Binge Watching on Rainy Weekends

September 25th. 2018

Let me begin by saying, we needed the rain around here. I know those folks in the Carolinas would gladly share the overdose of rain they’ve received, but until the clouds burst over East Texas, we were looking peaked (that’s Southern-speak for sick, but in this case just means dry, withered, and lost all summer color.) SO, with steady rain, slippery streets, and humidity so thick you could slice it, it made good sense to stay indoors and binge watch some TV shows.

Since my husband is the only who has mastered the smart TV and it’s evil remote, I typically defer to his recommendations. I’m glad I did, because we’ve been indulging in a show that ran on the ScyFy network back in the mid-OO’s, Eureka. I was enjoying most episodes, but toward the end of the last season even I was going “seriously??”–and that’s saying something for a show written about the bizarre antics unleashed scientists might create. So, I’m glad we’ve now moved on to another TV series from the years my kids were in high school and I had no idea what was on main stream television-Chuck. Though only into season two, I’m charmed. I love the camaraderie between the characters –The Best Friend, Morgan, has reduced me to laughter-tears–and I’m rooting for them all to break free of their emotional chains. Although, in full disclosure, I have been known to yell to the TV my own directives for the plot (but that’s because, as a writer, I have strong opinions.)

If you find yourself bound indoors this season, and have opportunity to download TV episodes, give Eureka and Chuck a few minutes of your time. I hope you’ll be hooked, like I was.

Jack Ryan and Lane Mercer

September 10th. 2018

I’ve begun the Amazon Prime series, Jack Ryan. I’m hooked, but admittedly, in small doses. There’s a lot of blood and gun-fire. John Krasinski has done a wonderful job on inhabiting a well-known character and making him feel fresh (the show writers get a lot of credit for that as well.) But seeing this modern CIA and all the levels and layers of command and on-the-ground resources makes me wonder what Lane Mercer, Emmie Tesco, and Theo Marks would have to say about all this gun-play and computer savviness. Those three fictional characters came to life in the early days of the Office of Strategic Services, the WWII fore-runner of today’s CIA. Like their real counterparts, they had minimal physical training, few technical resources save Morse Code, some early camera devices, and a whole lot of code definitions. What they did have to have were sharp wits, quick reflexes, a highly-trained observation method, and a memory that could pick up and recall the smallest of details. Jack Ryan isn’t much different, just with better toys. I like that the basic human instincts for loyalty, survival, moralistic high roads, and justice, are still as critical today for creating a character one can root for, as it was back in the day when those were the key recruiting tools. Hope you enjoy this new TV show like I am, and salute those very real people who serve our country through some unconventional ways.

Love Connecting with Other East Texas Authors!

September 6th. 2018

Making Pins for You!

September 6th. 2018

Friends, I’m hoping you enjoy Pinterest as much as I do. I use it as a search engine for the things I want to see visually as well as things I’m researching at any given moment–house ideas? travel spots? what to wear to work on Friday? Pinterest answers most of my questions. I’ve created Pinterest boards on my Fish Tales page to help me remember what actor has inspired a character in a book, and I pin photos that will help me remember details of what I need to write about regarding the stories I’m creating. It’s like a photo encyclopedia for me–maybe for you too, if you like peeking behind the curtain of a writer’s world. Because my novels are doing well, I’m using Pinterest to reach other readers with my customized book pins. Feel free to visit my page, look through my boards, and re-pin photos I’ve tagged, or –wouldn’t this be lovely–repin the book posts of Comfort Plans, The Big Inch, and Harmon General so your friends can see that you’ve enjoyed the novels too. Because the books are available through my website, I can easily assist Pinterest fans with finding a version of my books that suit them–pretty much, in an instant.

Taking Storytelling to A Club or Convention Near You

August 1st. 2018

I’ve had multiple opportunities in the last several years to share with audiences messages about overcoming adversity, finding the value in a local story (and making it a goldmine for marketing,) and the value of plugging in to a community and contributing to its future. With positive affirmation from listeners, I’m going to expand my horizon of influence and make myself available to speak to regional groups, clubs, and organizations that need a positive voice sharing a message of doing something good for the greater good. Stay tuned, I’ll post photos and videos from recent events and you can decide if this is something I should pursue or dial it back to focus my words to paper and not microphones.

