Saturday, June 30, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday: July 1

The heat is on here in the South and so I decided to go with a snippet from "Laid to Rest" where the heat is on Darlene as she finds Mayor Stroud has departed this life.

With my heart slamming against my ribs, I felt of his wrists. Nothing. I pressed my fingers to his neck and there was no pulse. The richest man in town was dead. 


Dead and gone as Granny Higginbotttom would say.


And, I was in a shit load of trouble. 


If you looking for a short, funny read, check out Darlene's story http://amzn.to/LLHoPy

And, find more authors at www.sixsunday.com  Note: not all snippets are suitable for those under 18.

Hope everyone is staying cool!


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Where My Stories Are Born

Every writer has a place to write. It's great to have a room to devote to writing and I am fortunate to have that. I turned one of the bedrooms into a writing room many years ago. I don't go online or do anything else in this room except for writing, research, outlining. I'm not in there now. I have a separate office for the online computer and business stuff. My writing room is the creative room and it does help to have a specific area, even if it is just a corner with an old computer, as your writing space. Your brain will tap into that. Your muse will know it is time to show up because we are now in the writing space.

This is especially good in the first draft phase. I often revise other places but for the first and second drafts, I am in my writing space. I do use an old computer. Up until a few months ago, I'd been using a computer I'd had for years and the video card went out. So, I had an old laptop that I now use as a CPU and it is working fine for now. I don't have any internet access on the writing computer. It would be too easy for me to stop and say I need to look some fact up. Next thing you know you are checking email or Facebook. Without internet access, I would have to stop and get up and go to another room, so I don't do that. I keep on writing, simply making note of what I need to check. That keeps my muse flowing. 

A couple of my favorite things are large bulletin board and an old blue recliner. My bulletin board isn't cluttered now but when I'm in the middle of a project, it will be filled with notes, outlines, maps, etc.  













I can't remember when I bought the blue recliner. It seems like I have had it forever. I love to sit in it, listen to music and scribble story notes. I wish I had a dollar for every scene I've outlined sitting in this chair! $$$$

 For me, this is simple room is one fun place to be!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Hot Fudge Cake


I miss Shoney's Hot Fudge Cake. The restuarant closed last year and now the building has been torn down after almost 30 years but I'll never forget their hot fudge cake. It was the best!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday June 24 "Laid to Rest"

Great news! As of this writing, "Laid to Rest" is #4 on the Amazon Best Sellers List in Comedy and the #1 Hot New Release. Darlene, Richie and Tommy Ray are rocking it!

And, they would not be there at all if not for their Six Sentence Sunday fans whose encouragement helped make their story possible. Otherwise, their creator would have probably given up on them!

This little snippet of dialogue plays out while Darlene and Tommy Ray are dressing the mayor's corpse. Darlene, who is the narrator of the story, considers herself positive and enterprising while the complete opposite of her personality is Richie, who complains all the time.

         “You see, I think positive and I’m enterprising. You have to be enterprising if you’re gonna get anywhere in this world.”
            Tommy Ray looked at Richie in the way that only Tommy Ray could look at someone. “We need to be enterprising like Darlene.”
            “Tommy, I’m sitting here, holding a dead body. If this is enterprising, I don’t want none of it.”

"Laid to Rest" is available on Amazon for 99 cents. http://amzn.to/LLHoPy
Thanks for stopping by!  Please check out other writers at www.sixsunday. com or #sixsunday on Twitter. Not all snippets are suitable for those under 18.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Sweet Sat Sample: "Laid to Rest"

This is the debut weekend for "Laid to Rest." At this writing, it is the  Amazon #1 Hot New Release in Comedy and on Amazon's top 100 Best Sellers list in Comedy.

However, this Saturday, I'm going to share one of the more serious moments in the story featuring Darlene Higginbottom, the town bad girl with dreams of Hollywood, and Tommy Ray Petty, one of her slow-witted accomplices.

The short story take place one summer night in 1957 and the underlying theme of "Laid to Rest" is never give up on a dream because sometimes dreams come true.

