Saturday, December 27, 2014



Yep, I did it again. I was off work yesterday and totally forgot to blog. Makes me wonder what will happen to my time management if I ever do get to retire.

So this time of year we are all supposed to ponder what happened in our lives last year and what we want to accomplish this year. That whole New Year's resolution thingy. Right?

I would certainly be remiss if I didn't acknowledge the wonderful fact that my first novel was published!! That's big. No wait, that's huge!!!!

Other than that, I don't have much. Same old job, same car, same house. There's something to be said for stability right? Or should I call it stagnation? Other than the excitement of Beyond The Horizon's release, my life has been pretty dull. 364 days of dull. Not that I'm a fan of drama. Quite the opposite. I loathe drama. Especially made up drama. You know the kind people invent just to get attention. Count me out.

So, what can I change this year so my life isn't so stagnate? Oh, I don't know, finish my second novel maybe? I'm beginning to wonder if that will ever happen. I have good intentions, but not so good follow through. The problem with writing is, YOU GOTTA WRITE. Yes, I'm yelling at myself because I can't bend my foot back far enough to kick myself in the ass. Maybe I could hire somebody to do that. Oh, wait you have to have money to hire people. And since my book didn't make diddly squat, that hiring thing is not an option.

It comes down to me.

                                                       I'm screwed.

Friday, December 19, 2014

FRIDAY STIR FRY - Where Is My Muse?

What happened to my muse? Did somebody come into my head in the middle of the night and whisk her away? Then tied her up and put a gag in her mouth? Because she has not been talking to me lately.  No middle of the night wake-ups screaming a story idea to my sleepy self. No mid-shower inspirations. No middle of traffic "oh no, I need to write this down" moments. Nothing. Nada. Zilch.


There are plenty of writer's who claim there is no such thing as a muse.  You just need to sit your butt in a chair and write. Well, that's fine and dandy and does get words on a page. But, for me anyway, forcing the writing brings dull, colorless words. Stuff that ends up on the editing room floor. True inspiration usually comes other times, when I least expect it, when I'm not at my desk, My muse brings me morsels of delicious words dripping with eloquent prose.

If you see Ethyl (yes that's her name) please tell her to come home. Her writing buddy needs her.
P.S. Tell her I have chocolate.


Friday, December 12, 2014

FRIDAY STIR FRY - 'Tis The Season


'Tis the season for people to go a little bit crazy. You've seen it. The vacant look in the eyes or the nervous twitch. The inability to hear or comprehend what you're saying to them. The hand wringing and the pacing. Yep, it's Christmas. Traffic is snarled and so is every one's sanity. There is nothing joyous about it.

That's one reason my participation in the madness becomes less and less every year. I just refuse to be bothered. If I decorated, I'd feel obliged to dust. And that ain't gonna happen. I don't like to shop. Not crazy about the pot lucks either. Man people really like meatballs. And all the forced cheerfulness turns my stomach. "Wow, thank you so much for the lovely pot holder. It's just what I needed." Please . . .

Yes, people see me as a Grinch. Don't care. In fact, I kind of get a kick out of annoying people this time of year. Makes me joyous!

Any other Grinches out there? Come out into the open. Don't be afraid.

Friday, December 5, 2014


So I had a bit of a melt-down at work this week. And let me tell you, it wasn't pretty. I think I scared some people. Which is saying something because I have a bad reputation at work. Word on the street is I don't like anybody and you better not bother me. Both are pretty much true. Well sort of. I don't have close friends at work. There are people I tolerate because I have to. And I don't like to be bothered by stupidity or anal, control freak people. I'll do my job, you do yours.  

For those that don't know, I work in a social welfare job. Once in a while it is rewarding. Like when you know you are throwing a life line to a really needy person. That can make all the paperwork and dumbness worth it. But, sometimes nothing can block the frustration that boils to the surface. 

The phone has become my nemeses. I HATE IT! I get about 30 calls a day which I can't possibly answer. So I have voice mail. I specify on my recording to please leave only one message. Do they? No. I understand their need for an answer to their stupid question, but sometimes I just can't deal with it. This week I had stupid voice mail after stupid voice mail. I came close to tears at one point. I juggle three different jobs and when none of them are going right, well you know. 

I think part of the problem could be my frustration with my current work in progress. I failed to finish it during NaNo and I'm having a hard time getting into it. Some people would say put it aside and start something else. I can't. I need to finish it. It gnaws at my stomach and brain. Write me, write me.

