Thursday, June 30, 2011

Arby's Chicken Wrap and Writing

Pictured is the chicken-pecan salad wrap from Arby's. This is one of the best wraps I have ever eaten. It contains chicken, pecans, grapes, apples, celery and romaine lettuce in a whole-wheat wrap. It makes a great meal in itself for less than $5. You can't beat that if you like chicken salad. I do recommend it and I don't think you will be disappointed.  I usually buy one or two a week through the drive-thru window and they are always good.  You can't always say that about fries or hamburgers bought at the drive-thru. How many times have you got cold fries or worse a cold hamburger?

Since I first ate one a couple of months ago, I have encouraged several of my friends to get one. They tried them and they have been eating them ever since. At work, during lunch, I told several of my co-workers to try them. The result was good. The gal in the office next to me loved them. She's started buying one every week.  So, what does the Arby's chicken wrap have to do with writing?

Word-of-mouth sells.  Due to my telling others about the chicken wrap, they became fans. The same is true of books/authors. Nothing sells a book faster than word-of-mouth. You can spend a fortune on ads, you can trot all over the country and/or internet, meet and greet, do giveaways, etc. in hopes of boosting sales but nothing works like word-of-mouth.  One reader saying to another: That's a good book.  I will be honest.  The number one reason I buy and read a book is because it was recommend by a friend. 

So, the next time you read a book you enjoy, do take a moment to recommend it to another reader. This is doing the author a great service because it is not something a writer can purchase like bookmarks but it is by far the most effective sales tool around. In turn, writers should work to produce a wonderful story that readers will want to share with their friends along with a chicken wrap!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday: 6-26-11, Lady Silver

Back for Six Sentence Sunday this week. Another snippet from my historical, Lady Silver, set in New Orleans.  This is a scene where the hero, Jesse, is in his office at headquarters with his cousin, Lt. Ethan Reid. They are talking about the heroine a spy who calls herself Lady Silver and who has captured the hero's fancy
even though he doesn't know her true identity and he has never seen her face in the light.

Ethan leaned against Jesse’s desk and asked, “Have you ever wondered how she obtains her information?”
“What are you saying?”
“Women do not sit around doing needlework and discussing military strategy. She has male accomplices. Perhaps, a lover whom she is betraying.”
“No,” Jesse said, flatly refusing to consider that possibility.

Check out the other authors and their work at

Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comments! I enjoy them all.  Wishing you a happy and safe week ahead.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wednesday's for Writers: Memphis Magazine Fiction Contest

This week I'm featuring the contest from the Memphis Magazine. Top prize is $1,000.00.  There is a hitch. You have to live within 150 miles of Memphis.  Only costs $10 to enter. So if you live in the required area, I'd say dig out a story and send it in.  I'm a firm believer in you never know! The length is 3000-4500 words, which is about 20 pages or so. And, you've got to August 1st to polish it up and send it in.  For contest info: go here.  Good Luck!

Hope everyone is having a great week.  Monday and Tuesday were bad days for me as I had a stomach bug or the ham sandwich I ate was bad.  Needless to say, I threw away ham, mayo, bread.  My fridge is nearly empty. At least, today I feel somewhat better and I'm looking forward to the weekend.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday June 19th

This week, I'm back with another snippet from my WIP, Lady Silver, a historical romance set in New Orleans.  Background: The hero, Captain Jesse Cross, is in New Orleans with General Andrew Jackson's army in December 1814. He heads up military intelligence in the city.  The heroine, Nicole, is a French servant and she is working with a Creole spy ring while hunting for her mistress's runaway son. Keeping her identity a secret, she calls herself Lady Silver and she meets Jesse at night in a deserted courtyard to relay messages regarding the British.

Captain Jesse Cross listened to the cadence of her footsteps as she left the carriageway. The iron gate creaked as she went through it and vanished into the night. He longed to go after her. You have lost your fool mind? He leaned against the stone wall and gave his head a shake. How could he possibly be so intrigued by a woman whose face he had never seen?

Check out the other authors and snippets at or go to Twitter,  hashtag: #sixsunday.

Thanks for taking time to stop by and comment!  May you a great week and stay cool.