“Thanks.” I slumped against the trunk of the Cadillac and hooked my arm over the fin. A couple of frogs and a hoot owl joined in with the summer chorus of katydids. Overhead, stars sparkled. They were little pinpoints of bright light. Granny Higginbottom always said the stars were stepping-stones to heaven and each one was home to an angel. 


I gazed upward. “You ever wished upon a star?”


Tommy Ray shook his head. “Nope. Don’t reckon I have. Have you?”

“Yes. A long time ago. When I was little, I’d crawl up in the barn loft at night and look out at the night sky and make a bunch of wishes.”

“What did you wish for?”

I shrugged. “I wished for brand-new clothes instead of second-hand ones. Shoes, too. Once I wished for a doll with both arms and both legs.” I ran my hand over the chrome trim on the Cadillac’s rear fin. “And, I wished there would be plenty of food in the kitchen and that folks in town wouldn’t call us poor white trash anymore.”

After a moment of silence, Tommy Ray asked, “Did your wishes come true?”

“Course not. Wishes don’t come true. I found that out as I got older.”

“They never come true?”

“Never.” I pushed away from the Cadillac. “You can wish all you want on a star and never get it. But, I believe your dreams can come true.”

“You do? Sometimes, I have bad dreams.”

“I’m not talking about those kinds of dreams. I’m talking about something you really want or something that you hope to do in life. What’s your dream?”

“Oh, I don’t got no dream.” He shoved his hands in the pockets of his overalls. “Fellar like me don’t have dreams.”

“You must have a dream. I can’t imagine life without a dream.” I couldn’t think of anything emptier. “Surely, there’s something you’d love to do. Something you dream of doing.”

He studied on it. “I’d like to go to Florida. I saw some pictures of Florida at the bus station. They say the weather is always real nice and they never have a winter there. I don’t like winter much,” he said. “In the pictures, the sand on the beach was so white.” He smiled. “And the water was bright blue. Bluer than anything I’d ever seen and there were big waves. I’d like to go to the beach and let them big waves wash over me. That’s my dream.”

I started to point out a dream should be more than big waves washing over you. Then again, for Tommy Ray, it was his dream and everyone was entitled to their own dream.

“You can make a dream come true,” I explained. “Just look at Elvis. He came from a poor Mississippi family just like us. He had a dream. He loved his music and he didn’t give up on it. You see, that’s the key. Not giving up,” I said. “Now, he’s the most popular singer in America.”

If you'd like to read more about "Laid to Rest," check out its page on my website: http://bit.ly/KDEZWr  or you can find it on Amazon: http://amzn.to/LLHoPy

Please check out other authors and samples at http://bit.ly/MBG67Y   Samples are suitable for all ages.

Thanks for stopping by and comments are appreciated! 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

My Haul from the Farmer's Market

I'm gonna eat good this weekend! Mr. Suitor was at the Farmer's Market today and he grows the best veggies ever.  I'm looking forward to his peaches-and-cream sweet corn and orka. Yummy!


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Fruit Salad for Two


This past weekend I wanted to make a fruit salad, but I only wanted a small amount as a side dish for a couple of meals. So, I decided to try a snack-pack portions of Mandarin oranges and pineapple, plus one banana. I would have put in a few strawberries but I didn't have any on hand.
I drained the oranges and the pineapple. I also dipped the banana in the pineapple juice so it wouldn't turn so fast. I had been told that helps. I mixed the drained Mandarin oranges and pineapple. Chopped up the banana and added it. Then chilled.

This makes 2 servings. Also, I found a scoop of this fruit salad poured over sugar-free vanilla ice cream is totally delicious! That was how I ended up eating it. I didn't try it with Cool Whip but I think stirring some Cool Whip in the salad would be really good.  
More fruit salad recipes to come!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday Jun 17 "Laid to Rest"

Here's a sneak peek at the cover for "Laid to Rest." It is coming soon. The story, set in 1957, features Darlene, Richie and Tommy Ray. A long time ago, I did some SSS posts featuring these characters and it was the great response from the participants and from my friends that kept me from giving up on this story.