Work and art are not playing well together right now. Any suggestions? 

Saturday, November 29, 2014


Books Of Owl

Sorry, this is a day late, but as they say, better late than never. I have no excuse except maybe turkey day hangover. I am dedicating this post to promoting author friends of mine and their books. I hope you'll take the time to visit their web sites and spread the love. You may find a new favorite. Please support local authors by reading and reviewing.

First up is a very prolific writer - Allison Merritt. She writes anything from steampunk to paranormal to historical romances. I've read several of her books and enjoyed them very much. And her blog is a hoot. Check it out and follow her links to her books.

Next up is Lisa Medley. She writes about demons, reapers and ghosts. All with the element of romance. I've read the first in her reaper series and liked it very much. And she takes pictures of graveyards. (I love graveyards)

If you like romantic comedies, my next friend is right up your alley. She makes me laugh every time we talk. T. Sue Versteeg can also write a fantastic thriller. She also collaborates with best selling author Gemma Halliday. Here is the link to her web site.

And last but not least is Tierney James. She writes thrillers about espionage and terrorists. I've read An Unlikely Hero and it is a real page turner. Also, she interviewed me on her blog last week. Check it out here.

That's it for now. In a few weeks I'll highlight more of my talented friends. I'm very lucky to know these people. I hope you will pay a visit to their pages.

Friday, November 21, 2014

FRIDAY STIR FRY - Thanksgiving - sort of

Well, as you can see from the NaNo word count widget over there, I haven't made much progress on my story. Oh well. I've got five days off over Thanksgiving with nothing to do. Perhaps I can make some headway then. Pretty sure 50,000 is out of the question. I would be happy if I could just fill some gaping plot holes with plot bunnies. If you see any of those elusive things hopping around, send them my way please.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, I've seen a lot of people on Facebook posting what they are thankful for. It's been interesting to read those. There's plenty of hate and discontent in the world so a little thankfulness is refreshing. I always have a hard time making my own list. It's not that I'm not thankful for stuff, it's just that sometimes it's hard to put into words. And that statement is coming from a writer. Weird. Kind of like a turkey in a graveyard weird.

To my readers here in America, Happy Thanksgiving. To the rest of the world, be kind to one another.

PS - My friend Tierney James will be hosting me on her blog this coming Monday the 24th. Be sure and stop by. It's a fun interview if I do say so myself.

Friday, November 14, 2014

FRIDAY STIR FRY - Half Way Point

Well it's the half way point for NaNo. And I need a compass. Not only am I way behind on word count, but I have no clue how to get to my destination. I know the book will have a Happily Ever After. I'm just having a hard time figuring out how to get my characters there. They fight and kind of make up then fight again. I want to drive them out in the middle of nowhere, drop them off and tell them by the time they get back to my novel, they damn better have a solution.  

That's what I get for being a pantser instead of a plotter. I just can't bring myself to outline and plot. It is much more fun to fly by the seat of my pants and just go wherever the characters want to take me. Usually. Not so much when they aren't cooperating. You hear me Jennifer and Ron? I'm tired of your nonsense. Now put on your big girl and boy pants and get this story going. If you don't, you won't get to take off your pants and have some fun. Wink, wink.

Two more weeks to get this sucker figured out. Can we do it? I'll let you know next week. In the mean time, if you see my characters hitch hiking don't pick them up.  

Friday, November 7, 2014

FRIDAY STIR FRY - NaNo Thoughts and Other Stuff

I'm not gonna lie. It's been a rough week of NaNo. I was hoping to get way ahead last weekend. Didn't happen. Stayed barely above daily word count. And then yesterday, I hit a wall. Just couldn't do it. Couldn't get up early before work, couldn't write during lunch and last night only got maybe twenty words. Some would say that's something. I say it stinks. Ahh, the trials and tribulations of NaNo.

The bright side - I think I've added some good stuff to the novel I'm working on. And I have all weekend to write and we are off work Tuesday for Veteran's Day. Thank you veterans!

On a different note, I'm a little angry. Why you ask? Because we are going to get blasted with cold air next week. I think I've mentioned this before but in case you missed it -
I HATE WINTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I hate the cold, the sleet, the snow, the ice. Did I mention the cold?  Okay, I feel a little better now. Just a little.

