Love holidays. My husband and I were recalling valentine’s day the other day. Looking at all the cards that were fancy and pricey, and remembering the little one’s you punched out and sent to your classmates. Most were silly or funny, with little skunks with red bows offering kisses, or boys holding a box of candy behind one hand and a frog in the other. Well, maybe I don’t remember either.

But all the holidays were always celebrated at school, with a week before making signs and decorations or drawing a picture on the chalk-board. Had a school party and treats. Everything revolved around what we would do on that day to celebrate.  Hope they still do the Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter, etc. party things. Some of you teachers tell me it’s so. Hope they don’t celebrate all the holidays by getting out of school.



Adopting the tactics of nonviolent protest, this charismatic man led to tremendous social change in the Civil Rights Movement, just as Mahatma Gandhi created change for India with nonviolent civil disobedience. He definitely deserves to be remembered and honored. Not seeing that in all his followers this week and it’s a shame. Wonderful to credit love, respect, and kindness to bringing positive changes for all.


Ready to post book on Amazon, I thought, then last night I started thinking about a couple of sections, so rewrote those today. Also rewrote my back copy. Here is what I have now.


Rewrote copy, yet again and playing with another title. Would love some feedback.


I’m considering giving up television completely. We got our first set when I was five. I can remember all of kids sitting there watching that test-pattern with the Indian head, waiting for there to be television. Pinky Lee, then later Soupy Sales. I mean bad television, but it was so exciting to be able to turn it on and watch. Weekends there were old westerns, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, or sometimes Hop Along Cassidy. If it was a drama, Mom would yell turn it off and rest the tubes. If they got over-heated, we’d be sorry. At night, we always watched the news, the man with the watch that kept on ticking, Edward R. Murrow. Then some kind of variety show, Ted Mack’s Amateur Hour or Milton Berle, or Jack Benny. About an hour in the morning, the same at night.

I miss watching television, have always loved movies, and reading magazines. But this relentless torrent of hate just seems to color everything, even Facebook and Twitter.

Thought when the election was over, some of the unrelenting hate speech would stop. But I’ve never in my life seen so much bullying and name calling. Whether you voted for him or not, this media assault is unprecedented. Praying for new President, our nation, and all of you.  Let us follow MLK’s example and come together peacefully. God bless, and good night.



Finished my last edits on my book, today working on the back book copy. Have decided to put the book up for preorders while I wait on reports back from early readers with any last minute changes. Expect these last edits to take another couple of days to make after I hear from them.

The blurb on the back is a short 100 to 200 word piece that is the second most important part of selling the book. Of course, the cover is the most important part. Some authors list four things a blurb must do, others up to seven.  It has to accomplish at least these three things about the book.

1.Make clear the genre and central theme

2.Introduce your main character (s) and their goal(s)

3.Create intrigue and establish the main conflict or obstacle to that goal

I think you also need to reveal the setting and mood of your novel.

The blurb is a more detailed version of your logline, which is a single sentence summary of the story. Although these are used to write a logline for a script, I always find the Save the Cat short version helpful.

Here are the genre logline templates (with the three elements for each genre in italics):


Monster in the House: Monster, House, Sin
A culpable hero is forced to save a trapped group of people from being killed by a monster he inadvertently unleashed.

Golden Fleece: Road, Team, Prize
A driven hero must lead a group of allies to retrieve a prized possession through a perilous journey that wasn’t what the hero expected.

Out of the Bottle: Wish, Spell, Lesson
A covetous hero must learn to undo a spell he wished for before it turns into a curse he can’t undo.

Dude With A Problem: Innocent Hero, Sudden Event, Life or Death
An unwitting hero must survive at all costs when he is dragged into a life or death situation he never saw coming and cannot escape.

Rites of Passage: Life Problem, Wrong Way, Acceptance
A troubled hero’s only way to overcome a spiraling life crisis is to defeat his worst enemy – himself.

Buddy Love: Incomplete Hero, Counterpart, Complication
An inadequate hero must rise above an extremely difficult situation to be with a uniquely unlikely partner who is the only one capable of bringing him peace.

Whydunit: Detective, Secret, Dark Turn
A single-minded hero must find the truth to a mystery so intriguing before he is swallowed by the darkness he desperately seeks to expose.

