First a title explanation: Not Hugging Grand Daughters

Focus. I must focus. Not on the virus or politics nor religion. Although, I will say once that the husband and I are definite Faucians.

Thoughts from The Writer, a magazine, published in January 1943, vol. 56. Found in my attic, I do believe that advertisers are a type of historian. I enjoy reading antique magazines, such as Life and Look and This England. The ads are an eye on the times of publication; from cigarettes, automobiles, to books.

Those of you who research publishing possibilities might have have come across Dorrance Company. In the above mentioned magazine the first page urges the writer to send their typewritten manuscripts (30,000 word count or above) to their Philadelphia office (before zip codes). The Dorrance was incorporated in 1920.

There, you see, historical writing-business. Or you could send a subscription of The Writer to “The Men in the Armed Forces” for $1.50 a year, for the duration of the war. That was WWII, in case you’re inept.

How about a “Manuscript Criticism Service”? The Dutch Uncle for one dollar per thousand words will satisfy your criticism needs. I wonder if they are still in business and I wonder if their rates have increased. I’ll Google it.


Thoughts to Dump


Last posting broadcast my positive power points, but I failed to complete my notifications on my writing calendar. (Fear not, this will become more interesting.) Today’s reminders are in this order (order varies daily) blog, business-of-writing (that is an another posting), Gray Lace revisions (see image which will hopefully appear) and my TWO works-in-progress; Cora and the K&M mysteries. Details later. Moving on to the dumping…

This morning I read an NPR article, which was a reprint from March, concerning Recycling of Plastics. The explained theory is that Big oil paid Big money to push a Big campaign to convince a Big crowd of consumers that plastics could be recycled.

I am Big and I fell for it. I preached recycling to unsuspecting third graders since 1970 – the first Earth Day. Now, I am crushed, no can/puns intended.

Next thought that needs dumping: recently I heard a old man nearly cry because his grown-up son could not sign his own name on a bank document, because, says he, his third grade teacher did not teach cursive handwriting. I did and I love doing it. More later.

I recently learned about the Gordian Knot. There seem to be numerous, especially in DC. More later.


Power and Pit Falls


Writing novels can be a heady, powerful, self-centered fame-driven virus. On the other hand, sometimes the very next day or hour, it can be a virtual roller coaster, a bi-polar pit-falling inverted hurricane.

Somewhere in the middle, there’s work: business accounting, expenditures (mostly), a lot of research (the fun part), numerous drafts (the other fun part), innumerable edits (not so much fun), agent searches, queries, synopsis (what’s the plural? synopsisis? synopsi?), blurbs to write, and pitches to practice (there’s a #pitchmad now, a really great idea), and last but certainly not least, the digestion of advice columns.

Recently, I had the need to explain to two friends (yes, I have two) why I had destroyed (well, not entirely) my completed WIP, Lillian’s Choice. I explained why I had taken my favorite characters and given them their own setting and plot, although not Lillian. She has been rewritten, reincarnated, so to speak.

I am excited about this. I did not explain about my new weapon. I am not excited about not explaining. Weapon: my powerful power point calendar. A writing calendar keeps me focused and positive. Usually.

I was trained during the early stages of technology. No, I have not downloaded or installed a program or software or disc or yes, not even a whatever. I made powerful points or dots made of ink on a hard copy calendar sent free from

Maybe in my next post I’ll explain to you, dear readers (an assumption there) about my powerful power points.



In Honor of Lillian


This week is the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution, The Right for Women to Vote! Last night I listened to Michelle Obama’s speech for the Democratic Convention. She was strong, articulate and right.

I digress. Back to Lillian. Recently, I completed a novel, entitled Lillian’s Choice. Her choice to assist the 1920 Suffragists in Nashville, Tennessee, showed strength, leadership, and courage; although she was a British citizen. “…jubilant sounds of church bells came through her window. Lillian knew. The Suffragists had won. The country won a better place in history. “It must have been close,” she whispered. Later she heard just how close was close.

