Friday, October 30, 2009

Writer's Retreat at C-Bar Ranch near Lake Whitney

Every October, my local RWA chapter has a writer's retreat. It's a time to get away, share ideas, participate in writing exercises and critiques, and generally renew our muse. For the past three years we've had it at the same place. The cabin is rustic and the scenery is beautiful.

At the top is the creek with running water right off the back porch. We could hear the sound even with the door and windows closed. Sunday morning we heard a crow and a turkey talking back and forth.

The picture above is of the pond right outside the back porch. While we've been there horseback riders bring their horses for a drink. On Sunday morning we heard a crow and a turkey calling back and forth to each other.

Below we are learning to use All Way Sync, a program that allows you to back up only the document you just finished working on rather than all of your documents. I can't wait to put my new knowledge to good use. I even bought a new flash drive for that purpose only.

Someone didn't want their picture taken. I'm calling this "The Eye."

One of our favorite activities is the Brown Bag Activity. Someone stuffs a bag with a number of items and we all have to write a short story and include every item. Everyone shares their story with the group. They are usually hilarious. This years one brown bag contained  deodorant, a painter's mask, heel savers, a condom, a Mason jar ring, and a small package of hot sauce.

We also like to watch a video and identify call, to action, turning points, black moment, etc. This year we watched Twilight. The critique the group did for me was very helpful as was helping me plot a new project I have in mind to start soon.

We enjoy our retreats so much we're considering having another one in the Spring. Being a small group, planning is more mangeable.

Thanks for Reading my musings about our time at C-Bar Ranch. Don't forget to leave a comment for my monthly ebook drawing.

Happy Reading and Writing!


Thursday, October 29, 2009

News and Guest Bloggers!

*I hope you'll join me on the Author Roast & Toast on Friday, October 30, 2009 as the author's there roast me as I share excerpts and facts about my new release Flames On The Sky.

*I'm pleased to announce that Flames On The Sky as been on Amazon.coms The bestselling new & future releases in Time Travel for two weeks now. I am thrilled.

*I'm being intereviewed on Cate Master's Blog on October 31st. Please stop by and leave me a comment.

*Entries for the Flames On The Sky contest must be in by October 31st midnight Central time. Prize is a pair of amber and sterling silver earrings.

The following people will be guest blogging here in early November. I hope you'll drop by and leave them a comment.

1. November 5 - Ed Williams will be sharing excerpts from his new release ChristmaSin.

2. November 6 - Sandra K. Marshall will be sharing excerpts from her new release Addiction. 

Hope you'll be here!


Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Classes of '63, '64, & '65

Pictured here is 2009s reunion planning committee. Janette, Nancy, Sandra, Linda, Virginia, Donna, Carole, and Sandy. Ann is missing from the photo.

I'm fortunate enough to have attended high school in the early 1960s and graduated from University High School in Waco, Texas in 1964. It was a fun time, but also one of controversy. The gyrations of Elvis had been "sorta" accepted by society and greasy duck tails were out of style. J. F. K. had been assassinated. Then the Beatles came along with their long hair. The biggest issue, however, was Vietnam and the draft. Despite it all, we grew up, and went on to college or jobs. Some married and had families. Many of our young men went on to serve in the military.

It was a time of mood rings, Liz Taylor blouses, Madras plaid, slim skirts, and bouffant hairdos. Boys wore their shirts tucked in their jeans or slacks. Problems at school were different from the ones students and teachers face today. If drugs were available, I didn't know it. Yes, alcohol was around and many young people smoked. There were fights after school on occasion, but few on the school grounds. Students were paddled when they misbehaved or sent to detention. When the principal got on the loud speaker to reprimand us, it involved issues like boys keeping their top shirt buttons buttoned and being careful to keep the walls clean in the bathrooms. The mini-skirt craze hadn't arrived yet. Girls weren't allowed to wear low neck blouses and if we did, the counselor had a lovely big collar that covered up any bare skin.

We had a student center just outside the office with a television. Students watched programs before the first bell rang and if teachers allowed were able to watch parts of the World Series. The landings of Mercury 8 & 9 were televised and students congregated around the small screen to watch history being made.

