Wednesday, April 27, 2011

AUTHOR VONNIE DAVIS SKIPS TO THE BEAT OF A FLUTE


Vonnie Davis
Readers, welcome author Vonnie Davis, whose first book, STORM'S INTERLUDE, will soon be released from The Wild Rose Press. Vonnie, tell us about growing up and your life before you became a full-time writer.

Vonnie: While most people go through life marching to the beat of a drum, I seem to skip to the beat of a flute. My children would nod their heads to that statement and say, “Yep, yep, that’s Mom.”

When I found myself a single parent with three children, little skills and no job, I submitted a job application at a large factory every day until they hired me. I got the job not because I had the skills, but because the folks in human resources were tired of seeing me. I learned to assemble engines for tractor-trailers. For twenty-six years I worked in the heavy metal industries, learning what I could and retiring as a stress engineer.

I started college at the age of forty-five, working night shift so I could attend classes during the day as a full-time student. There I fell in love with Billy Shakespeare and Geof Chaucer. I wrote my first play at Penn State where it was put on for Lunchtime Theatre. My middle child, who was a college senior at the time, transferred to PSU for his final semester so he could say he went to college with his mom. We’d meet at the dining hall and library to study and talk. I recall quite fondly the day he came into the library, socked his books on the table and groused, “If one more professor tells me he or she hopes I’m as good a student as my mother, I’ll just scream. I carry a four-point-oh, for God’s sake.”

After being alone for twelve years, I met a man online. He sashayed into my mailbox on a jazzbeat and a smile. He’s a retired English teacher and author of three books. I’ve saved the best for last; I have six stupendous grandchildren. I’d tell you about them, but after four or five hours, your eyes would just glaze over.

Caroline: I'll bet you have photos, too. LOL Who are your favorite authors and favorite genres?

Vonnie: I adore romance, the hope, the life-lessons, the sensuality of every story.

Caroline: How many books do you read a month? What are you reading now?

Susan Macatee's book,
also from The Wild
Rose Press
Vonnie: I read 4-6 books a month now that I’m writing so heavily. Currently I’m reading a delightful Civil War romance by Susan Macatee, CONFEDERATE ROSE.



Caroline: I agree with you, Susan's writing is fabulous, plus she's such a terrific person. I alsways enjoy a book more if I know the author is a nice person. When you’re not writing, what’s your favorite way to relax and recharge?


Vonnie: Calvin and I travel, we dote on the grandkids or watch a good movie.

 Caroline: We don't have grandkids (wistful sigh) but Hero and I love watching movies together in the family room and traveling together. Describe yourself in three or four words.


Vonnie: Loving, Supportive, Focused and Extra-fluffy (polite speak for over-weight).


Caroline: Ouch! Extra-fluffy describes me, too. Would you like to share any guilty pleasures that feed your muse?


Vonnie: Chocolate and margaritas, not at the same time, of course.


Caroline: Wise choices, but now I'm hungry for Tex-Mex and a margarita. Thanks for that! ;-) How long have you been writing?


Vonnie: I began writing a series of short stories in the 5th grade about a little man from Mars who came to Earth and got into all kinds of zany predicaments. As soon as I heard my classmates chuckle, I knew that’s what I wanted to do. Then when I was a young adult, self-doubt moved in with a five-piece set of luggage and stayed until I met Calvin. He’s encouraged me to chuck the baggage and follow my dreams. I’ve been writing seriously for five years.


Caroline: Amazing what a difference a supportive spouse makes, isn't it? We're both lucky! Where do you prefer to write? Do you need quiet, music, solitude? PC or laptop?


Vonnie: I have two favorite spots. One is on my recliner with my laptop on my lap. The other is at Bob Evans where the waitresses know us. They hook me up to an IV of coffee as soon as I sit down. We’ve been known to campout on one of their booths for four hours and write. Obviously we have to leave a nice tip for rental fees. ;-)


Caroline writing with
cat Bailey looking on
Caroline: I admire anyone who can write in a restaurant. I prefer my office. Are you a plotter or a panzer?


Vonnie: I’m a pantzer. I wing it until my characters take over and then I merely take dictation.


Caroline: Wonderful when that happens, isn't it? Do you use real events or persons in your stories or as an inspiration for stories?


Vonnie writing in a
cafe setting but
where's Calvin?
Vonnie: No, my imagination is too off the wall for that.


Caroline: Yes, I know what your mean. Wasn't it Tom Clancy who said "The difference between fiction and real life is that fiction has to make sense?" Do you do your research before you begin a new project, or as you go along?


Vonnie: I research locations first. Other research I do as needed.


Caroline: Tell us about your writing schedule. Do you set goals? Do you write daily?


Available July 15 from The Wild Rose Press!
Vonnie: I write daily. I get up around eight and write all morning. Afternoons I do emails and self-promotion. I write again in the evenings while we watch TV until around midnight. Obviously with such a schedule, I’m retired. I have to laugh as I read that! It makes no sense—as if writing isn’t work. (Thunks forehead with fist.)


Caroline: Isn't that the truth? I hate when people think I goof off all day because I'm at home and "all I do is write." What do you hope your writing brings to readers?


Vonnie: That we can overcome most anything. That we possess a great deal of strength within our spirits. That unconditional love makes us crawl out from under our rock of fear into the sunshine of day.


Caroline: What advice would you give to pre-published authors?


Vonnie: Write and rewrite, join a writers’ group, find a critique partner or mentor (I mentor two writers) and take online classes to learn your craft.


