The Blues Before the Book Releases

All the pesky thoughts fly through an author’s brain as a book gets ready to release, the self doubts, the worries…it causes the blues. If you’re an author, you’re not alone, but if you’re a reader, you get to patiently wait for the book as though it’s an early Christmas gift that will land in your lap. But while we wait for that book to fall into your hands…

Is the book good enough? That depends on quite a few elements.

Is the story any good? It’s usually not the story that is lacking, but rather the way the story is crafted together. It’s something that few people do automatically unless they are voracious readers. They pick up the way stories flow with the various plot elements, and how they arc through the story. I think most of it is mentored into us. (I am so lucky to have had some wonderful mentors over the years.)

Is it well edited? That one is tough. I’ve known plenty of authors who have paid for and received terrible edits.Why? Because their own grammar skills are lacking and they are totally dependent on the editor. I’ve also seen authors who blindly accept an editor’s suggestion. The editor might make suggestion here and that affects something else.

But once we’ve reached a certain point, then we can only wait for the readers to decide.

That’s where I am…times two!

My contemporary, full length novel Silent Journey is available on NetGalley. If you love to read, this site is perfect! You’ll get to read about to be released, books from major publishers for free. They only ask for reviews once you sign up.

https://www.netgalley.com/catalog/book/146924

Silent Journey

This is not the finalized copy, it’s still in edits, nor is it the final cover. Wait until you see the cover! The hero is everything you want except you might have a problem understanding him. He understands you so why…? He’s Deaf. He’s Deaf of Deaf. So come step into his shoes as he faces a world geared to those with hearing, and join the woman who has so much to learn.

Enjoy a little snippet of Silent Journey.

Aldo’s was situated across the street between an art gallery and an upscale boutique. Taped on the door was a warning. Silent Spaghetti Supper Tonight, Absolutely no talking allowed! Public welcome.

“Here goes.” Ashley opened the door and held it for Savannah. The place was strangely quiet. Not completely devoid of sound, because there was still the sound of movement and dishes. But there wasn’t even music playing softly in the background. A hostess held up two fingers and, when Ashley nodded, the woman picked up the menus and led them to a table.

The table contained another warning about no talking, a small pad of paper with Aldo’s logo, and a plastic-coated sheet with some suggestions should they need help. The menu was simple: spaghetti: white, rosé, red with meat, or marinara, with a choice of plain, meatballs, shredded chicken, or sausage. Then there were some specialty items such as shrimp, but they couldn’t use their meal cards with those. Savannah chose the creamy rosé sauce with chicken. Then she looked around.

That’s when she realized there were sounds, vocal sounds, just not words. They were primitive sounds. The slapping of hands, low dissonance of grunts, and punctuated higher notes that were almost animalistic. It was disconcerting and fascinating at the same time.

Most of those in attendance were using sign language. Now she knew why Professor Stockton gave extra credit for attending. A redheaded waiter came to their table. Savannah instantly recognized him as Andy. He frequented the coffee shop in the technology building where she often stopped between classes. She smiled at him and pointed to the items she wanted, but then couldn’t figure out how to tell him she wanted unsweetened iced tea with lemon. Finally she took the pad of paper on the table and wrote it. Andy grinned and signed what she had written. She lifted her eyebrows at him, and he shook his head as though admonishing her.

Next to what she had written, he wrote: You will learn. Is this your first semester signing?

She nodded.

Ashley did a little better and Andy left them.

All the normal small talk was gone. She wanted to sneak her phone from her purse, but there was a huge warning not to use phones or to allow them to ring. It was a little boring staring at Ashley who seemed to be struggling with the same silence.

Andy brought their drinks and salads to the table. The salad was appealing, not that horrible shredded lettuce that was served in the cafeteria. This was mixed greens with lots of feta crumbles and Kalamata olives. About half way through her salad, Savannah stopped with her loaded fork poised in front of her face.

