Getting Going Again!

Before the death of my beautiful daughter and fellow author, Tiffany M. Rock last month, I had been working on a Fantasy I called Vermaland. The story is about some gypsy-like people who are caravanning across their Kingdom in wagons in search of a valley promised to them in a prophecy. There is magic and elves. There is also a smattering of sex and violence. It wouldn’t be mine if there wasn’t.

I actually started this story a couple of years ago ( I have the attention span of a kitten with a ball of string) and it had been simmering in my document file while I jumped around to other projects. I picked it up again last summer, but set it aside when my daughter was diagnosed as terminal and we began the months of hospital visits and disappointing news from oncologists ( I shredded one–an oncologist–in a wood chipper in a story I started in October and may get back to it later in the year).

One of the things Tiffany begged of me was not to give up on my writing in my grief, so after that horrible day on December 17, I opened my computer and got back to work, editing the first draft of Vermaland and doing the cover. I published on December 31.Vermaland coverVermaland can be found in paperback or e-book on I hope you will give it a read. It’s my longest so far at 614 5×8 pages and 103K words.

I really enjoyed writing this story. It took me back to my twenty years of reading almost only Sword and Sorcery Fantasy. The reviews I’ve received from my beta readers have been good and I’ve outlined and begun writing Book 2! I’m 10 chapters and 25K words in already on my first draft.

I signed up with and have really enjoyed their service. I can outline, plan scenes, organize my plot grid, and write my chapters. I can then export it all to Word to format for printing. Dabble is easy to use and fun. You should all check it out!

My 2017 plan was to publish 6 novels, but I only managed 3 full length novels and a novella. I’m back on track for 6 in 2018. I enjoyed the online Creative Writing class I took through Wesleyan University and hope to publish the Capstone Project as a novella. It is set between books 2 and 3 of my Soiled Dove Sagas and features Roxie’s return to Dodge City after Willard dumps her in the hospital in Colorado Springs. I titled it The Return of the Queen. Wish me luck! I hope you all have a very productive 2018.

Until the next time, Write On!


I just signed up with It is a crowdfunding thing set up for artists. Back in the day, artists had to find patrons to fund their art. This is based on that historic concept. I will be offering short stories set in either the Old West or my Black Bayou settings each week for my patrons to enjoy.

There are also rewards for each tier of patronage. For 1.00 per story I am offering my patron a short story set in their choice of Old West or Black Bayou setting with them as the main character. For a 5.00 patronage, I am offering a Novella set in their choice of Old West or Black Bayou settings with them as the main character. It will be bound with a cover, signed by me, and mailed to them. For a 10.00 patronage, I will send them a signed copy of any of my published novels.

I’m not a famous author, so I’m not expecting any 10.00 patrons, but some 1.00 patrons would be cool! They’d be investing 4.00 per month and get some great entertainment. They would also get to be the hero or heroine of their own story. This is all new to me, so I may need to adjust my numbers.

If any of you are interested in helping to patronize a struggling artist, hit me up at I’d really appreciate it! I thank you in advance for your patronage and support!

Return A Book To Kindle?

I recently ran some promos and when I checked my sales on Kindle, I was surprised to see a book had been returned. It was a 2.99 book. Do people really do that? I can’t imagine it is easy.

What’s more, I went to the book’s page to look for a horrible review, but there wasn’t one. Why? If you thought the book was bad enough to return it and get your money back, then tell me why. There must have been a reason you bought it to begin with. How did it not meet your expectations? Was it poorly written? Was it poorly edited? Did you find the subject matter offensive? Why would you return a 2.99 e-book?

The book in question is Sweet RewardsSweet Rewards cover and I can understand how it might have offended some readers in our overly politically correct age. The story takes place in southern Louisiana just after the Civil War and I use the ‘N’ word liberally in dialogue. It was a very heated time in our national history and white folks weren’t very nice to their newly-freed black brothers and sisters. I write Historical Fiction, not fictitious history. A story set in 1874 Louisiana is going to see some offensive references to blacks.

There is also some graphic sex and violence. There is also some graphic violent sex. The book comes with an 18+ warning. That generally implies graphic sex. My characters find romance with one another, though it may come about in an unusual way. My hero is a pompous ass, but comes around in the end and they find their Happily Ever After. It is by no means a sweet, clean romance. They were not sweet, clean times.

It just surprised me that a person would buy a book and then return it without leaving a review–not even a simple ‘Don’t waste your money.’ I’ve left those reviews, but always went on to explain why and I’d never ask for my money back no matter how much I disliked the book.

November is Here and I’ve Passed On NaNoWriMo This Year

I played with an outline for a new Romance for my NaNoWriMo project this year, but with my daughter in the hospital and two other projects uncompleted, I decided to pass this year. It’s been difficult to get my head in the right place. I started a horror story, but when I fed an oncologist, feet first through a wood chipper, I decided to set it aside. That was just a bit too satisfying!