Caroline: Excellent advice and kudos to you for mentoring other writers. I knew I liked you! Tell us about your latest release.


Vonnie: My debut novel, STORM’S INTERLUDE, will be released by The Wild Rose Press on July 15th.


Caroline: How about a blurb?


Vonnie: Here it is:

Nurse Rachel Dennison comes to Texas determined to prepare her new patient for a second round of chemo. What she isn’t counting on is her patient’s twin brother, Storm Masterson.

Half Native American with the ability to have “vision dreams,” Storm dreams about Rachel for three nights before her arrival. Both are unprepared for the firestorm of emotions their first chance encounter ignites. Even so, Storm has two things Rachel won’t abide: a domineering personality and a fiancée.

Yet, ultimately, it is Rachel’s past—an abusive, maniacal ex-boyfriend—that threatens to keep them apart…and Storm’s dreams that bring them together again.


Caroline: Wow, that sounds intriguing. You know I love stories set in Texas. And I had a character named Storm in my Kincaid series now on Smashwords and Amazon. How about an excerpt?


Vonnie: Here's a PG excerpt:


Storm heard off-key singing when he opened the back door. He quietly toed off his boots in the mudroom before stepping into the kitchen.


An open laptop sat on the wooden kitchen table. Beside it was a mug of steaming tea. On the counter was a loaf of wheat bread next to a jar of peanut butter. Protruding from the opened refrigerator was a cute behind, covered by baggy yellow pajama bottoms, wiggling to the beat of the song being sung. “Shot through the heart and you’re to blame, you give love a bad name.”


The off-tune singing stopped, but that perfectly rounded bottom continued to wiggle. "Pickles...pickles. Surely there are pickles in this huge refrigerator. Maybe some of those sweet little Gherkins. Oh, look, cottage cheese. You give love a bad name…” The off-tune singer extracted a container from the crowded contents of the refrigerator, absently reaching out to set it on the counter.


Sneaking up behind her in his stocking feet, he placed a hand on the edge of the open door of the refrigerator and leaned over her bent body.


She moved a pitcher of orange juice. “Okay, pickles, where are you hiding?”


“Check behind the milk.”


Rachel yelped and spun around, her hand to her heart. Her big blue eyes opened impossibly wide. “You! Wha...what are you doing here?”


He held out his hand. “Hello, Rachel. I’m Storm Masterson, Sunny’s twin brother.”


“You…you’re Sunny’s brother? Don’t you dare touch me.” She made a fist and had the audacity to shake it under his nose. He didn’t know whether to laugh or paddle that cute behind she’d been wiggling earlier. “You…you just keep your hands and your lips to yourself. You…you naked, kissing bandit.”


Storm leaned his head back and laughed. “Well, I’m not naked now. Just how do I classify as a bandit? I didn’t steal anything from you.”


Rachel fisted her hands on her hips, leaned in and narrowed her eyes in such an appealing way he was overcome with a keen desire to kiss her softly and slowly, the kind of kiss that made you sigh partway through it. “You stole a kiss from me.” Her eyebrow arched. “Or have you forgotten?”


He smiled, his hands itching to touch her. What man walking the face of this earth could forget a kiss like the one they’d shared earlier? “Is it called stealing when the woman gives as good as she got?”


Rachel shook her fist again. “Back up, buster. I’ll not be kissed like that again.”


Caroline: Okay, you've hooked me and now I HAVE to read that book the minute it's available!  How can readers learn more about you?


Vonnie: I blog at http://www.vintagevonnie.blogspot.com/


My website is http://www.vonniedavis.com/




Caroline: Those are gorgeous models in your video, Vonnie. Best of luck with your writing career!
Thanks to Vonnie Davis for sharing her personal and writing life with us! Perhaps she'll come back for another visit after her books is released.
In the meantime, please remember SAVE YOUR HEART FOR ME is available at The Wild Rose Press www.thewildrosepress.com/caroline-clemmons-m-638.html and also from Kindle and other online stores.

Thanks for reading. Please come back.




Monday, April 25, 2011

AUTHOR CELIA YEARY AND THE CAMERON SISTERS SERIES


Texas Author Celia Yeary



Celia Yeary is a seventh-generation Texan, and her life revolves around family, friends, and writing. San Marcos has been her home for thirty-five years. She has seven published romance novels, three “coming soon” novels, and published essays with a local magazine. The author is a former science teacher, graduate of Texas Tech University and Texas State University, mother of two, grandmother of three boys, and wife of a wonderful, supportive Texan. Celia and her husband enjoy traveling, and both are involved in their church, the community, and the university. She meets with The Write Girls on Tuesdays at a local coffee house.


THE CAMERON SISTERS SERIES

Greetings!

Caroline and I joke about being long-lost cousins, possibly even sisters. However, many sisters are quite different, which means Caroline and I have too many likenesses to be siblings. So, we'll stick with the cousin thing.
COUSINS

My two recent releases are about sisters: One born in poverty, shame, and isolation, but loved dearly by her young, unwed mother; The other born with a silver spoon in her mouth, loved and adored by all, raised like a hothouse flower. When the oldest turned five, her mother married a Texan who soon became wealthy. The child and her baby sister grew up inseparable, devoted to each other.

SISTERS
One of my favorite kind of romance is a series—either sisters or brothers, or occasionally a family with both. It seems that all popular, successful romance authors write a sibling series sometime in their careers: Sandra Brown, Nora Roberts, Karen Robards, Susan Mallery, Mary Balogh…the list is long. If the first book in the series is good, I'll read all others that follow.

