Friday, December 18, 2015


To tell the truth, I just titled this post "Star Wars" to up my page views. Ha ha, did I get you?

I have a few friends caught up in this frenzy. I just wonder if they are going through withdrawals this morning after the movie. All the hype and anticipation and now it's over. Kind of like Christmas, right? All the excitement and then wham bam thank you ma'am. All that's left is crumpled wrapping paper, empty popcorn buckets, and sticky fingers.

Makes me think of the day my book was finally published. I'd waited so long and the day had finally arrived. Although, this was the premier of my work, not some one else. And, there is at least some residual excitement like when I get a great review or somebody buys my book.

The excitement for the fans of Star Wars is now over. They have to wait for somebody to create the next movie.

I'm actually working on my next installment. Perhaps my fans are anxiously awaiting my next book. Camping out in front of the book store, peering in the windows, dressed like my characters.

One can dream.

Friday, December 4, 2015

FRIDAY STIR FRY - Holiday Parties

So, it's that time of year when holiday parties abound. Pot lucks and gift exchanges. Yeah, not my thing. Both my writer groups have these. One this week, the other next week. 

I don't like cooking or shopping for food and if I go, I'm obligated to bring something edible. With my disability, it is difficult to get around let alone lug food and a gift into the meeting. And, I don't want a gift. I'm at the stage in my life I'm trying to get rid of stuff, not bring more crap into my life. And let's face it, these gift exchanges are usually crap you wouldn't buy for yourself.

Of course my wonderful writer friends are telling me to come anyway. One even said she would cook something for me and bring a gift. Sweet, but no. Again, just not my thing. Also, I'm not much into small talk and oohing and awing over a present or asking for somebodies recipe.

I have to go to the one next week because I'm chairman of our JANO writing challenge - which is open to everyone and kind of like NaNo. Find info here: 

I need to update everyone and conduct a prize drawing for last year's JANO. So, I kinda have to be there. Although I have thought of just giving the info to somebody else and skipping. There's still time for that option.

I know I sound like a mean old bitch. And maybe I am. But if I don't enjoy these things, why should I go? I would rather sleep in, watch a movie, and write.  

Comment and let me know what a bad person I am. 

Saturday, November 28, 2015

FRIDAY STIR FRY - Oops - Make That Saturday
Yeah, I forgot it was Friday. Well, I knew it was Friday, I forgot I was supposed to blog. To be fair, I was still in a turkey coma. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Or, if you don't celebrate the holiday, you at least found something to be thankful for. After all, that's what it's all about (although the eating part is pretty great).

Here is my list of thankfulness.

  1. Family. Even though they don't live close by, I at least get to talk to them on the phone or see posts on Facebook.
  2. Friends to spend the day with. What a great bunch of people.
  3. A roof over my head as humble as it may be.
  4. A job I hate. Sounds weird, but really, not many people like their jobs. I'm blessed to have one.
  5. A car to drive to that job.
  6. America. I don't go around waving flags and such, but even with all our country's faults and troubles, I'd certainly rather live here than Syria.
  7. Which brings me to freedom. I can dress however I want. I can go wherever I want. I can read whatever I like.
That's pretty much it. Take a moment and compile your own list. I guarantee it will make you feel better about life.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Well, I gave up on NaNo - again.

I just couldn't keep up. I don't have the energy I had ten years ago when I first did NaNo. And, I don't think I have as many functioning brain cells as I did back then.

I tried getting up early to write before work. I managed that a few days, but my brain just wouldn't function that early. I tried writing at work, but then damn work would get in the way. I tried writing as soon as I got home from work, but again, my brain just wouldn't cooperate. After dealing with stupid people all day, my mind didn't want to deal with my stupid characters. And I found myself resenting having to write all weekend to catch up.

So, I quit.

But, on the bright side, I managed almost 20,000 words. Some of them are good, others are headed to the recycle bin. So, thanks NaNo for that.

Friday, November 13, 2015

FRIDAY STIR FRY - I'm With Stupid

Okay, picture my doppelganger standing next to me and we each have that stupid tee shirt on pointing at each other. That would be me this month. Or like those mountain goats, I made a decision I probably shouldn't have.

Some of you may have noticed I didn't post last week. At least I hope you noticed. The reason - I jumped into the NaNo madness. Yep, I decided to try again to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Ugghhh. I wish somebody had stopped me.

Folks, it is hard. Especially when you are old, your arthritis acts up, work sucks and so does your novel. And you are also on a time limit to complete a hand quilted baby blanket.

The first week was okay. I managed to keep up on word count. But, day 10 I faltered. Didn't feel good. Had to take a pain pill and fell behind. I'm still behind even though I had Veteran's day off from work.

Week two of NaNo is notorious for tripping people up. The beginning excitement is gone and your novel has stagnated. And you wonder what the hell you were thinking. Just like I am now.

Don't get me wrong. I'm still writing every day, just not as many words as needed to make the goal. And I plan to continue writing every day. Because, I know if I stop, this story won't get finished and I want to finish it. No, I need to finish it, just to prove I can.

In the past I have managed to catch up over Thanksgiving weekend, so there is hope. Ever so slight hope, but hope none the less.

Friday, October 30, 2015

FRIDAY STIR FRY - To NaNo or Not To NaNo

I've got just one day left to make up my mind. Should I do this or not? This, of course, is National Novel Writing Month. If you've been living under a rock for the past 15 plus years, here is a link for more information.

I signed up. I have an idea. How about a list of pros and cons.

