What’s up?

In typical fashion, I haven’t blogged in awhile. Sorry. I’ve been busy–aren’t we all?

In April, I received first place in the Writer’s Guild of Texas Flash Fiction for my submission, The Cape. I am writing and submitting other short stories to a wide range of contests and anthologies as I hear about them. Wish me luck!

I finished the first book for the Tess Corona Chronicles. The series title has got through several agonizing changes, but I think I’ll just stick with the above. Now to nail a title for the book itself. The current title is And They Danced. Book two (currently titled And They Played) is about halfway written.

I did some querying for the first book but got frustrated–as predicted in my last post. It seems that after all one’s hard work to jump through the required hoops (What authors/books/movies is your book comparable to? How should I know? No one else has written my book!), many agents don’t bother to reply if they aren’t interested. Out of about 25 queries, I received about 5 responses. I may try again–I may not. Stay tuned.

Right now, I’m stepping outside of my comfort zone. I mentioned before that I took a board position for one of my writer’s groups, and last month I opened my big mouth and took over the webmaster position. No joke, people. I (the least technology-savvy of all) am a webmaster. The first thing I did after getting the training–I wrote the password down wrong. Once we got that squared away, I got in and somehow managed to update a couple of items, but gave a section an extra space that won’t go away. To add to my insanity, I volunteered to be a Facebook moderator for a writing conference. I’ve never moderated anything before, and I don’t tend to interact much, so this will be interesting. This is all on top of my brilliant decision to attend two conferences in the same weekend.

The only other notable is that I’ll be a grandmother by September. It’s a scary thought, but I’m proud of Myrtle the Elder. I don’t know what to ask the baby to call me. The current contenders are Nana, Nonnie, or Gilly. Gilly is a play on Gilda (which is what the Myrtles called me whenever I caught them goofing off). Or the baby might decide on some other name that will be a great fit.

T

Old and New

Most of my social media feeds show people reflecting on 2020 and planning for 2021. I am not a planner–not even what’s for dinner–but I do make an effort to at least sketch out a calendar with important dates. This year I tried to at least look at what I accomplished in 2020. In a year of global ups and downs, I have to admit my year was mostly up.

Ups: I opened the year getting 3rd place in a local short story contest (Transplant), then got 1st place in August (All Saints). I published my 4th book (Valkyrie) in May, finished my 1st manuscript for a new series-The Cerveza Chronicles, and made headway on the 2nd novel. I participated in National Write a Novel Month for the 5th time, and PitchWars for the 1st time.

My learning process continued with (in person and online) meetings and classes for Skywarn, TCU Center of Texas Studies, Texas Discovery Gardens, Sisters in Crime (North Dallas, Heart of Texas, Houston, North California, National), Bourchercon-Sacramento, Writer’s Guild of Texas, Dallas Mystery Writers, Dallas Area Writers Group (DAWG), Roanoke Writers Conference, Writer’s Organizations ‘Round Dallas (WORD), and Frisco Area Writers Group (FAWN). Basically, if they let me in, I took notes.

My oldest–Myrtle the Elder–came to visit in January and bought her first home in February. She also got a new puppy–a Boston Terrier name Moose. My other granddogs are doing well. Doc had a bloody ear, but otherwise avoided having his stomach pumped again (win!). I’ve been able to keep in touch with friends through Zoom, Discord, texting, and the occasional porch or driveway visit.

T’s Adventures in Cooking including learning to fill tamales (yum!), making my first chicken and dumplings and beef stew, my first cobbler (blog post-Drunk Peaches), not-my-first-but-it’d-been-awhile Thanksgiving turkey, and the best smoked Christmas ham with a cranberry-dijon glaze (seriously good and ham isn’t my favorite meat).

Downs: In March, my husband and I had to put our 15 year old black lab to sleep (blog post-My Boy). I still miss my boy.