Today (8-17-2020) NPR, one of my trusted news apps, published an article, “The Nudge and The Tie Breaker That Took Women’s Suffrage from Nay to Yay”. Melissa Black reported about my hero, Harry T. Burn, and about my main resource for my novel: Elaine Weiss, author, The Women’s Hour, The Great Fight to Win the Women’s Vote. Harry’s mother, Febb, is a true hero as well. She encouraged her son to vote Yay. His obedience to his mother and timing of a tie breaker, made Harry Burn a hero, and allows me to vote this November. And Vote I Will, Michelle.

Enough !

The Calendar Lives!

Egad! Below is my first attempt at “adding a visual”, as encouraged by research. AND…

My writing calendar/business calendar tells me to draft a post, revise a few pages from a previously published novel, continue with the drafting of two historical novels, and read over a few emails.

This feels great. I missed it.

The calendar is full and I’m busy! I’ve passed through the mire and muck of depression. Or I hope so. I have completed next-to-nothing for nearly a month. Not healthy for a previously published writer who enjoys the stuff.

Stuff? Creating, researching, drafting, planning, and yes, even editing, and editing, and revising, and revising, and more editing. Although, I will admit I am not fond of searching for an agent. It’s similar to begging or being a wallflower.

“Do you like my work?”

“Is my writing good enough?”

“Do you like me?”

Insecure? Yes. Aren’t most creative sorts? Anyway, hopefully soon, I will post a description of my current WIP’s, both of them. If you read this blog last time, you’ll realize that the WIP of the last three years has been asked to wait, take a breather. It hurts. Yet, I’ve been told, pain is part of this writer’s life.


Progress is Vague

In my opinion I created a completed 62,000 word historical novel, but way in the back of my mind something niggled. It felt off. I hired a great book reviewer. I love her. She told me the truth. Odd these days.

Lillian’s Choice had too many settings; a UK manor house, a UK workhouse, London, an ocean voyage, train rides into the US south, a small swamp town, Raleigh, NC and Nashville, Tennessee. Lillian’s Choice had too many characters, besides Lillian, there were twenty more. AND.. too many plots; murder, theft, extortion,  hate crimes, the vote for women, and the ever present political illegal hot-air.

Too many too manys.

After my recovery from an author’s emotional upheaval, I came to the painful conclusion that Lillian needed a rest, if not a burial or a ceremonial cremation. Not to concern yourselves; I shall save a copy. There’s “too many” hours and bits of energy in her pages.

I have decided to begin again. I will most likely return to my historical swampy adventures.  The characters found in Gray Lace, Silver Cotton, and Golden Leaf will reappear and save the day from evil. I will not allow all to do so. There are “TOO MANY”.

With a Shakespearean Insult Kit at my side and  “Corn Teen” time available, I should be able to mangle an idle-headed nut-hook of a novel. Thank you William.


Yes, we should count our blessings.

OK: 1. We can afford to stay home.  2. We do not need to wear a mask because we do not go anywhere.  3. Currently, we can afford Mr. Amazon, although, at $10.00 for 8oz of sugar, not much longer.  4. Miss UPS feeds us. She is wonderful, bringing the powdered eggs and milk.   Oh, and the canned herring.  5. Our home is big enough for us to run screaming into another room for escape.  6. I can count to six.  7. My creation station appears industrious; ergo I can reach my thesaurus and research vocabulary to defend my craziness.

Oh! News from my writing world … I have hired an editor. This is both exciting and fearful. I am exhibiting my wares, making them open to criticism, in fact I am paying someone to do just that. I did send Lillian’s Choice to my valuable Critters, 5 readers who let me know what they think. I’m studying their learned comments and making the appropriate changes. Wow! I missed a lot of commas. My critters don’t charge me, but they do like me, which means they’ll be nice to me. So, I hired someone to be mean, because kindness doesn’t sell books.





