Meet the Publishers! this Thursday!

It’s that time again, folks. Can you believe this is the fourth year? This Thursday, March 15th, at 6:00 PM, a panel of publishers will address your questions, followed by an opportunity to visit and view their products. Learn about different types of publishing: traditional, hybrid, vanity press, and self-publishing.

This year, there will be two publishers from Arkansas, two from Oklahoma, and two self-publishers. There will also be swag bags containing helpful information for your publishing needs.

As always, this free, informative event is sponsored by Designing the World with Words and Tulsa Area Children’s Book Writers. For more information, please visit the event website at or contact Renee’ at

For those who don’t know, I resigned from 4RV Publishing in January. After four and a half years with the company, it was time for a change, I suppose. We took on a lot of extra medical bills last year, due to my husband’s heart attack and having both his carotid arteries cleaned out. I needed more freelance editing jobs to help us out. I am a firm believer that everything happens the way it does for a reason. So, this is part of my forward momentum. I have been very pleased at how fast new jobs have come in. Thank you for your trust and support.

Not too long ago, I pitched and submitted a children’s picture book to a publishing company in Arkansas. I was offered a contract and I’ll have more info on that next time I write.

This year, I won’t be offering as many workshops, but I will be available for mobile workshops and as a speaker for writing-related events. Find my full conference schedule and become one of my Conference Stalkers at

Are you planning to submit your story to a publisher, soon? Have you put it through a critique group to get their input? What about a beta reader or an editor? Here is a little help. Click here to download my two-page Story Checks file and use it to tighten and polish your story before you submit it. Good luck with all your contest and book submissions, this year!

Don’t forget to drop in at 6pm, this Thursday… (Click to visit website.)MeetPublishers-2018-BusCardAd2-mini



A Movie Review?

I’m soon to write another post here, but I left this on my Facebook page and decided to share on my website, as well. I seldom ever write any kind of a review, but I have waited for so long to see this movie.

I went to a friend’s house on Wednesday, and we watched The Man Who Invented Christmas. Here is my review of that movie.

Knowing this was supposed to be a portrayal of potentially real events gave me the hunger to see what Charles Dickens did in his writing (or how someone else perceived it) that I might learn from.

If you are not a writer, this is a great movie, because it shows very much how intense a writing project can get, especially when you are under pressure. We find our phrases, words, circumstances, and people in everyday life. Sometimes, a complete stranger has a look that sparks an entire story. When we get so absorbed the rest of the world needs to just leave us alone, we never mean any negativity to those we love. Well, we really do mean, “Leave me alone!” or, “I don’t have time, right now!” but usually, that’s only temporary, as the movie points out. It does occasionally happen, though. It’s just that we get so connected with our characters. We have to get connected to see every little quirk and interpretation that make our characters who they are. We have to see, feel, and convey these things to convince our readers the characters are real. And, we need to stay in the story until it is complete. Even stopping to sleep or go to the bathroom is a huge and unwelcome interruption.

If you are a writer, this movie has a fantastic manner of bringing those scenes and actions we see in our heads into his life, very much like the ones that play through our heads as we feverishly write what we are seeing. It also shows how we often like to enjoy life, probably a bit too much, at times. It serves as a good reminder to pay closer attention to our attitudes when we get to that intense place with our stories. If you’re a serious writer–especially if you’re a pantser–you know exactly what I’m talking about.

The main character is charming, fun to watch, full of entertaining pockets of personality. I love the different faces he makes throughout the movie.

The little snippets of info at the beginning and end of the movie are very helpful in understanding the full weight of Charles’ position.

I enjoyed the story within a story, how the writer(s) gave him his own demons to conquer as he drove himself to the end of the story he was writing, and how HIS main character played into helping him conquer those demons.

I loved the message Charles wanted to convey with A Christmas Carol. I, too, believe he achieved his purpose.