Covid-19 affected everyone I know in one way or another. One family member (a nurse) caught it early on but recovered. Friends went into strict quarantine due to health concerns, and most transitioned their work to home. My job (occupational therapist) doesn’t have the luxury of working from home, but we did have to decrease our hours temporarily. Fortunately, my employer did everything they could to keep us working, and I had over 100 hours of vacation time (because I forget to plan time off) accumulated to offset the difference.

Personally, I haven’t allowed the pandemic to limit me. I live my life, wear a mask, and respect others space. It doesn’t work for many, but it works for me.

What does 2021 hold for T?

No clue. I’m attempting to make a few plans. I’m going to take the leap and query agents for The Cerveza Chronicles. Honestly, I’m not sure how patient I will be with that process, but we’ll see. I am a new board member of Writers Guild of Texas (pray for them, they know not what possessed them). Any and all classes, meetings, critiques, contests, etc that I am capable of participating in, shall be participated in. And Myrtle the Younger and I will continue our Adventures in Cooking (she got a tiny waffle maker for Christmas-yummy!) so stay tuned for whatever crazy whim we get a taste for, without setting the kitchen on fire (it’s a skill I haven’t mastered yet. My mother has achieved that greatness at least 3 times that I know of).

Many blessing to all for a HEALTHY and SAFE 2021!

T.

Drunk Peaches

I have mentioned in the past–more than once–that I am not a cook. It’s not that I can’t cook, I don’t like planning to cook, preparing to cook, cooking, and cleaning up after cooking. Except on special occasions like when I have help, inspiration, or a really good reason to darken the kitchen doors. Let me just say that I haven’t killed anybody or anything with my cooking–yet.

I should also mention that–despite not possessing the will to cook wholesome food for my family on a daily basis–I apparently inherited the family trait of collecting recipes and improvising, which I have passed on to the Myrtles. Myrtle the Eldest is quite amazing in the kitchen and Myrtle the Youngest is my partner in crime when I want to test out something wild and crazy.

The latter was the case a couple of weeks ago, but let me first give a little background. I live in Texas which has many “state foods”: BBQ, chili, Tex-Mex, corny dogs, to name a few. Cobblers might be considered a “state dessert” and are a staple at many pot-lucks. That said, I had never ever made a cobbler–homemade or otherwise. So June, 2020 rolled around along with my father-in-law’s birthday and I decided I would attempt to make a peach cobbler for him.

Now when I do cook, especially for a special occasion, I make an effort to do it right. I follow a recipe (not always–rarely–with precision), and, when possible, I use fresh ingredients. This peach cobbler had to have fresh peaches (it took freakin’ forever to peel and cut up six or seven peaches only to find one of them was bad). It smelled good, it tasted good, and everyone in the vicinity wanted a repeat. Which I proceeded to do a few weeks later for mi espouso’s birthday.

Moving on to a couple of weeks ago, I decided that peach cobbler with brandied peaches sounded kinda good. Have I ever had brandied peach cobbler? No. Have I ever sampled brandied peaches? No. Have I ever had brandy? No. Am I going to modify the current successful recipe to meet my current yen? Why yes, yes I am.

Fortunately, Myrtle the Younger is on board with this idea, so off we go to the liquor store (because one must have brandy to make brandied peaches, don’t you know–did I mention that I’ve never had brandy before?). Obtaining peaches and brandy, we proceeded to skin the poor little darlings and I decide that a cup of brandy in the pot oughta do the trick. But first, as all good chefs should do, we must taste the brandy.

I do not like brandy.

But I continue with the plan and allow the peaches to soak up as much alcohol as they wished while the bowl sat in my fridge. Every few days, Myrtle the Younger would ask when we were going to do the cobbler. I kept putting it off because–you know–I don’t want to cook. We even bought a few more unsaturated peaches to mix with the drunk ones so we would be able to drive after sampling the cobbler (not that we needed to go anywhere, but just in case someone had to go buy another dessert or go to the ER).