Fool Triumphant: Fool, Establishment, Transmutation
An innocent hero’s only way to defeat the prejudices of a group is to change himself without losing what made him the group’s target of disdain in the first place – his uniqueness.

Institutionalized: Group, Choice, Sacrifice
An outsider’s only way to save his individuality is by going against the many who wish to integrate him into their fold.

Superhero: Special Power, Nemesis, Curse
A uniquely special hero must defeat an opponent with stronger capabilities by using the same powers that disconnect him from the people he hopes to save.

Here is a nice summary from one of the tips on my Pinterest board.


Here are a couple of links to more detailed explanations of how to write back blurbs. Of course Joanna Penn is the best.

Marilyn offers a lot of specific advice depending on your genre.


This is what I have on my cover tonight. Keep rewriting it and will probably change several times before I publish. Running later on my blog because of it. Hope some of this is helpful.










Still editing, so will just write the post I had intended for yesterday, Friday the 13th.

Bad weather threatening too many areas of the country right now. World seems pretty agitated and growing more so all the time. Hard to find a calm, tranquil moment with all the negative news feeds everyday. Trying to work on a little emotional calm but just remain unsettled all the time. Usually winter is a dormant, kind of calm season. Even a lot of the animals hibernate, though their sleep cycles may have been altered by the fluctuating weather patterns.

So feeling frightened, it might be well to look at a list of superstitions from around the world. Just in case, there is any truth to any of them.



My mother claimed she wasn’t either, but nearly every time she was outside hanging clothes, she would stop to look for a four-leaf clover. She was always lucky and would find one or more, also won at bingo a lot, and in drawings. She never wanted us to open an umbrella in the house. So, I suspect she was.

Many people are and always like sharing superstitions though. Like bad luck from a black cat. We had two cats we were told were witches cats because they had thirteen toes on their front paws and were black. One lived to be twenty-three, the other twenty-four, although they were always outside. Don’t know what the extra toes on their hind paws meant, but they were awfully sweet cats. Never saw them do anything mean to anyone but scores of mice and birds.

Walking under a ladder makes sense, dangerous anyway.

Telling people breaking a mirror brings bad luck makes sense too. It keeps them from breaking something that used to be very precious and hard to get.


Superstitions about weather signs also make sense since there weren’t twenty-four hour weather reports where every shower or storm had warning banners on the screen. Ice Storm Jupiter, for example, does sound more ominous than chance of ice and snow in the forecast.



All right, who doesn’t believe in crossing your fingers, a lucky rabbit’s foot, and hanging a horseshoe over the barn door. But some of these I hadn’t heard of sound worth trying. Who hasn’t had company arrive or a salesman at the door that you want to shoo away. Wish I had known an upside down broom would get rid of them.

These last two I never heard of before. Have a lot of nights where it is hard to fall asleep, usually because a story is running through my head. Kind of cool to think of those restless nights as being allowed to walk in someone else’s dream. Stories seem like dreams to me anyway.

I’ve heard of wishing upon a star, but will be looking for a rock with a white line around it now to wish upon. Wouldn’t have to wait on a clear night to make your wish that way.

If you have some favorite superstitions, please share.




Sometimes I listen to music, but when I’m editing, I prefer to listen to the endless webinars and podcasts that land in my mailbox these days. Signed up for one to learn from three years ago. (I know no one shares or sells your email, but I sure get a lot of them these days.) All are spellbinders and keep me from falling asleep as I do this nitpicking work. Starting to hear ones though that seem like retreads from that first year. Not sure, it may be that they all just sound alike. Always make you want them, then have a count-down, several have-to-have bonuses, and the stinger that keeps me from buying – only  ______ dollars.

Listening to a Mike Koenigs, who’s ‘writing a best-selling book’ sounds so easy and doable. Unfortunately, all the examples were nonfiction. This one is only $797, and that’s a thousand dollars off.



It helps as I run through Grammarly on my recent novel, correcting errors as I go. Since Joanna, of Virginia  is set during the Civil War, some of the terms and expressions are getting flagged. Have to carefully weigh the suggestions it keeps making.