Although I am not as popular nor successful as any of the aforementioned authors, I have definitely written a series—The Cameron Sisters—Western Historical Romances.


Available from Desert Breeze Publishing,
Perfect cover for a Texan's book,
spring bluebonnets--Texas state flower.
The first is The Cameron Sisters: Book I: TEXAS PROMISE. This is Jo's story, the one born in poverty and shame, and how she matures into a beautiful young woman, though willful and stubborn and bold.


Blurb for TEXAS PROMISE:


After two years, Jo Cameron King’s life as a widow abruptly ends when her husband returns home to Austin. Unable to understand her angry and bitter husband, she accepts a call to travel to the New Mexico Territory to meet her dying birth father whom she knows nothing about. Her plan to escape her husband goes awry when he demands to travel with her.


Dalton King, believing lies his Texas Ranger partner tells him about Jo, seethes with hatred toward his wife. Now he must protect Jo from his partner’s twisted mind, while sorting out the truth. Jo’s bravery and loyalty convince him she’s innocent. But can they regain the love and respect they once shared?

Available from Desert Breeze Publishing,
and another perfect Texas cover,
indian paintbrush
The Second is The Cameron Sisters: Book II: TEXAS TRUE. This is the baby sister True's story, the one raised like a hothouse flower, loved, adored, and protected by everyone.



Blurb for TEXAS TRUE:


At a Governor's Ball in Austin, Texas, True Lee Cameron meets suave Sam Deleon. Before the night is out, she transforms from the coddled and protected younger sister to a woman in love. Reality crashes down when she accidentally learns he has deceived her. Daring to disobey him, she follows Sam to the oilfields and determines to live wherever he does. Has she made a mistake? Will she give up and return home where she can make her own rules?
 When Sam Deleon meets the gorgeous young woman his mother has chosen for him, he fears falling in love, because he knows nothing about love. In order to carry out his mother’s plan, he marries True and moves her to his mother's home, intending to visit enough to set the plan in motion. When True fails to obey him, he faces the possibility of losing her, thereby losing his inheritance and the family property.
 Sam and True attempt a reconciliation and compromise. Together, they now face a nemesis, someone who determines to thwart every action they take, endangering not only their lives, but also those whom they love.




BUY LINKS for both TEXAS PROMISE and TEXAS TRUE:


Desert Breeze Publishing


Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Thank you, Caroline, for having me today. You're the perfect hostess, and also the perfect "cousin."

Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas
http://www.celiayeary.blogspot.com/
http://www.celiayeary.com/
http://sweetheartsofthewest.blogspot.com/


Celia, thanks for sharing your books with us today. Thanks also for plugging our team blog, Sweethearts of the West. I love your writing, Cousin, and your books' covers are gorgeous. Come back again soon, ya' hear!


Saturday, April 23, 2011

SPRING BRINGS PROMISE AND HOPE

Spring is my favorite time of year. Everything is green, flowering, and beautiful. Even the high winds and fires nearby can't eliminate my delight with the season. Every flower encourages me. The song of each bird lightens my mood.  

You can imagine my pleasure last week when Darling Daughter 1 and I visited a nearby botanical garden. The day was perfect--cloud cover to cool us but no rain. I'm sharing the photos I took and will share Darling Daughter 1's photos later. Her photos are much more professional than mine.

That's a white swan grooming herself on the lagoon's bank















"The most important word in the English language is hope." Eleanor Roosevelt.

Wise woman, and I so agree. As a romance writers, I sell hope through my books. Readers know that no matter how hard the obstacles, the hero and heroine will overcome to reach a happily ever after conclusion. Their success inspires readers facing their own obstacles.  Reading a story with a foregone conclusion gives the mind a break while the reader enjoys the read.

Pink poppies with roses
in the background















"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." -Helen Keller

And who better to know that a woman both blind and deaf? If she could succeed, there's hope for each of us!

Poppies and snapdragons with
lavender near the hedge
 
"No one can go back and make a brand new start. Anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending." - Jeanne Bice

So true. Stop rehashing the "if onlys" and "I should haves" thoughts that drive us nuts. Begin with today. God gives us a brand new begining each morning. Don't waste it.

A fountain donated by
 friends of the garden

















"Spend some time alone every day." the Dailai Lama

This is important. If I'm not comfortable with myself, how can I be comfortable with others? Sometimes we need to be still and think, evaluate, and/or pray--maybe all three.

Walking trail through the gardens

Because this is a sacred season to those of us in both the Christian and Jewish religions, I'm sharing my favorite Bible Scripture: "For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord...plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
Isn't that appropriate for Spring and this religious weekend?

Please return on Monday when my good friend Celia Yeary will pay a visit.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

LOVE, SEX, AND DEATH...PAPER WOMAN HAS IT ALL!

THE BIG DAY IS HERE! Follow Suzanne Adair's instructions on her blog to be entered for a Historic Haversack of goodies from Suzanne (I'm donating a download of my book, SAVE YOUR HEART FOR ME, for the Haversack) and in the Blog Tour De Force to win a Kindle! Visit Suzanne's blog, "The British Are Coming Y'all," by midnight EST on April 21st at http://www.suzanneadair.typepad.com/ for instructions to win a free download of PAPER WOMAN, a novel of the American Revolution. My review, also posted yesterday, is below.  Please mention me as your favorite of Suzanne's sponsors in BLOG TOUR DE FORCE! (Yes, unmitigated self-promotion.) Suzanne says, "If any visitors want to also win my Historic Haversack goodie bag, I will instruct them to select a review site from those listed, comment on the review site with, 'Love, sex, and death. Paper Woman has it all!' then return to my blog to comment where they posted and why they liked that particular review."