Finally, she corners me and I agreed we needed to do the deed today. The first thing we did, with great trepidation, was remove the lid of the sloshed peaches in hopes that they would still be edible. They seemed happy, so we moved to the fresh peaches. The three remaining ones were REALLY RIPE by this time but were still usable.

While I’m peeling the fresh peaches, Myrtle looks up the recipe and happens upon a recipe (get this) for brandied peach cobbler. It called for 1.5 TEASPOONS of brandy over fresh peaches without letting them set. If I recall correctly, I doused my little guys in about 1 CUP and let them percolate for two weeks. OOPS!

We continued with our endeavor, deciding to follow the original recipe, and lo and behold, we made a darn good drunk peach cobbler for dessert!

Now I have to get more peaches, before they are out of season, and set them to swimming in a new bath of brandy. I also have reserved peachy brandy marinade that I need a use for. Stay tuned.

T.

Thrilled but humbled

A couple of weeks ago, I did this thing–I entered a local writer’s group short story contest. Each month the Granbury Writers’ Bloc posts a challenge to write a story of less than 1500 words for a given prompt. August happened to be an open prompt category. While there are many contests out there, few offer a critique for each entry. This contest offers feedback for each entry, and that alone is worth the entry fee.

This month had the added incentive of receiving a “plot bunny”. Meet Lena the Lizard.

Lena the Lizard ‘Plot Bunny’

Lena promises to help me write more short stories (I have to provide the poop).

Before this year, I had written two short stories–SMACK! and A Smile for Noelle–as a challenge to myself. While I did submit SMACK! for a Texas horror anthology (I figured Hey! Why not!), those stories were never critiqued. In January, I submitted Transplant to the GWB Short Story Contest. I was pleased to get 3rd place for that effort. In addition to this contest, I’ve written a few flash fiction stories (under 300 words) for another group I belong to (maybe someday I’ll post those).

So back to my current short story–I wrote All Saints as a complement to my paranormal cold case series (formerly referred to as The Corona Chronicles, but now will be called Chronicles of the Cerveza Twins–or something like that). Wanting good feedback, I submitted All Saints as a short story.

And I won. First place. To say I was excited is an understatement. Mi Espouso said I was going to be difficult to live with (I think he’ll survive). There were only two comments given in the feedback, including the statement “One of the best stroies[sic] of any genre I’ve read in a long time.”

Lena thinks I did a good job.

Well, doesn’t that just put things in perspective? I am floored. This is someone who reads as much as I do, if not more, and my fourth attempt at a short story was the best they’ve read in a long time?

Wow. If that isn’t the incentive to keep writing, I don’t know what is.

My story, along with the 2nd and 3rd place winners, are posted at Granbury Writers’ Bloc. Check them out. Send them love and support.

Thanks!

T.

Firsts

A while back, a friend asked about first concerts. You know the type of question: What was your 1st car (’73 government surplus AMC Ambassador station wagon–top that for ugly!), What was your 1st pet? (a Boston terrier–Lady Noble Blue (edit-the Mimi corrects me. It was Noble Lady Blue. Forgive me for screwing up a pedigreed name. I was one! I called her Boo or Blue)–given to me for my 1st birthday by my great-grandparents), etc.

Anyway, I assumed my friend was referring to big, popular music-type concerts. As the daughter of a musician, I’ve been to many concerts of the symphonic and choral variety as an attendee, volunteer, or participant. Of the typical rock or country concert, I have only attended a handful.

My first was at the tender age of 12ish. My mother and a friend of hers took me to see Fleetwood Mac. That’s a pretty cool first concert in anybody’s book. I clearly remember 4 things from this event. The first was Stevie Nicks standing on stage, wearing a flow-y, handkerchief-type dress, standing in front of a fan which blew everything around. She was probably singing Rhiannon, but I don’t remember for sure. My preteen self thought it was cool. Second, I remember Christine McVie apologize for John McVie’s absence from the stage; he apparently ate some bad fish.