The one thing I liked least was the purple lipstick he wore. I realize it helped emphasize his facial shifts that were so cute, but the color was maybe a touch too noticeable. However, when he is portrayed as a child, you know it’s him, thanks to that ugly lipstick.

Another thing I did not like was studying over this in a political manner. I didn’t like how the story line might be used politically (in today’s twisted views), so I abandoned those thoughts early on.

Overall, I really enjoyed the movie. It wasn’t the most outstanding I’ve ever seen, and it could have been much more intense, but I still felt connected because I’ve written in a similar manner and found my inner beast can be almost as ugly as his may have been. I’m certain none of my works have been quite as earth-shaking as Charles Dickens’ masterpieces, but I’m thrilled to know that what he went through was very much like what I go through as a writer. It’s nice to feel such a connection to someone who made such an impact in our world.

If you watch this movie, I’d suggest making your atmosphere as theater-like as possible, so you can focus all your energy in the story line. Today’s world creates way too many interruptions. For that reason, I believe the theater is where this movie would be best viewed.

And, there is the question of whether to allow a child to view the movie. As many others have said, I believe children should be at least 8 to 10 years old and have recently seen and understand the movie A Christmas Carol, or even better, have the story read to them and discussed with them, so they can understand the events of this movie.

I plan to watch this movie again–very soon–with my wonderful, writer husband. I’d love to gain his insight and interpretations.

If you saw this movie, please tell me what you thought of it. I’m curious to learn the views of others.

Coming soon…

I apologize for being so slow with my next blog post. I’ve been trying to help my husband through some major health issues and I’ve got a couple of announcements I want to make. I just have to get a couple more things lined up and taken care of, then you’ll see some great things mentioned here.

In the meantime, why don’t you check out my website? On the Schedule page, I have a list of all the events I plan to attend, this year. On the Links page, there are links to some terrific writing groups and conferences in this area. (If you know of any others, please let me know.) And, on the Edits page, you’ll find lots of great books I’ve helped edit over the past few years. Some were for the publishing company and some were for individuals.

Keep a close watch on this page. Lots of news coming soon!


Winning, Publishing, and Speaking

Wow. August may have been slow to pass, but everything since then has been so rushed and busy we have had trouble keeping up.

August 20th, Gene had his heart attack. Since then, he has been going to cardiac rehab three times a week, and he is about to have a surgery to clean out his carotid arteries, which are seriously clogged. We definitely appreciate everyone’s prayers.

I recently published a book for folks who are recording their blood pressure. It has pages to keep your medical info, including blood type, medical issues, medicines, family medical history, emergency contacts, insurance info, doctors and pharmacy, etc. It is a great tool to use regularly and take to the doctor’s office or hospital. While Gene was in the hospital for his heart attack, the nurses were kind enough to fill out our log pages without being asked. They knew it mattered to us and we had those papers handy. So, those forms are now part of my book. Here’s a link:
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Or, if you’d like to enter the Goodreads contest to win one of 6 copies, sign up here:

We just returned from the Ozark Creative Writers Conference in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, where we saw many friends we love spending a weekend with every year. I represented 4RV Publishing at a table on Publisher’s Row and in the Publishers Panel. I also took a few pitches from some very talented authors. My husband sat around the corner selling my new Blood Pressure Diary books.

I entered twelve contests and won five awards at the OCW conference. That’s nearly 50% of my entries. If you’re a writer, I encourage you to enter contests and work hard to win.

Congratulations also go to Shelley Ann Richter, who won my Middle Grade Fiction for Boys contest. She submitted a very good story.

This Saturday, I will be holding a workshop on Writing Believable Dialogue at the Nienhuis Community Center, at 51st and Lynn Lane, in Broken Arrow. More info:

I will be discussing the O. Henry “Twist” at the FREE 2nd Annual Craft of Writing Mini-Conference, sponsored by the Tulsa NightWriters Club. It will be a one-day event on October 28th, at the Martin Regional Library (2601 S. Garnett Rd.) in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I hope to see you there. We have some very good speakers lined up. Hurry to get registered! Time is running out. More info:

NaNoWriMo is coming in November. Will you be writing? I’m planning on it.