If you are doing NaNo, let me know in the comments how it is going for you. And if you kept your sanity and are not doing it, comment about anything you like. I love hearing from you.

Friday, October 31, 2014

FRIDAY STIR FRY - Missing For The Next 30 Days

Yep, it's almost here. November or as I like to call it Insaneber. Because anyone who thinks they can write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days has to be insane right?

Believe it or not it is possible but it takes a lot of energy, courage and caffeine. Here are a few tricks and treats I've learned over the last 6 years I've participated. (notice how I referenced Halloween there?) Happy Halloween/Samhain! Now to my tips.

  • Absolutely no editing. This is the first rule of NaNo. Lock that editor in the basement. You have no time for his nonsense this month. 
  • Do not use contractions. Don't is one word - do not is two. You can fix it later with find and replace. 
  • Everyone has at least two, three or more names. And they repeat their names a lot. Not only does this up your word count but it helps your brain remember all your characters. Again, you can fix later. 
  • Have a music play list. This not only sets the mood for your story, but, at least in my case, the words flow easier if there is music in the background. 
  • Lots of caffeine and chocolate. Self explanatory. 
  • Set a timer for 10, 15 or 30 minutes. Write non-stop until that sucker goes off. You'll be surprised how many words you will get.
  • Finally - and this is very important. BACK UP YOUR NOVEL AT LEAST EVERY DAY. I can't tell you how many horror stories I've heard of people losing all their hard work. Don't be that person.
I hope you join in, but if not please understand if you don't see or hear from me, I'm probably okay, just busy trying to wrestle a novel out of my brain. You can track my progress by coming by and checking the word count widget to the right.

Friday, October 24, 2014


Do you dress up for Halloween? Here I am a few years ago at what was then my favorite watering hole. Our city has a Halloween Pub Crawl in the downtown area and you can see all kinds of costumes. It's make believe for adults. For a few hours we get to pretend to be somebody else. It's kind of like when I lose myself writing. I become a different person for a while and escape to another world where I can leave my problems behind and just have fun pretending.

Here are a few of my favorite costumes from past years.

Green Acres
Roaring Twenties

Tigger and Dog

Ho, Ho, Ho Jolly Green Giant



These are all very creative and cute. I don't see much of these people anymore since I changed watering holes, but I'm sure this Saturday there will be plenty of other cool costumes and memories to be made. 
             Let me know if you enjoy Halloween.

Friday, October 17, 2014


Yep, I'm going to do this again. Just shoot me now.

You may be asking yourself why I put myself through this if I would prefer to be shot? The answer is complicated but, I'll do my best to explain with a list. Who doesn't like lists?

  • This is how I finally wrote my first novel. Without NaNo, I might still be saying "I want to write a novel someday".
  • They are such a supportive group and they provide some terrific pep talks from famous authors.
  • The forums are both hilarious and supportive. I've actually connected with a few people on Facebook during the rest of the year. 
  • It's free, although donations are greatly appreciated and I always donate $10.00. What a deal!
  • It's a challenge and what is life without a few challenges along the way? Boring.
  • I'm part of something bigger than myself. People from all over the world participate. 
  • NaNo is a not for profit and they promote writing in schools with their Young Writer's Program.
There you have it. Reason's why I'll be a little dazed and confused this November. Just pat me on the shoulder and hand me some coffee and I promise not to kill you in my novel. Maybe.

Friday, October 10, 2014


So, I'm going to be grand-dog sitting again. Isn't he cute! Kodi is his name. He's a Heinz 57. I think there is part Chow in there because of his hair and color. I've heard Chows can be mean and/or possessive. He is neither. The only person he barks at is the mail man. Most of the time you can find him like this:  Just being lazy.

         He's a good dog and I really don't mind watching him for my son and daughter-in-law, but it does take some adjustment on my part. Like getting up before I want to because he needs to go out. Or going home right after work to let him out. He also likes to be petted - a lot. And I can't eat in front of him because of his sad, begging to feed him eyes. He is good company though. And I do feel a little safer with him around.

People often ask me why I don't get a dog or cat. See above paragraph. Too much work. I like my freedom. Besides I can't keep plants alive. What kind of chance would a living, breathing creature have? I'm always relieved when the kids come get him and I've managed to keep him alive.

One good thing - because I spend more time at home while he's with me, I usually get more writing done. So here's to a productive week!