Across the room, there was a young man sitting with an older couple, a female around his age, and a younger female teen. Maybe it’s his family. He was a golden blond and the only description Savannah could think of was drop-dead gorgeous. He was signing with one hand as he ate. The younger girl seemed to be playing with him, as though they were teasing. Someone must have chastised the teen by the look on her face and the way she sat back in her seat.

Ashley touched Savannah’s arm and made a face as if to ask what was happening.

Savannah lowered her fork and motioned for Ashley to look behind her.

When she turned back to Savannah, Ashley grinned and fanned her face.

Silent Spaghetti Supper is getting interesting. But Savannah decided that catching the eye of such a guy wasn’t going to be easy when he was across the room, and not looking in her direction.

She ate her spaghetti and instantly rated it the best she had ever tasted. But she kept watching the table across the room with the hopes that he would look at her. The young man left, never once gazing in her direction. As he walked away, it felt as though something had been pulled from within her.

Ashley tapped her foot against Savannah’s. In Ashley’s hand was the pad of paper with the words, Stop staring!

Savannah snatched the pad and wrote, I want a date with that guy.

Ashley stifled a laugh, but a small sound squeaked out, causing several people to look in the direction of the table.

Savannah ran her hand over her forehead hoping to shield herself from the deadly glares. I didn’t do it. But we know who hears us.

When she was certain she could no longer eat another bite, Andy placed a small plate of grapes, apple slices, and sharp cheese on their table. Between Ashley and Savannah, they ate every speck. Oh, roll me out of here after this meal.

That night Savannah tossed and turned in her bed. She attempted to tell herself it had to have been all the food she had consumed, but deep inside she was certain it was that guy. It was like a magnet pulling them together, but he must not have felt it. It’s the food. I’m not used to eating that much.

No longer did she walk the campus oblivious to the students around her. Now she scanned the landscape for him. Nothing. It was as though he didn’t exist and had merely been a figment of her imagination.

 

My other book is part of the Authors of Main Street Boxed set, Christmas Wishes on Main Street. There’s a second Joe Wags book called Christmas Paws. Yes, Flint returns as he opens another Joe Wags. Paisley has found her dream job managing a coffee cafe where dogs were welcome.

Paisley forced her body to vacate the bed. All I need is another ten minutes. Her mind pushed her to get into her shower, but her body was refusing to cooperate. Her shoulder blades and her hips must have joined forces as she slept because they were saying no to all movement. The simple act of getting dressed and going to work became an endurance challenge worthy of reality TV.

Flint had warned her that Saturday would be twice as busy as Friday. She couldn’t imagine being busier. She set up the brew stations, made certain the ice machine was working, emptied the dishwasher from last night, and checked to be sure everything was prepped and ready to go.

A man waited outside the door with his big dog. She didn’t know what kind of dog it was, but she assumed it was a fancy breed because it looked too cute with its reddish coat. She had another three minutes to go on the clock, but she opened the door anyway. “Come on in, coffee is still brewing, but the pooch food is ready as are the doggie drinks.”

“I’ll get a couple of those dog cookies for her, and I’ll take a plain, black coffee as soon as it’s ready. Is it still a quarter?”

“Yes, this whole weekend. Every penny we take in goes to the shelter.”

The man nodded and dropped a twenty into the jar.

“Thanks, that was very generous.”

He chuckled. “I’m a gold medallion supporter. The shelter gets me for a whole lot more than that.”

She passed him the dog cookies and then a cup of freshly brewed coffee. “Stick around. We have free Internet.”

“We just finished our morning run. Furthermore, it’s Saturday. I don’t want to go near a computer on the weekend. I get enough of it during the week.”

“Wow, I thought everyone was lost without their computer.”

“Not me. There might be internet on my phone, but I don’t use it.”

She kept waiting on other customers, and continued to converse with him. “Here let me give you another cup.”

“Are you doing that to see if I’ll drop another twenty in the jar?”

“No. I’m doing it because you already dropped a twenty.” She smiled brightly. “Let me guess, you have a wife, two kids, a cat and a dog, and you live in one of those big houses off of Claymont Road.”

“You only got one right – the house. I’ve got a grown son and a furry daughter.” He looked at his dog.