The classes of '63, '64, & '65 were a close bunch. We've had reunions every ten years since graduation. It's fun to meet, visit, and rehash memories from the past. It's amazing to see how some people have changed, others not so much. Even though we're older, wiser, some of us broader, others thinner, we still have a lot to talk about.

How about you? Do you attend your class reunions?

Thanks for reading. Don't forget to leave a comment to be entered into my ebook drawing.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Recipe - Zucchini Cake

This is one of my mother-in-law's recipes. She was an excellent cook.
Zucchini Cake
1 box Duncan Hines yellow cake mix
2 eggs
1/2 C. brown sugar
1/3 C. Crisco oil
2 C. boiled and drained squash
Combine and beat 3 minutes at medium speed. pour in a well greased and floured 9x13 pan. Backe at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
1 C. coconut
1 C. brown sugar
1/2 stick oleo or butter
4 T. evaporated milk
1/2 C. chopped nuts
Mix buttermilk, brown sugar and boil 2 minutes. Add nuts and coconut. Mix well and spread on cooled cake. Return to oven until icing bubbles.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Guest Sandy Wickersham-McWhorter/Midwestern Dreams Conference

Meet Sandy Wickersham-McWhorter, The Wild Rose Press author and a member of Mid-Ohio Writers Association.

An Indiana native, Sandy's been in Ohio since 1973. Her husband of 36 years, two sons, a daughter-in-law, two granddaughters, two dogs, and some goldfish in an pond all live with her in an 1890s Victorian home. She began writing in third grade by turning her nightmares into stories. She read science fiction and super-hero comic books back then. The adult writing bug bit her in 1990. After realizing she needed the degree most writers seem to have, Ohio State University beckoned. She earned a bachelor’s in English, and sold an essay to Country, wrote for three newspapers and was a feature writer for Choice, a Christian magazine. While writing science fiction, inspirational romance, and women’s fiction, she substitutes in local schools, teaches college English in local prisons, gardens, and does artwork in several media. She’s a proud Veteran of the USAF. In addition to Mid-Ohio Writers Association, RWA, and Central Ohio Fiction Writers, she’s a member of RomVets, an on-line group of Veterans who write romance.

Below is an excerpt of the article Sandy wrote for her local newspaper about the Midwestern Dreams Conference.

Brenda Nixon, Nationally-known parent empowerment author and speaker and award-winning crime fiction author, Craig McDonald, will be the keynote speakers at the second annual Midwestern Dreams conference on October 24th, sponsored by the Mid-Ohio Writers Association. Also, in a first for north-central Ohio, Nan Swanson and Mary Albright, editors from a major publisher of romance fiction will also be speaking and taking 8-minute appointments from romance authors who have a manuscript they’d like to pitch for possible publication by The Wild Rose Press or White Rose Publishing.

Brenda will speak on “Getting Published is Doable if you Pay Your Dos.” She speaks at seminars for parents and has appeared on many syndicated radio programs, and her feature articles have appeared in more than 100 publications and she works with the Regional Parenting Publication (RPP) market. She’s written The Birth to Five Book, A Scrapbook of Christmas Firsts, You Can Speak, and Parenting Power in the Early Years. She’s contributed to 24 other books.

Edgar-nominee Craig McDonald is an award-winning journalist, editor, and fiction writer. He’ll speak on “The Path to Publication in the Mystery World.” His short fiction has appeared in literary magazines, anthologies, and several online crime fiction sites. He was a contributor to the New York Times nonfiction bestseller, Secrets of the Code. His nonfiction books include Art in the Blood, a collection of interviews with 20 major crime authors, and Rogue Males: Conversations and Confrontations About the Writing Life, a collection of interviews to be published by Bleak House Books.

The conference’s seven workshops will be presented by Ohio authors in a variety of genres: “Today's Mysteries Aren't Your Grandmother's Cozies Anymore!”-Craig McDonald; “Writing Successful Poems,”-Poet Connie Willett Everett; “Paralanguage to Heighten Emotions and Sell Your Manuscript!”-jj Keller; “What Betty Said to Veronica-Writing for Young Adults,” Denise Gwen; “Meet the Press on Common Ground: Media Tips, Tricks, & Traps for Authors,”-Keena Kincaid; “Networking Your Way to A Contract,” Kathleen McIver; and “What Does That Mean?” Brenda Nixon.