Friday, October 3, 2014


I'm going to deviate from my usual writing related posts because -

The St Louis Cardinals are in the post season again! 

And they are my team.

But, wait just one minute.

I live in Missouri and we have another team in post season play. Congrats to the Royals. Although I'm a Cards fan, I'll cheer for the boys in blue. Until, that is, we should happen to meet again in an I-70 World Series. Then I'll be all red. And this time we'll win.

I've been a Cardinal fan all my life. One of my earliest memories are of dad and me listening to the games on his transistor radio on sweltering summer evenings. And one of our first family vacations was to Busch Stadium to watch a game in the early 60's. Perhaps that's why they are my team; those precious memories from childhood.

Springfield is my hometown and although we are closer in distance to KC, our town is predominately red. It helps that we have a Double A Cardinal team here, but the history of the Cards and Springfield goes way back. You can see more here:

There was a survey last week that stated the Cardinals and their fans are the most hated in baseball right now. Mainly because we are so good and the fans are so loyal. Well, excuse us. But, that's exactly the ingredients which make a solid franchise. So while you haters are sitting at home waiting for winter, Cardinal Nation will be savoring every bit of October. Because that's what we do.

Go Cards!

Friday, September 26, 2014


Well ORACON 2014 has come and gone. What a whirlwind. The volunteer, board and speaker dinner Friday night didn't end until 9:30. Then I had to be at University Plaza at 7:15 Saturday morning to start checking people in. I'm still a little tired. And since I'm treasurer, I'm working on tying up final income and expenses.

I never liked going to conferences for my regular job. Probably because I hate it and I'm not crazy about my co-workers. This conference is totally different. I always come away inspired and in awe of all the talent in the writing community. Everyone is ready to share experiences and offer support.

We had a good turnout (around 90) with some new people attending, which is always a positive.

And drum roll please . . . I won 2nd place in the Weta Nichols contest. This is not a small feat. Our contest receives entries from all over the country. I think there were around 20 contestants in my category, contemporary romance. Liz Pelletier of Entangled Publishing was the final judge and she said to send her more. Yea! Now all I have to do is write it. :-)

Several of our members finaled which just goes to show how gifted they all are.

Planning will get underway for next year's conference soon. No rest for the weary.

Did you go to ORACON and what did you take away?

Friday, September 19, 2014

FRIDAY STIR FRY - Conference Time!!!


It's conference time for one of my writing groups

I love going to this event. We always have great presenters, inspiring and motivational content and great networking opportunities. It helps rejuvenate my muse. 

The last few years I've helped with the planning because I've been on the board - two years as secretary and this year as treasurer. It's fun and exhausting at the same time. But we have great volunteers and everyone wants this day to be a complete success. 

Four years ago I pitched to a New York agent and she requested my manuscript. What a thrill. I was so nervous, my voice shook and cracked as I gave her the summary of my novel Beyond The Horizon. After she said she wanted to see it, I walked on air the rest of the day. Unfortunately, she ended up leaving her publishing house and they sold and my book came back. But, I will never forget that thrill.

The next year: 

Not so good.
The agent I pitched to was less than thrilled with my story.
In the critique session with a published best selling author, she ripped me a new one for my choice of language and references to characters in a bar scene.
And then the final blow was a critique of a query letter I submitted for the Query Letter Gong Show.
It also got ripped apart.

But, I learned something even from that conference. I better get a thicker skin if I was going to succeed in this business. 

This year, I'm not pitching but I am getting a professional head shot from        Wish her luck trying to make me look pretty. :-)

Do you enjoy conferences or do you see them as a waste of time?

Friday, September 5, 2014


What does it take to make you happy?

                                                       I think it's different for everyone. 

For me?

1. Time off. Being away from my day job makes me happy.
2. Writing and editing. Being creative and using parts of my brain that get neglected during the week. 
3.  Spending time with my writer groups. They really get my inspiration going. 
4. Spending time with my son. He lives far away now, so it doesn't occur very often. When I get to hug him, it's the best. 
5. The Cardinals in first place in September.
6. Fried chicken, mashed potatoes with cream gravy and green beans. 

That's my short list. Let me know one or two of your happy places. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

FRIDAY STIR FRY - the writing life

Her Diary
I've often said on here, at work, at the bar and anywhere somebody will listen that I would love to quit my job and write full time. What a wonderful life I imagine that would be. Ahhhh .....