After that, the two things I remember weren’t so much fun. There was the drunk-off-his-keister dude who plopped his smelly self on the steps next to me and proceeded to drink, smoke, yell, and flick his Bic while falling over into my lap. Mom removed me to the next seat and called for security clean-up on aisle 5. That was fun.

As we were leaving, another, equally stoned/drunk/stupid guy tried to stop me from leaving. Not the thing to do in front of a Momma Bear. Nope. I do not recommend it.

Needless to say, that experience set the tone for subsequent concerts. For my 16th birthday, my dad got me and 3 friends tickets to see Van Halen. I only remember David Lee Roth’s backside-less leather jeans that he waggled around on stage (why did I think that was cool?), and the guy who tried to pick me up after the concert. Fortunately, my friends possessed more sense than me and told him off.

Then there was the Journey concert with mi (future) espouso, his brother, my brother, and whoever my brother was dating at the time. I think the concert was good, but I don’t remember because a couple of girls decided to park themselves in the aisle to smoke their joints, block my view, and sing along (badly and loudly). It took me about twenty minutes to get mi (future) espouso to have security remove them from the vicinity. One would think with me beating on his arm for that long, he might have gotten the message a little quicker. I might have been a little upset by the ordeal.

Any excitement about going to see someone live has since been squashed. I’ll go to see someone if it’s a quieter venue or if it’s part of another event like a ballgame.

That’s enough about my concert experiences. Feel free to share yours. If you can top the 1st car category, I’m sorry…so, so sorry.

T

My Boy

As parents, we met December 2004, with the usual question: “What do you think Santa will bring you for Christmas?” I don’t know what we were thinking, but mi espouso and I were a little shocked when the Myrtles (aged 8 and 6 at the time) unanimously announced that the only thing they wanted was a—you guessed it—a puppy.

Now, mi espouso and I love dogs. We each had one or more growing up. Our only issue was that we were raising two children, finances weren’t the greatest, and we thought we were too busy for a dog. Considering our options, we decided it might be better to try a guinea pig or something caged as a starter animal for the Myrtles to see if they could take care of an animal.

In steps the Mimi.

My family has firm roots in Santa, going back to my brother’s pronouncement that he didn’t believe anymore. Nope, nada, no-how did Santa exist. That is until Christmas Eve. We were at my great-grandmother’s house, and he decided that he was going to sleep in front of the Christmas tree to be a tripping hazard for the Bearded One. Poor Mimi hadn’t planned on Santa gifts because of my brother’s assurances that there was no Santa. Needless to say, after the kids went to bed, there was a late night scramble to put some kind of Santa appearance under the tree.

Fast forward twenty-odd years, and Mimi was a devout Santa’s elf. If the Myrtles demanded a puppy, then a puppy they would get.

The weekend before Christmas loomed, and the Mimi arrived on our doorstep to drive me all over God’s green earth in search of the Perfect Puppy. Now, let us say right now, the Mimi and I have VERY different views on what constitutes a dog. She likes dogs that sit in your lap or prance around like tiny ballerinas. (She prefers girl dogs because boy dogs hike their leg. THE HORROR.) As we went to pet store to pet store to SPCA, she kept picking out teacup-sized puppies that wouldn’t stop yapping, while I handled puppies that had paws the size of dinner plates and were asleep.

Guess who won.

I called mi espouse on our way home, with a lap full of quiet puppy, to let him know that he was no longer the token male in the household (although the newest male was neutered). Thus began the Great Santa Puppy Exchange. With a week to go, we couldn’t let the Myrtles in on the secret before Christmas, so the Myrtles exited the front to go to the Mimi’s while the puppy (and all things puppy) entered from the back. Mi espouse and I spent a childless week acclimating one black lab-mix to the household until Christmas Eve when we reversed the process: dog (and all things dog) out the back door, girls in the front. The puppy reappeared for the scheduled Santa appearance at 5am when mi espouso arrived back with said puppy (and all things puppy) for set-up. The Mimi managed to keep the dog quiet for 2 hours, then kept the Myrtles at bay for another 30 minutes until show time.

