Monthly Archives: December 2014

A New Perspective for a New Year #MFRWAuthor

Blog Hopnye

It’s all about perspective. Seriously. One man’s trash??

And it’s sometimes just how and where we focus. We can look for the amazing and spectacular or we can look for the mundane, in any situation. I’ve attended school recitals with people who did nothing but criticize and mock the children’s efforts, and also with those who was simply there to enjoy the evening. Who would have been more fun as an evening companion?

How many of us have known photographers and artists who see brilliance in a snow laden branch, a forest in the twilight, or a branch 006slanted across their path?  Books about ordinary people going about their ordinary lives are never considered successful until an author illuminates the inherent dignity or exposes the raw truth about existing in a grim environment. Geniuses one and all for their ability to show us beauty in the mundane.


Just a bit of ice on a weed

Is this ability inherent? I used to think so. I once believed only geniuses, those born with innate talent, would be able to see these marvels. Which would then mean only geniuses could write marvelous books and only geniuses could find and capture those special moments. The best the rest of us can do is mediocre pap. Then I realized I was too busy throwing fences between myself and the world to see the potential rich beauty all around me.

I was also missing out the major component to success in any field, be it painting, writing, riding. Work. Plain and simple you have to work for success. Yeah, I know, truth isn’t very glamorous. With work we develop our eye and our mind to find and reveal the beautiful in our world.

ButtonClick on the button to go to some more amazing New Year’s blogs. Here’s wishing you all a happy and productive New Year






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Make Readers Suffer—Great Fiction Goes for the GUTS Great Reminder

Make Readers Suffer—Great Fiction Goes for the GUTS.

An after Christmas gift from Kristen Lamb! I have learned my books just won’t be ready to leave my fingers until the first few pages (if I’m lucky the first line) punch me (and my characters!) in the guts.

A Question of Honor is with Black Opal Books. It took a lot of rewriting and tweaking to make that first scene strong. Sydney realizes she’s going to have to work with a man who dredges up some of her hardest to deal with memories.

I’m pulling together Sometimes When We Touch. It’s pretty much written but that */## first scene just was not working. Until I introduced one of the men who attacked her when she was much younger. He doesn’t seem to recognize her. She wants to turn around and get out of there NOW. Panic and claustrophobia ensue. Bingo, conflict.

I find I’m currently setting all my books in northern New Mexico. Which gives me a great excuse to take lots of pictures to share. I’ll have you hoping you can come visit these places yourself.

The Road to Willow Springs

The Road to Willow Springs

the Circle M Ranch is in those mountains

the Circle M Ranch is in those mountains


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Cookies, Yummmmm #MFRWAuthor

011I’ve been eating low carb for nearly three years. Although I don’t have the amazing results some people report, I’ve done well for myself, losing about a quarter of my weight initially and maintaining for a while. At first I missed some of those foods I was sure I could not live without: bread, rice, potatoes…COOKIES.

I just love those bits of crunchy yummies in so many flavors. Obviously, with sugar and flour off the menu I had to improvise. I have managed, with the help of some wonderful websites, such as, where I found this great recipe to take to a party: Chocolate Pinwheel Cookies. NOTE: I found they tasted even better when I left the roll of cookie dough in the refrigerator a day or two longer.

Not everyone wants to eat low carb, and I really wanted to take something different to a party. Some recipes I’d seen on FaceBook intrigued me, especially one using rolls in a tube. I figured if I didn’t have the raw cookie dough in front of me I’d be okay, right? What a test of my will power. It helped tremendously when fellow LERA authors took the rest home!

ready to go into the oven

ready to go into the oven

This recipe just looked like so much fun, and dead easy to make, and there were plenty of recipes to choose from. THIS ONE shows every step in pictures, if you want visual aids.  You use Crescent rolls, cream cheese, chocolate chips, and sugar. Sounds simple, and it really is.  I mixed one 8 ounce package of cream cheese with two teaspoons of vanilla extract (homemade!) and 1/4 cup of sugar (I have sugar in the house to feed hummingbirds in the summer) with a hand beater until it was creamy smooth. Then used parchment paper above and below to roll out the dough

All done! And I didn't eat one

All done! And I didn’t eat one

nice and flat. Spread the cream cheese mix on the flattened dough, sprinkle on chocolate chips. Here I deviated by using a full cup of mini chips.

Roll it all up, wrap in plastic wrap and stick in the refrigerator to set up. I found knives didn’t cut the roll smoothly so I pulled out some string. Much better!



I’ll be sharing more recipes in the new year, and welcome other writers who’d like to talk about their books, their lives, and their favorite foods.

Winter Sunset on the High Plains

Winter Sunset on the High Plains


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Another Gem from Seth’s Blog

From Seth Godin’s blog: ***It’s pretty common for successful people to imagine that their success is solely the result of merit. It’s more satisfying than pointing to all the external factors that have contributed to that success. The trap is in being satisfied. Satisfaction in their meritocracy causes companies, industries and cultures to calcify, to harden themselves against new ideas and new people.***

The complete blog is here: Meritocracy

Does that hit home with you? I’ve certainly encountered it, in many facets of my life. Authors claiming their book was picked up by an editor because it was the best book ever written. Even though the editor was wanting to fill a slot with shape shifting bats, and this was the most appealing shape shifting bat story on their desk.

It’s especially trying when someone gets in your face about winning over you when the truth is something far more subtle than one person is “better” than another. We have the choice of snapping back at them, or just congratulating them and moving on. The moving on does sometimes offer a feeling of superiority, doesn’t it?

Well the sun is shining on last night’s snow and it’s going to be a gorgeous day. I just wanted to share this with you before I trekked out.