A writer friend of mine did just that a few weeks ago; quit her job and is staying home. I so envy her. If only I had the balls.

Unfortunately, some sort of income is needed. Although, I've published a book, my royalties so far would buy a gallon of milk, a dozen eggs and a pound of bacon. Barely enough to survive a week. I'm still several years away from drawing Social Security. My meager pension wouldn't last me long. What to do?

I need to win Powerball. In fact, I'm going to go buy a ticket right now. See ya later.

(if any of you have some ideas for me, please comment)

Friday, August 22, 2014


                            I realized this week I haven't done anything fun in a long, long time.
A friend at work told me she was going to see Lynyrd Skynyrd this weekend with a bunch of girlfriends and stay at the casino. Sounds like fun to me. She told me I should come along. I proceeded to explain to her that since it was an outdoor venue, which would require walking a ways and carrying a lawn chair, my knees would not let me. Made me sad.

I decided to funnel that sadness into my writing this week and I wrote some pretty good stuff. (if I do say so myself). Writing about emotions is always easier when I'm feeling some. Whether it's happy or sad it doesn't matter. It also helps me feel better to get it out on paper. Yes, I'm limited in what I can do, but that doesn't mean I can't have fun with what I'm able to experience.

Do you write through your emotions whether it's stories or a journal and does it help?

Friday, August 15, 2014

FRIDAY STIR FRY - Musings From The Past Week

RIP Robin Williams

Like most everyone else, I was shocked at the news of his death. I don't own many movies, but one I have is The Bird Cage. I laugh out loud every time I watch it. One of my favorite interviews is from Inside The Actor's Studio. Classic. Please take time to view. And pay attention to the end when he talks about heaven.

We also lost a great film actress, Lauren Bacall. Her passing signals the end of an era; when movie stars were glamorous - not attention seeking, bat shit crazy, like many today. RIP

Other musings: I've had back trouble this week, so not much writing done. I've mainly just been sitting in my recliner with a heat pad. I even had to take a sick day off work. I hardly ever do that. But, I think I'm on the mend. Knock on wood.

Plans this weekend: I've been kinda lost on where to go with my work in progress (WIP). Part of the problem is I've cobbled it together in bits and pieces. So, my plan is to sit down, read through what I have, rearrange things, and try to write it in a more linear fashion. When I get a handle on it, I'll post more excerpts.

I also have three blog stops I need to complete before they all give up on me. And with our writing conference coming up in about a month, I have stuff to do for that. Here's a link if you want to check it out.

Leave your musings in the comments. All are appreciated.

Friday, August 8, 2014

FRIDAY STIR FRY - This and That

         Another edition of this and that. No theme, just observations from the week past.

What has happened to human intelligence?
I'm not claiming to be the smartest roll in the basket, but compared to some people, I'm a genus.
We have a lot of forms where I work. Way too many. But they are pretty self explanatory. Sign here, date here, answer yes or no. Do I ever get a correctly completed form? Maybe 1% of the time.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not talking about people who are truly challenged. I'm talking about people who appear to be fully functional. They drive, they have kids, they work. Some of the worst offenders are caseworkers helping their clients. Scary. Filling out forms seems to be a true challenge for them. Like the sign says on my desk. "There is no life guard in the gene pool." Man oh man, I wish there was.
Enough about the hell I call work.

I participated in my first book signing last week. Technically not a book signing, since my novel is e-book only. I was next to three other talented writer friends, which made it easier. I didn't feel like a total pimp. I gave away an origami book featuring my cover, the first 1000 words and buying info. At least half were gone at the end of the night. I did have a bump in sales ranking on Amazon over the weekend. So, maybe my efforts were not for waste. I might participate in another one down the line.

As treasurer for Ozarks Romance Authors, I'm really busy gearing up for our annual writing conference. Collecting registration fees and compiling lists. Have I mentioned I'm not a number person?

If you are interested in attending a great conference, find more info here:

Oh, and somewhere in all this mess, I need to write. 

How was your week??

Friday, August 1, 2014

FRIDAY STIR FRY - Excerpt Time

I promised to post an excerpt from my work in progress on my Facebook page this week. I lied. This week flew by like a Sharknado. My internet was down at home for two days which makes it very difficult to access Facebook or this blog. Those are my excuses. At least while the internet was down, I got some writing done. 