One of the things I hate most about making corrections is the issue of commas. Where do they go? Why do some editors tell you to put them in before every conjunction, and this one is indicating I should take them out before but, or although, or, some other word. Looks like I need them when there’s a verb in the clause, omit when there’s not.

I’ve always believed in using one when the character pauses for a breath, but some of these experts tend to disagree. I’ve generously scattered them where I think they go, but now it is becoming tedious evaluating each suggestion before making a change or leaving it.


I’m enjoying this ‘My 500-word’ challenge because Jeff Goins urges us to write without considering grammar, kind of the free-flow of a Nanowrimo sprint. Not sure if posting them as a blog is the intended consequence, but I have limited time and patience and if I’ve written something, I now believe in sharing it.

Posting late again, because I was so intent on catching the next error, it was after midnight when I checked the time. Don’t want to break my string of continuous posts, though.


I’m not sure of the title for this first book in the series, but this is what I’m going with for now. If you have suggestions, please offer them. There was a long series of mail-order brides last year that used their first name and state. I’m hoping this will be a longer series than my earlier ones.

Have a request from one of my local fans to finish the Mountain Wives series by writing Cicely’s story. Have to squeeze it in sometime this year.

Anyway, here is the current cover. Still working on the blurb. Will try to share it with you tomorrow and some tips for writing back of cover sales copy.



Despite stopping to waste time worrying about what I need to do about marketing, I am back at editing tonight, round three. The two days since I finished the total rewrite and structural edit, were needed by me before I could do the line edits.
The big edits include major changes to the story. These are some of them.
1. I look for inconsistencies from the beginning of the novel to the end. Like changing a character’s name from John to Jason half-way through, or the baby who is one year at the beginning but three by the end, only two months later in my story line.
2. Killing darlings, that is taking out characters who do little, or eliminating scenes that don’t do one of the three chores of a scene. These are moving the plot forward, increasing stakes, or showing character development.  If I have a weakness it would be not taking out favorite scenes, but I try to rewrite them so they are working and essential to the story.
3. I check the character arc, to make sure the characters undergo some growth or change. Began writing short stories, and a character change or come-to-realize moment was always part of a selling story.
4. Since writing a few scripts and reading lots of books on screenwriting, I am much more aware of story tension. If things are too easy on your character, the tension evaporates, and readers lose interest. Since I’ve been writing stories about women and their ordinary lives in the eighteen hundreds, this can be difficult. But I try to keep their minds on the big obstacles they are facing, even in simpler moments like cooking or tending a sick child.  An excellent book to help with story tension is by Debra Dixon called GMC: Goal, Motivation, and Conflict.

5. I did a lot of sentence edits during my big rewrite. Making sentences less bloated or convoluted, and more direct. I will check if I caught all these by running the chapters through my Hemingway App. After doing a few books, I have pretty much abandoned the endless sentence style of Faulkner, and although not Hemingway, I am writing more directly even in draft mode. Not.

Jody’s infographic names these first two steps as macro-edits, and line edits.
Now comes the nitpicking stage of, grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
I also like this method by an elementary teacher, called Arms and Cups.  These match the line edits and copy edits above.

Sol Stein says, “One plus one equals one-half.” He means that if you use two adjectives at a time rather than choosing the stronger of the two, you cut your impact in half. (Jerry Jenkins, 5 Ninja Self-Editing Tips.)

Don’t use flowery attributions like “he said gravely,” or “he shouted enthusiastically,” or any other variations that read like Horatio Alger and his rags to riches tales.

I have tons of lists on editing grammar on my Pinterest board for writers,

Here is one, although there are lots of tools like Grammarly (free version), (free), and other tools online that help with most of these.

I trust my early readers to catch the things I miss, bless their hearts.




There once was a time when I felt I fell nearer the top than the bottom of this Bell chart. Three college degrees later, I have to wonder. Yesterday my goal was to send out my first email newsletter using MailChimp. (A free site, but still friendly with lots of informative little sections explaining every step.)  It seems either I can’t upload an email capture on a free WordPress site, (seeing a common link here), or I have figured every way in the world to do it wrong.  Had a nice page with opt-in and a sign-in form on it, but nothing clicked to anywhere. I’m going to post  Url link in here and we’ll see if it works.