I’ve been playing with some promotional stuff too. I lowered the prices of three books to .99 and posted them on a promotional site. We’ll see how that goes. If it works, I will probably drop the prices of my Soiled Dove Sagas for the Christmas Season. For now, get Sweet Rewards at french quarter Dreams of Molly of Molly cover and Not Prepared Prepared cover for .99 each through the month of November. I hope you enjoy them and will drop a review on Amazon!

OK, enough of the shameless self-promotion! I’ve also been busy, taking some writing classes online through Wesleyan University. They have been interesting. I find it difficult to relate to some of the instructors, however. They write high-brow Literary Fiction in the hopes of winning literary prizes, acclaim, and of course, their jobs as instructors at a school like Wesleyan. I write to entertain myself and my reader. I roll my eyes when the instructor talks about struggling with an opening paragraph for weeks. Am I not that dedicated to my craft? No, I simply write to take myself to another place for a little while. I think it’s an acceptable form of mental illness.

Let’s face it, where else could you feed an oncologist through a wood chipper and not go to jail or a mental hospital? I write stories to titillate, thrill, and creep readers out. It’s my escape from the mundane. I do it to titillate, thrill, and creep myself out! It’s fun. Sometimes I scare myself a bit and ponder my sanity, but I’ve never struggled with an opening paragraph for weeks and probably never will. I’ll probably never win any high-brow literary awards or teach at Wesleyan either, but that’s all right. I’m happy in my little world, feeding oncologists into wood chippers feet first and listening to them scream in my head.

Until the next time: Write On!

I’ve Been Away Too Long!

I’m a terrible blogger! My life has been in turmoil for the past few months. My daughter and fellow author, Tiffany M. Rock was found to have cancer of the Appendix in February and was fighting it with surgery and chemotherapy, but it has failed to stem the spread of the tumors in her abdomen. It doesn’t look good, but she is trying a new treatment to help slow the spread of the horrible disease .

Needless to say, my writing has taken a hit. I was working on a Fantasy I’m calling Vermaland and got over 90K words into it, but lost my motivation with our latest scare and more time in the hospital.

In my desperate desire to escape into another world, I began a horror project. I think my first victim is going to be an oncologist! The story takes place in a former plantation house in Virginia. Sometime after the Civil War it was turned into a mental hospital–a place where the Plantation elite could dump their less than perfect children and unwanted wives. My character finds out the place is supposed to be haunted by the original doctor who hanged himself after he killed a young female patient in a botched abortion. Yes, I’m feeling quite murderous! The working title is Bainbridge Hospital and I intend to take out my frustrations there.

If I didn’t have my writing to escape into, I don’t know what shape I’d be in! It’s my escape and my therapy. I can kill without the mess or the guilt. It’s no surprise the story takes place in a defunct hospital haunted by a disgraced doctor. I’ve never been fond of either and recent events have done nothing to change that.

I’ve been experimenting with some marketing of late. I hired a PA who had been posting my work to different sites and saw a small uptick in sales. Unfortunately, I set that aside for the time being as well. I tried some Amazon adds and got a few sales, but not what I had hoped. Thus far, the best return on my investment has been an ad on Bargain Booksy. I believe I will continue with them for awhile and try some of my other books there.

Getting reviews is another struggle. I give away books and hope the reader will be kind enough to repay with a review. It’s hit and miss. I recently received a very nice email from a blogger who said she wanted to review my books on her blog. She complemented one of my covers. After I replied, telling her I’d be happy to send her book files for review, she replied that her price for a review was 75.00 per book. She also said that after she received my payment via Paypal, she would gladly purchase the book she wanted to review. Oh, my! I refuse to pay for a review. I feel giving the book is payment enough. 75.00?! I guess it’s a nice gig if you can get it.

I always thought the writing was supposed to be the hard part!

I’ve also been occupying my time with some classes. I began taking some online writing courses through Weslyan University. For 49.00 per month they offer a course covering, Plot, Character, and Setting development. After listening to lecture segments from authors on the subject, there is then a writing assignment and peer review. Reviewing the assignments has been interesting. Do they no longer teach basic grammar in grade school and high school? Frankly, I’ve been stunned. I see a healthy future in the Editorial field!

Until the next time, Write On!

