Monday, June 1, 2015

First, Last and Always

I'm not sure where to begin. I want to tell you everything "first," but I haven't mastered that ability yet :)

The First First

This week, IN NAME ONLY, is on sale for 99cents at Amazon. I would love if you'd share this with your friends.
No Home. No Family. No Place to Hide.
For Summer Newcombe, that's only the beginning.
IN NAME ONLY is the story of a young woman who learns she's been trapped inside the Federal Witness Protection program her entire life.

The Second First

The first book of my trilogy is drafted. I finished the initial draft in the middle of May, so only a couple of weeks past my goal. However, my 60K goal turned into 74K. I learned that my story had more going on than I thought.

I'm currently in the middle of a quick inspection pass before sending it to my critique partner - mostly filling in the notes I made while drafting. My goal is to have it to her by mid June.

I'm also working on the timeline for the second book. My goal is to begin drafting it on or before the first Monday in July. And to complete the first draft by the end of September. As with Book One, my goal is 60K. We'll see how I do this time.

You've probably noticed I still haven't shared anything much about titles or stories. It's way too early for that, so you'll just have to wonder. I will say this story fits my Crime Fiction with a Kiss brand, just in a slightly different way since it's a trilogy.

I'm also going to share the current first paragraph - the one that starts the whole shebang rolling. Just remember it's subject to all kinds of changes since it's first draft.

   Slaton Enloe relaxed in his desk chair, his booted feet propped on the windowsill. Spread beyond the glass, as far as he could see, was the rocky, rolling land that had been in his family for generations, since 1851--six years after Texas became a state in 1845. Patches of bluebonnets paraded their beauty in the early morning April sun.

The Third First

It took me a little more than four months to draft the first book. That was with blogging every week in January and February, and twice a month in March, April and May.

My goal to finish the second book in three months means that during the summer, I'll only be here the first Monday of each month with a new post.

It's open-ended as to when I'll return to twice monthly blogging, as I'll still have the third book to draft and all three books to edit. So for the foreseeable future, I'll be here on the first Monday of each month only.

It probably also means I'll be straggling by your blogs to visit at various times during the month. So if I don't respond to your comments right away, give me a couple of weeks. I'll get there. I'll also be sharing what's going on with me on Facebook and Twitter. Links are in my left sidebar here.

And remember ... I don't love you any less. I'm just getting my priorities in order. Finally.

It would be much easier if I didn't love you and blogging so much

See you back here on Monday, July 6


Monday, May 18, 2015


A few years ago, like four or five, we had a big rain like we had last week. In between then and now, we've been in a major drought, so the excitement around here was real.

Anyway, the last time we had a big rain, we were visited by a family of ducks. Mommy and Daddy arrived in our backyard with a whole bunch of little yellow ducklings.

Shiner, our blue heeler, was a puppy and tried to herd the peeps. We figured their home flooded and our yard had been part of a wildlife trail before the area was developed. So after a few minutes of checking everything out, Mom and Dad Duck eventually found a way for peeps to go under the fence.

Fast forward to last week.

Not long after the rain let up, ducks appeared in our side yard by the gate to the back searching for a way under the fence. Only it’s a different breed of duck from before.

These ducklings were black and white. So we had Mommy, Daddy, and fourteen active little ducklings. And soon, two neighborhood kids--one about six and one about nine.


Live-In Handyman opened the gate, and into the backyard they went. Mama Duck huddled her ducklings in the far corner of the yard but soon joined Dad in the trees. Duck Lesson #1: teaching independence.


The same hole the ducklings found before has since been repaired, so Handyman started making a new opening for them. Mom and Dad Duck watched, and both of them talked to the babies, who ran around like, what else, little lost ducklings :)


Those ducklings were quick and all over the place. We needed Shiner! But he's traded his love of little moving things for a love of food. So both dogs stayed in the house.

The kids and I kept the ducklings semi-corralled until the hole was open. When it was, Mama Duck landed in the yard to oversee the safe passage of her babies.