It's a good way to get words on paper. Even if they're not very good words.
There is a sense of achievement when you get your daily word count.
I may never have a finished novel if it wasn't for this.
I enjoy participating with crazy people like me from all over the world.
What else have I got to do?

First, it's hard. Much harder than you can imagine. The brain refuses to cooperate after a while.
It's depressing and demoralizing when you fall behind in word count.
I really should finish my current WIP instead of starting another.
To achieve word count, I have to get up early and write. Use my lunch hour to write. And, write after a long day of work. That's stretching my lazy ass to it's limits.  
I have a baby quilt to finish.

Well, it looks like we have a tie. Anybody up for rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock? 

Stay tuned and you'll learn my decision next week.

Friday, October 23, 2015

FRIDAY STIR FRY - Where Do Your Ideas Come From?

Writers are often asked this question. And there are many different answers.

For myself, I don't really know. No, really. A fellow writer told me I should tell our group where I get my blog ideas. Hmmm, let's see ... I sit down on Friday morning after one or two cups of coffee, and stare at the blank screen until something comes into my head. I know, not very professional or helpful. But honestly, that's how it goes most Fridays. It could be a headline I saw, or a question somebody asked, but more often than not, I can't actually explain it.

I also can't really say where my book ideas come from. A conversation with a friend can spark something or my brain goes on a "what if" tangent. Beyond The Horizon came from me wanting to understand my daughter's abusive situation better. Although, the story is nothing like her life. It actually took on a life of it's own once I started with the premise of somebody attempting to escape that situation. And the "what ifs" kicked in.

My second book started out with me wanting to explore how I felt about putting my mom in a nursing home. It also doesn't reflect my situation or what happened and has taken on a life of it's own. After all, I write novels, not memoirs. The characters take over and there I go.

Where do you get your ideas? Please share.

Friday, October 16, 2015

FRIDAY STIR FRY - Jack Of All Trades

For the next meeting of one of my writer groups, they asked that we all bring a short presentation on something about writing or marketing that we are an expert about. In other words, our vice president couldn't get a speaker.

I don't consider myself an expert at anything. I know a little about a few things. Like my father-n-law used to say: "I know just enough to be dangerous."

I don't have an English degree. Heck, I didn't even attend college. So, I don't know all the grammar rules. I get lost when people talk about adverbs, prepositions, and dangling modifiers. My eyes actually glaze over. I know just enough to muddle through with the help of a dictionary and spell/grammar check. And thank goodness for editors.

I'm a pantser, so I don't do outlines. I know a little about story structure and arc but, not all the specifics. I mostly feel my way through a story. It's needs a beginning, a middle, and an end.

I know a little about marketing - how to use Twitter, Facebook and blog interviews. But, certainly not enough to teach any of it.

I wrote a good book, found a publisher, lost that publisher, and self published. But, there's nothing I can teach about any of that. A good number of members have written and published a lot more than me.

I would just skip this meeting, but writer meetings are kind of the only social contact I get on the weekends. And since I'm chairman of a committee, I need to give a report.

Maybe, I'll just ignore the request. Sorry, I forgot. That's something I'm pretty good at, especially as I grow older.

Friday, October 9, 2015

FRIDAY STIR FRY - What Happens If . . .

As writers, we often ask ourselves "what happens if ..." Our characters need challenges or there is no story. It can be internal or external, but something needs to happen to them to keep the story moving. Of course, we must limit the challenges so the pacing is smooth and the story line is believable. Otherwise our readers will say "Really?' and throw our book across the room or remove it from their reading device.

This week I did a "what happens if". I put my book Beyond The Horizon on Amazon free for two days. Just to see what happens. I wasn't selling that many copies anyway. It's been out over a year, so that's understandable. Here are the results:

  • Almost 900 downloads.
  • Pages read - close to 400 (I don't know how Amazon knows this and to tell you the truth it kind of creeps me out)
  • 2 new reviews. Yippee
Reviews were actually what I was hoping for. And I hope many more are on the way. I was stuck at 22 forever. Reviews are like Amazon gold for an author.

Remember that next time you read a book. It doesn't have to be long and drawn out synopsis of the whole story. Just a simple "I really enjoyed this book" will do.

Friday, October 2, 2015

FRIDAY STIR FRY - Social Media

I spend a lot of time online - probably more than I should. I rationalize it with the fact I live alone and it makes me feel less lonely. Plus, I don't do much traveling or fun stuff, so I get to visit interesting places vicariously through other people's posts. And once in a while, I see something that inspires my writing. Also, it's a place to promote my books. Although, I really try to limit that to just a few posts now and then.

I'm mainly on Facebook and Twitter. I do have a Pinterest account, but for some reason, I don't visit often. I haven't ventured to Instagram or other places yet. I like the slowness of Facebook over the wham bam of Twitter. I use Hootsuite as a filter, but it's still too fast. I know, I know, I'm getting old. You youngin's are just too fast for me.

And, yes, I'm one of those people who play the games on book face. But, at least I filter them so I'm not bugging people who aren't wasting their time playing.

How much time to you spend online and what sites do you prefer? I would love to know. Maybe I'll discover a new place to waste away the day.

Friday, September 25, 2015

FRIDAY STIR FRY - Conference and Book Signing

I look nervous. There was no reason to be. I was surrounded by lots of writer friends. We were set up at a library, which is a familiar atmosphere. I think my table looked nice. I think I looked presentable. Sold a couple of books. All in all it was fine. Won't do it again.

I'm not comfortable sitting at a table and smiling and greeting strangers as they walk by. I wasn't pushy. I didn't scream at them, "Buy my books." But, I still felt uneasy. Kinda like a homeless person standing on the street corner, begging for money. Just felt weird.