Now where did we bury that toy?

Now where did we bury that toy?

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To Say Nothing of the Dog #MFRWAuthors


There’s an expression among responsible dog people : A dog is for life, not just for Christmas
As a writer, I would refine that to: A dog is for the whole book(or series), not just for temporary impact. To maintain reality even in a fantasy story, dogs have to eat, drink, and eliminate. Young dogs in particular need frequent and energetic exercise or they will exercise their teeth on the furniture corners.
Unless they’re trained to silence, dogs bark when surprised, whether that surprise is squirrels, terrorists, or invading zombies. They also whine at the most inappropriate times, in particular if they want you to provide Activethe water, food, or a place to eliminate. The whining can escalate quickly to a wide variety of sounds (OUT!!! NOW!!!!!)
While our heroes are out saving the world, someone better be dropping by the house to tend to the dog, or there will be an unholy mess to greet said hero. Not to mention a mad scramble for OUT when the door opens.
Too many people acquire a pet as an accessory. They want a bright red colored dog to decorate their brown leather couch, but the dog becomes less attractive when that couch is replaced by a pink brocade love seat. They don’t consider the possibility of chewing or digging on that couch, or other inappropriate but very natural behavior, especially for a young dog. And far too many writers add a cute touch of whimsy with a tiny pocket sized dog to give their characters a bit of fashionista, sweet biddyforgetting said pet during high speed chases or sidewalk stumbles. Not to mention intimate romantic moments. Nothing like a cold nose or muddy paw to change cries of ecstasy to shrieks of shock.
Yes it’s difficult to remember the pets that seemed so cute in an earlier scene. Doing so gives depth to your character and your story. When your readers include people whose lives center around animals, it will make you a go-to author.
And who doesn’t want to be that happy author? IMG_9692



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Welcome Linda Andrews, Discussing DOGS IN WAR

Belgian_dogs_trained_to_draw_quick-firing_gunsDogs have been used in warfare since humans first made war. And while many were trained to attack, they also performed other tasks. During World War 1, canines carried medicines, found spies/bombs, guarded prisoners, and carried messages along the lines. In that respect, the war dogs of yesterday aren’t very different than those in combat today.

But I did stumble upon an oddity while researching Belgium during the Great War. Dogs were used as draft animals to pull wagons and machine guns. That was a head scratcher. First, we’re talking large dogs not chihuahuas and dachshunds.

The use of these dogs in this manner was simply too interesting a tidbit to pass up, so I used it in Hearts in Barbed Wire. Since a shudder and grimace are the usual reactions when I mention I’m writing about World War I, I started this book after the fighting is over for my lieutenant hero and his canine companion, but the battle to survive is still ongoing. And the dog, Leopold, is ever vigilant, warning my hero of the enemy’s approach.

But I wasn’t done exploring this fascinating aspect of dogs in warfare.

You see, in occupied Belgium, the Germans requisitioned all motorcars, horses, and bicycles. The only way to carry things from one village to the next was for men or dogs to pull the wagons. And they did.

In the fifth book in the series,The Christmas Ship, when the tow horse for the barge carrying much needed provisions to the war-torn countryside is confiscated by the Germans, the hero and many townspeople tugged the barge along the canal. Later dogs were used to pull wagons ladened with vats of soup into the bombed out countryside so the starving citizens could eat. 

I’ve written many books with animals in them, but they were always pets, not usually service animals. Perhaps we should acknowledge the contribution to our freedoms by our four-legged friends. Although my dog would be happy with a scratch behind the ear and a few less cats in the house:D

Leave a comment with a favorite memory of your pet to be entered in a drawing for a free e-copy of either Hearts in Barbed Wire or The Christmas Ship.


“Leopold?” Groaning, Madeline lurched forward, dragging the cart behind her. “I thought there was only one man.”
A soft woof accompanied the rustle of leaves. Then a German shepherd’s black nose glistened in the moonlight. The black and brown body soon followed. Tail wagging, the dog trotted down the road.
“It’s a dog.” She dropped the traces and held out her hands.
Leopold sniffed the air then he stilled and pointed his snout at her.
“Come here, boy.” Crouching, she snapped her fingers with one hand. The other fumbled with her skirts.
Luc cleared his throat. “Leopold isn’t a pet. He’s—”
The shepherd loped past Luc, circled Madeline once then snuffled her hand.
The traitor! Luc snapped his fingers. Leopold was a military dog under Luc’s command. He needed to remember it.
Leopold sat in front of her.
“You’re such a good boy.” She offered the dog another crust of bread before scratching him behind his ears.
Leopold held the bread between his teeth while stretching his neck out for Madeline’s attention.
“Lieutenant?” Mille hissed from the bushes.
“Here.” Luc bit off the word and stomped his foot. “Leopold. Come.”
The dog swallowed the bread, tucked his tail between his legs and belly-crawled over.
Smiling, Madeline swiped at the dog hair clinging to her skirt. “We weren’t allowed to have dogs in the clinique. I have missed them.”
“Yes, well.” Luc pointed to the ground by his feet. The canine prostrated himself, his brown eyes shining brightly in the moonlight. “He’s a soldier under my command and must act the part, Sister.”
“Yes, sir.” She straightened her shoulders and her right arm twitched.
Luc’s eyes narrowed. She had better not salute him. He would—
A twig snapped behind him.

Blurb: A solder trapped behind enemy lines

A nurse risks everything to save him

As the Kaiser’s Army steamrolls across their country, they’ll make a desperate bid for freedom. War will bring them together; duty will drive them apart. Can they escape the promises binding them to their past or will they leave their hearts tangled in barbed wire?


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