This is from Coming Home. Jennifer is starting to doubt her commitment to her fiance'. 

        Scott pulled into the motel lot. "Can you be ready in fifteen?"

Jennifer stared at him. "Sure. I'll just crumple everything up and throw it into my bag."
She slammed the car door and unlocked her room. Sitting down on the bed she wondered what her next move should be. Did she really want to go back with Scott?  His actions made Jennifer wonder where his heart was -- not to mention hers. Perhaps a little time apart would clear her head? Plus she had to figure out what to do with that damn building.
Scott's car horn sounded. There's my answer.
Jennifer walked to Scott's side of the car. "I'm not going back yet."
"What are you talking about, Jennifer. Of course you're going back. I need to get back to the office and we have a lot of plans to make. Now pull yourself together and come on."
Jennifer crossed her arms and backed away from his car. She tightened her lips and shook her head. "I need a little more time here."
Scott stepped out of the car and ran his hand through his hair. "Jennifer, you're obviously not thinking clearly." He reached for her elbow. "Come on, I'll help you pack."
"No, Scott," she tried to sound forceful and stepped farther away from him. "Are you listening to the way you are talking to me? I'm not a child."
"Well, you're acting like one. There isn't anything here that can't be taken care of from Chicago. Let your lawyer earn his keep. Lord knows, he's probably charging us an arm and a leg."
"Us? Scott there is no us. This was my mother and this is my estate. You seem a bit too anxious to get your hands on it, if you ask me."
"I'm just being practical. One of us has to be."
Jennifer's resolve tightened like a cinched belt. "I'm not going to stand here and argue with you. I'll call you before I come home."
Scott finally managed to get a hold of her arm and jerked her closer.
"Ouch, Scott, let go."
Next thing Jennifer knew Ron grabbed Scott by the shoulder, spun him around and pinned his arm behind his back.
"That's not how we treat a lady around here."
"Let go." Scott spoke through clinched teeth. "Or I'll sue this flea bag motel right out from under you."
"Ron," Jennifer touched his shoulder.
He pushed Scott farther away from her before letting him go with a shove.
Scott caught himself on the fender of his car. He whirled around and pointed a finger at Ron. "This is none of your business."
"I don't know what the argument is about. I only know you weren't treating Jenny in a gentlemanly manner."
"What do you know about manners? You're so fresh off the farm, you stink of manure."
Ron put his hand into a fist and drew back his arm. Jennifer stepped between them.
"Stop it, both of you."
Ron dropped his arm to his side as he continued to stare at Scott.
"Let's get some things straight." She looked at Ron. "I don't need protecting." She turned to Scott. "And, I don't need to be told what to do. I'll see you in Chicago in a few days." Jennifer turned around and stomped back to her room. Slamming the door, she leaned against it, suddenly feeling drained.
Please feel free to comment below. You won't hurt my feelings. Well, not much. 



Friday, July 25, 2014

FRIDAY STIR FRY - Guest Author

Please give a warm welcome to my writer friend Ellen Harger. We are both members of Ozarks Romance Authors
Her newest release is an incredible book and I am honored to have her on my blog today.

A version of the blog exchange between Mrs. Jones and a mysterious man first came to me in 2007. I gravitated to the idea of the blog because it takes a while before a blogger becomes a person to the reader. At first, it's just words catching viewers in a butterfly net. With enough time, the words produce a landscape that draws the butterflies to feed.

As the story incubated, I recognized similarities to a movie, "The Shop Around The Corner" with Jimmy Stewart and the Nora Ephron modern version, "You've Got Mail." Private correspondence allows for greater sharing of a person's inner truth. 

I was also influenced by Nick Bantock's exquisite book series about a mysterious letter/postcard exchange between Griffin and Sabine. The art and mystery is exceptional and I loved removing the letters from the book to hold as I read. The simple action made me feel like I was reading love letters between two amazing people.

   I've never see The Shop Around The Corner, but I may have to rent it now. 

2. Who or what has most influenced your writing career?

I wish it was one thing but over a course of my life, many things have reminded me to write. I've loved stories since I was too young to scribble. I was an avid reader but it took years to cultivate the belief that I could write a story worth reading. However, one of the aspects I love about my family is their joy of sharing stories about each other. It doesn't matter if we've heard the tale a thousand times, we relish the telling, the cadence and execution. We laugh for hours regaling each other with well worn stories. It's magical.