Me and Madeline

 Aren't we cute?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Friday with Friends: Getting Caught Casual by Lee Ann Sikora

My sister, Tammy, and I were recently having a phone conversation when we got to talking about how what Tammy called "a sort of Murphy's Law." It's just a Story descendant version of the famous Murphy's Law where, if something embarrassing can happen, it will.
This is why neither I nor any of my three sisters can get away with anything. If it can be discovered then it will be. There are no secrets at our parent's house – they are omnipotent. We are all cursed. Is it any wonder I am the way I am?  In high school, my sisters Cressy and Betty Jo, once tried to play hooky and as they were enjoying themselves downtown, they watched in horror as my father drove by … looking straight at them.
This law applies to many situations. For example: I have learned to be careful not to talk about anyone negatively in a public place. Because as sure as I do, they will walk up behind me and hear the worst-sounding part of the conversation. I will know that this person is behind me as the listener of my conversation will slowly cut their eyes to an area just behind my head and then blanch to a pasty white at an alarming rate of speed. I know the signs. I have been there. I have experienced "the law" first hand. 

The particular situation Tammy and I were discussing the other day was the fact that we cannot ever "go casual" out of our homes without someone we knowing seeing us as we look our very worst. Still, we attempt it out of sheer daring … or laziness. 

Tammy cited an example. She had been sick all day and had spent her day in her nightgown. By mid to late-afternoon her cats were throwing themselves against the side of her house in their fits of hunger until she decided to feed them and stop the banging. She opened the cat food cans and went to her front door. She did not feel like getting dressed for stepping out the door for just a few seconds. After all, she lives out in the country. She watched the road to make sure there were no cars coming and then she dashed outside. Her feisty felines were so grateful for the repast that they tangled themselves around her ankles – purring and loving on her. 

It was at that moment, Tammy heard a car. She gauged the distance to the door and she knew she would have to squash a couple of cats to get to it if she ran. There would be no time for that.
She considered a graceful, ninja-like duck and roll maneuver after which she could hide behind her car but there was no time for that either. Her hair was standing out in all crazy directions and she stood in her nightgown on her porch … surrounded by cats … as her neighbor drove by and waved. Tammy waved back with a resigned sigh.

I have had this experience also as I fed my cats before I got dressed for the day. I am so frequently seen that I have given up doing it until after I am fully dressed – after which time no one will happen to drive by, of course. However, if I run outside with no make-up, hair standing on end, and wearing my threadbare "I love Bill Bixby" tee-shirt, then I can just about guarantee a fully loaded tour bus would pull up in my driveway and ask for directions to the historic Jacinto courthouse.  It never fails.

And, I sometimes attempt a "quick trip into town" in my more brain damaged moments. I actually believe that I can run through Wal-mart, looking my very worst (dressed in "convenience store attire" as one friend so eloquently put it) and not run into anyone I know. I rarely do this, except when I have a toilet paper or Ben and Jerry's ice cream dire emergency situation. And, when people see you in this condition, they give you that terrible I'm-so-sorry-to-see-that-you-have-fallen-on-hard-times look.

Getting caught "casual" can be a traumatizing experience but I have learned it is a necessary evil. It serves to keeps us aware of the impression we give of ourselves every day and it can help keep us humble – really, really humble. 

Lee Ann Sikora.
Award-winning columnist, poet, short-story writer and editor

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Wednesday's for Writers: Missouri Review Fiction Contest Win $5K

The Missouri Review's Jeffery E Smith Editor's Prize in Fiction, Essay and Poetry Contest is now open to submissions.  The top prize for fiction is $5000.00.  The same is true for poetry and non-fiction.  That $5,000.00 prize has made me think seriously about getting Laid To Rest polished up and submitted.  I do have time.  The deadline is October 1, 2011 and the entry fee is $20.  The entry fee entitles you to a one-year subscription to The Missouri Review. A fiction story submission consists of no more than 25 pages.  So, if you have a great story and I know you do, think about entering this contest.  For details: go here to the Missouri Review website.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Made It Through Monday

The third week of June has rolled around. I had a productive weekend. I completed a couple of scenes of my WIP, Lady Silver. I just love this story, especially the setting. I'm glad my Six Sunday peeps were enthusiastic about it! That is great motivation! If you are working on a story, I encourage you to take advantage of Six Sentence Sunday. Sign ups start tomorrow. Now, if I can only remember that myself!!