I had an author table at the conference, also. It didn't feel as weird because everyone there was a writer or attempting to be. A lot more familiar faces and a more accepting group. Sold a few more books. Won't do it again.

I'd rather sit in the audience and relax. I did enjoy sitting next to my good buddy Allison Merritt. My two books looked tiny next to her five or six published books she brought (and she didn't even bring all her work).

For some reason, this ORACON felt a little off to me. Don't know if it was a disconnect with the presenters, or sitting at lunch with people I didn't know, or sitting at my author table.

The pitch I did to Candace Havens with Entangled Publishing was even a little weird. I handed her my business card and she said she didn't take cards. But, then I pointed out mine had a charm attached, and she took it. My main male character cheats on my main female character thus causing her to leave town. Which is really the whole reason for the book. After the pitch, Candace stated that Entangled doesn't do cheaters. Hum. Okay. But, if I could change that, she would be interested. Yeah, I'll work on that.

All in all, though, it was a good couple of days surrounded by like minded people. Better than "my pay the bills job" any day.

Friday, September 18, 2015

FRIDAY STIR FRY - Busy Weekend

Well, this is it. Today is my first book signing. I think I'm ready. I have books, swag, and table decoration. I need to remember to get change at the bank just in case I actually sell a book. I don't have a smart phone with one of those things you can swipe cards with. Yep, I still have a dumb flip phone. Quit laughing. It does what I need. Answering the occasional call from my son and I can call 911 if needed. And it costs like ten dollars a month. Beat that Apple.

I'll be in good company today. Here is a very small list of the authors participating.

Lisa Medley -
Shirley McCann -
Candace Havens -
Heather Snow -
Barbara Bettis -
Allison Merritt -
Holly Atkinson -

As you can see, there are many different genres represented. It should be a lot of fun. I have pens, charms and candy to give away. Nobody will leave my space empty handed.

And then Saturday is ORACON - Ozarks Romance Author's annual conference. Always fun, informative, and inspirational. I may never have a published novel if not for this group.

Then Sunday, I really need to get started on a top secret project. More on that later.

Here's to hoping my knees survive. Or if not, my pain medication works.

Friday, September 11, 2015

FRIDAY STIR FRY - A Day To Remember

I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge the tragedy of 9-11 today. Everyone remembers where they were and how they felt. Will that ever go away? I hope not. All who perished that day must be remembered for their sacrifice whether they were an innocent office worker, a passenger on one of the planes, or a brave firefighter.  I hope everyone observes a moment of silence today.


Now, on to more mundane things. I'm preparing for my first book signing a week from now. Since my book was originally published in e-book form only, I've never had this opportunity.
I'm a bit nervous. What if I spell their name wrong, or spell my name wrong, or my pen quits working.

Or, shudder, nobody buys a book. Which could happen. I'm not the only author participating. There will be about twenty. And several are nationally known. Plus, I only have two books. My contemporary romance Beyond The Horizon and my collection of short stories Briefs and Shorts. I have a small group of readers to target.

But, on a positive note, there will be candy.

If you're in the area, I would love to see you. Here is the info:

Friday, September 4, 2015

FRIDAY STIR FRY - Labor Day - Writing Day

It's Labor Day Weekend. Three days to be me. That needs to be writer me. Not lazy me, not laundry me, not Netflix me. Well, maybe a little Netflix. I had three days off last weekend, but didn't get anything written. In my defense, I was drained from work drama. (see last week's post)

Saturday will be somewhat of a writing day. I have a writer's meeting that will take up most of the day. Hopefully it gives me inspiration. But usually after these meetings, I don't write. I think it has to do with writer overload. Don't get me wrong, I love being around my author friends. But when I spend most of the day talking about writing and listening about writing techniques, it can sometimes wear me out. And then writing ends up being the last thing I want to do. A nice cold beer at my watering hole is usually what happens.

That still leaves Sunday and Monday to make up things and put them on paper. I have some Starbucks cards that will be used.

**Follow up from last weeks rant. Be careful who you trust. And you can't trust anybody at work.      Voodoo dolls help.

Friday, August 21, 2015

FRIDAY STIR FRY - People Are Weird

With all the dysfunctional people in the news this week, from Jared Fogle to Josh Duggar, to Bill Cosby, I got to thinking about the way people behave and how you just never know.

Although as far as Duggar goes, who didn't see somebody weird coming out of that dysfunctional group? Having all those kids in this day and age, just isn't right. Consider for a moment, those kids are probably going to birth a bunch of brats. I don't do math, but the number probably could be in the several hundreds. With human population threatening to destroy the planet and the resources needed to sustain that large of a family, their behavior is not only crazy, but irresponsible.

As far as the other two go, I can only come to the conclusion that having money doesn't give you morals. In fact, sometimes it seems to remove any sense of decency you do have.

On a final note - all this sure makes my writer brain tingle with possibilities. Thanks weirdos!

Friday, August 14, 2015

FRIDAY STIR FRY - Planning A Writing Weekend

Every week I tell myself I'm going to do nothing but write all weekend. And then life happens or I just get lazy. But, this weekend, I'm devoting myself to my writing. Period.

All my other obligations are taken care of. I've done well with promotion this week, so I don't feel pressured to do that. My writer group meetings are over for the month. Everything else can wait. Grocery shopping can wait. Bill paying can wait. Laundry can wait. What do I need clean clothes for anyway? Cleaning house can certainly wait. Nobody there but me and I've grown fond of my dust bunnies. I may even start naming them. Any suggestions?