   Telling stories with family is a great way to pass along our history. I think that's becoming a lost  art.  

3. Tell us a little about your next project.

I seem to be shrinking my word count because the next story will likely be a novella, titled Oak Land. I wrote the draft during my first NaNoWriMo in 2008, pollinating the daily word count like a drunk bee. The result was a memorable train ride for a young woman embracing her potential future. 

   Train rides can be magical. Think of Harry Potter or Agatha Christie. I also am a believer in NaNo.  It's a  great way to get words on paper.  

4. Is your writing area messy or organized?

Yes. I think it's a disaster but twice now I've had a party and showed curious visitors my messy work space only to be told I was crazy. But I don't like to file or shred until there's a healthy pile. And do I love my piles. What I love about my office is it's all mine. Everything in the room is about writing: a giant desk, the majority of my books, a reading chair, a giant cork board, a window and two dog beds. 

   I think it's wonderful that you have your own writing space. 

5. Now, tell us something quirky about you. 

I've always talked out loud to myself. Even after a getting caught and burning with awkwardness. I had imaginary friends as a small child so I talked for them, so now I mutter when I'm deeply engrossed. This quirk has translated well into a technique for writing dialogue. My level of commitment is best illustrated by a story. (See what I did there? Refer to question 2.) I took an acting class with a Hollywood agent/writer. She had us memorize a scene purely by listening to the exchange, no scripts. After several people successfully repeated the conversation, I took a turn and added attitude to differentiate between the two speakers. Mz Hollywood announced that I obviously talked to myself. I smiled because it's true.

   Thank you so much for letting us know a little more about you Ellen. And good luck with your current release.   

Ellen Harger, Author

Please, tip your author with a review.

An apartment fire costs everything, including the illusion of a tolerable marriage.
Gillian is depressed, her moods shifting like earthquakes raising deep, roiling anger. Convinced her friends and family won’t understand, she turns to strangers through a blog she writes as Mrs. Jones, a nondescript anyone.

Despite exposing herself on the internet, she assumes no one will notice her among millions of voices. Cathartic writing helps her to transform as she makes new friends, seeks help from a non-traditional therapist, and considers divorce.

Then a Mr. Write answers. A strange man who asks questions, who peels away the layers. Gillian finds love, but life is absurdly stubborn. She must confront her husband, Evan, before she can move on.

Also, I have a special feature to share: the blog from the novel lives. A sample can be be viewed at:

Friday, July 18, 2014

FRIDAY STIR FRY - More Coffee Please

Illustration of a hot cup of coffee with a transparent background.


Sometimes there isn't enough coffee in the world to get me going. Do you ever feel that way? I ... just ... can't ... do ... it. This is usually the case Monday through Friday. Hmmm, could it be work related?

My co-workers are pretty good about leaving me alone until around ten o'clock. All except one. She gets up at four in the morning. Yep, you read that right. So by the time I get my sleepy self into work at eight she's been up four hours. Of course her office is located right at the entrance. And she's chipper, ready to go, and wants to discuss work stuff. Ughhh.

Fridays are usually a whole day of not wanting to do anything. I've worked all week, I'm tired and I've usually had my fill of stupid people. Plus I'm already thinking about what I'm going to write over the weekend. Ideas are swirling around my head like happy little bluebirds.

At one time I worked four ten hour days. That was wonderful. Three day weekends are perfect. Enough time to get some things done, and get some rest. Two days just isn't enough. By the way, who ever came up with a 40 hour work week? Why not 36 or 32? Why 40? Can I shoot them?

Till next time -

Friday, July 11, 2014

FRIDAY STIR FRY - Promotion Sucks

Decorative blacksmith metallurgy proverb strike while iron is hot mallet and anvil poster  illustration - stock photo

You know what I've discovered this week? There's a fine line between getting people to buy and read your book and annoying the hell out of them. 

I'm trying really hard to keep from crossing to the wrong side of that line. Of course I want people everywhere to read Beyond The Horizon. I put five years (yes, five years) of my life into it and I want it to be a success. I'm using Twitter, Facebook, and blog tours to get the word out. But, I have a feeling only my good friends are actually buying and reading it. And I have a finite number of good friends. What happens when that market is saturated? Will my baby die a slow and agonizing death? Poor baby.

