Monthly Archives: January 2014

Wacky Wednesday…catching up with Margaret Daley

Have you ever had moments when your mind goes on vacation? Sometimes I have days or even weeks like that, when I’m focused on writing, or the dogs, or some other complication in my insane life. Fortunately I’ve developed a habit of filing away items I’ll need to use later. And in this file I found a great blog from Margaret Daley, along with a fruit salad that is bound to brighten up our winter doldrums. Grab your hot chocolate, your coffee, your drink of choice and let’s welcome Margaret

Tropical Fruit Salad with Toasted Coconut


                        1/2 cup shredded coconut

                        1 ripe pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch chunks

                        1 ripe papaya, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch chunks

                        1 ripe cantaloupe, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch chunks

                        1 ripe mango, peeled, pitted and cut into 1/2-inch chunks

                        6 fresh mint leaves


Preheat an oven to 350°F.

Spread the coconut on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until golden, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, combine the pineapple, papaya, cantaloupe and mango. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Just before serving, sprinkle with the toasted coconut and spoon onto small plates. Garnish with the mint leaves.

Serves 6 to 8.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Outdoors Series, Picnics and Tailgates, by Diane Rossen Worthington (Time-Life Books, 1998).

This is a good recipe to convey my story, which takes place in the Amazon. If I was stranded in the jungle, I would want someone like Brock Slader to be with me or I’d probably starve.  Although I Dangerous Pursuit-smalldon’t like coconut out of a can, when it is fresh from the tree, it is great. It has a strong nutty flavor. I imagined Samantha and Brock eating something like this on a good day. However, probably not cut neatly like the recipe calls for.

 Brock and Samantha do find themselves stranded but Brock is very capable of surviving in the jungle. Brock knows his way around and that’s a good thing for Samantha who is searching for her brother. The problem with that is others are searching for her brother, too, and they mean him harm.

 Blurb for Dangerous Pursuit, book one in The Protectors Series:

Reading about danger never prepared Samantha Prince for the desperate phone call from her brother in Brazil that sent her from the safety of her New Orleans bookstore into the rugged, inhospitable Amazon in search of him and a hidden treasure. And reading about romance never prepared Samantha to resist the mysterious appeal of Brock Slader, a guide she hired to help her in her quest.

Alone with Brock in an alien world of orchids and anacondas, primitive headhunters and very up-to-date gunmen, she struggles to keep their relationship strictly business. Will Samantha survive the dangers in the jungle only to have her heart broken by a man who lives on the edge—no strings attached?


Margaret Daley’s bio:

 Margaret Daley, an award-winning author of eighty-five books, has been married for over forty years and is a firm believer in romance and love. When she isn’t traveling, she’s writing love stories, often with a suspense thread and corralling her three cats that think they rule her household. To find out more about Margaret visit her website at MARGARET DALEY


Twitter: @margaretdaley


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Time To Grow Up…as Writers

David Farland blogs on writing techniques and also on writing philosophy.  Today’s Blog addressed the long held belief that any writing was better than no writing. Which does have merit, of course, if our eventual goal is perfection of the written word. But if our goal is seeing our finished book in print, multiple times over, we need to up our game.

At the most recent LERA – Land of Enchantment Romance Writers meeting, four successful (and may I say brilliant?) writers shared their secrets. Jeffe Kennedy Robin Perini Katie Lane and Darynda Jones shared their secrets to success as well as their secret triumphs and failures to a roomful of people who thought they knew about the writing life. In brief, they take their writing seriously, they schedule when they will write and they write. That muse so many of us pretend to need before we can create can show up or not. They write. Given the multitude of awards and best seller statuses shared (check them out!) the system obviously works.

If it works for them, it can work for us. Going back to David Farland, he finishes this bit of writing advice with: “If you’ve been using the “tortoise method” of writing, grow up.” 

Gulp.Dontcha just hate it when something so profound slaps you between the eyes. If your muse wants to take a holiday, let her/him/it. Wave buh-bye while you’re sitting down to pound out your next 1500 words. Guaranteed, she/he/it will be back looking over your shoulder, wanting to be a part of the process.