June Bugs

Growing up in southeastern Massachusetts the words June Bug brought terrifying visions of large hard-shelled dark creepies. Having an older brother didn’t help. He would aim for the back of my neck.

Growing old in southeastern North Carolina the words June Bug (at least this year) mean isolation, quarantine, “corn teen” and prayers for a vaccine. It means Amazon deliveries and weekly post office visits. It means powdered eggs, cheese, milk, and butter. Yuck.

Yes, count your blessings, swampy lady!

No, I will not list those here. There are quite a few. One arrived today. I am an author, searching for an agent. A friendly famous historical mystery author, Deanna Raybourn, wrote to offer encouragement. I became quite excited. Perhaps I will find an agent!

Another blessing worth mentioning is my oldest great niece. Yes, I’m old enough to have one. She turned 26 last Friday and she lives in my beloved UK. Hopefully, she will have a future that allows her to succeed in any field, although, I am rather fond of her current occupation. She’s a baker. A really good baker. She doesn’t burn things. Then there’s my ducks. My beloved readers know I live in a swamp and we co-exist with many species. Mr. and Mrs. Mallard and all their little Mallards cross the road and make my heart skip a beat if there’s a truck coming. In the south, that’s all we drive. Trucks. White ones. Our trucks have automatic alligator  alerts, too.

Those Yankee June Bugs would destroy these trucks. They’re quite hard-shelled.



Editing a WIP (Lillian’s Choice) is difficult as is without a mouse in my creation station. I would name him Fred, but Fred was a pheasant I once knew.  So, Antonio it is.

Antonio has great power over my characters, my plot, and their settings. Oh, and my mood. He appears at random times to distribute his evil. Here’s an example: If I wrote, “Dick and Jane went to the store.”, which I would not, Antonio would display his talents on my screen as, “store to we J ick the ore t and”. Of course, with that example, I deserve to be attacked.

Another: if I wrote, “Forgetting he had lent his knife to his wife, my hero reached for his weapon, which he expected to be in his boot.”  Antonio would edited as, “reached for his wife as hero expected to be…”.

Poor Lillian would have no choice, but to become violent.

An exuberant mouse on any computer is as dangerous as a politician I know about. With ADHD ( I call lazy focus) and weak typing skills, Antonio is frustrating and time consuming. How can I be helpful to poor Antonio before I am arrested by Dell Corporation or possibly the SPCA?

Please, computer wise readers, how does this author control an Antonio?

Oh, quick update on WIP, Lillian’s Choice, my 5 excellent beta-readers have the manuscript, I will begin out-loud readings soon, (oh, poor Hubs) and then Edit #3, as well as the dreaded Agent Search….




I put on my old worn-out wide-brimmed straw hat. As an author I cringe at that sentence. Translation: I put on a hat. There, now I feel better.

I found my gardening gloves; not latex “corn-teen” gloves, just old dirty worn-out stuff, and offered myself as free labor to our chief gardener, The Hubs.

Since Covid-19 stopped my market days, (yes, we’re that islolated), planting seeds is now a matter of wanting fresh vegetables. Yes, I know May is a bit late to plant, maybe. I do know the seeds go in the ground and cover them with “black cow”. Don’t ask. Those seeds need water and Carolina sunshine and in my case – prayers.

I know all that.

Which is pretty good for a spoiled Yankee city/country girl. I have memories of Mom’s plentiful gardens, her weeding, harvesting, and canning. Yes, I nearly blistered my hands on the steamer-canner.  As a really young kid, I played with those round rubber rings, but I have only had brief and unsuccessful encounter with gardening.

I might have to try dieting.

Today, I put seeds in the “black cow” soil: tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, garden green peas, green bell peppers, and some sort of sprout from Brussels. Can’t wait! This spoiled girl needs to edit my current WIP, Lillian’s Choice, or I’ll  be an historical fiction … much like my gardening.