                    PAPER WOMAN REVIEW


PAPER WOMAN is a book you will love! From the first page, Ms Adair’s story of one woman’s quest during the American Revolution will pull you into the pages (or your e-reader). This is not a pedantic historical treatise. Ms Adair’s ability to bring the era to life amazed me. She interweaves plot and historic detail while she entertains so well that the reader forgets he or she is gaining new insights into the American Revolution. In fact, not only did I immediately identify with Sophie Barton, I felt I was standing next to the heroine and experiencing each obstacle with her. No wonder Suzanne Adair's awards include the Patrick D. Smith Literature Award. 
         
AVAILABLE NOW!
Sophie Barton is only thirty-three, but she is already twice widowed and, via her seventeen year old daughter Betsy, soon to be a grandmother. (Yes, women often married young at this time.) Sophie is “the paper woman” because of her job assisting her father with his printing press. She also keeps the accounts for their print shop. Her father and his cronies are busy stirring up rebellion against the Crown at the same time Sophie is being courted by a British officer who is more than he seems--or less, depending on your viewpoint. David, Sophie’s charming brother, spends his time cavorting with widows and winning games of chance. Their selfish younger sister, Susana, is a young matron interested primarily in grabbing all supposedly due her and her family. Sophie hates the small town of Alton, Georgia and longs for travel and adventure. Ever hear the saying, be careful what you wish for?

Renactment from Suzanne's website


















Circumstances rapidly change, placing Sophie and her family in danger. Like a female Indiana Jones, she is determined to solve the puzzle of who wants her arrested for treason and who has plotted against her family. I won’t include any spoilers, so I won’t describe her quest through forests and swamps, accompanied by the men who love her and offer their loyalty.

PAPER WOMAN is a book I enthusiastically recommend and I rate it five stars! One night I read until my eyes were so tired I couldn’t focus. The next morning, I hurried my routine so I could finish this enthralling tale of love, sex, and death. PAPER WOMAN is available in e-download from Smashwords here.
 

Suzanne
Suzanne Adair is the nom de plume for Suzanne Williams, a native Floridian who currently lives with her family in North Carolina. In second grade, she wrote her first fiction for fun after the eye of a hurricane passed over her home, and she grew up intrigued by wild weather, stories of suspense and high adventure, Spanish St. Augustine, and the South's role in the Revolutionary War. She has traveled extensively and lived in England for half a year. After visiting the ruins of colonial-era Ft. Frederica on St. Simon's Island, Georgia, she began writing PAPER WOMAN, the first book of her series and the recipient of the 2007 Patrick D. Smith Literature Award. THE BLACKSMITH'S DAUGHTER and CAMP FOLLOWER continue her fictional ventures into the Southern theater of the Revolutionary War. CAMP FOLLOWER was nominated for the 2009 Daphne du Maurier Excellence in Historical Mystery/Suspense Award and the 2009 Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction. Suzanne enjoys participating in living history to commemorate events from the Revolutionary War -- a hobby that helps her depict colonial life in writing.

BOOK REVIEW OF PAPER WOMAN BY SUZANNE ADAIR

Do you read historical fiction? Do you like adventure stories? Do you read books that include Native Americans? Do you enjoy stories with romance between heroic characters? Do you want to win a Kindle? More about that later.


Available Now!
 If you answered yes to even one of these questions, PAPER WOMAN, by Suzanne Adair, is a book you will love. From the first page, Ms Adair’s story of one woman’s quest during the American Revolution will pull you into the pages (or your e-reader). This is not a pedantic historical treatise. Ms Adair’s ability to bring the era to life amazed me. She weaves historic detail so well that the reader forgets he or she is gaining new insights into the American Revolution. In fact, I felt I was standing next to the heroine and experiencing each obstacle with her. No wonder Suzanne Adair won the Patrick D. Smith Literature Award.

Sophie Barton is only thirty-three, but she is already twice widowed and soon to be a grandmother. Sophie is “the paper woman” because of her job assisting her father with his printing press. She also keeps the accounts for their Alton, Georgia business. Her father is busy stirring up rebellion against the Crown at the same time Sophie is being courted by a British officer whose intentions are less than honorable. Daniel, Sophie’s charming brother, spends his time courting women and winning games of chance. Her sister Susana is a self-involved young matron interested primarily in what might be due her and her family.


But life quickly changes and Sophie and her family are in danger. Like a female Indiana Jones, she is determined to solve the puzzle of who wants her arrested for treason and who has plotted against her family. I won’t include any spoilers, so I won’t describe her quest, accompanied by the men who love her and offer their loyalty.

PAPER WOMAN is a book I enthusiastically recommend and I rate it five stars! I couldn’t stop reading until my eyes were so tired I couldn’t focus. The next morning, I hurried my routine so I could finish this captivating tale. PAPER WOMAN is available in e-download from http://www.smashwords.com/  and in print from http://www.dramtreebooks.com/

 

Win a
Kindle!
Join me on the 21st-24th when Suzanne Adair, author of PAPER WOMAN, will be my guest. Read my blog here then go to Suzanne's blog at http://www.SuzanneAdair.typepad.com/ for a chance to download her book FREE and enter to win a Kindle! To be in the drawing for the Kindle, you must comment here on April 21st and then go to her blog at the above link and follow her directions. (Nothing hard, nothing time consuming.)
 

