Monday, November 25, 2013

Letting go can be good

My mother was a master sewer and knitter. She used to make all our clothing (me and 2 sisters) as well as her own. Plus she knitted sweaters galore.

In later years, when we no longer needed or wanted sweaters, she still knitted & donated them to the church, which would raffle them off & give the money to charity. I can't tell you how many people in my home town have stopped me and commented on the sweaters they bought.

Mom died 3 years ago this month, and we had already donated the final sweaters she made to the church. But this year I decided to donate some of the sweaters she made me. I kept two: one she & I designed together using graph paper, and my Christmas sweater, an elaborate tree with beadwork on it, worn only on special occasions. The others: I'm taking to the church.

The Church Ladies were thrilled to learn there are 5 Marge Wilson sweaters available. I told them more would be coming because my nieces and my sisters are also going to donate some of theirs. It was a tough decision to let them go, but really, they're sitting in bags in my closet: it's time someone else can enjoy them!

Letting go can be tough, but it's also a good feeling. Keep that in mind if you have a manuscript tucked away somewhere.... this month I've been going through my dreaded "Maybe" folder (maybe I'll use this material someday). I've weeded out a lot but I'm keeping some.

It's tough but I feel a LOT lighter for it!

J L Wilson
(30 books and counting)

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Counting My Blessings and Saying Thank You

By Paisley Kirkpatrick
Since this is the time of the year when we say thanks for the blessings we have in our lives, I'd like to say thank you to all of the dear friends I have made while I have been part of the From the Heart family. I have been a member of this great online group for more years than I can remember and membership chair for most of my years here. It has given me the opportunity to meet and work with so many authors, some of whom have become dear friends and 'adopted' family members. I know that my writing career has advanced in leaps and bounds with the knowledge and skills and mostly the patience of those who have never given up on me. For this, I am truly grateful and thankful. Sometimes it's the little things that unexpectedly propel us into success or turn on that light in your brain that says, ''Yes, that is how it should be done and then fly toward writing that first great book."
Two years this Christmas Eve I was offered my first contract. I know that all the support I have received from my friends here before, during, and since my first three books have been published has made the experience all that much more meaningful. So, I simply say to all those of you who have been around to make the writing experience a successful time for me, I say thank you.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Remembering November 22nd, 1963

Where were you when President Kennedy was shot? That seems to be a question I've heard most of my life. Could the tragedy actually have happened fifty years ago? The events are imbedded into so many memories. Even those who were not yet born at the time know the story as if they'd been alive. News stories and books keep the memory strong.

I was in first grade during the fall of 1963. My favorite songs were Puff, the Magic Dragon and My Daddy is President. My mother was expecting a child. November is hunting season in the northeast, and dad was a hunter. A visit to the doctor assured my parents the baby wouldn't come for several weeks, so dad headed into the woods of upstate New York.

On the morning of November 22nd, I rode the bus to school. It was late in the afternoon when the principal came to the door and softly spoke to my teacher, who turned the TV on. We had one of those old black and white television sets where the picture appeared green. It hung from the ceiling in the corner of the room. I remember crying.

They sent us home from school early. Mom had been busy and hadn't heard the news. She was shocked, but attempted to act calm for us kids. We watched the news all evening. Since dad was gone, I slept with my mother that night. When I woke the next morning, my sixteen-year old brother informed me my mother was at the hospital. She'd been so upset she went into early labor, quietly got up from bed, and called the ambulance. My uncle drove to New York state to retrieve my father.

My baby sister was born on November 23rd. Happy 50th birthday Kim!

Where were you when President Kennedy was shot?

~Dawn Marie

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Thank you, Syd Field

I am a huge fan of Syd Field, who has passed away. His books and classes on screenplay structure are, and will stay, classics for both scriptwriters and novelists.

Whether you function best as a plotter, pantser or somewhere in "fluid outlining" land, you have to end up with a satisfying story arc based on a story structure or your story is likely to fall flat.

A member of the RWA screenwriters group posted this link to a series of tutorials by Syd Field, a fine parting gift from a master.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Christmas Here and There


Xmas Here and There

Have you started your Christmas preparations?
Maybe some of you did. I am not ready for Thanksgiving yet, but I love this holiday season which allows me to visit with my children and grandchildren.

Christmas is not celebrated in the same way in different areas.

You may be used to snow and brightly decorated fir trees.


Buy yourself a box set of three Christmas stories, full of emotion and humor. For 99 cents you can't go wrong and will enjoy delightful stories.
Click here for more.

Christmas Babies Mm

In South Florida, tall and majestic, the palms trees sparkled with spirals of colorful bulbs around their trunks and twinkling garlands swayed between the palm fronds. In spite of the balmy breeze and warm temperature, the holiday season decorations brightened streets and buildings as described in CHRISTMAS BABIES.

Her Christmas Cruise Twitter

Have you ever tried to take a cruise during the holiday season? You should see the incredible decorations of a cruise ship at Christmas time. In HER CHRISTMAS CRUISE, you will have ample time to celebrate a very special time.

An Unusual Christmas  Amazon

What if Christmas isn't a joyful time for some people? The heroine on AN UNUSUAL CHRISTMAS travels to the end of the world to escape the celebrations and her sad memories. Yet she finds unexpected Christmas gifts and her own happy ever after.

CHRISTMAS HERE AND THERE is offered at a discounted price for a few days, 99cents!
If you like to travel and love to read, treat yourself and your friends to an inexpensive box set of  sweet Christmas romances.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Random acts of awesomeness

There seem to be two kinds of posts in my Facebook feed these days. There are the "hey, isn't this awful" type posts where someone references something that is pretty upsetting. I read some of those posts, and I shake my head and sigh in agreement.

