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Archive for the 'Real Life' Category

Cowboy Puzzle Contest
Friday, April 2nd, 2021

It’s Friday but feels like Saturday. I’ve been a day ahead all week. I even woke the 17-year-old to put out the trash the day before the trashmen came. Gah.

We had freezing weather last night, so dd was looking for sheets to cover her newly planted garden. The local hardware store didn’t have any garden mesh. So far, it looks like everything survived, except perhaps, the lettuce. 🙁

The pool is still green, but I hope to get that fixed over the next two weeks. The long-range forecast isn’t great for swimming in April, but I’ll be ready for May!!!! I’ve hit it with algaecide, floc, and lots of chlorine. And I’ll have to do it all again in a day or two. The pool is a time and money suck—but so worth it when the summer heat is miserable. We love swimming at night and watching the bats fly overhead. (Yes, that wasn’t a typo!) We also moved our grill to the pool enclosure and have big plans for meals, drinks, etc., at poolside this year.

As for this weekend, I am hoping not to work too hard. I do have a looming book deadline, but I’ll try to only write the # of words I need for the day. I do have a set of edits that need to go out, but again, I’m not killing myself this weekend. I want some rest and to spend some time outdoors since it looks like we’ll have sunshine! I hope you all find some balance this weekend, too!

Puzzle Contest

For a chance to win a Texas Cowboys or a Cowboys on the Edge story, solve the puzzle then tell me what this cowboy is thinking!

Bye-Bye March. Here comes April! (Contest)
Wednesday, March 31st, 2021

UPDATE: The winner is…Mechelle!


March was… It’s hard to describe. Crazy busy, super annoying. Big happy wins and crotchety pain-in-ass (literally) setbacks.

On the health front… I started the month still recovering from a busted tailbone, but by the third week, I sat comfortably (with a donut, still). My hand (last September’s fall) is still wonky and I met with the ortho guy who said the continued tightness and swelling are all normal, and if I keep doing my hand exercises, I should, someday, be able to curl my fist again and open a damn jar. Good news on the medical front? I had my second COVID shot and my dd had her first! Now, we have the 16 and 17-year-olds scheduled, too. We’re slowly getting there, but still masking and distancing, and will continue to do so until they have vaccines for the little ones.

On the work front… I finished writing Hardman and published it! Woot! Thanks to everyone who read it and left a review. Reviews are so appreciated! I also completed 5 editing projects, two of which were loooonnng. They kicked my ass, but they are out the door! I got the rights back to some old books I published through some traditional houses a while ago, so I added them to my work schedule because they need a refurb, and one set of stories needs a readthrough because I want to write more in the series. To say the least, I’m super stoked.

On the art front… I am still slogging through the #100daychallenge, although I’m about ten days behind. Here are some of my favorites so far…


I completed my April calendar yesterday, and it already needs some fixes. I think April is going to be that kind of month—one where I have to be fluid and roll to evade the bombs and sinkholes. The big thing in April is that I have to write a book and publish it. Yeah, I haven’t written page one, but I generally do best when I’m running on adrenaline, and a hard deadline gooses me into creativity.

That book is Hot SEAL, In His Memory, and it’s going to be a hard one for me to write because it deals with the loss of a friend and a husband. If you haven’t pre-ordered your copy…

Hot SEAL, In His Memory

Pre-order your copy here!

As for editing gigs, I presently have two scheduled, but I had that many scheduled for March as well, and look what happened! So, I’m hoping I’ll have the first couple of weeks pretty free to dive into my new story.

On the homefront, I’ve begun work to get the green scum out of the pool. That’s always a weeks-long thing. I can’t wait to swim!!!!! And my dd is putting in a garden. We’re hoping it does well and that we have a summer full of lettuce, cucumbers, strawberries, blueberries, peppers, and more! I love admiring the “fruits” of her labor, but diggin’ in dirt is not my thing. I’ll maintain the pool, thank you very much.

And I plan to catch up on the art challenge, too. I’m getting better at it, I think. But the purpose is to connect with my creative center. Writing has become a job in my mind. I need to find that spark again.

So, I’d love to hear whether you had big wins in March and plans for April! Chime in for a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card!

“I have the power!”
Tuesday, March 30th, 2021

Do you hear He-Man’s voice shouting that? Never heard it? I’ll fix that!


We lost power at 2 AM. I noted it and rolled over to go back to sleep, thinking that like 99% of the outages we have out here in the sticks that power would be back on in a couple of hours. At 5 AM, I woke up again, and the power was still off. Since I was the only one up, I put on some shoes and carried a flashlight down our long driveway to see whether I could see any lights across the road from us. Nada.

