REAL steamboat like the American Queen. Laura was one of my Beta readers on my book, “Marked.” The book takes place in 1850 on a Mississippi River steamboat. I researched via the internet as well as books and photos, but stepping aboard the luxurious boat was an experience I’ll never forget! There are things now that I know I could add to the descriptions in my book, (and I still can). I’m happy to say that both she and her husband, Bill read the book and told me that I got it right on the money. WHEW! And…they enjoyed it, which made me feel even better.

I know that we can’t always go to the places we write about, but it sure helps if you’re able. I use Google Earth frequently to check out landscape and such, but there is nothing like breathing the same air your characters breathe. I know…I can’t time travel, but I can use my vivid imagination to sense what it must have been like way back when. I’m a romantic at heart, and there’s something glorious about an elegant ship, and picturing ladies and gentleman in fine clothing cascading down the fanned stairway.

When I stepped into the dining hall, I felt like I’d walked into a scene from “Titanic.” We now want very much to travel by steamboat. And…I may have to write another book about them with all the new tidbits I’ve learned.

Thank you Laura and Bill for an amazing tour and adventure!

And to all of you working on your next masterpiece…step into the shoes of your characters, and walk where they walked.


All aboard!

All aboard!

Dining Room
Dining Room

Rollin' on the River!
Rollin’ on the River!

And where have I been?

The best made plans…

Last week, I told myself that I needed to be more faithful with my blogging. I jotted down a few notes of things I wanted to discuss, and then…

My husband had a heart attack on Friday night. Believe me, it’s something I hope to never have to go through again. He had open heart surgery seven years ago, but that was prompted by a bad EKG at a regular check-up, not a heart attack. I wouldn’t wish either of these scenarios on anyone, but believe me, the experience I had Friday night was terrifying. Luckily, we live only 15 minutes from a hospital, and I was able to get him there quickly. I opted to drive him myself, feeling I could get him there quicker than waiting for an ambulance. Maybe not a wise idea, but we live out in the country, and it seemed the smart thing to do at the time. Besides, he wasn’t completely convinced he was having a heart attack, but was hurting something fierce.

I’m happy to report that that he’s doing very well, thanks to the care of amazing doctors and nurses, and a successful emergency surgery.

This is one of those life experiences that I had witnessed on TV and movies, but having lived it now first-hand, I have a whole new perspective. My sister had a heart attack some time ago, and so guess who I turned to when I was in the ER, waiting, while they worked on my husband? Yes, my poor sister! I doubt she’ll ever forget the panic in my voice, or the little-to-no sense I was making in conversation. But, simply by hearing her voice, I was comforted. Thank you, Sis.

When he had his open heart surgery, I stayed by his side throughout his week’s stay at the hospital. At that time, I read “Harry Potter” while he slept. This hospital stay was only three days, (Yeah!), but I was glad I had my laptop. Rather than reading, I edited. I rested my mind by escaping to 1870-something, and caught myself up in the trials and tribulations of my fictitious family. At one point, I read to my husband, and promptly put him to sleep! He promised me that it wasn’t out of boredom. I believe him…

So now, you know where I’ve been! I still have my notes for the “writing” posts I intend to do, and will post them soon.  I pray that we’ll have smooth sailing for a while. Enough drama in our lives this past year to last a very LONG time.

Thanks for stopping by, and…


Me and my sister...Always  there for me, even way back then!

Me and my sister…Always there for me, even way back then!


What’s in a Name?

That which we call a rose, by any other name would still smell as sweet…

My favorite version of “Romeo and Juliet” is Franco Zeffirelli’s version. I think I was once madly in love with Leonard Whiting. (Side note…I couldn’t understand why as an “older” woman I found Zac Efron so attractive, until I realized just how much he looks like Leonard Whiting!)  I’ll never forget sitting in the movie theater when I was in the ninth grade, bawling my eyes out even before either of the star-crossed lovers had taken their lives. However, I knew what was coming and couldn’t help myself! I got a lot of strange looks in that theater. I still wish Juliet would have woken up before Romeo took the poison! (Can’t help myself. I like happy endings!)

Another favorite movie of mine is “Shakespeare in Love.”  Again, about the writing of Romeo and Juliet. However, at one point, William was calling his play, Romeo and Ethel the Pirate King’s Daughter. (Or something like that!) I’m not sure about you, but “Ethel” completely changed the “ring” of her name. Took away some of the romantic feeling. I hope I’m not offending anyone in the blog world named “Ethel”. (Not my intent).

What I’m getting at is that your character names are very important. You may think that just pulling a name out of the sky, or creating something “cute” and “original” is the right answer. Sometimes it is.  In fact, I’ve been known to close my eyes, point a finger to my keyboard, and then choose a name based on whatever letter my finger touches. Most of the time, I choose my names carefully.

If you’re creating fantasy or new worlds, then you have more freedom. However, if you are doing historical fiction, you need to do a little more research. What names were popular during the time period you’re writing about? Also, depending on the nationality of the character you’re writing, that will also play a big part in your name choice.

I was recently writing a character who I described as having dark, curly hair that stuck out beneath his hat. He was a big man with dark skin, and a bad temper. So, in order to give him a proper name, I researched what nationality of people had those characteristics. Then, I searched for surnames in that nationality and found one I liked. (At that point the ‘point the finger at the keyboard game’ came in handy!)

How differently would you think of “Gone with the Wind” if the hero and heroine were Gertrude and Hector? Frankly my dear…

Have fun, and write on!DRWGF120110821P1020510w-M


And They Lived Happily Ever After…

How important is a happy ending?Cinderella

If you’re a writer of romance, then you should easily be able to answer that question.

When I began writing, I didn’t understand the difference between “women’s fiction” and “romance.” I read a blog that explained it quite well, and though I won’t go into as much detail, here it is in a nutshell: Women’s fiction may or may not have a happy ending. Romance must! Any woman who picks up a novel that is placed in the romance genre, believes that what she is reading is safe. That no matter what trials and tribulations the hero and heroine go through in the course of the story, it will have a happy ending and they will be together. This is not necessarily the case for your supporting characters, but the main characters need to have their “happily ever after.”

I’ll never forget when I was plotting out one of my first stories, and had decided on an ending. I was in my car, driving to work, and when I arrived there I had swollen, red eyes, and a horrible headache! Reason: I had intended to have my heroine die in the end. It all made sense. It was how the story was progressing. But then, after talking to my sister, (who is one of those readers who reads the last few pages of a book before she reads the entire thing), I decided it was best to keep my heroine alive and well.  Great choice! And, it opened up the opportunity for a sequel. Hard to do when your characters are dead.

I also had a revelation when plotting another book. A secondary character was doomed to die. After writing the scene I had a migraine from sobbing so hard! I had a wise young man, (who happened upon the conversation I was having about it with my co-workers), ask me why I was writing it that way if it made me so sad? He kind of shrugged and said, “It’s not in print yet, is it?” When I said, “no,” then his comment was, “So what’s the problem?  Change it.”  Such simple logic! So, I changed it, and it resulted in a much better story, and a sequel!

You may think that if a reader knows that the characters are going to end up together, then what’s the fun of reading the story? The fun is the journey. If you can make their journey fun, exciting, gut-wrenching, and let’s not forget, romantic, then your readers will love you and your books.

Write on!

And they lived happily ever after...

And they lived happily ever after…