FEBRUARY . . . a time of change?

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January is the time of year one normally thinks of change, but for me it’s the month after. I don’t claim to be normal.

Don’t you love the promise of a green spring peeking through the brown winter grass in the photo?:-)

By the time February skids in, I’ve had time to accept that another year is behind me, I’ve paid my taxes, and I’m ready to stop lamenting how swiftly time is passing. Here in Oklahoma the wind has already started blowing. Whatever happened to March being ‘the windy’ month? On the winds of February come allergies, battered Walmart bags and in my case, a fresh crop of weed seeds blown from the big pasture across from me.

But all is not bad—I have things to be happy about. I finished the second book in my VALLEY RIDGE ROMANCE series. Book number one, TRESPASSING ON HIS HEART is available here. The second book, LOVES TENDER HEART  will soon be available on Amazon. In the second book many changes occur in the lives of Lauren and Jackson Montgomery—can you guess what some of them are?

I learned a hard lesson on editing your own writing with my first book. This time around I sent my manuscript off for editing by people who do that as their line of work. 🙂

I just got my line edited manuscript back from RED ADEPT EDITING. And as my sister told someone, “She’s jumping-on-the-bed-happy with her edit.” Even though the pages are as red as the flag at a bull fight, I’m happy. Most of the suggested changes are minor, easy fixes that I’ll do and resubmit for the finishing polish, readying it for you, my readers.

The editor who was assigned to me is Angela McRae. After a phone consultation, part of the editing package I’d chosen, I felt as if I’d been to an extensive writers workshop. A business person myself for many years, I recognize good customer service when I receive it. In business I was a stickler for customer service above and beyond the expected. And that is the kind of service I have received from Red Adept Editing—and Angela McRae.

Many thanks to my friend, mystery writer, Danielle L. Davis, who recommended this great editing service.

Thanks to all who follow, read and otherwise share their time with me—time, the most precious gift we have to offer. 🙂

Keep God first in your plans—until next time, signing off with a 🙂

Mare

 

 

 

 

 

A NEW BEGINNING . . .

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I know , I know. New beginning is redundant . . . but I like the way it reads, just bear with me.

I remember reading the futuristic sci-fi mysteries ( I read everything I could lay my hands on ) that belonged to my big brother Kenneth ( he was an avid reader ). And the year the story took place would be 2000 something. The date alone, 2000, made for scary fiction back then.

In 1957 talking about the year 2000 was something my young brain couldn’t even grasp. Wow, that was way into the future.

But here I sit, enjoying my habitual morning coffee, on the first day of the new year, 2016. And I feel like I’ve been catapulted from 1957 into 2016. It seems like  it happened that quickly!

On the first day of each new year, as a rule, in a melancholy mood, I sift through events and happenings of the year that’s just flown past. I experience pretty much the same emotions each year and in much the same order—they are as follows:

  • Wonder and awe at the swiftness of time.
  • A bittersweet sadness for times past.
  • The creeping in of yet unspoken goals.
  • A spark of excitement for what the new year may bring.

The last on my list, that spark of excitement, is the one I’m thankful for. I’m indeed grateful that I still get excited for the year ahead—whatever it might bring!

My wish for you, friends, family and readers, is that you, too, get excited for the year ahead. Set goals. Expect success and good results. Know that if—no, not if, but when things sometimes go wrong, you don’t  buckle under—you buckle up and push harder, or redirect—whichever is needed to keep you on track with your goals. From my home to yours, I wish you much success and good fortune in 2016!

Happy New Year!

Keep God first in your goals and plans, He’s on your side. Until next time—signing off with a :-), Mare

Meet Winslow

IF you’ve read TRESPASSING ON HIS HEART, you already know about Winslow. He’s Lauren’s feisty, but well mannered side-kick. I thought it would be fun to show you a couple of photos of Winslow. He’s a real live person—uh, character.

And just as the story goes, Winslow was rescued from a cemetery. Only it was in Oklahoma, not New York City. My sister Ruthy and I were placing fresh flowers on our parents gravesite when he dragged his mangy little body to where we worked, ( we were busy and didn’t notice him at first ) and looked up at us as if he knew we wouldn’t turn him away—and we didn’t, we couldn’t.

An old box we had in the car made a good bed. We tucked one of our extra work shirts into the box and placed him on it. A flying trip to the vet in town was just enough time for him to steal our hearts. And that’s how it happened to Lauren, too. ( She’s one of the main characters in the book. )

In about two weeks, with medication and lots of TLC Winslow was a handsome, blue-eyed fellow. I couldn’t bear to show you what he looked like when we found him.

Here’s what he looks like today. In the first photo he’s in the sunroom, toy in his mouth, begging to go out—there’s squirrels out there!

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 Smile, and keep God in your plans,  . . . He cares 🙂

Mary

 

Never too young . . .