So, I called the power company, knowing that someone had to be the first person to notify them when there’s an outage or nothing gets done. I was the first. At hour number seven, I called back to see if they had any idea when power would be restored. They didn’t have a clue because a large pole went down in a swamp due to the storms we’ve had lately, and it wasn’t going to be an easy job to fix it.

Nice. A pole in a swamp. Who does that?

I had a good idea which swamp they were talking about, too. About a mile from us, way down the hill, is a place called Clear Lake. I think something was having fun naming it because it’s anything but clear. It’s a swamp. And it spreads outward every time it rains. Alligators live in it. In fact, about four years ago, a 10-foot gator took a stroll through an adjacent rice field. The kids love to fish there because they can watch the gators swim by when it’s warmer.

Anyway, we had to dig the generator out of the shop and start it up. We ran cords to the refrigerators. We have two. One for storage in the basement and one for the most-used items in the kitchen upstairs. With seven people in the house, we have to keep a lot of food on hand in case, you know, snowmaggedon or floods keep us cut off from town.

I know I sound like a complete hillbilly, but that’s country life. We love it. While the power was out, my SIL and dd headed to the store to buy vegetable plants for the garden they’re putting in. Yesterday, they were working on fencing to keep the horses inside. We had an incident the other day where some old fencing went down during a storm, and the horses ended up running through the ditch next to the highway to get to the green grass in our front yard. They’re penned in a small pasture now until the new fencing is done, but it’s raining today, so too wet to do any more fence work along the lower edge of the property where the ground is, you know, swampy, from the rain.

Anyway, the power is on again. Like a miracle. The day is shot so far is work is concerned, but I thought I’d pop my head in the door and tell you about my day. I’d love to hear about the weather-related issues you face on a regular basis. 

Even the best mousetraps… (Puzzle-contest)
Sunday, March 28th, 2021

UPDATE: The winner is…AnnaMarie Melchiorre!

Psst! Check out yesterday’s post.
I haven’t closed out all of those open contests! Enter now!!

I’m just poking my head in the door. Lots on my plate (what does that mean, anyway?) to do today. I need to make words (write-write-write, or at least come up with a page–I’d be happy with one!), edit a boatload of pages, and do some organizing in my bathroom cabinets. Gah. I hate housework. Did I mention I convinced the 12-year-old to be my housekeeper by offering her a monthly “salary”? Yeah, we’ll see how long that lasts, but for now, it’s awesome!

Anyway, I’m sharing a puzzle. Hope you love it. The subject is mice because, with the recent cold spell we had, at least one mouse took up residence in our house. We set those humane capture-and-release traps. Nada. Then we went for the old-fashioned snap-traps. And ta-da! I hope he was the only one. The cats (all five!) were too fat and lazy to catch him. 🙁

Puzzle Contest

For a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card, tell me a mouse story. Pet, pest? How did you rid yourself of them?

Not a lazy Saturday… Contests ending, and a new contest… And who’s your new book boyfriend? I have a suggestion…
Saturday, March 27th, 2021

UPDATE: The winner is…Alison Hutfelter!

It’s Saturday, and I have some ground to cover this weekend to catch up on my schedule! Why did I fall behind? It’s kind of a mash of post-COVID-shot-malaise (there was a bit of fatigue associated with the shot, nothing big), plus the post-book-release-exhale (which is a real thing for me, folks!), but it’s time to step it up because I have a new book to whiz through this month, plus several editing projects. It never ends, and weekends aren’t weekends when you’re self-employed!

So, today, I will be editing and starting the new story. As well, I’m behind on the #100daychallenge, which is an art challenge I take on every year to get my creative juices going. I’ve been posting my paintings online, which is nerve-wracking because some of them look rushed and slapped together, but some of them…? I really like this one. I think it will earn a frame. 🙂

And I still have to promo Hardman, which is my latest release if you didn’t already know. It’s a fun, action-packed story with two very deserving-of-each-other characters. The story was a joy to write because my heroine is a “prickly pear” of a woman. Only Hardman can see her soft inner self, which is as it should be when he’s her perfect match…

Is your weekend book boyfriend Pierce Hardman?

Remember, the book is out there now!

Click on cover to get your copy now!

Today’s Contest

For a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card, tell me what your weekend looks like!