“Oh dear, I have one word for your daughter. Wax.”

“She goes to the groomer once a month. She can stick with the usual.” He sipped his coffee. “Okay, my turn to guess; husband, three kids, your mother-in-law, two cats, and a house that’s too small for all of you.”

“Not even close. The husband is an ex, and there’s a reason for that. His mother is welcome to get on her broom and leave town as long as she doesn’t come to Fullerton. I’ve got two girls, no animals, and for the first time in my life, I’ve got an apartment that is actually roomy.”

“How old are your girls?”

“One just turned eighteen, and the other is four months from being sixteen.”

“Ouch. That’s a difficult age for them and for their adult.”

She turned her back to him long enough to start brewing more coffee.

“I’ll let you do your work. See you later.”

She turned around to wave, but he was gone. He’d left too soon. She didn’t even know his name.

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Happy Holidays, and Size Does Count

We hope that no matter what you celebrate that the season has been kind to you.

I think the Authors of Main Street took a few days off from posting this month.  The holidays sort of all come together in December. Except we on Main Street forgot to warn each other and to warn you, our faithful blog readers, that we were going to be busy. Like wayward children we hope in the spirit of the holidays that we’re forgiven.

This Christmas came a day early for me. My youngest daughter couldn’t be with the family this year. She spent most of the day in the hospital’s ER. Don’t feel sorry for her; she’s ducky fine. She’s one of people who gave up a day at home with family to be there for others who need her more. She’s an RN. She was on her regular work schedule.

As a family, we had to celebrate without her. But we didn’t forget about her.  Like so many people, we lacked one of our loved ones. At least we knew she was alive and well, and only a few miles away providing comfort and care to those who needed it. Many families aren’t that lucky.

Christmas Eve was our family dinner. Just immediate family, my oldest daughter, the men that my girls love and my two granddaughters plus, one granddaughter’s boyfriend were at my oldest daughter’s house. (My granddaughter is allowed to have a boyfriend, she’s over 21. The question is – am I allowed to call him a boyfriend?)  Dinner was delicious! And I didn’t have to cook any of it!

My gift from the family was a beautiful computer monitor that is huge! Just in time for another set of edits! I  love the monitor and I love my girls for giving it to me! Even the granddaughters chipped into it. Don’t ask if it’s HD or any variety of letter combinations.  I’m the least techno-oriented author you know. It’s BIG! That’s all that matters.

See, size does count! I learned that when I was little. The bigger the tires, the easier it was to get through the snow. The larger the bank account, the better. And now it’s the large flash drives that count. And let’s not forget the large hard drives. It’s large and hard – oh yeah!

There’s a lot of things I can laugh about as this year comes to a close. It hasn’t been a bad year, if you stack it all together. There’s been worse years and there’s been better. I lost a good friend this year.  He was a few years older than I am. He taught me things about a camera that I never knew. After seeing my granddaughter’s photography when she was four years old, he taught my granddaughter even more about using a camera and encouraged her to continue with her photography. He called me one day and said he had something for me. I thought he was joking when he asked me to stop by his house. When I got there and he handed me one of his cameras and a super-duper lens, I broke into tears. I’d used that camera so many times when we worked on projects together, and he knew I couldn’t afford one for myself. He had bought a new one and decided that owning what he did was a bit much.  So he gave me one.  It seems like every year the grim reaper claims another friend a little too soon.

But on the brighter side, I have a book getting ready to release this spring. It’s undergoing some scrutiny within the Deaf community. It’s contemporary and a wee bit different from my other contemporary romances. The romance (love) is never in question, the relationship has a long path to travel. Why? He’s Deaf. She has her hearing and doesn’t know sign language. Her mother is dead-set against her marrying a disabled man. And like most Deaf, he doesn’t consider himself disabled. He thinks those with hearing have the problem because we don’t understand him. He understands us, so why can’t we understand him.

I’ve not created a super hero, I’ve merely presented a man who is Deaf, Deaf of Deaf, an average, young Deaf man. That might come as a shock. Most are well educated, underpaid but educated, many with advanced degrees.