The cost for the conference is $15 and a continental breakfast and pizza and dessert lunch will be provided. The conference location is the People’s Community Center, 597 Park Avenue East, Mansfield, Ohio, 44905. See or (click on Midwestern Dreams page) for complete information. Registration cutoff date is now October 18th.

On October 23rd, Mid-Ohio Writers Association is sponsoring a multi-author booksigning at Holly’s Book Rack, also a first-of-its-kind event for this area. Ten other Ohio authors will be joining MOWA’s published authors from 2:00pm to 5:00pm at 1464 Lexington Avenue next to the Kroger in the Appleseed Shopping Center.

Sandy's Books:

Cottonwood Place-Megan MacCloud knows before meeting him that Ian Hunter is the neediest of the many troubled guests her inn has helped. Estranged from God, neither she nor Ian believe that He can bring them the harmony and love they crave. Ian says he couldn't resist driving across the country to her after her face on a brochure "hypnotized" him. Because of past abuse, her attraction to him is dashed when she learns he drinks. She resists loving Ian, but her family and almost-human pets frustratingly bond with him immediately, proving he's good. Megan, her Grandma, and pets resolve to help Ian stop drinking and be a doctor again. He helps solve major problems with guests and saves several lives as Megan and her mysterious, Navajo-and-White family show him religious and lifestyle philosophies that are foreign to him, yet truly American. When Megan's kidnapped by a guest for unknown reasons, Grandma says that to find Megan and have the life with her that he dreamed of, Ian must first "find himself." What does that mean? Can God use Megan's family, their Navajo ceremonies, and the police to find Megan and help her and Ian "walk in beauty" before she's lost forever?

The Winds of Fall-Unknown to Skye Worthington, the people most important to her are keeping unearthly secrets from her. If not revealed and faced, these secrets will cause death for untold billions of people, Skye included. Rebelling against his family and their deadly, but necessary, secrets which kept him a recluse in a Caribbean paradise, Joe Allen meets Skye. They fall into a love forbidden to Joe. Can two people with unimaginable secrets—and more in common than either know—overcome a force capable of entering dreams and taking humans through outer space without life support to other planets? This is the dilemma facing Skye and Joe as she fights to keep her sanity, and her identity as a human being.

Hi Linda, thank you for allowing me to come on your blog to publicize myself and the Mid-Ohio Writers Association’s annual conference. I think anyone who comes will leave energized about writing and will have learned a ton. They’ll be getting for $15 what most writing-conference goers are charged $100 or more.

You're welcome, Sandy. It's been a pleasure to meet you and learn more about your books.

Readers, please leave a comment for Sandy. Remember, each comment adds your name to my monthly ebook drawing.

Thanks and Happy Reading and Writing!


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Ebook Winner for September

Congratulations, Sandy. You've won the ebook of your choice. Let me know which one you want and I'll send it on.

Thanks to all for leaving comments.


Flames on The Sky Early Bird Release! Contest to Celebrate!

What a surprise to receive a google alert for Flames on The Sky, Book two of The Turquoise Legacy, from The Wild Rose Press. When I went to the site I found it was a print October Early Bird Release. The story is perfect for Halloween as it involves the search for a 1000 year old Nukpana (evil spirit).

Here is the link for you to buy your copy of Flames On The Sky. It's 268 pages and sells for 12.98. You can watch the book trailer and read an excerpt on my website.

To celebrate I'm hosting a CONTEST and will be giving away this pair of amber and sterling silver earrings. Madison, the heroine of Flames On The Sky, wears a pair of her grandmother's amber earrings similar to these and they have symbolic meaning for the story. The earrings are approximately 2 5/8 inches long.

To enter, email me at with Flames On The Sky in the subject line. Read the excerpt and tell me what the Revered Skystone is. A winner will be drawn November 1, 2009.

Many thanks for stopping by and for reading!