But just to make sure those obligations aren't going to be calling my name, there's a new coffee shop my laptop and I will be checking out. And a few others on my list when I get tired of sitting in one place. Heck, I may spend my whole paycheck (which won't take long) on coffee and scones. 

My goal: To come close to finishing my second novel. Wish me luck!

Friday, August 7, 2015

FRIDAY STIR FRY - Plans and Such

I'm starting to plan for my retirement from the work place I like to call Hell. I won't be able to draw benefits for a couple more years, but you can never plan too early, right. Plus it's the carrot dangling off the end of the stick to keep this old mule kicking.

One of those plans kinda came out of nowhere. I have done some Beta reading for a few writer friends, with suggestions on improvements. One of them told me I'm really good at it and should start doing it professionally.

I must admit, I like the editing process. Most authors hate it. I, on the other hand, find coming up with the story and first draft hard. Fixing stuff is more fun. I'd really never thought of doing it for money. Hmmm, could I? Should I?

If I could get an editing business going, it would help out when I retire since Social Security isn't all that secure. I'm doing some research now and coming up with ideas for a business name. The first one I thought of is a take off this blog - An Editor Called Wanda.  Some others - Need Edits? - Novel Edits -  An Editor And A Novel  -  Red Pencil, Will Edit.

What do you think about these or do you have any suggestions?

Saturday, August 1, 2015

FRIDAY STIR FRY - These Are A Few Of the Things I Love
I decided to write about some things in life I love. Let me just preface this by saying - this is not easy for me folks. A lot of people think I am pretty negative. I tend to think I'm realistic. I hear you laughing. Shut up.

I love being off work on a work day. It feels like playing hooky from school except I'm getting paid for it.

I love how people who don't really know me at work, fear me. And the people at work that do know me, keep the secret that I'm really a nice person.

I love the fact I wrote a book and it got published.

I love the fact that when my publisher closed shop, I learned how to self-publish so my book is still out there.

I love that I've met so many supportive and wonderful friends by belonging to writer's groups in my area.

I love summer. Don't go away, please, please, I'm begging you.

I love baseball. Go Cards!

I love beer. Nothing like a cold beer, at a bar, talking to strangers, to make you feel alive.

And finally, I love my son and I can't wait to welcome his son into my unhappy life sometime around Christmas.

Please tell me what you love.

Friday, July 24, 2015

FRIDAY STIR FRY - My Muse Needs A Watch


The end of CampNaNoWriMo is near and I can guarantee you I won't make my word count. Mostly because I've deleted more words than I've written. Which is a big no no.

But . . . in my defense, if I didn't fix this thing by re-arranging and removing words, it would languish in my computer until the end of days. And nobody wants that. I know you all are anxiously awaiting this book. Right?

Back to the real reason for this post. My muse really needs to pay attention to what time zone I'm in. When I'm struggling with my story, she tends to show up at 3:00 am. Really?? You know I have to get up in a few hours and go to work. If I turn on the light and write your idea down, I'll never get back to sleep. And nobody wants to deal with a sleep deprived Wanda.
Sometimes I remember what she told me. Sometimes not. This time, I retained it. Maybe because it was a perfect twist and ending to this story I've been struggling to finish.

Many people say their muse hits them in the shower. That happens to me, also. Not nearly as annoying as 3 in the morning. I usually remember those ideas until I can dry off and get a pen and paper.

When does your muse hit you up side the head?

Friday, July 10, 2015

FRIDAY STIR FRY - Rain and Writing and Stuff
Tired of rain, so I thought I'd post a picture of the sun to remind myself and others what it looks like. Enjoy.

Yep, it's been pretty soggy in these here parts. At my place, I keep my windows open, and all this moisture has made the inside of my whole house damp and yucky. Not as bad as some people around here. Homes have flooded, roads have washed away and there have been a bunch of water rescues. We need some 90 degree days. I mean for goodness sake, it is summer right? At least the calendar says so. Apparently Mother Nature is confused. Wish I could give some of this to people out west. I know they are suffering without rain. Heck when Tom Selleck is stealing water, it's bad.

On the writing front - not much news. I have written some, but of course, not nearly enough to meet my CampNaNo goal. I am starting to get a feel for the story again, so that's good. I plan on writing a bunch this weekend. (of course that's the plan every weekend but . . . )

Looking forward to Sleuths' Ink Mystery Writers  meeting this Saturday. We are having a Poison Tea Party (without the poison, I hope). We will have all kinds of tea and goodies. Perhaps some tea leaf readings. We are to wear fancy hats and write a poem for a contest. I have both and I'm breaking out a fancy purse. I used to collect Enid Collins purses so I dug one of them out. What do you think? 

Had a blast at last year's party. This group is so much fun. Maybe I'll have pictures next week. Until then I hope we all get the weather we want.

Friday, July 3, 2015

FRIDAY STIR FRY - Sophomore Slump?

I read an article the other day about having difficulty writing a second novel. In other words - sophomore slump. I've heard this term for the music industry after some one's first album is a big hit. Can they repeat the success on the second one? Or are they a one hit wonder?

Not that my first book is a huge success, but I am quite happy with it and I've received some wonderful reviews. I love the story and the characters. Maybe a little too much. I'm having a hard time loving my current work just as much. I think it's a good story but, I'm having difficulty getting anywhere with it. It just keeps churning around in circles, never coming to any conclusion. I've started and stopped it so many times, I feel like I'm on a carnival ride. Around and around I go until I either throw up or get off.

But, I don't want to get off. I want to finish this and put it out there. I want writing to be my career so I can retire from the day job. That won't happen if I'm a one hit wonder.

