UPDATE: Still Here, and Still Crazy After All These Years!

Yep, in spite of the fact that I’ve not left my house in over 8 weeks, nor seen the face of a single friend, nor been able to do much writing thanks to COVID-Brain, I am definitely feeling lucky. I’m still HERE! As of today, at least, I still get another chance to do it all better! And that, my friends, is a daily miracle we often forget, and honestly, one I’m surprised to find myself enjoying: the miracle of life in all its guises. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. WOOOO and also HOOOO!! 

To bring you up to date, I am no longer having any symptoms of this dreaded, miserably wretched, murderous virus we’re all sick of hearing about. I do have a greatly reduced energy level, but I’ve even seen some improvement in that area, too. I know the fatigue-related stuff can go on for an extended period, but I’ve learned how to go on, myself, right alongside it. In other words, it might slow me down, but it’s not going to stop me. 

I do plan to return to blogging (and visiting the blogs of my friends) by October 1. I’m giving myself the rest of this month without any firm commitments as to the blog or my current WIP, just keeping the posting and writing flexible and simple for now. But come October 1, I want to get back to my regularly scheduled programming, as they say.

I will be putting out a call for those who’d like to take part in #GuestDayTuesdays to share promotions, new releases, and various other topics. I’ll be continuing with my new #GrannySays series, and will start back sharing weekly roundup posts from Story Empire and Sally Cronin’s Smorgasbord. I’m not going to continue with #FirstLineFriday for now, though that might return in the future. But I do want to run some special “events” now and then, such as #ExcerptWeek, and a few new things I’m going to fit in here and there.

I’m very much looking forward to resuming these features and adding some new ones, and to finishing my current WIP, Riverbend #4, Working title A Need to Burn, and just may share some excerpts from that, along the way.

And finally, I’d like to thank all of you for your support and encouragement over the last weeks. Our blogging and writing community is the absolute BEST, and I appreciate each and every one of you! 

Stay tuned, my friends, and remember, “Life Finds a Way.” (Recognize that? Hmmm. Maybe a new series for this blog: “Who Said It?” That could be fun!)

Now go forth and live YOUR life! And be sure to stay Safe and Well! (It’s much more enjoyable that way.)

#ReblogAlert – Swamp Ghosts featured on Smorgasbord Today!

Today, I’m absolutely thrilled to be part of one of Sally Cronin’s newest features, Sharing an Excerpt from a Previous Book.  I hope you’ll stop by and check out the excerpt I’ve chosen, part of the Prologue from my second book, Swamp Ghosts. It was a trip to write this scene, and I hope you’ll enjoy it. But rest assured, the entire book is not a walk through this guy’s mind. It’s an introduction to a small, Florida town, filled with mostly friendly, though often eccentric folks, who have no idea what’s lurking in the shadows. And oh, yeah, there IS a love story, too, as the wonderful review Sally included mentions.  

Hope you’ll head over and see for yourself, and will remember that this is an offer open to all, as well. Sally includes instructions on how to submit YOUR own excerpt from an older book, and you really should take advantage of the opportunity. 

My heartfelt thanks to Sally for all she does to help us promote our work! And to see what’s afoot in Riverbend via her wonderful post, click HERE. 

THANKS!

#WritingRambles #amwriting – Writing “What You Know?”

Good Morning, Folks!

It’s a lovely, sunny Sunday in central Florida, after a drizzly, gray Saturday. Happily, yesterday’s weather didn’t stop anyone from attending my talk on Owls at the gorgeous DeBary Hall Historic Mansion.

In fact, we had four extras show up, but had plenty of open space at the back of the room to accommodate them at a safe distance from everyone else. And as you can see from this week’s header image above, I’m still in an owlish kinda mood. (This is a barred owl, btw, my favorite of all.) And talking about these wonderful birds yesterday, gave me the idea for this post today. 

We’re often encouraged or advised to “write what we know,” and in general, I tend to do that, as all of my books are set in the southern part of the United States (just as *I* am), and feature the kinds of people I’ve known all my life. (Except for the serial killer in Swamp Ghosts. I confess, I’ve known some unpleasant folks over the years, but none that I know of have ever gone so far as to kill people and feed ’em to the local alligators! 😉 )

But, in general, I do write people I understand and who speak in a manner I’m familiar with. I also go a step farther by including habitats and wildlife I’m familiar with, too. I like to set up a scene so that readers will feel like they’re “there” along with the characters. For me, this can include describing a canoe trip on the St. John’s river, or a walk through a Florida wetlands area, or a slippery climb down a rock face beside a North Carolina waterfall. I think many of us do this when setting up a scene, and if done well, I believe (hope!) it makes it all more real to readers. But I want to take it a step farther today.