See you soon!

Slowing Down

Did anyone else notice that August crawled by, this year? As I’ve grown older, I’ve watched time move faster and faster. So, a slow month always catches me off-guard.

Near the end of that slow month, I almost lost my husband to a heart attack. But, we got him to the hospital in time and our lives have been sucked into a whirlwind of doctor appointments and other craziness, ever since. He’s doing great, but having to be more careful about overdoing it, now.

I have only one more workshop scheduled for this year. It’s all about writing believable dialogue. If you were planning to attend the Edit Your Fiction Story workshop, you just missed it. That one won’t happen again until 2018.

Gene and I are currently publishing some short stories that were previously published in anthologies. We are starting out at Smashwords. Here are the first two ebooks. If you like them, please leave positive reviews. Thanks.

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Monday evening is the next Tulsa Area Children’s Book Writers critique meeting. It’s at the Martin Regional Library in Tulsa, at 7:00 PM. Everyone is welcome.

The 2017 WPA MASTERS Artistic Pool Championship Tournament is coming up in Midwest City, next weekend. We’re looking forward to seeing our “pool family” down there. It’s been nice to have them coming to town the past couple of years.

The Ozark Creative Writers’ Conference is coming up in October. We can’t wait to see everyone there, again.

The Tulsa NightWriters Club will be having another FREE writers’ conference on the 28th of October. Get your registration in soon. This one fills up fast! It might also be the last free year. I’ll be sharing some secrets about writing an O. Henry ending for your stories.

Hope to see you soon!

The Whirlwind of 2017

I apologize for being absent for half the year. I have been working on a lot of stories, including some of my own. I’ve also been to some exciting events, this year.

In May, I spent a weekend with a couple of friends at the OWFI Conference, in Oklahoma City. We had so much fun! I hope we are able to share a room again, next year.

The next week, I was honored to be a presenter for the second annual Read. Write. Share! Writers’ Weekend in Morrilton, Arkansas. I critiqued short works which had been submitted and shared some of the finer points with those in attendance. What a powerful weekend! I’m looking forward to next year’s event.

In June, I presented a session about the Secrets of Writing for Children to a room full of interested writers at the 73rd Annual Arkansas Writers’ Conference in Little Rock, Arkansas. I hope to speak at this event again. I also represented 4RV Publishing at a vendor table and took a few pitches.

October will find me at the 51st annual Ozark Creative Writers Conference in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. I’m hoping to submit a good number of contest entries, and for the third year, I am sponsoring the Middle Grade Fiction for Boys contest. I’ll also be representing 4RV Publishing in Publisher’s Row for the second year.

As always, Gene and I have dedicated much of the summer to our grandchildren. They are growing like weeds and have become great helpers with bigger projects.

I bought a Kool Kart four-wheel surrey (pic below) from International Surrey Co., this summer. When the weather permits, Gene and/or I (and sometimes a grandchild) take off riding for our health. When I spend time on the surrey, my blood pressure stays much lower. I slept for most of a month while it went down. As much as I enjoy my time on the surrey, I look forward to having a small engine installed to help me climb the steeper hills when I need to go to town. If you check out the website and decide to purchase a vehicle from the company, please tell them I sent you. That motor is not going to be cheap to build, and I get a check for every sale I help happen.

Due to numerous requests to put a class or two online, I’ve promised to work on that project. I’ve also set up a traveling workshop for groups within a 200 mile range. Check out the website for more information. I’m also taking an occasional short story or children’s story to edit on the freelance side. No novels at this time. Sorry.

I’ll do my best to write sooner, next time.


Falling into the Publishing Industry

Did you start the new year on the right foot? I didn’t. I started 2017 on my left foot and two crutches.