You may have noticed the Camp NaNo sign to the right. Yep, I'm trying again to use camp to finish this book. Will I succeed this time? You betcha! (power of positive thinking and all that jazz)

Any advice from all you writers and readers out there? Comments always appreciated.  

Friday, June 26, 2015

FRIDAY STIR FRY - What a Week!
I don't usually get into political or religious discussions because there is no sense in it. You can't change people's minds no matter how hard you try. But, so much has happened lately, I really feel the need to express my opinions. And it is my blog after all.

Today when the news came over the radio, that the Supreme Court decided to extend marriage rights to all people, I was ecstatic. I have many friends whom this issue affects. I can't tell you how happy I am for them today. Not only can they proclaim their commitment to each other, they also are now granted the same rights as other married couples. Insurance benefits, hospital visits and end of life decisions just to name a few. Things the rest of us have taken for granted.

And in another decision, the Court upheld the Affordable Care Act. Anybody who knows me at all understands how much I hate our health care system. There is no reason a person should have to file bankruptcy because they get sick. No reason for a person to not seek medical care because they can't afford it. Our health should not be at the mercy of for profit insurance companies and hospitals. There is still a long way to go on this issue, but at least one good change has been upheld.
Now, to that other flag. Man, oh man, so much controversy. It is sad a tragic event caused this debate, but that seems to be the way of our world. And living in a somewhat southern state, there are opinions swirling around these parts like a nest of mad hornets. There is talk about heritage and history, discrimination and hate, gun control and mental illness. We shouldn't forget our past or we are destined to make the same mistakes. But, we also shouldn't glorify a piece of history that caused so much pain to a large part of our population. It is unfortunate this flag, in some people's hands, promotes hate.

As wonderful as our country is, we still have a lot to learn about getting along with each other.

Friday, June 19, 2015

FRIDAY STIR FRY - An Author Spotlight

Please help me welcome Michele Stegman to my blog today.
Don't you just love the cover of her new novel?

Her people conquered his country. How can they overcome the distrust they feel to find love? 
In 1067 England, Madeline, a Norman, wants a big, brash, never-defeated-in-battle, Norman knight. What she gets, by order of the king, is a wiry Saxon who once studied for the priesthood instead of warfare. But is this gentle man she is falling in love with entangled in the rebellion now sweeping the land?
Ranulf wants to marry the girl next door. What he gets, by order of the king, is a lush, strong Norman woman who just might be a spy reporting his every move. He wants her in every way a man can possibly want a woman. But can he trust his heart to a woman who might have been sent to root out the struggle for freedom his people are engaged in?

I love to interview authors and find out a little more about them. Here are some fun questions for my guest. 

Do you listen to music when you write and if so, what is your favorite playlist? 
I love music. I play piano for church. I go to the opera. But when I write, I turn off the music. Music, for me, is so full, there is so much going on in every measure, that it becomes a distraction. Now, for inspiration to write, that's another story! Classical music and some movie themes paint pictures in my head, and sometimes that leads to a story idea.

 What is your favorite food and what food would you never eat? 

I don't eat coconut, coffee, chocolate or liver. I just don't like them. I think coffee is the most disgusting tasting stuff! How can people drink it? I sometimes like a little mild milk chocolate, but not much. As for my favorite food, that's just about everything else. Seriously, I guess if I had to pick I would say bread. My husband and I both love good bread. I bake it myself two or three times a week. It seems that even if I have just brought home a big load of groceries, if we are out of bread, there's nothing to eat in the house. When I take loaves out of the oven, I often say to my husband, "There's food in the house!"

What is the best advice you've ever received about the writing process? 

I used to think I needed to wait for inspiration to write. Well, that helps, but getting the words down takes work. I like this quote from Pearl Buck: "I don't wait for mood. You accomplish nothing if you do that. Your mind must know it has got to get down to work."

 Tell us something interesting about yourself? 

I am a hand spinner and weaver. I enjoy taking raw fleeces just as they come from the sheep (shearing doesn't hurt the sheep), and preparing them for spinning, and then spinning the wool into yarn. I then weave the yarn into shawls or scarves, or I knit or crochet it into other garments.

Thanks so much for answering those questions, Michele. Now, enjoy an excerpt from Conquest of the Heart

 He let his gaze travel back to his bride walking stiffly, reluctantly, toward him. For once, Ranulf felt speech was beyond him. She was so much more than he had expected. So beautiful. So clean. She  glittered like a bright jewel in a dung heap. For Etherby, no matter how much he loved it, was not much better than one right now.

 If only he could say to this magnificent woman, "Go away. Come back in a year. Give me time to build the castle the king has ordered, tear down this rotting hall, teach cleanliness to servants to whom filth is a way of life. Then you won't have to grit your teeth and square our shoulders as if going into battle as you come to wed me." But it was already too late. She was here. The wedding was now. And he felt as randy as a billy goat.

He would begin building the king's castle immediately. The work would distract him from Lady Madeline's seductive lure. She would find no treason with which to fill the king's ears, and, like his mother's attitude toward his father, he was sure the lady would be glad not to have him in her bower, not the way he felt now, the things he wanted to do to her.

 I hope you enjoyed this visit with a talented author. Please check out her links below.
You can contact Michele on her website,, or on her Facebook page,

Buy links for Conquest of the Heart



Michele Stegman has always loved history and she lives it every day. She spins, weaves, makes her own soap and bread, and lives in a 175 year old log cabin with her husband, Ron, who is the basis for all her heroes.