It was an engineering feat, I tell you.

And well worth the effort. After multiple name options were considered, the puppy finally chose his own name—Chewie—when he agreed that he did indeed like to chew, giving a high-pitched whining yelp reminiscent of a certain infamous Wookie, thereby making his full title Chewbacca, Sir Chews-a-lot, Prince Mutley, the CHEW-MEISTER (with booming voice-over).

And he’s MY boy.

Fast forward 15 and a half years.

They say labs stay in puppy-hood for most of their life. That’s certainly true in Chewie’s case. His eyes, ears, legs, and bowels don’t work as well as they used to, but this morning he managed to spot a squirrel and chased it for about twenty feet. I don’t think the squirrel was too concerned to have a teetering old man-dog after him. Last week, we discovered a hole in the fence (thanks to some idiot who didn’t realize the alley was closed for destruction and decided to turn around through our fence). Mi espouso put garbage cans around the hole the keep the dogs in, but we didn’t think Chewie would even find the hole, much less escape. He did. Without delay.

Despite the evidence that he can still enjoy an outing, he’s not comfortable. He doesn’t complain, but we know it’s time. He’s given us over 15 years of love, which is several years more than a lab is supposed to give. I’m thankful we’ve had the privilege to love him back.

He’ll always be MY boy.

T

I’m Blue.

For the past three years, I have looked forward to an event created by and for writers. Writers in the Field (WITF) is an opportunity for writers to get inside the head of experts in all manner of disciplines without kidnapping, torture, and self-incrimination. Many of these experts are also writers (or are related to writers) so they understand the strange browser histories which put writers on various watch lists.

The first year was at the tail end of a true Texas summer–hotter than your oven on broil. Last year’s event is fondly referred to as Writers in the Flood or Writers in the Mud since Mother Nature decided to dump a load on our heads, complete with tornado. But still we slugged our way to the experts as they did for us. A few didn’t make it, including the food truck, but those that did were rewarded with fond memories of slogging through the muck, ruining our shoes, and going mudding in our cars (that was fun).

This year, Momma Nature made up for the first two years. For the past two days, the weather gave us lovely fall-like temperatures (which only last about 5 minutes in Texas). The rain came in early, leaving the ground only slightly squishing in certain places. Life is good.

So, off I went (with mi espouso and Myrtle the Younger in tow) with a clean notepad to attend WITF, intent on meeting like-minded people and experts, to discuss methods of murder and mayhem without threat of suspicious eyes and ears wondering just what the hell was going on out there. There sword fights, loin-girding, Renaissance dancing, lock-picking, blade-smithing, weavers, and dyers (to name a few) mix with experts from the FBI, Secret Service, police, and bomb squad to answer ALL our questions and insane ideas for our story lines. They offer suggestions on how to make our life–I mean writing–more interesting and realistic, while suggesting (gently) that perhaps that plot twist might now work the way we think it will (sigh).

So, why am I blue? Well…I dyed.

I know, it’s shocking, but after years of vague ideas on how to make a tie-dyed shirt, I participated in several dying sessions and dyed my very own mustardy yellow-y handkerchief. Over 2 days and under the watchful eye of Willoc the Dyer, six of us helped to dye a length of hand-woven, wool fabric a deep, rich blue-y purple or purple-y blue. I had the task of being under the wet cloth, dipping the cloth in the dye, ensuring it didn’t get tangled on the turning dowel, and basically getting dripped on. One day one, my hands were red. Today, I was blue.

Very blue. As in Smurfette blue. And it DOESN’T COME OFF! (Pics on Instagram)

I’m blue.

T.

 

 

What Next?