Haven’t we all heard how important a good cover is in attracting readers? The theory being that a person has to first notice the cover, or pick the book up before the thought of purchasing even enters their thoughts.

And haven’t we all heard how a picture is worth a thousand words? Or, to a writer, perhaps thousands of book sales. And that’s where a good cover comes in.

I received these photos in an email with the message that the young reader in the photo discovered a copy of Trespassing On His Heart on her great-grandmother’s coffee table. ( We won’t discuss the quality of the iPhone pic’s )

The cover image caught her eye—that’s good, right? What follows is the ideal scenario to a writer. Miss Baylee is our young bookworm with the inquiring mind—and while a picture is worth a thousand words, actions speak even louder than words. Watch.

♥ The cover catches her eye . . . she reaches for the book. “May I?” she asks.IMG_0368

 

♥ Baylee studies the cover image . . . will she peek inside for a closer look?

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♥ Hmm, she peeks, likes what she sees . . . and settles in for a satisfying read.

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♥ Hours and hours later . . . the smile tells the story. FullSizeRender 

I was informed that this photo shoot was not staged, it happened unexpectedly and the iPhone was handy. I added the ‘Hours and hours’ for effect.  🙂

Thank you Baylee—you made me smile! 🙂 🙂 🙂

 

 

May you all have a wonderful day, and remember to keep God first in your plans—He knows what they are, and He cares.

Until next time—signing off with a 🙂

 

Thank you, my friends!

My Kindle Scout campaign flew by in a hurry. I’m disappointed that Trespassing On His Heart wasn’t selected for publication . . . I believe Kindle Scout is a good program, and I would have liked working with them. But, in the big ocean of life, this was only a drop. I do appreciate the opportunity and the exposure that Kindle Scout gave me in the 30 day campaign. Front CoverI congratulate those who have been selected and those who will be selected in the future—write on! 🙂

As the saying goes, ‘Live and learn’. It was a learning experience, and what is life all about if not pushing forward, growing and learning? May we never stop as long as we have life!

I believe the scripture, Romans 8:28, when it says that all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord.

I love the Lord, therefore I’m qualified to know that whatever the reason for the way things transpire in my life, it is for my good. I also believe the comforting words that Thelma spoke to Lauren ( page 83, Trespassing on His Heart ). Our Lord, like a parent, says ‘no’ at times because He has something better, or more suited for me in the future. 🙂

So, moving forward, Trespassing On His Heart will be available on Amazon in a few short days. I hope you enjoy the read, and if you do, watch for the sequel, Tender Is The Heart, which continues the journey of Lauren and Jackson.

Thanks again to all, till next time . . . and remember to keep God first in your plans. He’s the one in control! 🙂

Mary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kindle Scout . . . will time tell?

It seems there’s something new and exciting coming at us every day. The Front Cover saying is that opportunity knocks more often on the door that’s prepared to answer.

I’ve missed out a time or two for that reason—not prepared. Either short of being finished with my project, or I’d already committed to other plans when the knock came.

Several weeks ago I got an email encouraging me to enter my just completed manuscript to Kindle Scout. I did some research.

Everything I read about the ( Kindle Scout ) program seemed positive. Especially for the writer who’s inclined to self-publish.

All the elements lined up; this time I was prepared.The last edit on my manuscript was finished. And four paperback proofs later, I was happy with the cover, front and back. I could do this.

Why not? What did I have to lose?’ I submitted.

Kindle Scout approved my manuscript and cover. They gave me the start date for my campaign.  August 9, 2015 12:00 AM EDT and it last for a month, ending September 8, 2015 AM EDT.

So, what is a KindleScout campaign?

For the writer it’s opportunity knocking. The opportunity to be represented by one of the fastest-growing venues in book publishing, ( Amazon ) and a nice five year contract.

For readers, it’s the opportunity to have a voice, to discover and encourage new writers in the genre of your choice. And get free books!

Here’s the URL to my campaign:  https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/87C07RWHVU38

What’s the next step? Read the excerpt from ‘Trespassing On His Heart.’ If you like, click nominate. If it gets selected for the Kindle Scout program, you get a free copy and it helps me. And whether it gets selected, or not, I thank you for your support, it’s most encouraging and motivating. 🙂

I simply love hearing from people who like my writing and my book covers—and believe it or not, I’ve learned important things from people who don’t like the writing or covers. So, you’d be doing me a favor to let me know what you think. 🙂

Keep God first in your plans . . . things go better. 🙂

MaryJ

Let’s talk . . .

Is there anything better than a warm shower, clean pajamas and climbing into bed with a good book?

Not for me . . . let me tell you about this book I read.

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Recently I volunteered to join Melissa Jagears support team—I like her writing—a lot—and was happy for the opportunity to talk about her new book.‘A Bride At Last’.

The first evening that I had a chance to read after receiving the book from Bethany House, I plunked it on my bed and hurried out to the kitchen to put the tea kettle on.

