#Sharing – #NickiForde-Ficocelli at #LeesburgArtFestival

Nicki Forde-Ficocelli

My very good friend and fabulous cover designer, Nicki Forde-Ficocelli will be at the 42nd Annual Leesburg Art Festival this weekend, in downtown Leesburg, Florida. For those in the area, this is a great chance to see some fine art, including Nicki’s wonderfully whimsical paintings of cats, chickens, bumblebees, and more. I hope you’ll stop by and say hello to her. Here are the particulars:

WHERE: Downtown Leesburg, Florida
WHEN: Saturday, March 9 and Sunday, March 10 from 10am to 4pm
NICKI’S BOOTH:  700C (on 7th Street, just 2-3 booths off of Main)

Nicki Forde-Ficocelli is best known in Central Florida as a graphic artist, and she intends on changing that.

Nicki has been drawing since before she can remember, and that love for creating led her to study commercial art at International Fine Arts College in Miami (currently the Art Institute). While there she gave in to the fear of being unsuccessful as an illustrator, so changed her course in life and became a graphic artist. “I enjoy the work, but these last 25 years have felt a little like a dream deferred. So now I’m drawing on my heart for inspiration and the courage to put my work out there.” She considers herself an emerging artist, despite a long history of painting and illustrating, since her professional focus has been graphic design since 1994.

Recently, she’s been unable to resist the flow of ideas and inspiration that is leading her down a familiar but neglected path. These ideas are finding themselves on canvas by way of acrylics, or on watercolor paper through a combination of colored pencils and watercolor. “My muse comes from nature and often my sense of humor finds it’s way into my art.” Nicki doesn’t intend to light the art world on fire with her work, but she does want to light up your heart by putting a smile on your face.

Working from her home studio in historic downtown Leesburg, Florida, Nicki describes herself as “an artist, illustrator, crazy cat lady and crusader of kindness. My mission is to live with joy and compassion while spreading love through my art.”

To see more of Nicki’s art, check out her website, Drawing on My Heart, and her shop on Etsy, where you can buy her designs on greeting cards, invitations, and more.

Drawing on My Heart
Etsy Drawing on My Heart Shop

I hope some of you will be able to visit the festival for a wonderful day of browsing and snacking. Be sure to stop by to say hi to Nicki while you’re there.

And remember:


The 2019 Interview Series Featuring David Faucheaux

Don Massenzio is featuring David Faucheaux today on his 2019 Interview Series. A really interesting, informative, and inspiring interview! Check it out! (And don’t forget to share far and wide). Thanks for this great series, Don!

Author Don Massenzio

DCF 1.0What do you think are the elements of a good story? 

My favorite genre is historic fiction. To do it well, the author must pay close attention to setting. The reader should be made to understand the culture, the time, and place. I like lots of what are called info-dumps, though I understand many readers find them to be tedious and to also distract from the plot.  Perhaps info-dumps work best in science fiction. Kim Stanley Robinson uses them frequently. A well-written author’s note at novel’s end helps as well, especially when the author tells what is true and what has been invented. A bibliography is useful for those readers wanting to learn more about the historic aspects of the novel.

You’re invited to a dinner party. Are you:

  • Off in a corner talking to one or two people
  • At home reading or writing your latest work

If I’m there…

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#FreePromo – “Songs of Heartstrings” by Miriam Hurdle

Miriam would like to let everyone know about her current promo. Hope you’ll take advantage and pass the word along. Best wishes for a successful promotion, Miriam.


“Songs of Heartstrings” is FREE for the next few days. This poetic memoir contains prose and poems, as well as photos and paintings. Please grab your copy and share! 

AMAZON UNIVERSAL LINKsmarturl.it/SongsofHeartstrings
AMAZON UK LINKwww.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07K1S47W9
AMAZON .COM LINKwww.amazon.com/dp/B07K1S47W9

#ThisAndThat – And a Question for You

As some of you may have noticed (or heard me whining about), I’ve fallen way behind over the last year and a half. It started with hurricane Irma smashing our garage to the ground and destroying our roof, but it snowballed after that. Does that happen to you? Something throws you off course, and then every little disruption just pushes you farther and farther away from your goal? It sure happened to us, and we are still digging out.

Now don’t get me wrong. After seeing new footage of the devastaton in Mexico Beach, FL (near Panama City), it was brought home to me once again how incredibly lucky we were. Our house is still standing, and better yet, so are we! 🙂 But I have to accept the fact that I’m still behind, and may never get totally back on schedule around here. And that’s what I really want to talk about. Schedules and deadlines, especially those we independent writers impose on ourselves.

In less than four years, I wrote & published six full-length novels, a small book of poetry, and one spin-off novella. I was on a streak. Then, it all went a little bit sideways, and between September 2017 and October, 2018, I only managed to publish one more novella. Oh, I’ve been working on novel #7–another sojourn into my beloved North Carolina mountains with Rabbit and crew, working title, The Light–and I think it’s going to be an entertaining read. But the work is going painfully slow. Somehow, there aren’t enough hours in the day to accomodate both my Real Life obligations and my writing. This distresses me greatly. I’m unhappy when I can’t do it all, and yet I know that’s just the way it is at times.