Me? I’m editing A Question of Honor (first in a series about a ranch in northern New Mexico that helps out PTSD warriors) and writing on Seasons (working title) My heroine in Seasons doesn’t really have a name yet, so far she’s been Leslie, Mel, Jess. Even so she’s having adventures and delving into her painful past. I do love my angst.

Every sunrise is a new adventure

Every sunrise is a new adventure


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Wisdom from Mary Caelsto: Can Your Thoughts Affect Your Sales?

You’d think Mary was reading my mind about my New Year plans (no resolutions here, folks, just positive thoughts!) I was going to share what happened at the wonderful LERA meeting Saturday when this popped into my inbox. Which means I have another blog in the works! For now, let’s share the wisdom of Mary, the Muse Charmer. And isn’t that a lovely horse with Mary?  Mona

Can Your Thoughts Affect Your Sales?

Mary and Fortune

Mary and Fortune

It’s an interesting notion. And I’m not going to go all Pollyanna and say that by thinking positive thoughts you’re going to hit all the lists. I’m also not going to say that your thoughts have no effect on your sales. Why? Because your thoughts affect everything you do.

Let’s pause for a moment. You’re a writer, and that means the stories you write come from your mind and heart. As an author, I know I fall in love with my characters. I find myself wrapped up in universes and world-building. It’s one of the reasons why I no longer really plot, because even if I do, the story takes an unexpected turn and I find myself wandering away from the set points. At some point and time I decided the heck with it and just began writing.

Which brings me back to the subject of how our thoughts affect sales. We can step away from our stories for a moment. Our moods affect so much. We can look at a bookshelf full of books on our “to be read” list or a folder in our e-reader and think that we want to read a book, we just don’t know which one. The same with movies, or the old question of what’s for dinner. You know you’re hungry or want to read but nothing seems to fit. It happens with writing, too.

Muddled thoughts create indecision. If our thoughts are laced with worry or fear we make certain decisions, like diving into that pint of ice cream we have in the freezer instead of making an actual meal or having a healthy snack. Those tiny actions, no matter how small, impact our writing, and yes, even our sales.

So how does this work? Let’s take the very common writer’s thought: my books aren’t good enough. We all have that thought from time to time. How can this thought affect our sales?

We write with the thought that our work isn’t good enough. This most likely means we’re not giving it our best. In the back of our mind we have the nagging belief that it doesn’t matter, we’ll never be like “big name author” that we perceive as writing so much better than we do. The book gets accepted and published by our publisher or we still self-publish it. When we go to promote we still have thoughts that the book isn’t good enough, readers aren’t going to like it, we’re not going to sell…and our actions tell that tale, too.

Our actions follow our thoughts by perhaps not being as proactive on social media. We don’t solicit for guest blog spots or make connections with our fellow writers like we should. We hold back.

When we do, our sales reflect this reality. And it all started with a thought.

That’s why it’s so important for writers to support themselves with good prosperity practices. A prosperity practice is a series of actions and thoughts that an individual does to support him or her with goals. It can be very powerful and can take whatever form that the person needs. Through a prosperity practice the thoughts that occasionally (they don’t ever really go away) plague us about our writing, the not good enough, won’t sell, won’t get on the lists, can be managed and dealt with without having them overwhelm our lives and our careers.

Our thoughts really can affect our sales because they affect what we do in the course of writing, selling, and marketing our books. Take some time to think about, or maybe even write down, some of the thoughts you have around your writing. Let them be as uplifting to you as your books are to your readers!

May the muse be with you.


Want to learn more about prosperity practices? Join Mary in March for Prosperity Practices For Writers, a six week class prosperitypracticesclass_graphic_200_redbeginning March 21. Learn about personal prosperity practices and how you can integrate them into your writing and your life to help support and energize you toward your financial goals! To register visit There are deep discounts if you register before January 20.

Mary Calesto lives in the Ozarks with her partner and a menagerie of animals, including two spoiled horses, an opinionated parrot, a wiggly puppy, an office bunny, and the not-so-itty-bitty kitty committee.  She has written romance for over ten years under a few different pen names. These days, she spends time with her own writing and also uses her lengthy experience in publishing to coach authors as The Muse Charmer . Her goal is to show authors the tools they need to reach their goals by working on the inner writer through a variety of techniques, plus help the outer writer with solid industry and craft advice.