But then there are the awesome posts, the ones where someone did something really nice and we all get to collectively say "Hey, that was pretty cool!"

These are things like Jennifer Lawrence heading off the red carpet at the London premiere of Catching Fire and pushing past security barriers to hug a sobbing young girl in a wheelchair. She literally stopped the red carpet to spend a few moments with a fan who'd been overcome at being so close to her heroes.

And then there was Friday's day long "Batkid" celebration in San Francisco where the Make-A-Wish foundation took a five year old cancer survivor and gave him the opportunity to play a superhero, rescuing a damsel in distress, foiling a bank robbery, and freeing the Giant's mascot Lou Seal from villains at AT&T park, with the help of what seemed to be the entire city. The fun was tweeted by thousands of people in the SF Bay area as they cheered the little boy on.

It makes my day when I'm reminded how good people can be to each other and how often people go out of their way to make another person's life a little brighter. In a world where the bad sometimes seems to outweigh the good, that's important to remember.

Janet Miller/Cricket Starr

Thursday, November 14, 2013


Some of you know we’re building a Suspense Street Team, focused on cross-promotion.  The premise: since we’re all a little shy about touting our own work, we’ll be cheerleaders for other suspense authors whose novels we enjoy. 

Though we’ve got about forty men and women signed up, others are still welcome.  We’re calling the genre ‘suspense,’ but we’ll include thrillers and mystery writers, as well. 

I know what we are doing isn’t a new concept, so I’d like to know about your experience with cross-promotion.  Are you involved in a group with this focus?  Have you heard about or can you predict pitfalls?  We’ll nix self-promotion in general, but of course, we’ll want to share free dates, releases and contests-so that we can to support these milestones.

Surely we’ll encourage the Street Team to read each other's books and write reviews for those novels they enjoy.  We’ll also Tweet, FB and jump on Pinterest as soon as we find smart ways to do so.  Bottom line is, we won’t begin operating as a group until we’re pleased with our structure.

Generally, I think we have a good concept here, but we’d love your help in ensuring its efficacy.  Any and all ideas are welcome!  And if you want to join us, let me know at rolynnwriter

FADEOUT won a RONE award!  LIE CATCHERS coming soon!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Thanks for many things

November is a "thanks" month for me. I try to notice people who do something that makes my day go smoother. I try not to be oblivious to those little acts of kindness that so often go unnoticed. The person who lets me merge gracefully on the freeway; the guy who helps me with my bag; the friend who noticed my new hair style or whatever.

It's too easy to forget that we're not the center of the universe. Other people revolve with us, and they can have a real effect on us. I like to use this month to remind myself of that.

And, of course, thank you especially to my readers, those who buy my books. I would still write whether you bought them or not, but it's so nice to get that occasional "squee" email from someone. Thank you to those who write reviews (good or bad -- thanks!) because reviews are validation that someone is out there reading the book. Thank you to my editor and my cover artist and my writing friends -- that support group who keeps me going.

And thanks to you blog readers, who remind us we're not in some lonely writing cave, churning out our words. It's nice to know there's a world out there!

(30 books and counting)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Promo Can Be Fun with the TRR Year End Splash Party

Yes, this is a promotional post. :) One of the difficult parts about being a self-published author is getting the word out. So for the month of November, I signed up to participate in The Romance Reviews Year End Splash Party. What's more fun than games and prizes? And lots of books?

Over 400 authors and publishers are participating. Over 400 prizes.

Tomorrow, November 8th, one of the question games enabling a player to earn points will be from my novel, Just Beyond the Garden Gate. And the book will be featured from November 21 through November 25. An e-copy of Just Once in a Verra Blue Moon is one of the week 2 prizes. Week 2 starts tomorrow, November 8th.

Please consider dropping by. Play the book cover matching game, hang man, and book Q&As. Have fun!

~Dawn Marie
Dawn Marie Hamilton Writes

Monday, November 4, 2013

Thanks for all the excellent help!

I am leaving From the Heart, which has been a wonderful group. I am becoming so overwhelmed meeting my various obligations I am a member in name only. I appreciate the dear people who warned me about certain publishers, another one alerted me that my agent went out of business. It certainly explained the lack of return calls.

Many of the critique group worked through Rebel Bride, Undercover Rebel, Escaping West and Seeking Shelter. I appreciate your excellent advice.

I am still open to promote your books, retweet them, share them, whatever you need.

Website for free promotion is

Thanks. Keep writing.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Making Setting Important

Rhinos Bathing
In writing, it’s fun to compare and contrast things–people, objects, places, settings, to make them different, more interesting. Here is a case in point: Rhinos can be plain… boring. If they’re just… standing around. Doing nothing. But when I was at the Omaha zoo, the rhinos were bathing and it intrigued me. It was near freezing out at Thanksgiving time in November, so it seemed ironic that they would take a bath, not to cool down!

Before this, I was visiting the Waco zoo, and this is what I found–rhinos sleeping. So??? But it was the turkey vultures perched on top that intrigued me. My friend, who was with me, told me the rhinos were merely statues. I told her no, they’re real. She couldn’t believe it. We watched for a long time, until she saw one’s ear flutter. And then satisfied they were real, we moved on.

Rhinos sleeping vultures (800x390)

And here is further proof that the rhinos are alive and well in Texas. It was feeding time at the zoo.

rhino (792x800)

Finding something interesting in a setting is like writing about something interesting. We want to focus on that–and not on the mundane, or it will make our pictures, and our writing just that–mundane.

Review: A Seal Wolf Christmas by Terry Spear.

A Seal Wolf Christmas by Terry Spear
Series: Heart of the Wolf (# 12)
Release Date:  September 24, 2013
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Pages: 384
Source: book provided by NetGalley for review

Have a super great day!
“Giving new meaning to the term alpha male where fantasy IS reality.”