Anticipation ran high. I was anxious to settle into bed with the new book and my hot jasmine tea.

When I came back into my bedroom, first thing I noticed again was how pretty the book cover is. It sparkled against my white sheets. I often buy books because of a beautiful cover. I’ve been mislead a few times, but not many.

And I wouldn’t have been mislead by this cover.

The story is very entertaining and the author gives the reader a clear picture of her characters. Silas Jonesey is a man any woman could love. But he has problems as Kate Dawson discovers. Kate’s a strong woman with a good head on her shoulders ( not just a pretty face ). Not given to hasty decisions—she holds back. Watching, sizing him up.

Silas and Kate both have weaknesses they battle. He’s made some bad choices in the past. And Kate, well, Kate just simply runs away . . .

Kate learns that running isn’t a choice anymore when she takes a young boy into her home after his mother dies. Her love for him leads her to make a big sacrifice, for his sake—oops, don’t want to spoil the story for anyone—you’ll have to read the book to find out what happens—you may be surprised.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading A Bride At Last. I recommend it to other readers who enjoy the complexity of working out a relationship. Melissa Jagears writes about people with christian principles, who find christian solutions to everyday problems. Loved this book!

Until next time, happy reading! And keep God first in your plans.

MaryJ 🙂

 

Leaning on The Rail.

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How often do we find ourselves leaning on a fence rail, or looking out the window, maybe even sitting on the patio and taking a break. Any of those places provide a perfect place and time to wonder about things. Things like the future, the scenery before us, or more likely, a task that’s proving difficult to get finished.

Or maybe we’re just . . . leaning on the rail.

Every time I see this photo, I focus on the dreamy quality of the setting. The model’s seemingly relaxed gaze across the beautiful fall landscape could be misleading. The scene might make me wonder what interesting thoughts this person would be having in this serene setting.

  • I can picture a sadness because she’s waiting for someone who may not return.
  • I can see a woman walking to a neighbor’s house and paused to enjoy the smell of fall. She’ll describe it to her friend later.
  • I can see an artist searching for the perfect spot to paint from. There’s so much to choose from!

Only, I know the model, and her thoughts were none of the above.

My sister and I had been to an auction, and we were both very tired. But I had my camera with me—and I love old falling down fences with peeling paint. Especially old fences with rustic red peeling paint.

I made Ruth, my sister, go stand by the fence. She complained that she looked awful and she didn’t want her picture made. She didn’t look awful, but I compromised and said she could stand with her back to me—I just wanted a figure by the fence.

My point is that many times what a thing looks like and what it actually is, can be worlds apart. The next time an image makes you wonder what’s going on in the scene, pause for a moment, and try to imagine three completely different scenarios to fit the image.

It’s fun. And for the writer it stirs the imagination.

I was pretty sure that what Ruthy was thinking was far different from the dreamy image I wanted to depict to my viewers.

I hurried the shot. 🙂

Until next time,

Mare 🙂

Keep God first in your plans, things work out better. 

No new resolutions for 2015…

My sister, who is also my next door neighbor, held a New Year’s Eve party for our brothers and their wives. The food was good and the conversation was great, still, at about ten o’clock ( way before the ball drops ) my thoughts turned to my warm bed.  Being only a short distance from my back door, ( our back patios are thirty feet apart ) I cast wistful glances in that direction—fun party or not—my bed called.

You’d have to know how much fun my brothers and their wives can be to understand the difficulty of choosing between their company and the call of the deep rut that masquerades as my life. Only time and effort creates a rut as deep and comfy as the one I enjoy.

I smile when I hear people speak of being in a rut, as if it’s a bad thing—and I suppose for some it may be. Not here, I like it. 🙂

But, for this contented rut dweller, the year 2015 comes with exciting plans, too. I have several trips planned, my novel is just a breath away from being published—well, maybe more like a long sigh away. I look forward to spending time with family, and of course with my life long girl friends.

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Jeanelle, Sandy, Katy, Marsha and me.

Have you ever watched a group of senior friends having fun doing group selfies? One afternoon we gathered to visit, share a pot of coffee and the great-grandkid photos on our iPhones. One thing led to another . . . before long we were all talking at the same time, playing like kids and having a great time 🙂

Simple pleasures. Who wouldn’t feel blessed—you know, does it get any better? 🙂

If I had words of wisdom for 2015, they would be to consider simplifying—in all things. Keep in mind what is really important. Thank God for all the good you enjoy—be grateful, never take for granted the blessings of today. Nothing in this world is guaranteed, or designed to last forever.

I wish for you a wonderful year ahead, and I wish for you many good friends, the kind you can be silly with, the kind that will be there, too, when life turns serious.

Happy New Year!

Keep God first in you plans—life is better when you put Him first. 

Take care,

Mary:-)