A couple of days before the end of the year, I did the splits–unintentionally. For five days, I could not straighten my right leg. On that fifth day, a monster-size bruise showed up on the inside back of my thigh. The doctor said I had a severely pulled hamstring. Now, I walk with a crutch to remind me not to get in a hurry. When I rush, my leg threatens to throw me back on the floor. I don’t EVER want to do that, again.

If you are a writer in the OK AR TX KS MO area, you can’t afford to miss the upcoming Meet the Publishers! event on March 6th in Tulsa, OK. Designing the World with Words and Tulsa Area Children’s Book Writers are bringing SIX area publishers together to answer authors’ questions and offer tips from self-publishing to traditional publishing. (Click here for more information.) This FREE event is open to ALL writers. As usual, we are expecting an audience from multiple states, again.

Have you seen the latest publishing news? Tate Publishing and AWOC.COM Publishing  have sent their authors scrambling to find new publishers. Are you one of those authors? If you are, you can’t afford to miss the publishers event mentioned above. Don’t sign a contract with anyone else until you hear what the six experts have to say about the future of publishing.

I’ll be speaking at multiple events, this year. You can find me at the Read.Write.Share! event in Morrilton, AR, the Tulsa Genealogical Society meeting on March 20th, and the Arkansas Writers’ Conference  in Little Rock, AR. I also scheduled a number of writing workshops. I expect to find serious writers at all these events. See my schedule for a full list of places I plan to be.

I’ve decided to offer mobile writing workshops, this year. One person will receive free registration in exchange for organizing each event. Simple requirements must be met, of course. For more information, visit Designing the World with Words and click on the “Mobile Workshops” link.

Have you entered any writing contests, lately? If not, you should. You can’t win money and awards if you never submit your work.


I am excited. I have been making plans to attend writing conferences in 2017. I’ve reserved cars and hotel rooms. I’ll be speaking at a few of the events. Also, I’ll soon be planning my writing workshops for 2017. My schedule on this website will be updated before the end of the year. As of right now, 2017 is looking like an exciting year for writers!

The Craft of Writing Mini-Conference


From the Tulsa NightWriters Club in Tulsa, OK

Who should attend the conference this Saturday, Nov. 5th?
Writers who are new.
Writers who have been around the block.
Writers who want to know more about the craft.
Writers who are not published.
Writers who are published.
Wannabe writers, who would like to know how hard or easy it is to write.
People who write books for children, teens, adults, old folks.
People who write fiction, nonfiction, or poetry.
People who write for magazines.
People who write for newspapers.
People who write books.
People who want to learn more about the books they read and how the really good ones can be so exciting.

NOTE: You do not have to be a member of the club to attend. But, you do have to download the agenda/registration form at , fill it out, and return it to the email address listed.

See you there!

Living Mystery

Do you love mysteries? I do.

We are taught to love a good mystery before we can even read. Some of the greatest mysteries ever written are read to children long before they even understand the written word:

  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
  • Are You My Mother?
  • Goldilocks and the Three Bears
  • Little Bo Peep
  • Three Little Kittens
  • Rumplestiltskin
  • The Twelve Dancing Princesses
  • The Elves and the Shoemaker

Some of these stories teach children to look for clues. Others teach them to watch the scenes unfold as the main character(s) learn what is happening. All of them walk us through an exciting mystery.

But, wait! Is there a murder in any of those stories?

Let’s move up a few years.

  • Nancy Drew
  • The Hardy Boys
  • Judy Moody
  • The Boxcar Children
  • Encyclopedia Brown

Still, there is seldom any kind of murder, or even a death.

We don’t really begin to see murder as a “symptom” of a mystery until we reach young adult or adult stories. And then, it’s hard to find a mystery without at least one murder. Why is that? Why is it practically a requirement for a mystery to contain a murder? Is it because we can’t come up with anything more exciting than who killed someone? Where is the creativity in writing, these days? What happened?

If you find some good mysteries for young adult and up—you know, the kind with no murders—please, let me know.