Too Busy to Blog

I’m a terrible blogger! I know I should post no less than on a weekly basis and some recommend daily. I just can’t seem to do it. It’s not that I’m not dedicated. I’m busy! I try to write everyday. I made a resolution to publish a dozen books this year. Thus far I have published six! I’ve been busy. I recently finished a story that has been in my files for over two years and I’ve been mulling it over for over forty. As a senior in high school, I had a dream … a nightmare, actually. I was watching a young woman being abused, but in my dream, I was the young woman. I felt what was happening to her, but seeing it from my eyes at the same time. I was seventeen and it was disturbing. I watched the young woman being murdered and then experienced her being boarded up beneath a floor. It was so real, I wrote about it in my English Composition class a few days later. My instructor, Mrs. Sally Taylor, told me never to forget that story because it would make a great book someday. I began writing it and it turned into something more than just a ghost story about a nightmare I had during high school. It became a story about my nightmare in high school. I wrote four drafts of this story over two years. I finally finished it. Dreams of Molly is now live on Amazon.Dreams of Molly cover It is hard looking back sometimes.

I also published a western romance set in an Oregon gold mining camp. It’s called Lost Dove about a young woman who was sold by her step-father to a cat wagon and then sold again to a lonely miner. They are then forced into marriage. It’s a romance written with a classic romance plot. Boy buys girl. Girl decides to try to make the best of things. Yada-yada. Throw in the return of the evil step-father who thinks she knows where some missing money is and we have some action. Lost Dove CoverLost Dove is also live on Amazon.

To combine my recent fascination with ghost stories and westerns, I wrote and published a novella I called A Tale for a Long Winter Night. A young woman is taken prisoner by two cowboys and held in a line shack. You can imagine what they put her through. She escapes. The local marshal captures the two culprits. There’s a trial. It’s a novella. If I give away much more that will be that! This story is live on Amazon also and only .99 for Kindle users.Long Winter Night cover

So, you see, I have been busy. I’ve also been experimenting with different promos. I’ve been playing with Kindle promotions, Books Go Social, and Freebooksy. Thus far, the Books Go Social 19.00 tweet blitzes have done the best. Have they amounted to thousands of sales? No, but more than doing nothing. They have also been much more cost effective than doing a giveaway in which I mail a free book to someone if they buy a Kindle version of another. They always said the writing was the hard part!

After being told by a local bookstore merchandiser that they would prefer to carry consignment books by local authors with local interests, I’m going to make the setting of my next western one of the many ghost towns here in Washington. I have several to choose from and doing research!

Until next time, Write On!

Writing with the Five Senses

I’m taking another on-line class about writing Romance. You can never learn too much! Today’s lesson was about writing Sensuality and Emotion. It was a good lesson and it made me remember what an instructor told a class I was in years ago that stuck with me. She said never to forget the five senses when you are crafting a scene.

If your scene takes place outside what does it look like? Is the sky bright an blue? What does it feel like? Is the sun warm on your skin or is it windy and blowing your hair into your eyes? What does it smell like? Is it earthy because a field has just been plowed or is the scent of wild flowers on the breeze? What does your character hear? Are bees buzzing over the wild flowers? Cows lowing in the distance? Perhaps your character pulls a piece of fruit from a tree and bites into it. He enjoys the tart, juice as it runs over his tongue. Perhaps he’s walking through a dark forest and he feels and hears the crunch of dried leaves beneath his feet and smells the musty odor of decaying vegetation.

You can easily see how using the five senses can quickly enrich a scene for your reader. Almost everyone has experienced feeling the sunshine on their face or bitten into a juicy piece of fruit. They know what it feels like for a cold breeze to raise goose flesh on their skin. This is one of the best techniques a writer can use to engage his reader in a scene, whether its walking across a hot, dry desert in a Western or trekking through a swampy jungle on an alien planet. Using the five senses will put your reader right there with your character, tasting the hot, savory stew in a smoky pub in Victorian England or a fantasy world of your crafting.

I write a good bit of erotic content. The five senses are important there as well. Every woman knows how it would feel if a rough, calloused hand brushed over her silky skin. She’s tasted stale alcohol on her lover’s tongue during a kiss and been aroused by the musky scent of aftershave or turned off by bad breath. You get my drift.

Many times while I’m editing my work, I’ll read a scene I’ve written and then add in the five senses. Roxie is sitting in a stagecoach. (Too simple. Let’s beef it up a bit.) Roxie is jolted in her seat as the coach hits a rock on the narrow trail. She can taste the dust in her mouth from the road. It irritates her nose as badly as the smoke from the smelly cigars the shabbily dressed man across from her is smoking. The cracked and worn leather scrapes her tender hands as she tries to right herself in the rocking coach.Queen of the Cow Towns cover

Roxie goes from simply sitting in a stagecoach. The reader now knows it’s a rough, dusty ride. We know the seats are old and cracked. There is also another passenger and he’s a smoker. The reader is now rocking in that coach with Roxie, tasting the dust and smelling the cigar smoke.

Using the five senses is the easiest way to put your reader into the scene with your character. It was by far the best piece of writing advise I’ve ever received.

If you are struggling for word count, going back and adding the five senses to your scenes is also a plus.

Until the next time, Write On!