And because it's an e-book only, it's really hard to track sales. There is a sales ranking on Amazon, but it's not very helpful. And my publisher hasn't released any figures yet. Maybe I'll feel better when I get that info. And maybe it really doesn't matter. 

What does really matter? I wrote a book. I got it published. Yea for me. Anything over that is icing on the cake. Although, I would be very happy if all the cake gets eaten. 

Until next week dear friends, stay safe and eat cake. 

Friday, July 4, 2014


I had this fear that I would throw a party and nobody would show up. It wasn't an unfounded fear. When my daughter turned 8, we planned a party at the local skating rink. We reserved one of the party rooms, sent out invitations, and had cake and decorations. Nobody came. I ran around like crazy calling parents and begging them to let me pick up their kids so there would be some people there for my daughter's big day. We finally managed a handful of kids. Broke my heart. So, you see, I have previous experience.

History did not repeat itself, however.

About 45 people came to my book launch party. My writer friends, co-workers, drinking buddies, and even some high school friends. It was a success by all accounts. Pictures below will attest to that. There's even a couple of videos you need to check out.

I was exhausted for several days after. All the excitement of being published and promoting myself and the party really took it out of me. But it was a good tired. Not an "I cleaned house all day" tired. Thanks to everyone who came. You guys are the best. And a big thank you to Trolley's  Couldn't have done it without your support.

Friday, June 27, 2014


Today's the day I've been waiting for all my life. No I'm not getting married or getting my driver's license for the first time or taking my first drink at 21. I'm finally a published author. Wow.

Hand Stock PhotoI don't expect to make a lot of money. Publishing has changed so much in the last few years, that only the already established authors make big bucks. Us little guys, not so much. All I really want is for people to read my book and like it. That's it.

There are so many people I need to thank. Forgive me if I leave anybody out.

First and foremost, my son Zach. He believed in me and gave me encouragement every step of the way. Even when I was being a recluse at his house during Thanksgiving because I was behind on word count for NaNo.

My beta readers, Nancy Yeomans and Allison Merritt for steering me in the right direction.

Members of Ozarks Romance Authors critique group for their great advice.

Members of Sleuth's Ink who are the best cheerleaders anybody could have.

My editor Amanda Siemen and all the wonderful people at Breathless Press.

And all my friends, especially Rob Evans and Stacy Durst who gave me hugs and beer when I needed moral support.

I'm taking time to enjoy this moment, then back to work on my new novel. If you're in Springfield Saturday June 28th come by Trolley's on the square from 4 to 6 and celebrate with me.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

FRIDAY STIR FRY - Guest Author

Please welcome a fellow writer and friend to Friday Stir Fry, T. Sue Versteeg. We met through a local writer's group. I've come to enjoy not only her books but her sense of humor. Be sure and visit her links to learn more about this talented gal.

A huge THANK YOU to Wanda for hosting me today!

No problem. By hosting you I don't have to come up with a topic, so thank you!  
Can you tell us what you are up to?

I’m currently visiting blogs to promote my latest romantic comedy release, MY EX-BOYFRIEND’S WEDDING.

During my research for this book, I found some really odd things. (I have a bad habit of this.) The most interesting for me was when I researched crazy wedding pictures. The following photo was the first to come up.  (Copyright

Yeah. This makes almost any other wedding seem normal. Stop staring. Let’s move along.

My next research topic for this book was narcissistic behavior. I wanted the ex to be as true to form as possible. Instead of anything really constructive, I got sucked into the Savage Chickens world.

Savage Chickens - Narcissistic
Savage Chickens - Me Calling

Hey, they had some strips on narcissism. It really is a wonder I ever finished writing this book. You have been given a tiny glimpse into the easily distracted mind of T. Sue VerSteeg.

Once I finally pulled myself away from the comics, I had to figure out some super expensive wines for my main character to trash while getting even for being locked in the ex’s wine cellar. I was led to a site similar to this.

Can you imagine paying $37,500.00 for a GLASS of wine?!  I don’t think I paid that much for my first house. I mean, I’m all about a nice bottle of wine…erm, glass of wine on occasion, but unless you’re buying, I’ll stick with Stone Hill.

Okay, so what’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever researched on the Internet? These examples only scratched the surface for me, by the way. I need a medical alert bracelet that says, “Please delete my browser history.”  It would be in everyone’s best interest. ;)