I don’t know about you, but I don’t really enjoy short stories. I like to have a little more meat–which is also why I don’t like ribs or wings. There’s too much work to get so little to chew on.

Last time, I mentioned wrote a children’s story. It started as an attempt at a short story, because the idea plopped its hindquarter into my head in its entirety. No additional meat necessary. When I completed the story at 1200 words, I figured I’d edit it to a 1000-word flash fiction because there are local flash fiction contests. (I haven’t ruled out the possibility–just so you know.) As I worked on it, the visual of a picture book formed and I couldn’t convince myself otherwise. Others agreed. However, I know NOTHING about writing, editing, targeting, etc. anything related to children’s books.

Now what?

Well…Myrtle the Younger is my resident (literally) artist and oversees any and all artistic endeavors since I can’t draw a stick figure to save my life. So, I figure I’ve got a built-in illustrator for my little story. She agreed and rendered some delightful concept art. At the same time, I get an invite to a workshop on writing children’s books.

The workshop was today. Off I go with my lovely jug of hot tea. (Yes, I know it’s summer in Texas, and it’s roughly about 1000 degrees in the shade at 8am. You have your caffeine fix, I have mine.) One of the first things I learn is that this author has a studio less than a quarter mile from my mother’s tiny-town home (by tiny, I mean about 300 residents). It’s a small world, folks.

After about three hours, I have a couple of take-aways: 1) I have a children’s story, and 2) I don’t know what to do with it.

One of the recommended steps is to determine what age child my story is geared toward. I can honestly tell you–I don’t know. I know my main character is a child. If you push me, I’d say he’s about 7-8 years old–ish. Part of my problem is that I view this as a story to be read TO a child, not the child doing the reading. If that’s the case, why does the character’s age matter?

The next step is to plan, plot, and write said story. Done. However, current day children’s books are between 300 and 800 words, preferably under 500. Mine sits at 1100 words. Now, I haven’t worked with Myrtle the Younger yet to determine how much of the story can be illustrated, so 500 might be doable. Stay tuned.

A word about the illustrations–don’t. This is a problem. The accepted wisdom is to have the agent/publisher pair the writer with an illustrator. If that’s the case, then how am I supposed to get my work under 500 words and submit a complete concept without pictures? I’m missing something here. Along with not submitting illustrations, an children’s agent or publisher apparently likes to have multiple story submissions to keep the cash flow going. Understood. (I have one.)

It’s okay. I’ve got this. Right after another cup of hot tea.

 

 

Something New…What Now?

Hello, all. It’s been a while. A year to be exact. Sorry about that. It’s hard to relate what I’m doing when I truly don’t have a clue.

It’s been a productive year, methinks. I finished the sequel to Healer and am in the process of editing and proofing. The book cover is…a work in progress? (She tells me she’s working on it. Sigh.) My goal is to publish it soon. That’s about as close to a commitment that I can muster.

My work-in-progress list has grown. I still have the two Daemon series additions, as well as the final two of the Spiritual Gifts series to finish, and I’ve begun a paranormal suspense series that I’m calling The Corona Chronicles. That’s the one I mentioned in my last post. It’s proceeding differently than my other works, so I can’t wait to see how it comes together. I’ve now started two other pieces: one a non-fiction based on my work and philosophy as an occupational therapist, and the other appears to be a children’s story.

The non-fiction is interesting. I do not consider myself an expert on much of anything, but this piece insisted that I was the one to bring it forth. For the moment, it’s called Need and addresses basic truths about health. Writing non-fiction is different than writing a novel, so I’m on an interesting learning curve.

As far as learning curves go, the children’s story is another level of What am I doing? The story was easy (and based on a true story), and I actually have a vision of the final product (for once), but I am clueless on how to proceed with editing because I need to gear the story toward an age or reading level. I attended a panel discussion of children’s writers a few years ago, but my take-away isn’t helping me now.