Being deaf is considered legally a disability. It is difficult especially for those who have lost their hearing. But the Deaf of Deaf, those born deaf with deaf parents don’t consider themselves disabled at all unless they do have another problem. But deafness alone, no. That is not a disability. But if a person has lost their hearing, it is disabling.

I don’t know more than a few words in ASL, American Sign Language, and I can barely do the alphabet. I keep plugging away at it.  So it took lots of help to write this book and I’ve gotten involved with the Deaf community here in Tidewater, Virginia. Some look at me with suspicion because I seriously need to learn their language. Others are so friendly and welcoming. But every time I’ve gone to an event with them, I’ve had fun and learned something new.

So watch for my book Silent Journey to be published this Spring.  And yes, I’ll be back here on New Year’s Day.  May the year 2018 bring us all lots of wonderful things. And here on Main Street, we are planning a very exciting year for our readers. How about another boxed set this summer, plus our usual Xmas holiday one? That’s two in one year!

Here’s a little something for everyone.  Click on it for the link to download a full-sized version from Freepik. I use this company all the time! Mine is getting printed by month for my desk.  Yes, I have a calendar in my mobile phone. I just transfer all those appointments to the calendar by my computer. All I have to do is look up!

 

Calendar 2018. Vintage decorative elements Oriental pattern, vector illustration Vector       FREEPIX

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2018

It’s Historic Cowboy Time Again

Yep, I did it! I wrote another historic book. When I write the word historic to me sounds as though I just did something epic. No! I wrote a book about two people struggling in the west. I’m going to say that their story isn’t that much different from dozens of other people who lived back then on ranches and did what they did.

People haven’t changed much. The things around us change and that creates different circumstances. So I have to go back and discover what those people had or didn’t have. That is going to change attitudes. I read several parts of this particular book to my writer’s group and one women in the mix was almost angry with me because I had written such a thing. Whoa! Back up about 125 years, please! Yes, women today have more options. Don’t be angry with me because we’ve progressed. What we have today wasn’t available back then.

Women had arranged marriages. Women became mail order brides because they were desperate. Women married men they didn’t know. Women did things we’d never do today. And children did things that we wouldn’t dream of having them do today – after all, they are children. Would we teach a six-year-old boy how to use a gun? The odds are slim, very slim. Back then on a remote ranch, it was a necessary skill. It was as important as learning to saddle his own pony, or using a hatchet to cut kindling wood for the kitchen stove.

So maybe if I can make people see how we lived back then, they will realize how far we have come. And maybe they will realize that in spite of every advancement we’ve made, there are still areas where we need to improve. Yes, we get upset when the washer breaks down and we are forced to repair or replace, but back then, washing clothing was a big deal and if they were lucky enough to have a washer it was a far cry from the wonderful automatic ones we have today. What if you had to stand there and step on a treadle to keep it going. Today we put the clothes in and walk away. Not back then! A washer was a luxury item and you stood on the treadle and pushed down that would cause it to slosh a little. So step-step meant slosh-slosh. And since you didn’t want to put those soapy clothes into another bucket of water, you squeezed the soapy water out by putting them through the wringer. Think two rollers that turned when you turned the crank. Now you could rinse the clothing. Most women used a paddle to keep from hurting their fingers between the rollers as they fed the clothes through. They often used that paddle to slosh the clothes in the rinse water. And then you fed the the rinsed clothes through the wringer (those two rollers) to get the water out of them! Now you can hang these washed clothes on the line so they dry. Except what do you do if the wind was blowing dust? Or it was minus 4 degrees? Clothes freeze! And if they freeze, they will break! So you hung them inside over your wooden floors because you’ve have to be living on the city or or very wealthy to have floors that weren’t wood. And we know what happens to wet wooden floors!

Oh let’s add one more fun thing to this lovely chore of doing laundry, even if you were so lucky to have a washer. That little time of the month when we use all sorts of disposable products to keep everything fresh and nice. They used rolled pieces of rags, and old toweling or strips torn from diapers were prized. Then they washed them and had to hang them to dry. But in those days, such womanly things were unspoken and no male what so ever was supposed to know about such happenings, nor was he ever supposed to actually see your undergarments. Plus who wanted to see such stained and horrible looking things?