Perhaps if I were a kid, like all the wealthy entrepreneurs on YouTube who are millionaire, best-selling authors by age twelve, I could figure out more of this easy stuff. Instead I’m closer to this lovely lady. Will keep working at it.


Nothing stellar to report on the new book. Distracted with this little computer project so still need to finish a third edit on the latest book. Wish I could say I’m writing on the next one while I finish the last, but other than these silly blog posts, I haven’t done any writing the last two days.

About two-thirds of the way on the jigsaw puzzle. Swam sixteen laps this morning and read a book on the 5:2 diet. At least, I’m trying to make good on some of my resolutions. Tried the diet last year for two or three months. Lost ten pounds the first month and then stayed the same, even though I stayed on the program. Figure reading what I’m supposed to do might help, rather than fasting two days, and eating normal five. Secret, according to the books author, Gina Crawford, is to widely space the days.  She suggests Monday and Thursdays. Eat 500 calories (women), 600 calories (men) in only two meals – one at 7:30 a.m., the other at 7:30 p.m.. Tried today. Twelve hours between little meals is a stretch. We’ll see. Book was free on Amazon the other day.

Think maybe it’s the weather. We froze last week, then yesterday the wind began to blow, still cold, but today it feels like a nice spring breeze. I worry the trees and bushes will be as confused by it as my arthritis. Hope they don’t start to bud and grow too early. We had that three or four years ago, and all the leaves turned black with a sudden cold snap. Hard summer, with nuts that fall the size of pea gravel. At least it thinned out the squirrels.

Will be writing a batch of emails, the regular way, to try to find my Beta readers for the latest book. Conquering the ‘build a list monster’ will have to wait another day, or maybe another year. At least I won’t be using white-out to correct any errors. My bottle of correction fluid dried up long ago.





On the top of my list of to do’s, every year for the last three years, has been to create an email list. Every few days I will make the mistake of listening to a webinar (you know, for $99 a month I will tell you all the secrets to being successful at writing), and they always say, make an email list.

So, I haven’t been able to figure out how to add a click on thing on my WordPress site. Honestly, I just come and visit because of the blog challenges. I’m rather addicted to challenges.

I did figure out the add comment thing, but if it takes your email, it’s like Amazon, and keeps it secret from me.



I go on Facebook four or five times a week – just to keep up with the many lists I’ve joined. I think it must know who follows my list and have your email, but again, it is secret from me. Apparently, according to all the experts, if you want to make any money from writing, you must build an email list.

Tonight or tomorrow, the few chosen ones, people who’ve written and given me their email, hopefully, will receive my first Mailchimp email. Wave flags or dance or something, because you are special. I hope to have the new book edited by Friday, and would love some Beta readers to reassure me it is ready to publish. I feel blessed to have a handful of real, actual fans. People who have written to share how much they’ve loved a book (s). Most post reviews as well. (I am still shocked to write that word, ‘fan.’)

I’ve not wanted to abuse anyone’s trust and annoy them with a lot of emails. I get so many, and believe me, it can be annoying. But, now that I’ve slowed down and there’s just a new book every three or four months, it will not be often, or very long, when I write, “have a new baby, please take a look.”

Hopefully, I can figure out how to add a box to unsubscribe, so if you don’t want to ever hear from me again, you’ll have the option.

I know it is pathetic, but this is the part of writing that scares me the most. Selling the books. I like it, love it when I sell one. But it’s hard to say “look at the pretty book, buy the pretty book, you must have the pretty book.” (I was channeling Svengali as I wrote that, you know, you are under my spell, do as I say, to hypnotize you.)



I’ve made lists before. Used to do a newsletter every month, for over twenty-five years, for the writers’ group. I mean, I’ve been writing about the Civil War, and every one of these handsome men were on a list or roster. I kept one for every class I ever taught. I’ve written lots of letters before, and many pages of other things as well. (I can do this, surely I can do this, I will get this done.)

So if any of these emails that I scribbled down in various notebooks, have been entered correctly, you may hear from me. Smile, and know that I just want to be a successful writer when I grow up, and I love you.


Worrying about all the hate and mud still being slung, post-election, made me sulk most of the day away. I prefer to be optimistic and happy, get a lot more work done that way.