Friday, June 12, 2015


I rent my house. I know all the detractors out there who say I'm wasting my money, I should buy a house. No, I shouldn't. I'm single and don't have the resources, the tools or the skill to make repairs. Because I rent, when something goes wrong, all I have to do is call my landlord. And, I'm lucky, he gets right on things. I know some landlords aren't that cooperative.

I let some things go too long this time, though. It's just such a pain to have him come over and do repairs. He's a man after all and they are really good at making a mess. I have to leave the back door unlocked because he doesn't have a key and in my neighborhood that's asking for trouble. I had about 3 pretty major things that needed attention, from a leaky faucet, to a rotting bathroom floor, to the kitchen ceiling falling in.

All week, he has been there. My kitchen table and chairs are in my office, along with the curtains, pictures, etc. He decided to put up sheet rock. And of course, like I pointed out being a man, didn't think to put anything over the kitchen door opening when he sanded the mud. Yep, now I have sheet rock dust everywhere. My first thought was my lap top, my writing instrument, my lifeline to the world. Luckily I'd closed it the night before, but there was dust laying on it. And I feared there was dust in the ports. But, all seems okay. I haven't been able to cook either because of the mess. Although, to be honest, I haven't minded that so much.

I probably shouldn't be complaining, after all, things are getting fixed. And this too shall pass. But, you all know, I love to bitch.

Have you lived with construction work and how did you handle it?

Friday, June 5, 2015


So much has happened this week. Much more than usual in my normally calm life.

First, I received my proof copy of Beyond The Horizon from Create Space. I'm not gonna lie, I shed a little tear. To finally hold my book in my hands was the most amazing feeling. I checked for errors and finding none, I approved it. So my book is now available on Amazon for Kindle and in paperback. If you want to purchase, just click the cover on the side bar.

My 60th birthday was this week. I know, I can't believe I'm that old either. I don't think I look a day over 59. My son and daughter in law gave me a die cutting/embossing machine for my other love, scrap booking. And the writer tee shirt I ordered for myself came in. I received some flowers from a couple of good friends. And best of all, I've had the last three days off work. I haven't been a bit bored. I've gone to cafes, coffee shops and the library. I've done some much needed cleaning and some much needed writing. I could so totally not work.

And speaking of writing, I'm finally getting back to my work in progress. Although, it's been a bit tough. This thing starts out pretty good then goes every which way. Going to take a lot of patience on my part to get it back on track. But, it will happen. I need to get another book out there.

Now, I'm going to enjoy the rest of my time off.

What do you like to do when you have some time off?

Friday, May 22, 2015


So, it's officially the first weekend of summer, or as my ex used to call it, amateur weekend. The time when people who don't normally go to the lake or drive a boat or golf, are out there in mass. The season doesn't really get here for a few more weeks - Summer Solstice has the longest daylight of the year and is the official change from spring to summer. But who cares? School is out in most places and we have a three day weekend. It's time to party!

I did a survey last week asking what is your most favorite summertime activity. The answer was a tie between traveling to new places and inviting people over for a cookout. I would have to chose traveling. Some of my fondest memories are of going to Yellowstone, New York City, Hawaii and Disney World. All very different locals but all hold a unique place in my heart. Plus, as a writer it is important to get out and about, see new places and observe different people. It gets the creative juices flowing.

As we enjoy this long Memorial Day weekend, let us not forget the real reason for this first summer holiday. The brave men and women who served and sacrificed for the freedoms we enjoy. Bless them all. Go put a flag on a soldier's grave. It will make you feel wonderful and it will be appreciated.

Friday, May 15, 2015


What's out???? The lights, the gas tank, my pet tiger?

No silly. My book Beyond The Horizon is back up on Amazon with a new cover and a whole new attitude. Can't you see it taunting you, tempting you. "Buy me, read me, enjoy me, and then leave a glowing review!

And, hopefully soon, a print copy will finally be born. It's every author's dream to hold her baby in her hands (and not on an e-reader).

Now that my shameless self-promotion is over, let's move on to more enjoyable stuff.

With summer just around the corner, I thought a survey would be fun. You can find it over there on the right. Results will be discussed next Friday.

If you're killing time at work, you might want to visit this page and meet new authors including myself.

Update: I'm over trying to find a new hangout. I've been through the whole loss process. Anger, depression, mourning, etc. I feel much better and less needy. Plus, who knows with the money I save, I may be able to enjoy a summer activity of my own!

Friday, May 8, 2015

FRIDAY STIR FRY - Top Ten Reasons To Self-Publish

As I mentioned last week, my publisher closed shop, leaving me with three options: One - look for another publisher. Two - give up and tell everyone that I once was a published author or; Three - self publish Beyond The Horizon. Here are my top ten reasons I chose the last option.

     10.  I have more control over how my work is presented.
       9.  No pesky contracts.
       8.  I'm learning something new, which is a good thing at my age.
       7.  I've discovered friends with hidden talents like cover design and editing.
       6.  I'm finally going to have a print copy of my book for myself, friends, and family.
            (BTH was e-book only)
       5.  I'm testing out different ways to sign my autograph.
       4.  I can still say I was traditionally published - although I don't think that carries as
            much weight as it used to.
       3.  I can work at my own pace and set my own deadlines.
       2.  I can keep more of my royalties. Yea, money!

       And the number 1 reason: No more rejection letters!

I will never forget the excitement of FINALLY landing a publishing contract and all I learned along the way. But, publishing has changed and unless you are a celebrity like Bruce Jenner, with a tell all book, or a well established author, the big houses aren't interested. And the small publishing companies are struggling.  