TV Interviews and Newspaper Stories

July 24th. 2018

It’s crazy that these books are picking up so much steam and resonating with not only readers–but reporters! Thanks to the fantastic Longview News Journal story about Harmon General (and its author) television stations have invited me in to talk about Texas history, the World War II years, and why it’s important to keep these milestones from our collective story alive for a new generation. If we don’t know our story, how will we ever see how far we’ve grown or the debt we owe our grandparents? There was a time when people didn’t think twice about doing good for the greater good. We’ve lost some of that spontaneity and zest, but it’s not entirely gone. If reading about what others have accomplished spurs us on, isn’t that the point of storytelling?

Me and Joe Lansdale

July 19th. 2018

Well, Joe Lansdale doesn’t know it yet, but he’s going to be sitting next to me at a book signing at the Bookstore in Kilgore next month. I’m sure he’d be thrilled, if only he knew. I actually am thrilled because he’s the Faulkner of East Texas. He writes with grit and poison, exposing both the stains of humanity and the thin thread of hope to make life (our culture) better. I’m currently reading his novel, The Bottoms, which pulls back the curtain on life in 1930s East Texas–before oil flipped this place on its head.

If you want to meet Joe Lansdale (also famed for many other novels, screenplays, and TV series) come to Kilgore, August 22nd from 2-4p. He’s written a new book with his daughter and they’ll be signing their books, and I’ll be there with mine.

Here’s the link to the bookstore so you can find your way:

https://thekilgorebookstore.com

Newspaper Features Harmon General (and me!)

July 19th. 2018

So thrilled to open my local paper on Sunday and discover this feature about the new novel, Harmon General, and, well, me.

 

https://www.news-journal.com/features/lifestyle/author-uses-fiction-to-tell-longview-area-s-story/article_a078bbca-7bdc-11e8-a1c5-a3d3f1999c40.html

WWII, the 4th of July, and Me

July 3rd. 2018

With so much confusion, misinformation, anger, and attack in our media and social media our American culture has been battered, and quite bruised. I’d be willing to bet a frightening number of citizens under the age of 40 couldn’t define what the culture or constitution is, much less articulate what it is that makes American significant. After the win of World War II (a war most Americans never wanted our country to enter) our national pride was at an all time high, and our persona internationally was highly revered. Since then, we’ve been on a downhill spiral and I hope 2018 is rock bottom. It’s not that I want hubris and nationalism to prevail, but I would like to see Americans set aside their disagreements to look at our country and culture to remember the American Ideal–a hope and freedom that is incredibly rare–and recognize how fragile our republic is. If we don’t protect this idea that all men/women are free, and the system that guarantees that, then we risk losing our liberty.

On the occasion of the 4th of July, let’s agree to disagree about the things that divide us, and celebrate the things we have in common. We are blessed beyond measure. We are free to live, dream, and build without oppression from our government. And we are only on earth for a short while, so let’s be good guardians of what we’ve inherited.

Harmon General and Confetti

June 27th. 2018

I’m one of those folks who love to celebrate. Return home from a vacation?–put out the welcome sign. Make a good grade?–ice cream with sprinkles. Did something good without having to be harassed about it?–special dinner. So when a new book rolls out to the public, I throw a party. You’ll recognize me by the chocolate smears on my fingertips. (Sweet Shop USA keeps me stocked with Fudge Love truffles for just these sorts of occasions.)

Harmon General is getting the star treatment. Not only because it has a built-in audience thanks to the generous readers of The Big Inch who’ve been asking about this sequel, but because it proves that writing a good novel wasn’t a fluke. Well, the fluke factor might be a presumption since the book reviews are just beginning. But, still.

Friends are gathering to toss confetti for Harmon General’s flight into the hands of readers, but I also have a special book event planned for Saturday so that everyone in this neck of the woods (that would Longview, Texas) can buy an autographed copy as well. I’ll be at my favorite local book store, Barron’s. Though more of a gifts store and cafe now, Jim and Julia Barron have cultivated this author (and others) and I love, love, love that I can sell books in the beautiful treasure box of a store.

I hope to take the book with me to several area bookstores this summer and am willing to travel if you know of independent bookstores that welcome authors in for meet and greets with readers. Thanks for your kind support, and I hope you enjoy the new book!