As soon as the last duckling was through and in the neighboring yard, Mama Duck flew up to the fence, then to the ground on the other side. I’m guessing she counted babies and made sure all were OK.

Then she flew back up on the fence and talked to us for about 30 seconds. I’d like to think she was thanking us for getting her babies safely on the other side. Since I don’t speak Duck, I’m not completely sure.

She then flew down to the ground on the other side again, and about a minute later she flew off in the opposite direction.

Although I couldn't see them, I am sure she was following her babies.

That's what Moms do.

See you back here on Monday, June 1.

For those of you in the U.S., have a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend!

Monday, May 4, 2015

I, the Jury

How ironic is this?

In my quest for more writing time and my diligence in putting that time to good use, I've been chosen for jury duty.

In fact, if you're reading this on Monday morning, May 4, I'm not really here. I'm sitting in a courtroom with dozens of other people, all of us hoping for a rejection. Again, ironic for a writer or what?

If I'm chosen for a panel, do you think they'll pick me? I wouldn't want me for a juror if I were on trial. Can I tell them that?

Besides, I've served on a jury before. In a criminal case. It was interesting, but once was enough. I'm a quick learner. Been there. Done that. And they didn't even give us a t-shirt.

But what if no matter what I try to make them disinclined to select me, they choose me anyway? And the judge decides to sequester us for days? Weeks?! Without wine - yikes!

Even worse . . . what if it's some b-o-r-i-n-g trial all about numbers or legal tenets? And I fall asleep. And snore. Can I ask for CliffsNotes? By email? And vote from home?

Maybe I can blog from the courtroom? Should I ask? Probably not.

At least I can take my Kindle and get in a little extra reading time, unless I'm chosen for a panel right away.

With any luck, I'll be back here before you have time to miss me. But if I'm absent for a few days, you'll know why.

I'll be around to visit as soon as possible.

In other news . . . you may have noticed the big WIN button is missing from the top of the right sidebar. That's because my website contest is going on hiatus for a while. I'm not certain when it will be back - probably sometime after the first of the year.

If you have a book you'd like to give away, email me at tikihuttimeATgmailDOTcom and we'll talk about timing.

See you back here on Monday, May 18 - unless I'm Jury Jane :)

Monday, April 20, 2015

Quick! Answer the Phone!

Keeping it short at the Tiki Hut for those of you doing A to Z. So since this is A to Z Day Q, here's a quick Q is for Quirky real-life incident.

My sister and I are a lot alike. I may have mentioned that here before. The other day she sent me an email. I'll just let you read it so you can see for yourself. She knows I'm sharing it with you.

My fortune cookie from lunch says “a romantic mystery will soon add interest to your life”. HUM

And get this: We’re sitting here eating lunch and I’m reading this article about the best and worse pickup lines in Houston. So, I’m texting one to M----. (This is her husband. I took out the letters and replaced with dashes.) It says, “Nice legs. What time do they open?”

Now remember I have a phone that I can barely operate. I’m texting (the pickup line to M----) and when I get to the end I’m looking for a question mark; heaven only knows what button I pushed, but at the end of open, the phone starts typing what the guy that is here fixing our copier is saying.

So this is what came out on my phone:
“Nice legs. What time do they open sometimes you have to push it all the way in if it’s cold

You can't make this stuff up.

In my website contest news, the Author of the Month for April is Texas author Helen Ginger. Helen is giving away a signed copy of ANGEL SOMETIMES, a USA Best Book Award winner. You can learn more about Helen and her books here on her blog and on her website: 

To enter, click the big WIN button at the top of my right sidebar. It takes you directly to the contest page on my website:

Read the rules, choose your answer to the question about the photo, fill out the entry form, and click Submit.

Winner will be drawn after 6 pm on April 30.
This month’s contest is open to U.S. residents only.

I'll see you back here on Monday, May 4!