If I were 35 or 45–or even 55–I wouldn’t worry as much about getting all my stories told. But I’ll be 75 on the 17th. (That’s THREE QUARTERS of a century! OMG.) My fear is that I won’t be able to write for as many more years as I’d like, which, btw,  would be ALL of the years I’ve been allotted! So I panic when my pace falls off the mark.  And yet, I know these deadlines and goals are arbitrary ones I’ve set for myself.

What I’m trying to learn is how to be more accepting of the bumps in the road that slow me down, or bring me to a complete stop now and then, while roadblocks are removed. I understand the need to be at peace with those things we can’t change,  but it’s much easier to quote snappy platitudes than it is to implement them.

I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in setting unrealistic expectations for myself. I think we all do this at times, and writers perhaps more than most. We are eager (and often anxious) to get our stories out there. (Otherwise, we’d likely be content to just let them play out in our heads.) So, my question is, how many of you put excessive pressure on yourselves with deadlines that are often arbitrary? How do you handle it when you realize meeting them is impossible? Have you learned to accept life’s disruptions rather than letting them frustrate you half to death? If so, what’s your secret? I want to be better at acceptance, while not losing my fervent desire to write, write, write.  Am I looking for the impossible?

What are your thoughts? Inquiring minds wanna know.


PS – today’s header is one of the reasons I love the North Carolina mountains so much. The Appalachians are the oldest mountains on the entire planet. Time has worn them down into softer forms than many ranges, and clouds meander along (and between) the tops of them. My WIP is set in autumn, 2014, amid scenery exactly like this header image.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Sunshine Blogger #Award and personal questions.

Sally Cronin has been nominated for the Sunshine Blogger award. Check out her replies to the eleven questions she was asked, and while you are there, you will surely want to check out some of the bloggers Sally nominated in return. (I was proud to be included in that list, though I have an award free blog). Be sure to pass this one along if you can! And my heartfelt thanks, Sally, for the nomination! So glad you enjoy stopping by to visit on TWS. 🙂

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine


It is award season, and whilst I may not be wearing a fancy designer dress with sparkles and borrowed jewelry from Tiffany’s (or crippling Jimmy Choo Shoes!), I have dabbed a little Chanel No 5 behind my ears and at the wrists. After all is not everyday you get nominated for a Sunshine Blogger Award. In this instance courtesy of author and poet, Mary Smith of Mary Smith’s Place to whom I am most grateful….

Before I embarrass myself answering Mary’s questions on my personal life…. here are the rules.

Thank the blogger who nominated you in a blog post and make a link back to their blog.

Answer the 11 questions sent to you by the person who nominated you.

Nominate up to 11 new blogs to receive the award, and then write them 11 new questions – or cheat like I did and use the same questions…

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Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – Jazz, Chicken Poop, Chopped liver, Old Age, Australia and Sheep farming!

Another wonderful weekly round-up from Sally Cronin’s “Smorgasbord.” For those, like me, who can’t always keep up during the week, these are a great way to see what’s been going on, and you’re sure to find some tidbits you’ll love. Let’s hear it for weekly round-ups! Thanks, Sally! 🙂 ❤

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the round up of posts on Smorgasbord this week that you might have missed. 

Despite some grey and misty starts to the days, there has been a trending upward curve in the temperatures and the hedgerows and gardens locally are beginning to show signs of spring. For someone who does not do short days, devoid of sun, and usually wet, this is a great shift in the weather. All my years as a child and adult living in sunnier climates makes it a challenge. I must admit to becoming a bit of a hermit from October to March and guess in a previous life I must have been a bear!  I can be be grumpy enough at times, especially when I wake from a long sleep and am hungry and thirsty.

Thankfully there have been some offline activities this week that have been great fun and people and…

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6 Draft Checklist Ideas (And Why You Should Create Your Own)

Some great draft checklist ideas from K. M. Allan this morning. I plan to work from this list as I get my next final draft ready to send my editor. I would add, I also use a program called Smart Edit that’s easy & quick and will automatically hunt for a group of issues all at one time, presenting what it finds in individual lists. It seems faster to me, but you can search for these things in Word, too. Check out Allan’s post for super pointers presented in a logical, concise manner. If you enjoy it, be sure to share with the Immediate World. Thanks!

K.M. Allan

Just as no two writers will write an idea the same way, drafting is a unique process as well.

Some authors may draft their MS in as little as five passes, others (raises hand) might have 20 odd drafts under their belt for certain works in progress.

When drafting is such a mammoth task, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. I’m not a planner for writing, but for editing and drafting, I find a plan makes all the difference.

To create such plans, checklists are my go-to, and when I’m close to the final draft stage, these are the six main things I scan for during a draft pass…

1. Repeats

I recommend every writer come up with their own Repeats List because we all have different words we use repeatedly. This advice also goes for phrases (I constantly use “looked as if”) and for movements. If every character is…

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