If you are like me and just have a story begging to be read, self publishing might be our best option. 



Friday, May 1, 2015

FRIDAY STIR FRY - Some Updates and Other Stuff

A couple of Friday's ago, I wrote about my attempt at finding a new hangout. Well, after three weeks of exhaustive research - ha ha - I'm sad to report I haven't found a new bar home. I've tried out 7 different places and none of them feel right. The bar stools are not comfortable, their happy hour sucks, or their service sucks or I don't feel like the employees or the patrons are interested in getting to know me at all.

I've thought about giving up. But, I'm afraid going home from my brain numbing job everyday and staring at my four walls will eventually drive me more insane than I am.

Now, on the book front - my publisher is officially closed as of today. But, it's okay. My friend, who is awesome at creating book covers, has already sent me several to choose from. I received my rights back for my contemporary romance Beyond The Horizon, so now all I have to do is make sure the formatting is good for Kindle and move forward. I hope to have a re-launch in the next week or so.

I'm also attempting to write a short mystery for this contest:

I've never written one of these type stories, so it is a bit challenging. It's no more difficult than finding a new hangout. I may not be a professional bar locator, but I am a professional writer.

Friday, April 24, 2015

FRIDAY STIR FRY - A New Direction

Received the news this week that my publisher, Breathless Press, is closing shop. Financial reasons were the explanation. With many authors going the self-publishing route through Amazon and offering their work at an inexpensive price, it's difficult for a small press publisher to charge enough per book to make any money. Especially after they pay the editors and cover artists. It's understandable, but sad.

About this time last year I was in the midst of final edits for Beyond The Horizon. It was all so new and exciting. A dream come true. I had a publisher, a fantastic cover and an editor I loved. Now, I have to begin all over. Well, not quite. I don't have to write the book again since I'm getting my rights back.

Many of my writer friends are urging me to self-publish. Some have even offered to help with cover art and formatting. Bless their hearts. I already published Briefs and Shorts on Kindle, so I think I could do the same with my book. I've set up a Create Space account to print a paperback version. Onward and upward. I can do this. I think.

So (fingers crossed), in about a month, Beyond The Horizon will be back out there with a new cover, a paper edition, and a lower price.

Friday, April 17, 2015

FRIDAY STIR FRY - Author Spotlight

I'm thrilled to host Allison Merritt today. Not only is she a talented writer with many books to her credit, I consider her a good friend. She writes in various romance genres including Steampunk, Vikings, 1800 era Ozarks, and modern day Cowboy. Her current release involves demons and the evil they unleash on a small western town. How cool is that!
Before I introduce you to her current release, please enjoy this quick interview.

Your books cover many different historical times from Vikings to modern day. Which is your favorite and why? 

I've always loved 19th century culture. My first attempts at writing romance were set in the 1800s and it's still my favorite time period to write. The first romance novel I read was In the Shadow of the Mountains by Roseanne Bittner and I read a ton of Louis L'Amour. Both authors had a serious impact on my writing. I like cowboys in general, so do expect to see those whether they're modern, historical or in an alternate world. Although, Vikings were a great switch, because they're the ultimate alpha hero.

What would you consider a perfect day?

Wake up late, maybe 10-ish, get in the car, take a drive, perhaps south toward Arkansas, because right now, the trees and flowers are blooming and the scenery is great. Have a late lunch, maybe do a little shopping, no rush to get back, just time to marvel at the beauty of nature. End the day curled up in my chair with my dogs and watching a good movie. Then bedtime and a nice, uninterrupted sleep.


Movie: Secondhand Lions - action, adventure, mystery, romance. It has it all.
Food: Mac n'cheese
Drink: Dr. Pepper
Shoes: Flip flops
Car: Mustang
Animal: My Japanese chins. They're hilariously crazy dogs.

Thanks Allison! And, by the way, I love Secondhand Lions.

If love can’t save them, there will be hell to pay.

Grateful for his mother’s human blood that cools the dark fire of his demon father, Eban Heckmaster has set up a medical practice in New Mexico territory. But there’s no hope of living a normal life until he rids himself of a seductive demon that’s been pursuing him.

Vanquishing it won’t be as simple as sharpening his demon-hunting sword. The clever creature is hiding inside his best friend’s head, and she has no idea of the havoc she’s been wreaking, especially with his body.

Beryl suspects Eban knows why she’s been waking up with no memory of where she’s been or what she’s done, but he’s not talking. But when she inevitably learns what he’s hiding—or rather, what’s hiding inside her—she wonders if her love for him is real, or an illusion created by the demon’s lust.

Eban is losing the battle to hold his rising desire in check. There may be only one way to extricate Beryl from the beast entangling her mind. Call upon his demon blood…and offer it as a sacrifice.


Eban’s lungs ached for breath and his eyes shot open. Startled by weight settling on his abdomen, he tried to sit up, but two small hands held him down. Thanks to his demon blood, it only took a moment to adjust to the dark. In the nonexistent light, he peered up at Beryl Brookshier’s angelic face. She gave him a wicked smile as long strands of wheat-blonde hair tickled his bare chest. He sucked in a breath when he realized she was naked and a sheet was the only thing separating her from his raging erection.

“What are you doing?”

The second the words were out of his mouth, Eban knew he wasn’t talking to Beryl.

“Ravish me, Ebaneezer.”

The demon used Beryl’s voice and body, but the thing talking to him was far from human. The notion of taking its head off and sparing himself a lot of trouble was tempting. If not for the real Beryl’s trusting green eyes and bashful smile.

“That stopped being funny the first time you got naked in front of me.”