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

THE WEATHER OUTSIDE IS FRIGHTFUL!



Hail stones are bad. Tornadoes are worse. My brother phoned this morning to let me know a tornado missed his house by a block. Thank heavens no one in his area was harmed.

But the phenomenon residents of rural areas fear most is FIRE. We have no fire hydrants. Most wells in our area are low volume and would soon pump dry. We depend solely on pumping fire trucks and volunteer firemen.

West Texas Wildfire


High winds make fire's threat much more serious. This past week we had hurricane force winds up to 60 miles per hour. Dry winds that in some areas downed electric lines. Fire has destroyed thousands of acres of Texas the past few days. Brave firemen--many of them volunteers--fought around the clock against unbearable heat and unrelenting winds. One fireman lost his life when he was overcome by smoke. Even miles from the fire, we've been tasting dust and ash for days. My eyes feel as if they've been sandpapered. I can't imagine what conditions are like for the firemen.


What's left of a home










My heart ached for the families who had to evacuate suddenly. More so for those who lost everything. Their homes may have represented the work of a lifetime. What could they salvage?


Disasters force us to prioritize. Long ago Hero and I decided what we’d hurriedly load in the car should we have to abandon our home. What would we take? Pets, of course, but what else? For us, it’s the family photos and other family memorabilia. Tax information and other records. A few clothes. A painting or two. Our PC’s.

 We’d have to leave behind those posessions we all have in our homes. The “things” we once thought valuable. Books, furniture, knick knacks, extra clothes, bedding, tools, our hobby collections, and on and on. Losing everything else would slice open our hearts, but we’d survive. It might not feel like it for a while, but we would.


Tomorrow's promise
 The point is, it’s possible to replace “things” from a store. Sometimes we can replace photos from friends and relatives. Memories remain forever and no one can steal them from us. Those experiences shape and become part of each of us. “Things” don’t define who we are, do they?

And we're comforted by the knowledge that, no matter how tough things are today, tomorrow promises new experiences and opportunities.

Thanks for stopping by.

Wildfire photos from the WFAA website.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

ENLIST OR ELSE!

I’m late posting today. Somewhere, I lost a day due to a hectic, crazy weekend and week. Now I realize it’s Wednesday.

Nancy (nee Wood) and
William Harrison Johnson
circa 1885
What is going on
with her hair?
 Commemorating the start of the Civil War still, today I want to post about an ancestor who fought in the war. He didn’t want to. This man, William Harrison Johnson, believed he should mind his own business and take care of his farm and family. He truly believed he could get away with taking care of his own and letting everyone else do the same. Nope, didn’t work.

A distant relative, a villainous man who shall remain nameless here, confronted Johnson and told him that if he did not enlist in the Confederacy, his farm would be burned, his wife and daughters raped and killed, and his sons would be killed. Johnson knew this man meant it, because he had the reputation to back up the claim. The relative was one mean sonofagun! But that’s another story - an interesting but long one I'll save for another time or for a book.

Thomas Vestal Johnson
William Harrison Johnson and his sons William Riley and Thomas Vestal enlisted. Riley went to a neighboring town with friends, but Thomas (who was barely sixteen) enlisted with his father in the Sardis Volunteers. Early into the war, William and Thomas were separated. William served in Virginia, Maryland, Tennessee, Kentucky, and the Battle of Chicamauga, GA. He was hospitalized in Atlanta. When Sherman approached Atlanta, William hurried to move his parents and sister Caroline away from the city to Northwest Georgia where he lived. Definitely not heroic--unless you were an elderly couple or the daughter caring for them. William lived until 1899 and is buried in Rome, Georgia.

Thomas continued to do what he saw as his duty. Among the battles in which he fought were Gettysburg and the Second Battle of Manassas. Once the war was over, he vowed never to fire another gun. He married Sarah Bailey and they had a son. After only a few years, Sarah died of childbed fever. Luckily for me, Thomas remarried. Eleven years after the end of the Civil War, Thomas and his brother James came to Texas. James went back to Georgia, but Thomas and his new wife and baby remained near Waco.

This 150th anniversary has many engaging in heated and serious debates about the justification and causes of the Civil War. Not me. For good or ill, it’s a part of our history but we don’t want to repeat it. Regardless of the pros and cons, we need to study it to protect our peace and our freedom.

“Those who don’t study history are doomed to repeat it.”

from The Wild Rose Press
My story, LONG WAY HOME, in the Civil War anthology NORTHERN ROSES AND SOUTHERN BELLES is very loosely based on my family in Northwest Georgia and is the only non-Texas setting I’ve ever used. I fictionalized Rome, Georgia, but I remember visiting the town. Lovely setting and probably a nice place in which to live.

Friday, I’ll write about another aspect of the Civil War.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, April 11, 2011

SUSAN MACATEE DECLARES WAR! OH, IT WAS 150 YEARS AGO

Abraham Lincoln
November 1863
This is the official 150th anniversary of the launch of the Civil War, so I stuck Abraham Lincoln's photo here. When my younger brother Don was a boy, he loved anything about Abraham Lincoln--probably still does. Don used to call "Onward Christian Soldiers" the "Abraham Lincoln song" because it seemed always to accompany documentaries about Lincoln. That has nothing to do with today's guest, but I think it's cute. Humor me, please. This is my baby brother we're talking about.