I write mainly historical romance. An idyllic time unless you research history. No indoor plumbing, hand-washing clothes in all kinds of weather, cooking on wood-burning stoves or over campfires, no air-conditioning or central heat. Travel anywhere usually took up the whole day – just to buy groceries or visit the neighbor, and crossing the country could take months. They had very few books, which would have made me very unhappy. Most people made most or all of their own clothes, raised or hunted their own meat, grew and preserved their own vegetables and fruit, and died of something, usually before they were forty, including the common cold.

Today planned to research the coming changes to the economy and society. Instead will just list the most interesting of these and let you take a look.


Most of the predictions sound unbelievable, but I believe most will happen. I mean my husband and I only have a cell phone, no land line, and own a smart television, which if I ever figure out how to get Jeopardy and Wheel, I can cut out cable. Our last car is already smarter than us, reminds us to put it in park and take the key, gives directions and instant maps of where we’re going, and lets us talk to people through the steering wheel. Came as we’re actually starting to need constant reminders, the dryer playing music when its time to fold, the microwave and oven beeping when they finish cooking. I like most of this stuff some of the time.



Almost every article talked about the Internet of Things. We will all be connected to information and each other all the time. More smart machines, houses, and apps so life will become much easier.

We can store one third of all information in the cloud for access anywhere now, in ten years, almost everything. If you stay mad about the biased news coverage and annoying media personalities, be patient. Their days are numbered. We’ll be able to get our news instantly from the source from someone at the scene or disaster with a cell phone.  No need for pompous experts to tell us what is happening. Might lead to more people forming their own opinions – but no one seemed to predict humans would be smarter.

Talking street signs and cars that drive themselves may be arriving just in time. Good for the elderly and the young drivers too busy texting and watching a video to pay attention to where they are going.

Several talked about virtual humans, in the next ten years. Robots to tend to the elderly and small children, and do most of the boring tasks that people call jobs now. Some of these will be robots, others cyborgs (humans with mechanical parts). Not sure this will be that good, since I get annoyed just talking to those make-believe people on the end of the phone line when I need information, but trying to keep an open mind.

Power will no longer be a problem. There are new solar cells that one can just print off and use, costing negligible amounts and supplying power for cities from a few acres of solar panels. Pollution free, unlimited energy is at hand.

Don’t fret the repeal of Obamacare or the new plan to replace it. Soon we will be able to access our DNA report to see what our risk factors are, have a remote visit with the doctor by smart phone, have all the sensors needed to detect any changes in our health, and even order microsurgery by robots to perform most operations for pennies on the dollar. Someone is even saying we’ll be able to create our own replacement organs.

Three-D Printers will be able to print out whatever you want, besides a new kidney. You order it online, then print off your new shoes, clothes, furniture, etc. Oh Judy Jetson, to think I ever laughed about you typing in dinner and poof, it appeared. The scientists are saying yes, affordable and we’ll have it to use within the next ten years.

Luckily, with so much less to do to stay busy, we will have Virtual Reality. We can go on vacation, create our own movies, maybe even have a hot date with our dream man or woman. Never a boring moment.

Don’t worry about going to the bank, the banking systems will be replaced by something called blockchain. Everything automatically taken care of in cyberspace. If the blocks are anything like legos, I’m ready to play.

Here are a few of the links.



If you a doom and gloomer, I only found one article making dire predictions of national bankruptcy, population control, constant wars, civilizations slipping backward, etc.  Everything bad that we have now, except speeded up. Enough said, I see a lot of end times things on Twitter. I’ll let you imagine that for yourselves.







First week gone, and my goals haven’t changed, but so many of the posts in my Facebook feed were negative tonight, thought it might be a good time to reflect on this past year and wish for a more positive new year. Seems the election has divided America into two warring camps, as evidenced by the speeches in the Golden Globe awards – a ceremony about film, not politics (usually). Fear the leap from the old to the new may be too far for many to cross. Always believed that hate is a two headed worm, devouring the host as much as the one it is pointed at.

One: Wish America could heal and unite as one country. We face a complex world, full of terror, uncertainty, and many, many enemies. Instead of insulting each other and continuing the snide put-downs, we need to join together to offer help and participation in moving everyone forward. Of course, this image of the video game World Conflict shows our children are playing at the alternative already. Is this really what Americans want? Intelligent caring people need to find points of mutual need and agreement instead.