She caressed his cheek. “You were dreaming. I was trying to make your dreams more pleasant.”

He slapped her hands away. “You thought you’d tempt me into bedding you and then letting some other parasite into my brain. That’s not going to happen, Rosemar.”

“You want this body. Why deny it, Heckmaster?” The lust demon glowered at him, her irritation creasing the smooth face she borrowed.

“Get off me.” He pushed her away, then grabbed the sheet as she slid off his chest. “What I want is for you to vacate it, leaving Beryl’s mind intact so I can get out of Berner.”

Buy links:
Samhain -
Amazon -
B & N -
Are -
Google Books -
Kobo -

About the author:
A love of reading inspired Allison Merritt to pursue her dream of becoming an author who writes historical, paranormal and fantasy romances, often combining the sub-genres. She lives in a small town in the Ozark Mountains with her husband and dogs. When she's not writing or reading, she hikes in national parks and conservation areas.

Allison graduated from College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri with a B.A. in mass communications that's gathering dust after it was determined that she's better at writing fluff than hard news.

Social links:

Goodreads -

Now - for those of you who did the right thing and read this post all the way through - leave a comment and/or question for Allison - your name will go into a drawing for a $5.00 Amazon gift card. Make sure I have your e-mail address so I can notify you if you win.

Friday, April 10, 2015


I'm looking for a new after work/weekend hangout. Mine closed a couple of weeks ago. I went through a time of mourning. Strange you say? No. Here's a little background.

After my divorce about fifteen years ago, of course I wanted to meet people. I was lonely and living with my mother. Not the best of circumstances. So, I started going to Applebee's. I met some wonderful people and made life long friends. Think Cheers and I was Norm. In fact they would sometimes greet me that way. I felt loved and wanted. Of course, I'm not completely naive. They wanted my business. But, those people and that place helped me heal.

Then one day, a new manager decided she didn't like the 'special' way I was being treated and started putting the kibosh on my enjoyment. So, like any other customer, I decided I would take my business elsewhere.

Enter my next hangout. I'm not going to mention them by name because they ended up disappointing me also. I did remain there for about eight years. Again I made some life long friends and I felt special. I even had my own spot where nobody else would sit if I came in.

Let me just state right here and now. People who drink socially are fun to be around. They are accepting of a variety of people and the laughter shared is priceless. Anyway, I ended up leaving there and a couple of friends of mine started operating another establishment. Until two weeks ago that was my home away from home. More friends and memories were made. Then unfortunate circumstances caused the place to close.

Yes I mourned the loss. I miss my bar family. I miss the young kids I gave advice to. I miss the hugs and the smiles. You might be saying (like my son), just stay home and save your money. Not an option. I don't like just going to work and coming home, day after day. And without a place to hang out on weekends, I could go the whole two days without uttering a word to anybody. That's not how I want to live. 

Wish me luck as I try to find a new bar family. I'll keep you updated.

Friday, April 3, 2015


I thought today I would share an excerpt from my current work. It's a contemporary romance titled Coming Home. I'm about half way done with the first draft. I would love to know what you think in the comments!

Jennifer headed back to the Satellite. She needed to call work and explain she would be gone a few more days than she had planned on.  When she pulled in front of her room, she saw Ron working on the courtyard. His shirt was off and sweat slipped down his chest. Jennifer tried not to stare. She caught herself licking her lips. Get a grip.
“You have a couple of messages,” Ron yelled at her. "I taped them to your door."
"Thanks." She grabbed the messages and with shaking hands unlocked her door. She threw the notes on the table and pulled the blinds back to look at Ron. His muscles rippled under the fading sunlight. Madam Lucinda's words came flooding back. "There is another in your life from the past you should consider."
Jennifer wasn't about to take him back but she realized she had been rather rough on him since she came here. Maybe it was time to let bygones be bygones. She poured a glass of water and left her room.
"Kind of hot out here for late fall." Jennifer lifted the glass of water toward Ron.
He ran his hand over his forehead to wipe the sweat. "Yeah, it is. Thanks." His fingers brushed hers as he took the glass. A shiver ran through her.  
"So what are you doing?" Jennifer looked around the area.
"Well, originally this was a court yard with nice shade trees, chairs and a small play area for kids. The weeds have taken over and the ice storm last year took out most of the trees. I'm trying to restore it as best I can. That's one of our plans."
"Yeah, me and Susie's husband. We want to make the Route 66 landmarks in town as close to original as possible."
Jennifer felt a drip of sweat come off her forehead. Was it the actual heat of the day or something else? "No pool?"
"That was not a staple at most of the roadside motels during that time. It wasn't until the sixties and Holiday Inn starting putting mom and pops out of business that some tried to bring people in with pools. Plus I really don't want to fool with the maintenance and insurance."
Silence fell between them as he took another gulp of water.
"Thanks, that was just what I needed." Ron handed the glass back to her.
"It's my way of apologizing."
"For what?"
"Oh, you know, the cold shoulder I've given you since coming back to town." Jennifer shielded her eyes with her hand from the sinking afternoon sun. "It was, you know, a shock seeing you after all these years, I guess." She sounded like an idiot the way she stammered.
Ron leaned on his shovel. "It's okay. I understand completely. It was a shock for me as well, but maybe in a better way."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, you were coming here for a sad occasion, with a lot on your mind. I only had one thing on my mind … seeing you again."
"Ron …"
He held up a hand to stop her. "I better get back to work while it's still daylight. Thanks again for the water." With that dismissal, he turned his back to her and started digging again.
I really hope to get this finished soon and in print. I have a Pinterest board up for it if you want to check it out.