But deep down inside, we have not changed. We still love. We love our spouse and our children and we will do everything we can for them. The average young couple today wants all sorts of things for their first home together. That will include things like super-sized TV’s and they look at things such as washers and dryers as basic necessities or they take everything to the cleaners. But back then that washer was as prized as a super-sized TV.

Times have changed and I’m glad they have! But I’ll invite you as a contemporary reader to step back in time and read my historical book Loving Ellen. It’s sexy and gritty, but I keep it sweet enough to read with a child hanging over your shoulder.

coverMorgan’s Crossing, Montana

A new mail order bride, Ellen has now been widowed.

Twice.

With two young boys from her first marriage to raise, a newly deceased mail-order-husband, no food and no money, she is forced to accept an offer of shelter from the neighboring rancher who found her latest husband’s body. Ellen is no stranger to sacrifice as a means to achieve a better future for herself and her children, but there is something different about Nick.

Turn! Turn! Turn!

The songwriter was Pete Seegar, and it was sung by The Byrds in 1965, which sent it to the top of the charts. But the words really came from Ecclesiastes, which is from the Bible. No matter what your beliefs, there is truth in the words. Here’s the most famous portion from the Bible.

To Everything There is a Season

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;Signs of Spring

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

***

But why do we do the things that we do? Because we are human. And like nature, we cycle.

This is the beginning of March, a change of season. Winter for many is a time of holidays and snow but for me, it’s that reflective time. Maybe I’m a little like that deciduous tree in the backyard. The leaves are gone and it appears to just be standing there, doing nothing. It looks to be asleep, but it’s not. There’s this whole internal thing going on that no one sees.

I holed up in my writer’s cave and busted my butt to get two books ready to go this winter. But there was something else going on the entire time. Something inside of me intuitively making changes – something that said this coming year will be different. While I sat putting words into my computer, another part of my brain was analyzing my past and looking at my future – and it wasn’t happy with what it was seeing. I needed to make some changes – but which ones?

There’s more to writing than just writing. I had reached my limits when it came to promoting my books. And I realized I didn’t have those skills nor did I have the time or the desire to acquire them. The funny thing was the answer to my problem was under my nose. As I’ve written my Wedding Vow books, I talk about a man by the name of Chrisy, a rather colorful but very likeable character who knows how to make things happen. He doesn’t know a darn thing about designing wedding dresses, but he does know how to promote. I needed a Chrisy!

So open your heart and your mind or whatever needs to be opened and seeWith This Ring1600 x 2400 what flies your way! In January, I opened that proverbial window and unbeknownst to me things were happening. I feel as though my writer’s tree has begun to collect meristematic material at my tips and everything is ready to break loose with the first real sign of spring. My roots have grown over the winter, firmly establishing my foothold in the industry.

But what flew through my window was almost unexpected – a manager for my books. I’m getting my own Chrisy – that person who knows how to make things happen.

So I’m rending and casting away. I’m building up and embracing And maybe most importantly, I’m planting. For it’s a new season and a new time. I don’t know what is ahead. I only know that there is change in the air and I intend to do a few things this year that have nothing to do with writing and everything to do with meJulia&Aaron 250x400 as a person. This year, I’m going to try some new paths and do a few things differently. And with a little luck, I won’t be worrying so much about my books.

Here’s a sneak peek at my newest Wedding Vow book that will be part of the boxed set Love Blooms on Main Street. This time it’s Cody Montgomery’s second daughter who is finding her true love.

 TO HAVE & TO HOLD

“I don’t know. I only know I’m not happy.” Melissa watched her grandfather stand and pour a cup of coffee. Not knowing what he was thinking was killing her.

He took a sip and returned to his seat. “Now what about your feelings for this young man?”

“He’s not young. I’d say he’s in his early thirties.”

Her grandfather guffawed. “That’s not old.”