Here’s my question for you: do you ever include things from your real life that only your friends or family would likely recognize? Maybe as a private joke, or maybe simply because whatever it is happens to fit well with what you’re writing? I do, even though I don’t set out with that in mind. It’s just that as I’m typing along, I think of a familiar item or happening, or even a line of dialogue, that is part of my life in one way or another, and find myself including it.

For example, in Swamp Ghosts, one of my secondary (but pretty important) characters is Lester Purvis who drives an ancient, primer red and gray, 1967 VW bus. I’m very familiar with this bus, as is everyone who knows Mark and I, because it’s parked in our garage. My husband has had it since the early 80s, and, like Lester, has always planned to restore it to its former glory. (He drives it for short errands on the weekends, and can’t stop at a traffic light without someone pulling up beside it and yelling out to ask if it’s for sale.) You would be staggered to know how much he’s been offered for it, even with all the body work it needs. Apparently, being the last year they made VWs with the split windshield gives it some serious collectability. 


(Taken many years ago. Nothing much has changed.)

The VW is one of the more obvious personal tidbits I’ve tucked into my books, just for fun, but I find myself drawing on small events and funny moments from my own life fairly often. I’ve also mentioned a real person now and then, like my friend Bev who owns the DeBary Nursery, where my character Willow Greene likes to buy plants for her herb garden. Heck, even the barred owl that greets Sarah on her arrival at Wake-Robin Ridge is taken from my life. Everything is fair game, I figure, as long as it doesn’t violate anyone’s privacy, and it actually fits into the moment I’m writing about. (Bev was thrilled, btw. She sells my books at her shop and one of her customers who’d bought a copy of Finding Hunter from her returned to get Bev’s autograph after reading the scene! 😀 )

So, your turn now. Have you ever included something of this nature in your own books? Maybe as a little nod to a friend or family member? Or just to make yourself smile as you’re writing? Tell us about it in the comments below, since, as always, inquiring minds wanna know. Especially if you’ve ever included any private jokes or situations that only some would recognize. 

Thanks! And have a beautiful, peaceful, productive day! 🙂

Catching Up – #amwriting #MondayBlogs

 

HELP! Where Did All My Writing Time Go?

Happy Moon’s Day, Folks! I hope this Monday morning finds you in good health and good spirits. Just wanted to take a moment to let you know that my blog posts may be spotty for a bit. I have finally come to the conclusion that I am never going to get caught up again in this lifetime, but I can’t keep floundering in a sea of To Do Items and ignoring my writing. Sad but true, the time comes in life when we no longer have quite the energy or stamina we once did, and we have to slow the pace a bit. 

As a result of the above-mentioned (and truly annoying) energy decrease, I haven’t written a word in months, and it’s making me very unhappy. Therefore, I’ve decided I’m  going to take some time to write each day (at least until I get my 4th Riverbend novel completed) even if it has an impact on my blog posts and my blog visits. I’ll do the very best I can to keep up with both, but if I miss some of my regular features or a stop or two at my favorite blogs, please forgive me. And don’t be alarmed. It just means I’m working on my book.

 I know most of you will understand how frustrating it is to want to write but not have time to do so. (And the pandemic isolation, oddly enough, was not at all conducive to the process for many of us, either.) The good news is, I started said book Friday and managed to get the short prologue and the first two scenes of Chapter 1 written. Words cannot express what a difference even that little bit has made in my overall mood. Stress levels are definitely lower, and I’m actually smiling again. 

I have #GuestDayTuesday posts scheduled for several more weeks, and will definitely be reblogging Bad Moon Rising posts through the month’s end, and Story Empire posts always, so it won’t be completely empty here. I plan to touch base at least weekly, and I’ll try to find time for other goodies here and there, too, though I’m not going to promise when or how often. Once I’ve made substantial progress on this story, I’m sure things will starting heading back to normal, but until then, I hope you’ll all understand if you see less of me online for a few weeks. 

Thanks so much, and now, the Painter Brothers are demanding my attention. They have some interesting things happening in their lives, and some new characters coming into play. Must. Go. Write. 


Yes I know these three guys are really actors, but in MY world,
they are Hunter, Forrest, and Jackson Painter, and I’ve 
truly missed them! 🙂 ❤

What’s Up With This?

Sometimes you just have to wonder what the heck is going on in people’s minds. I’d say this isn’t for real, but it’s been in this range for several months.

You think maybe these stores are having a hard time finding someone who wants Finding Hunter this badly? (Especially given that it is not out of print and is still available on Amazon for the low, low price of $13.99. )

Hey. Maybe these are signed copies! Oh, yeah. That would explain it. (Insert derisive snort here.) 😀 

Don’t get me wrong. It is a great book, of course. (Just ask me.) But get serious!

 Anyone else find things like this now and then?  Just curious. 😀