I had some work done in my yard, trenching and dirt moved to help keep the water away from the house. With all that dirt, it tempted me to set out some plants. I thought this would make a great garden spot.  That inspiration only lasted a very short time when I considered the heat out there.  Much prefer to be inside where it is cool. 

I went to the library and picked up a few books.  One is an old book by Harnett Kane, who wrote a number of fiction and non-fiction titles set in the South. This one is about the Louisiana bayous. If you ever need to do research for a Southern setting, I definitely recommend digging around in the library for some of his books. Plus I got a couple more suspense novels by Tess Gerristen. I'm hooked on her characters.  And, I got a new non-fiction book about the romance between Andrew and Rachel Jackson called A Being So Gentle.   
The show that I watch every summer, America's Got Talent, is on tomorrow night. I guess what attracts me to it are the contestants, the good ones, who are pursuing their dreams. However, this season I have yet to find a favorite. For me, there hasn't been any true standout yet. But, the auditions aren't over!

The cutie in the picture is a little Texan, who will be a year old next month!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday June 12

This week I am going to feature my current project, Lady Silver. It is a short historical filled with adventure and romance in old New Orleans. 

The set-up:  The hero, Captain Jesse Cross, is in New Orleans with General Andrew Jackson's army in December 1814. He heads up military intelligence in the city.  The heroine, Nicole, is a French servant and she is working with a Creole spy ring while hunting for her mistress's runaway son. Keeping her identity a secret, she calls herself Lady Silver and she meets Jesse at night in a deserted courtyard to relay messages regarding the British. Enamored, Jesse wants to know who she really is and most of all he wants to see her face.  Snippet from Chapter 1.

           “I want to see your face.”
She didn’t know what to make of the urgency in his coarse voice, much less the furious beating of her own heart. He wanted to see the face of Lady Silver. But, hidden behind the ornate mask and black cloak, Lady Silver was nothing more than a ruse that allowed an ordinary servant girl to become exotic like Madame’s fragrance and to intrigue a man such as the captain. A man who would never notice her otherwise.
“It is a plain face,” she assured him.

Check out the other writers and snippets at or check out Twitter hashtag #sixsunday.

Have a great day!!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Making the Most of Time

Time has gotten away from me this month! I have been contending with a shoulder injury and joint injuries are painful. But, after steroid meds and such, it has improved a lot. I am hoping it stays on the mend.

Summer is definitely here and I am not complaining. After a brutal winter, I swore I wouldn't complain about the heat. I'm waiting for locally-grown veggies to be sold at the farmer's market. Home-grown tomatoes. That is what summer is all about.

For the first time in over a year, I feel I am turning the corner on the depression that has plagued me. During my lifetime, I have dealt with a number of hardships and kept right on going. I have to do that now as well. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to my friends, who have been so supportive and encouraging. I did lose one of those friends to a sudden death three months ago and I will miss her always. But, I do keep in mind the encouraging words and notes she sent me. One thing she always advised was to find something each day to enjoy.  Her something was drinking a good cup of coffee.  I guess mine would be a great glass of iced sweet tea.  Or a chocolate truffle!

As I am trying to turn the page in my life, I am re-organizing, re-prioritizing and de-cluttering. I have a full-time job so the spare time that I have is limited and I want to spend that time doing things I love. Getting my writing projects finished, more books read and enjoying down time, watching a good movie or going out with pals. I have considered what I want to do with blogging and other internet activities.  What I enjoy doing online and also not letting the internet become a "time suck".  I like having a blog. I plan to try out a blogging schedule on Mon, Wed and Fridays.  Also Sundays for 6 Sentences and the other days, maybe book reviews.  Fridays I want to feature a friend because I have found they are essential to life. Wednesday is for writing, something regarding craft, market etc.  Monday is for me, just to recap my week for myself.  I like Twitter because it is quick and I try to make most of my tweets/retweets informational and not personal.  I can't imagine that anyone would care what I am going to cook for dinner!  I don't even care myself.

In closing, try to make the most of your time and find something every day to enjoy.