Comfort Plans wins 2018 Best Historical Romance award from Texas Authors

April 16th. 2018

How exciting to share the big news about Comfort Plans‘ big win! This is my second novel, and quite the departure from the WWII fiction of The Big Inch. Because I love historical context, Comfort Plans has a rich backstory of early immigration to the Texas Hill Country, and the imprint left by those needing to reinvent themselves among the limestone and prickly pear cactus around Comfort, Texas. Twenty-five years ago I used to drive those hilly roads peeking into a landscape that was foreign to this Georgia girl, and fascinated by the grit of the German settlers who chose to get off the wagon trails in a land filled with cougars, bears, and Mexican soldiers. The testament to that era was still seen in the architecture of the farms and small towns, and I would run my fingers along those limestone walls and listen for the echoes from the past. I’m weird that way.

The idea of turning one of those farmsteads into a modern family retreat is not unique–it’s done countless times a year in the Hill Country, and I chose to set a mulish builder and a historical preservation architect (one who had been derailed from knots coming undone) among one of those old houses needing restoration–just to see what would happen. What happened was a fun ride through the ins/outs of historical preservation, home construction, and power struggles, but also the reinvention of a woman who needed to prove herself. Comfort Plans is as much about a woman finding her own identity, as it is about a house shedding it’s secrets. Family dramas, charming characters, and treasure also keep the story hopping and I hope that you as a reader, enjoy it as much as I did in writing it. This is the first time in my life I can say I’ve written an award-winning book, and I’m honored and thrilled that Comfort Plans opened that door.

Finding an Audible voice for The Big Inch characters

April 2nd. 2018

I’ve been working with a professional actor, talking through characterization, place, and nuance about the characters of my debut novel, The Big Inch, as we prepare to go into production for Audible. Because many of the characters in The Big Inch are Texan, and many have southern roots, you’d think it would be easy. Au Contraire. This roster of distinctive voices would give any actor a challenge. Since a listener can’t see who’s talking from the sentence structure, it’s up to the narrator to give vocal cues and–here’s the kicker–maintain those cues through hours and hours of a dialogue-based novel. God Bless the woman who’s taking on this opportunity and her knack for mimicking the distinctives of a regional accent that needs just enough variation between the old and young women, those that are celebrating their southern roots, and those that are hiding from them.

To be fair, when I was writing The Big Inch, I never dreamed it would one day become an Audible book that would rely on a strong vocal actor bringing the characters to life for those listening while stuck in traffic or on an extended road trip. I trusted my reader’s imagination. Now, though, I’m trusting someone to give sass and vigor to people that previously existed in my head. Stay tuned, I’ll keep you in the loop as to how this is progressing, and what some of the tips I’m using to inspire the narrator to hear the characters as they sound inside my imagination.