“Okay, it’s relative. He’s a whole lot older than I am and not as old as Dad.” She swirled what was left in her cup and watched the dark liquid rotate around the sides. “He’s handsome. We’ve kissed. But… He’s made it clear that he’s not rushing into anything. And I know who I am, I’ve got my job, and I know that no one wants me mixed up with some guy who likes to play in the dirt and plant flowers for a living.”

“Good girl.”

“That’s the other problem. I am a good girl.” She looked at her grandfather. “I’m a virgin, and he knows it.” Did I really just say that to my grandfather?

“Good. That’s the way it should be. And I’m glad to hear that he respects you for it.”

“You don’t understand. No one is a virgin anymore. I’m a dinosaur. It’s not like it used to be. Guys expect to have sex. It’s all about recognizing and enjoying one’s sexuality.”

“Maybe you should talk to your grandmother about this.”

“No. You asked and I’m telling you. I scare the hell out of guys. I’m smart. I’m a Montgomery. And I’m a virgin, too?” She blew out a breath. “No way. A guy isn’t coming near me. And if one does, he either wants some notch on his conquest gun belt or he’s after the money. This guy doesn’t know who I am. He’s just nice to me.”

“And you’re in love with him?”

“Whatever my feelings are… I’m not about to be swept off my feet by a good looking guy.”

“I like your level-headed attitude.” He swigged at his coffee and then drained his cup. “Will you give me this week before you turn in your resignation?”

She nodded.

“Fine. Report to me tomorrow morning at seven thirty, right here at the house. You can ride into the office with me. I want you to shadow me all this week. We’ll talk again Friday evening, and you can tell me what you think.”

She nodded and stood. “Thanks, Granddad. I don’t know what I want. I just know what I don’t want.”

“We’ll talk Friday.”

She returned to her apartment and began to make plans. She wasn’t certain what her grandfather had in mind, she only knew she wanted out of the corporate world.

She wanted to go home – back to her cottage by the pond, and she wanted to get as far away from Utah as possible.

Beyond the Fortuneteller’s Tent is Now Available

big beyond the tent copy

Beyond the Fortuneteller’s Tent

When Petra Baron goes into the fortuneteller’s tent at a  Renaissance fair, she expects to leave with a date to prom. Instead, she walks  out into Elizabethan England, where she meets gypsies, a demon dog and a kindred  spirit in Emory Ravenswood.

 

Emory must thwart the plans of religious  zealots. His mission is dangerous, his enemies are fanatical, and Petra Baron is  a complication that Heaven only knows he does not need. Or does he? Although  Emory is on Heaven’s errand, he learned long ago that Heaven does not always  play fair.

 

As Petra slowly falls for Emory, she wonders if he really is  who he seems, or if he is just as lost as she is. How can they have a future  while trapped in the past? Or is anything possible Beyond the Fortuneteller’s  Tent?

I’m so excited about my new book! Although it’s actually not new to me, I wrote it about 5 years. I wrote it when I was working with a critique partner who assured me that Petra, my main character, didn’t sound like a teenager. Even though I lived in a house full of teenagers, I lost my confidence in being able to write for the YA market, until my teenage daughter stumbled across Beyond. She read it, loved it and wanted to know what happens next. She gave it to her friends, they loved it and wanted to know what happens next. With my confidence restored, I started the sequel.

This week I finished the first draft of Beyond the Sleepy Hollow, the sequel to Beyond the Fortuneteller’s Tent. I had to write the second one before I published the first so I could keep the storylines straight. I didn’t want to have a brilliant idea while writing the second book that would impact the first book.

Since I began the Beyond series with a trilogy in mind, maybe I should wait until I have the third book finished to publish. But I’m too excited to wait any longer.

Besides, I know how the book will go…unless, of course, I decide to write a fourth and fifth book. And then things could get messy.

But, honestly, sometimes I enjoy making a little mess. And I love writing these books.

My plan is to publish Beyond the Sleepy Hollow on my birthday in January. Beyond the River Styx, the maybe third and final book, will be published in the spring.