Today's guest is Susan Macatee, a friend who has long been interested in writing, but didn't make it official until her youngest started kindergarten. Since then, Susan has been successful as a novelist. She also writes for the confession magazines, known among writers as "the Trues." You didn't think those were actually true, did you? If you did, I'm so sorry to burst your bubble.

Don't miss the part about prizes at the end.

Here's Susan's post:

           WAR IS DECLARED!

Beauregard
2011 is the 150 year anniversary of the start of the American Civil War. It all began at Fort Sumter, in Charleston, South Carolina harbor on April 11, 1861. A surrender of the fort was requested by Confederate Brigadier General Pierre G. T. Beauregard, but Federal commander, Major Robert Anderson, refused. The first shot of the American Civil War was fired from a Confederate artillery battery at 4:30 a.m. April 12, 1861. After artillery exchanges that continued through April 13th, the fort was evacuated on April 14th.   Following this, Lincoln issued a proclamation that called for 75,000 militia for ninety days’ service, to put down “combinations too powerful to be suppressed”. The American Civil War had officially begun!

Susan and her husband at a Civil
War reenactment in Nishaminy
State Park, Pennsylvania.
Don't they make a handsome couple?
This is an important anniversary that should spark a lot of interest in the war between the States. Events are planned all over the country, including battle reenactments, seminars, symposiums and lectures. New movies set during and after the war are being developed as well. Books and other Civil War paraphernalia should be in demand, also.

I currently have five books, four in print and e-book, one only available as an e-book, all available from The Wild Rose Press. The buy link for my books at The Wild Rose Press is: http://tinyurl.com/3egf4ex

My award winning novel, CONFEDERATE ROSE, is the story of an Irish immigrant heroine, who disguises herself as a man and fights in the Confederate army. She meets a charming Southerner, she later learns in a Federal spy.


ERIN'S REBEL is a time travel romance. The heroine travels from present day to land in Confederate army camp. She meets a Rebel officer who steals her heart away.

My other three Civil War romances are novellas. Two are included in anthologies: one in the 2011 EPIC finalist, NORTHERN ROSES AND SOUTHERN BELLES, the other in the historical Christmas anthology, AN AMERICAN ROSE CHRISTMAS.

The third is a stand alone novella, available as an e-book, my Civil War vampire story, SWEET REDEMPTION. To learn more about me and all of my books, visit my website, www.susanmacatee.com

I hope this will be an exciting year for everything Civil War, as well as the next four years that will follow the war years from 1861 to 1865.

For more on the start of the American Civil War, visit this site. www.civilwarhome.com/ovbegin.htm


2011 EPIC Finalist

Thanks to Susan for sharing with us. By the way, her books have won multiple awards and received rave reviews.

On Wednesday and on Friday, I'll relate  stories about a few of my ancestors who fought in the Civil War. Yep, we were on the wrong side, but you might be interested to learn why. Sure you will.

PRIZES, PRIZES, PRIZES!


Since all week we'll be talking about the Civil War, someone who leaves a comment on this blog during this week will win a download of NORTHERN ROSES AND SOUTHERN BELLES (or one of my other Caroline Clemmons books if the winner is not a Civil War fan) to celebrate the anniversary of the Civil War. Although, I have no idea why anyone would call it "civil war." Yes, yes, I understand the definition, but it still seems an oxymoron.

Friday, April 08, 2011

DISTINGUISHED AUTHOR ANJUELLE FLOYD SHARED HER LIFE

Anjuelle Floyd, Author
Please welcome distinguished guest Anjuelle Floyd. Readers love to learn about authors, Anjuelle. Please tell us about yourself.


Anjuelle: I am a wife of twenty-nine years, mother of three (ages 23 yrs., 18 yrs. and 12 yrs. old, an abstract painter, and a licensed psychotherapist specializing in mother-daughter relations, and also dream work.


I was born and raised on a 300 acre farm in southeastern North Carolina, attended the University of North Carolina @ Chapel Hill where on my first day there and during orientation, I met the man that is my husband. I graduated to Duke University, and later after moving to California--after marrying I lived in Boston, Massachusetts for 10 years--entered The California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, and earned my MA in

Counseling Psychology. During this time I also attended the Dominican Institute of Philosophy and Theology in Berkeley, California.


In 2006 I received a MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College, Port Townsend, Washington. I have also attended, and received certificates of participation from The Hurston-Wright Writers’ Week in Washington, D.C. and The Voices of Our Nations (VONA) Writing Workshops in San Francisco, California across from where I live.
A student of Process Painting for the 15 years, I regularly participate in The Art of Living Black Exhibitions (2004-2011) held at the Richmond Art Center, Richmond, California. My first work, KEEPER OF SECRETS: TRANSLATIONS OF AN INCIDENT, a collection of 8 interconnected short stories that also served as my MFA thesis at Goddard College, debuted in June 2007.  THE HOUSE, a novel and my second work debuted in October 2010. To read excerpts of each visit, http://www.freado.com/users/4271/anjuelle-floyd

Caroline: Your book covers are lovely. How long have you been writing?

Anjuelle: I’ve been writing for about 15 years.

Caroline: Is there an author you credit with drawing you to write novels?