Two: Wish we could have our push-button digital world without the loss of the industrial and commercial world that most of us grew up knowing. Do not see that happening. Time is here to  revamp education with more emphasis on apprenticeships and the jobs that are actually out there. Also need increased value placed on jobs of service, such as teaching, nursing, farming, developing self-sustaining energy, and cultivating biological diversity.

Not sure how wonderful factory life was, but it did enable the average American to have a steady paycheck, nice home, and two week vacation. Perhaps if we can revamp and change the psychology of service jobs, pay more, offer greater prestige for those who do them – we could have  a better social network than the one that has failed so many in our country. I’ve always believed work makes a person happy, having nothing meaningful to do creates a sense of worthlessness that mere words cannot erase.


Three: Wish we were planning more for the future. Rebuilding the infrastructure so children don’t have to drink lead or other poisons with their water, develop new power grids and communication centers so our country is self-reliant, replace our deteriorating interstate system and prepare for the new self-driving cars.

Think according to many religions, not just the Mayans, we are living in end-times. If you are a believer, you know hating others does not lead you to a better place. Although global warming may not be real, climate change is, and with increased volcanic and seismic activity as well as close flying comets – we need to focus on human survival for the next apocalyptic event. We have opposable thumbs and the gift for gab, so hopefully we can find a way for mankind to survive.


These three are really selfish wishes. When people are calling names and sending hate-messages, murdering others because they’ve bought into all the hate rhetoric, even attacking the helpless and weak – it is hard for me to escape to my imaginary world and write in peace.

Please, let us have peace.





Wish who ever posted this on Pinterest had signed their name, it is so true. Have been on schedule with my writing challenge this month until tonight, and I just got lost in rewriting that last chapter. Now two chapters longer with more to come. Since I’ve already been bad and am posting late, will cheat by adding a few more favorite words of wisdom.

ON WRITING                 7dbaaf70fe2354fdad73d29fd61ca45d

One of the best books on how to write, and what it takes to be a writer, is Stephen King’s, On Writing. Part memoir, part how-to, it is full of quotable gems. If you look for any inspirational quotes on writing, you will find dozens pulled from this sweet little book. To call King a master, is an understatement. If his genre weren’t Horror, he would be one of our literary giants.

Of course, I don’t enjoy editing, wish I felt divine when I’m doing it. But it is a necessary evil and the one thing everyone judges your work by. Like the icing on the cake, if there’s a flaw, every reader sees it and comments. Although younger writers seem far more tolerate. Maybe they have grown up reading self-published authors on their phone or tablet, or more likely, they are used to interpreting brief tweets and symbol strewn text messages. It’s at this point I wish I had been an English major, but luckily, I know several English teachers and occasionally one will read and circle the elusive little demons I miss.

CHASING STORY        ef58903be15b0d72f426c508bb905409

My editing so far, has not been for grammar errors or typos, although I correct those as I read through. No, it has been on that first, difficult level where I’m trying to capture the story in my head and write it down in all its truth and glory.  Love Mary’s poetic description of writing quoted here. Would love to achieve something this wonderful. Not ever sure I have written anything more than silly natterings, but I am trying to follow the characters and discover the true and correct ending for their story. I’ll only be happy when I do. Then I can go after the next level of editing, stomping on all the elusive bugs of bad grammar.

FINISHING                 b2820f91af2a76021e08675efa59e6d8

Thought I would be ten thousand words along in the next book by now, but this novel has required a lot more research, and wool-gathering, to get to the end. Hope to finish all edits and send it off to a few readers by next Friday. That is my goal, to quit piddling and finish this one to move on to another.

It seemed easier to write for a little while, when I first dared to share a book online. If anything, being Indi-published will quickly teach you, is that every book does not really have a reader out there. There are so many people writing and publishing on Amazon, that the competition is fierce. When a story I loved writing, written the best I could do at the time, doesn’t find an audience, I fret about it like a little buck-toothed child that can’t make friends. Wish I could have Walt’s optimism.


Wishing you all happy writing and enjoyable reading.





Silver Dreamer