My primary thought during and after the panel was the focus on who would be reading the children’s book. The writers assumed the child would be doing the reading. At the time, I had spent time with my brother as he sought books HE wanted to read to his daughter. Yes, he wanted her to enjoy the book, but he also wanted to have fun as well. He looked at books from the stance of What silly voices can I make up while I’m reading this to her? and How many times will I read this book before I want to throw up?

Mi espouso and I have two daughters (both grown now–not sure how they survived us). One of the stories their daddy read to them was Bark, George by Jules Feiffer. Mi espouso aspires to do voice-over acting and especially loved the many animal noises he could incorporate into reading this book. The girls thought he was hilarious and helped him out with each oink, moo, and bark. If that’s not father-daughter bonding, I don’t know what is. That’s what my brother sought, but had difficulty finding.

Hmmm…that was a soap box, wasn’t it? Okay, then. I’m done. Back to writing adultish stuff and figuring out what to do with this kiddie thing. (Suggestions welcome.)

T.

 

A Writer’s Life

I must say that writing is exhausting work. My brain doesn’t shut down except when it must. Personality tests say its due to being an INFP. If I had ever undergone psychological testing, I might have been diagnosed with some version of attention deficit disorder. The bottom line is, I can carry on a conversation, drive, eat, and watch TV while brainstorming book scenes without breaking a sweat.

This might explain why I’m trying to write 5 books at the same time. Insane, I know, but it’s my reality. I have two more books each for the Daemon series and the Spiritual Gifts trilogy, plus the beginnings of another series.

Needless to say, the past few months have seen much time spent researching everything from Viking weaponry, Renaissance country dancing, the Texas Rangers (not the baseball team), and various Texas myths, legends, and murder mysteries. In my zeal for information and ideas, I’ve visits a few cool places and events, and collected a few souvenirs.

I mentioned previously that I attended a gun and knife expo, searching for information and inspiration on knives. While I didn’t find reference material, I discovered a love of custom knives and purchased my first.

Did I need a knife? No, I don’t. Do I love my knife? Yes, yes, I do. Ain’t it pretty?

In May, mi espouso and I went to Scarborough Faire, one of the biggest Renaissance festivals around. While most women go there to eat turkey legs and get their hair braided, I really wanted to buy a sword, but demonstrated admirable restraint. Instead, I focused on the tour of a dungeon, various forges, maps, and anything that might help my quest.

The woman in the tapestry shop called this guy a library dragon. I called him the Book Wyrm. After she thought about it for half a second, she realized I was right. I’d like to think she will forever refer to this piece correctly.

Yes, I found a few book-related goodies and spent way too much money, but more importantly, I came away with usable ideas for sequel to Healer.

A week later found me in Waco, with mi espouso and the Mimi, headed to the Texas Ranger Museum. I came away with a buzzing head and confirmation that my new series might just work after all. I’ve collected a few books for research purposes (and curiosity of the absurd).

Don’t judge. I’m a writer. (I saw a tshirt today: My Browser History Can Get Me Arrested. So true. Too bad they didn’t have my size.)

The past 2 days have been spent at my first DFW Writer’s Conference, complete with agents. I haven’t tried the agent route, so being in the room while they played the Query Gong Show was an interesting experience. (Panel of agents are read an anonymous query letter. They hit a gong when they’ve heard enough to reject. Three gongs & you’re out. At least, you hear the reasons.)

So for 2 days, I have attended lectures about screenwriting, the hero’s journey, editing, marketing, book covers, challenges, writing courtroom drama, and historical research. Each topic could have had another 30 minutes tacked on. To say the speakers were excellent would be an understatement. The keynote speaker was Scott Westerfield, author of The Uglies. His topic was amazing: the evolution of the novel and teens into the current popularity of Young Adult fiction.

While I am still processing all the information and ideas from the event, I did come away with a few souvenirs.

Mi espouso can never have enough tshirts.

I think I’m done for today.

T.