Anjuelle: I read a lot of Nancy Drew Mysteries as a child. While I have continued to love reading mysteries, particularly Victorian British mysteries, I write Women’s Fiction. My favorite Victorian mystery novelist is Anne Perry. I learned of Perry when discovering and reading her Charlotte and Thomas Pitt Mystery Series. Presently I’m reading the entire William Monk Series that she had also written. I am drawn to the latter in that Perry has a wonderful way with authorial narration. I also like the way the displays depth of character in this latter series. I write in 3rd person limited. Studying Perry’s style helps me with deepening character establishment and development, both of which are essential to the character-centered type of Women’s Fiction that I craft.


In addition to reading Anne Perry I have recently begun reading ANNA KARENINA by Leo Tolstoy. While in graduate school I heard from fellow MFA students that this particularly work, though long (800 pages) read incredibly fast. To my amazement, this work not only possesses an incredible ease of flow, but also Tolstoy demonstrates an incredibly command of character establishment that reflects a vitality and freshness quite similar to works of this century. As with reading Anne Perry, I, in reading Leo Tolstoy am learning so much about how to at the outset of a story present characters and establish their personalities that ultimately lay the groundwork for plot that fuels and drives character development and evolution during the middle of the novel.

Caroline: I enjoyed reading ANNA KARENINA for the rich emotion and characterization. Readers always ask where authors come up with ideas. Can you tell us about your process?


Anjuelle: Story ideas generally come to me when I am facing my own, or witnessing another person grapple with a conflict. In this way life, and those around me provide the “what if...” establishing a story’s premise. I, then in pondering the “what if....” provide the “how...” which is the story.


Caroline: Tell us about your writing style. Plotter or panzer, detailed outline or go with the flow?


Anjuelle: Prior to earning my MFA in Creative Writing I would simply begin writing a novel. After graduating from Goddard College MFA Program in Creative Writing and seeing my collection of short stories, KEEPER OF SECRETS... TRANSLATIONS OF AN INCIDENT, print by Three Muses Press, the literary imprint of Ink and Paper Group Publishers, I delved into trying to gain greater understanding of the process by which I write and craft stories.


Mystery author, Elizabeth George, writes that it is one thing to gain the ability to write stories and novels, quite another to grasp the unique process by which we craft and refine our works of fiction.
Any writer who produces a significant body of work must at some point gain clarity in how she or he writes and revises her or his fiction from rough draft, through many revisions and ultimate refinement. In that I plan to write until I die, I set, upon receiving my MFA to do this. The first and most crucial aspect of beginning to comprehend my unique process for writing fiction, mainly novels, was finding a way to plan my novels, sketch and/or outline them so as to provide a map of the journey that kept me on track, but that also left room for considerable discovery and infusion of depth.
THE HOUSE is now available


Pulitzer Prize Winning Essayist, Jon Franklin, offers a plan in his book, WRITING FOR STORY, that has provided me these elements. I discovered and learned of Franklin’s plan when preparation to teach a course, Story Basics, offered in the MA program for writing at Perelandra College, I participated as a student. The major assignment for Story Basics asks students to create an outline for a short story or novel and write the short story or first 5000-7000 words of their novel. Using the Franklin’s plan I outlined what I had determined would be a short story. By the end of the first week of writing I had typed 10,000 words, and quite easily, as compared to my previous way of simply sitting down and writing with no sketch or plan. Rather than having a short story, I quickly realized I had laid down the beginnings of a novel. This novel became my second publication, THE HOUSE.


I am now, quite definitely a planner when it comes to writing novel or a short story. Since that time I have written a novel each fall during NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month.


Using Jon Franklin’s Plan as laid out in WRITING FOR STORY, I outlined each novel I have written and the experience has been so much less harrowing while also allowing me to go deeper into the real drama sitting at the center of the story’s plot.


Caroline:  Where can readers find your books?


Anjuelle: Amazon.com (paperback and Kindle)
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0978796721/httpanuellec-20
Barnes & Noble
Bookiejar.com


Caroline: What’s your current WIP?


Anjuelle: SEASONS IN PURDAH. I’ve been working on this novel for about 10 years. SEASONS IN PURDAH involves a love triangle between 3 childhood friends--psychologist, Sahel Ohin Denning, her husband Titus Denning, and their friend, and Sahel’s neurosurgeon, Carl Pierson. The story opens with Sahel struggling with the loss of her sight due to an accident. On meeting a gentleman, James Bolton, whose fiancée’ has died, Sahel not only finds new meaning and purpose in her life and in living. She also learns how to love and how to allow herself to receive love.

Caroline: Is there anything else on the horizon?


Anjuelle: Friday, April 8th, 2011 @ 5pm PDT/8pm EDT, Candance O’Donnell of Literary Scribes will host me for an hour-long interview.
http://candanceodonnell.blogspot.com/2011/04/author-anjuelle-floyd-will-be-ourguest.htmlhtml


Listen or call in @ http://www.blogtalkradio.com/literaryscribes/2011/04/09/author-anjuelle-floyd-1


(323) 580-5728

I’ll be doing a Twitter Chat on Thursday, April 14, 2011

http://www.tywebbin.com/blog-tours/2011/03/april-14-2011-the-house-twitter-chat-with-anjuellefloyd/

and a Facebook Chat on Thursday, April 21st, 2011.
http://www.tywebbin.com/blog-tours/2011/03/april-21-2011-%E2%80%93-facebook-chat-with-anjuelle-floyd-win-a-kindle/
(NOTE: Did you notice that Anjuelle is giving away a Kindle?)
Both will take place from 8-9 EDT
I’ll also be doing my second Book Candy Chat this month, April 2011.