Open Contests

Enter while you still can…

  1. Melanie Jayne: The Sad Song Playlist (Contest)Ends tomorrow! Win a FREE book!
  2. Because we all need a dreamboat… (Puzzle Contest)Ends soon! Win an Amazon gift card!
  3. 2nd Shot! And Open Contests! (And New Contest) — Win a FREE book!
  4. Definitions of Me: Lazy, Indolent, Slothful, Work-shy… (Puzzle Contest) — Win a FREE book!
  5. Michal Scott: The Pleasant Surprise of Florence Price (Contest & Excerpt) — Win an Amazon gift card!
“She’s got the shot! She’s got the shot!” (Music Video)
Sunday, February 28th, 2021


Today, I hit the VA in Little Rock to get my COVID shot! When I finished my 15-minute waiting period, I strutted out of that facility, da-da da-da, to the tune of “The Jack” by AC/DC, substituting “She’s got the jack” with “She’s got the shot!” If no one had been looking, I’d have been headbanging out the door I was so happy!

The shot didn’t hurt. My lips felt a little numb and my head was a teeny bit woozy, but those aren’t necessarily bad sensations, right? I lived through the 70’s—and I used to have to pay to feel that way! Okay, I’m being silly, but I’m soooo relieved to have the vaccine. That’s two down in my household—the SIL is a cop/first responder. Now, we have to wait for the rest to get theirs because then we’ll be getting closer to living with a little less paranoia. I hope your day comes soon, too! In the meantime, I’ll leave you with AC/DC’s “The Jack” in case you have no idea what this little gem sounds like… You’re welcome.

My Book-Meme Goddess (Contest)
Wednesday, February 24th, 2021

UPDATE: The winner is…ButtonsMom2003!

Being a writer—no, being a successful writer—isn’t only about getting words on pages. I wish it worked that way, but in the real world, or at least for the independently published authors…

  1. We write a book
  2. We scrounge for cover art to hand to the cover artist
  3. We look for decent editors (or in my case since I am an editor, good beta readers to find my errors)
  4. We pay or learn to format our books ourselves
  5. We upload the books on all the platforms where people buy books
  6. And then…we try to figure out how to get people to notice our book amid the millions of books available on all those platforms.

And that’s where you can really fall down that rabbit hole and waste an inordinate amount of time while you try to figure out what works.

I have a website. That’s a must for authors—the first order of business for any author.

I have a blog. Now, authors say blogs are dead, but I think mine does okay. See the number of folks on the left who get this daily post mailed straight to their inbox? I choose to continue this blog because it serves as my “face” to the real world out there. I talk about what’s real in my life. I talk about my books. I invite other authors to come to talk about their lives and their books. It’s a friendly place. But as an author, I have to do so much more.

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter… Gah. How can I be in all places at all times? Simply put, I can’t. And I do not want to pay someone to manage my social media, even though I’ve seen some authors who have the right support do very, very well. You see, I tried it, but it was work managing that support and I don’t really want anything more on my plate. I’ll do the occasional Facebook and Amazon ad and call it done.

And then my dd offered to do something for me.

She noticed all those lovely, luscious book memes on Instagram and Facebook and wondered why I wasn’t doing them. I told her flat out I didn’t have the time or the talent. Since she’s got online school to supervise every day and has to sit in the livingroom or dining room with the kids anyway, and it doesn’t take up every second of her time, she said she’d give it a shot. It looked like fun to her. Fun?! Of course, I worried about what those ads might look like because her taste and mine are not the same, and she doesn’t read romance, doesn’t get the genre at all.

But hey. She wanted to help.

So, for a little over a month now, I give her a cover and maybe a snippet about the book or a piece of an Amazon customer’s review and off she goes.

I told her donuts and the color pink feature in my latest release, Preacher

And I thought, That’s alright. At least people will stop and look.

And then she saw my cover for my next release, Hardman, and asked whether I had more art with this guy because she said he was hot! This one’s simple. Stark. Sexy. I like it!

And she’s only gotten better. I wanted her to go back and do memes for books I already have out there but folks might have forgotten exist or had no idea they existed…

I had this Texas Cowboy story about a wild-child judge’s daughter who gets caught going Lady Godiva on a motorcycle by a pair of Dom deputies… She found this art!

The story that followed was about a schoolteacher voyeur spying on a deputy’s playroom. This one’s just too cute!

When she put all the Texas Cowboys together, she did this and I snorted with laughter.

My favorites so far? I love, love the biker girl and voyeur girl, but I love this one too!

And has it helped? I really think so. When I look at my sales on Amazon, there are more of my older titles selling, so I’m going to keep her employed for the longterm doing my memes. She’s becoming a goddess (and a godsend—just one more thing I don’t have to worry about)!

What do you think? And which is your favorite image from the ones I provided. Comment for a chance to win a backlisted title of your choice!