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Writers…Write. And other thoughts for the New Year

I’ve known most of what I was going to write for my New Year post for a while. The intention was to think on inspirations from 2013, and how those could be applied going forward. Then I started looking for a Thomas Edison quote I’d seen recently. Edison was a brilliant man, able to apply the vast amounts of data he took in to solve problems not everyone knew existed, and his life philosophies apply just as much to writing as to inventing. Such as:

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is to try just one more time.

Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up

The three greatest essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are: Hard Work, Stick-to-itevness and Common Sense.

Success in writing, at least the non literary writing I read, is gauged by selling books. The more books you have available to sell, the greater opportunity you give yourself for success. Simple. Sales are often, but not always, gauged on the quality of the writing but as with any endeavor, practice makes you better. Granted there is no rhyme or reason to the success of some books but the key behind those sales is…the books were written, and available.

Last year a writer I first met through dogs (which won’t surprise most who know me) was going through the loss of one of her precious dog buddies. She told me later, as she waited for the doctor to come by and ease this lovely lady on her journey, that she was at something of a loss what she could do, except: “I’m a writer…I wrote.” This is her approach to life, and I probably don’t need to add she successful in both sales and in quality.

A writer friend had her apartment burgled. She lost not only jewelry and other items but also her computer, which contained all of her many books including the WIP. Devastating. Again, a prolific, successful writer, one I admire greatly not only for her writing but also her willingness to help. Not long after the burglary, she was sharing section of her WIP on FaceBook. I told her how much I enjoyed the segment and also admired her getting anything done after her loss. And she said “Some days I only write a line or a paragraph but I have committed to writing every day.”

And as simply as that, I had my life goals re-affirmed. I am a writer. I write. I hit stalls and other demands on my time but every day, I’m writing if only a line or two. And the two tortured lonely people in my WIP thank me although they’re getting impatient for their first love scene.

When the book looms too large in my mind...

When the book looms too large in my mind…

When the idea of a full length book or even worse a series looms large in my mind, I remind myself every book is written one word at a time.

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.



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A Bit of Silly and A Great Blog #MFRWOrg

I was getting ready to upload the closest thing I will have to any sort of New Year Resolution. First I wanted to do a bit of blog housekeeping, which includes checking my comments for any I might have missed, plus cleaning out the ever present Spam folder. As I was about to delete all unread, I noticed an exceptionally long message, much of which read like this:

{I have|I’ve} been {surfing|browsing} online more than {three|3|2|4} hours
today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. {It’s|It is} pretty worth enough for me. {In my opinion|Personally|In my
view}, if all {webmasters|site owners|website owners|web owners} and bloggers made good content as you did, the {internet|net|web} will be {much more|a lot more}
useful than ever before.|
I {couldn’t|could not} {resist|refrain from} commenting.
{Very well|Perfectly|Well|Exceptionally well} written!|
{I will|I’ll} {right away|immediately} {take hold of|grab|clutch|grasp|seize|snatch} your {rss|rss feed} as I {can not|can’t} {in
finding|find|to find} your {email|e-mail} subscription {link|hyperlink}
or {newsletter|e-newsletter} service. Do {you have|you’ve} any?

This goes on seriously for several pages. Do you think it’s some sort of template for spam messages? Confusing to say the least!

This Spam leaves a weird taste in my mouth

This Spam leaves a weird taste in my mouth

This picture is from 2010, right now we’re bright sunshine and dry, some days are even above freezing. Not to say we won’t be back to way too deep in snow soon so I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts. AFTER I finish this scene I’ve been working on. I was about to let Gavin and Jess get it on but they need to clear up some unanswered questions. Sorry, guys, you’ll have to wait a little longer {{insert evil chuckle}}

For you who are snowbound and looking for some great writing advice and inspiration, Marketing For Romance Writers has started a wonderful marketing blog with advice on writing better, and getting ourselves noticed as authors. I see Kayelle Allen has answered some of my questions about Using You Tube to our greatest advantage. Come on over and check it out.

Tomorrow I’ll share some of the inspirations behind my 2014 life adjustments.


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