Check at my website for the links to each of these events.
http://www.anjuellefloyd.com/


Caroline: You certainly lead a busy life. What else would you like to tell readers?


Anjuelle: I extend my warmest regards and appreciation to you, Caroline, for your patience and in allowing me this space to tell about myself, my work, and what inspires me to write.


I invite readers of this guest blog to visit my website, leave comments if they are so moved, and to listen in or download episodes of my radio show, where I interview authors, Book Talk, Creativity and Family Matters.
www.blogtalkradio.com/anjuellefloyd
http://www.anjuellefloyd.com/

Caroline: How else can readers find you on the web?

http://www.anjuellefloyd.com/
http://twitter.com/anjuellefloyd
http://twitter.com/AnnaManning
http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/anjuelle
http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/pages/Readers-of-Anjuelle-Floyd/184865264875062Floyd/184865264875062
www.blogtalkradio.com/anjuellefloyd
http://www.freado.com/users/4271/anjuelle-floyd
http://www.anjuellefloyd.com/media
http://www.scribd.com/doc/35206091/Anjuelle-Floyd-Electronic-Press-Kit
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/675324.Anjuelle_Floyd
http://www.shelfari.com/nepadfwriter
http://www.shewrites.com/profile/AnjuelleFloyd
http://www.shewrites.com/group/whydoyouwriteandwhatsyourprocess
http://www.librarything.com/home/neptuneauteur


Thanks you very much, Anjuelle, for sharing with us.

Readers, please a comment or question for Anjuelle Friday through Sunday.





Tuesday, April 05, 2011

FINDING YOUR STRENGTH (NICHE) BY HOPE CLARK


C. Hope Clark and her blind dog Dixie
Today it's my pleasure to welcome guest C. Hope Clark. She heads "Funds For Writers," a newsletter of inspiration as well as opportunity. Funds for Writers began in March 2000 after a women's writing group in Georgia opened Hope's eyes to the fact that it's hard to write when you can't afford ink for the printer or postage for the manuscripts. As a guest speaker, she initially planned a topic on the writer's need for the Internet. That subject quickly eroded to finding funds for all aspects of writing. Since her day job involved financial management and government grants, she offered a few words of advice. Boy! Did that ever blow into a bigger deal than she imagined!

Now she heads http://www.fundsforwriters.com/, which received the designation of 101 Best Web Sites for Writers by Writer's Digest Magazine - for 2001 through 2008. All because she likes writers to feel good about themselves and have as many tools at their fingers as possible. Readers say they sign up more for the editorials than anything else. She says she just has fun writing them.

You can find out about her newsletters at her links below. Hope and her husband live in Chapin, South Carolina. She graduated from Clemson University with honors and a degree in Plant Science/Agrinomy. Her honors and awards are far too many to list here. In spite of her prestigous background, she says she gets up in the morning to write, garden and be a decent person.
 
By day she manages FundsforWriters.com - 37,000+ readers.
 
By night she pens mysteries in her series. She just landed a contract for her Caroline Slade mystery series with Bell Bridge Publishing. Hope says she's combined her education and history with agriculture, and her experience in federal investigations, with her husband's career as a federal agent. Agriculture now has more flavor than beans and corn. It has crime, intrigue and a splash of Southern humor amidst the mystery.
 
"I enjoy these stories so much sometimes I can't tell the difference between my past and the antics of Carolina Slade."


Wow, Hope, that series sounds terrific. I can't wait to read the mysteries as soon as they're published, can you? Now, here's Hope's guest post:

     FINDING YOUR STRENGTH


"Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid." ~Einstein

When my children were small, I used to remind them not to make fun of people who didn't excel. I'd cup my hands and say that everyone had the same amount of talent. It was just that some people spread theirs across lots of areas, and others concentrated theirs in one or two. For instance, someone who performed well in math might not be able to write an essay or draw a picture.


Because one writer creates great thriller novels doesn't mean he can write poetry. Pat Conroy, one of my favorite authors of all times, reads poetry each day before he writes. But he doesn't write it. He just wants the beautiful word flow of great poets to enter his mind before he tries to formulate his prose. I now understand why he writes such marvelous sentences.


Hope and her friend Sherlock


I cannot tell a joke. I have terrible balance. I can't sing (though I try). I sketch with some mediocrity. Same goes for my cooking. And about the time I think I'm doing well at gardening or chicken raising, someone puts me to shame.

THE POINT IS TO FIND WHERE YOU DO WELL AND ENJOY THE TASK.

If you judge me on how well I dance ballet, I come across clumsy, klutzy and inept. Put me in a room of ballerinas, and I'm the ugly duckling. Never let me try anything but dancing, and I think I'm the biggest dunce that ever lived.
 
Hope on her home's porch
















As a personnel director, I attempted to guide managers to place employees according to strengths. I tried to make them realize that just because you had five clerks at the same pay rank, didn't mean that they were equally strong in all areas. One might be a better receptionist, another a typist, another a multi-media expert, another an expert organizer.

My suggestion? FIND YOUR NICHE, then judge not lest ye be judged. Focus on finding your talent, then work incessantly at perfecting that talent.

Hope

THE BLOG - http://hopeclark.blogspot.com/
TWITTER - http://twitter.com/hopeclark
FACEBOOK - http://www.facebook.com/chopeclark
FUNDS FOR WRITERS http://www.fundsforwriters.com/


Thanks for stopping by, Hope. Please let us know when your Carolina Slade mysteries are for available!