Thursday, August 31, 2017

To War - fighting back from Hurricane Harvey

Weather is a constant, and 'whether' it's you, a family member, the dearest friend, or the most distant neighbor --
ALL of us have experienced terrible storms and their aftermaths.



Texan proud - I have lived in Texas all my life and like so many fellow Texans, I feel overwhelmed by the devastation that I see left behind from Hurricane Harvey, and I am completely humbled by the outpouring of day-to-day heroes.

In a world where anger is so often the proclaimed answer; where violence seems to be the norm; and words slash with deadly accuracy ---- I say, enough.

Stop for a moment, look around you right now. There is something of beauty in front of you; something that will provide you joy; and something that YOU can do for another.

The smallest acts are often the most valuable.




My challenge:
not one whiny word for the day, not one accusation, not one UNNECESSARY frown.
Stay in the moment, look inside, and find joy.

I'll let the pictures speak. The words are LOUD & CLEAR, if you'll simply listen.






























Harvey blows ashore.







UNDERWATER.








Rides come in all shapes & sizes, but the rescuers are all Heaven-sent.







Carried to safety!













Heroes save EVERYONE!





Even our Texas dogs are 'doers'. Sometimes, you have to save yourself.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

3-2-1 Book Launch

3-2-1 Book Launch

Book releases have changed over the past ten years or so. What was once the primary responsibility of the publisher’s marketing team has morphed into the author’s responsibility. What was once covered with editors/agents emails and flyers to brick-n-mortar shops is now vibrantly alive through social media.

To keep myself on track, I’ve compiled a list of what-to-do’s for my upcoming book launch. Am I arrogant enough to think I’ve covered it all? Nope, not even close. But I work better with a list, and as I reminisce of Bloggers’ Thirteen Thursday, I decided to start with that number.

1) Complete final editing & formating review of manuscript – check and recheck.
a. Visit with establish authors for last minute insight.


2) Format through




Sigil & check all formatting through


Calibre – underway.
a. Visit with technical support staff.










3) Compile list of teasers from manuscript for social media releases – check and recheck. (More may be added at future date.)
a. Read, review, & assess current teasers used in social media.


4) Decide on title – check and recheck.


5) Class on tagline; complete tagline – check and recheck.
a. Finding valuable resources on taglines is the first step to #5.


6) Work with graphic artist on book cover, tweak, analyze, confirm pixel requirements, file specifications, generally make myself crazy and then decide on the final version – check and recheck.
a. Select a brilliant graphic artist. I was incredibly lucky as one of my nearest & dearest friends is said graphic artist.


7) Resize final book cover to several sizes for social media release. Add release date – check and recheck.
a. All on my own & invested the due diligence in Paint.


8) Begin primary release of book cover with release date – underway.


9) Write book dedication – still in process.


10) List book reviewers and design spread sheets for monitoring – underway.
a. Research a viable resource list that is consistently updated and then visit each potential reviewer’s site to find those that are the best fit. Thanks Melanie Rockett


11) Complete all necessary documents, dates, & pricing structure for release with Amazon – underway.
a. Going through the specifics for a 3rd time. Comes from having an attorney in the family.



12) Determine possible author interviews, set dates, schedule return favors as needed – underway.


13) Update all Romance Writers of America



information to reflect current release – pending.
a. Spoke with Houston office and followed their specific advice on how to update member profile.

Finally – The reality is that there’s more to cover. So, brainstorm on all the things that I’ve forgotten to do; try not to hyperventilate; make the next list; and get on with the release.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Summer Memories

Special shout-out to my writing friend,
Marsha R. West.

She put on my thinking cap for summer end.
What are you favorite/not so favorite summer time ends?

Marsha mentioned her first summer job and memories flooded back.

1st summer a bit over 16 and I went to work for Leonard’s (now Dillards) in the cosmetic department.

Three strong memories:

1) All women department – even in the men’s cologne.

2) Old-styled cash registers – counting change a requirement (loads of folks used cash for purchases. At least once a shift, I’d get some lady who dumped all her change on the glass counter-top and counted pennies/nickels/dimes until she made up the odd amount.)



OLD fashioned CC machines: remember the card swipers? No, not where you ran your card through the side of the POS machine. Nope, OLD-SCHOOL. Hand over your credit card, the sales person placed it on a ‘flatbed’ card swipe, loaded a 3-ply form on top, physically swipe flatbed arm over the card to make an imprint on the form, then fed the form fed through a slot in the old-styled cash register, price was entered, last four on card were entered, click amount, click credit, click VISA, MasterCard, AMX, click total, then if the stars lined up right it all went through. What could go wrong with this system? Everything. However, the good news? We weren’t inter-linked to the internet so as long as the store had power we could conduct those sales.



3) I came home smelling wonderful EVERY day. Always some new fragrance to try. Because the senior sales reps knew that young women wearing their fragrances were more likely to reel in men looking for a last-minute wife or girlfriend gift. I had loads of samples.



Heat – hours and hours of it.
Texas girl, remember.


Asphalt so hot that the tar bubbled in street cracks. (When we were little and constantly barefoot, my feet were tougher than the odd ‘tennie shoes’ my mom made me wear.) I wore Sunday shoes – white patent leather – that my dad had to buff out every Sunday morning because I couldn’t walk without scuffing my shoes, sandals for the beach and occasional trip to the discount store, tennis shoes (Ked’s) for the sticker fields that were the cut-through to the local 7-11. On the street, in the yard, even biking, we went barefoot. When they say shoe-leather tough, we really had the feet for it.



We really did fry an egg on the sidewalk.



Slip-N-Slides. It took until mid-October before the Slip-N-Slide rut in my parents’ front yard finally disappeared. Again, Texas girl – grass stays green a long time here.


Oh, but ours didn't come with a built-in bumper cushion. You stopped when you slid on the grass. Many a swimsuit turned permanently green.


Skateboards. Not high dollar durable fiberglass with titanium wheels. Not quite so elaborate. My dad cut out an oval from dated, stained plywood, sanded it down, drilled holes and connected a metal skate to the bottom, attached a rope through a hole in the front and off I went. From the ages of seven until . . . the ten-speed took precedence, I constantly rode the skateboard. Skinned knees, banged-up toes (no shoes, remember), tan lines from shorts and tanktops, freckles and life was wonderful.


Is it any wonder that we never wanted summer to end?
Did 100° heat keep us inside?

Absolutely not. There were sno-cones to eat; Slip-n-Slide contests; paths to explore; lemonade stands to build and man; dogs to walk and occasionally chase; hide-n-go-seek after dark, and fireflies to capture.

Be inside?


Not on a double-dog-dare.


Texas sayings

~Watch your step! Cacti, tumbleweeds, and an occasional armadillo might be ahead.

~Welcome to the land of tar-bubbling summers, gas-guzzling pickup trucks, standard Stetson headgear, and mile-high hair.

~Welcome to the Lone Star State, and Romance With A Texas Twist!

Quote of the Day