Once I changed POV and made Darlene the narrator, it came together and now it is finished. I'm very excited about cover featuring Darlene, the star of the story. Hats off to designer, Patty Wallace, for this fun cover.

Here are six sentences from "Laid to Rest," featuring  Darlene, whose dream is get to Hollywood and  to become a movie star like her idol, Marilyn Monroe.

Mentally, I summoned up an image of Tyrone Power, one of the best-looking men ever born. Tyrone, Tyrone, Tyrone. All I had to do was imagine that I was filming a love scene with Tyrone. What could I say? I had always been enterprising, especially in dire situations. Of course, pretending the mayor was Tyrone Power would require quite a stretch.


Thanks for stopping by! Appreciate your comments and I hope you have a great day!  Check out the other Six Sentence Sunday authors at www.sixsunday.com .  Some snippets may not be suitable for those under 18. 


Saturday, June 9, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday: June 10 Lady Silver

This week I'm featuring a snippet from my next historical, Lady Silver. I hope to have it available by the end of July. Set in old New Orleans, it features a servant girl turned spy and an American captain during the eve of the Battle of New Orleans. It has all my favorite things: New Orleans, adventure, humor, romance, danger, clandestine courtyard meetings!  Woo Hoo!

In Chapter 1, the French heroine, Nicole, is putting on the mask she wears when she meets with the captain and reassuring a friend she will be safe.


“Do not worry about me.” She reached for the silver half mask on the dressing table. A filigree band of crystalline gemstones trimmed the outer edge of the mask. Their prisms winked in the candlelight. It was a flirty mask meant to be worn in a ballroom by a lady. Not by a servant girl on a secret mission


Thanks for stopping by and your comments are appreciated.

Check out other authors at www.sixsunday.com or hashtag #sixsunday. Note: some posts are not suitable for those under 18.


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Building Recognition: Tips for an Effective Blog

A website is sorta like the outside of your house. People drive by and say, "Oh, look. What a nice place." They note changes. "Look they've got new shutters." Stuff like that. 

On the other hand, your blog is the inside of your house where you invite company to come in and join you.This is where people can get to know more about you. Mostly, blogs are about sharing your thoughts and opinions, along with other fun stuff including your writing. If you are a writer, it is a great place to build recognition and your brand.

I have had a blog for over eight years. Maybe longer. I date back to when you had to adjust your template using html codes. So, the tips in this post are things I have learned along the way and mistakes I have made. Note: there are a lot of bloggers who are blogging as a hobby. They blog for their  family and friends and the fun of it. They are not building a brand, so some of the info below will not apply to them.

As a writer, your blog is part of your author platform. What is the one most important aspect of the platform? YOUR NAME. 

The URL/Blog name should be your name/pen name.  If you are on Blogger, Word Press, etc, set up your URL in your name. If you are blogging through your website, then the URL should be in your name already. If you have a blog URL in some cute name, like bellesbeausandbooks.blogspot.com (one of my old URLs), change it to your name. I didn't do this until a year or so ago. I had always had blog with its own name and the URL was in that name, which was a mistake.

What happens is that people become familiar with your blog name and not your name. 

Your name should dominate your header. If you want to include a name for your blog in your header, make sure it doesn't overshadow your name. Also, once you establish your blog, do not change your URL. That is like moving and people have to find your new place. You can change the appearance of your blog. Leave the URL alone.

Speaking of names, back years ago, nicknames or, rather, screen names were the thing. I used Dixiebelle. I had that nickname for several years and people got to know me as Dixiebelle. I blogged as Dixiebelle. I would not do that now because I don't write as "Dixiebelle." But, I am still referred to, at times, as Dixiebelle. Use the name you want people to remember and that shouldn't be a nickname. 

What happens is that people become familiar with your nickname and not your name. 

Even if you are a member of a group blog, you still need an individual blog. Doesn't that suck?  I'm a member of a group blog where I'm scheduled to blog once a month because of the number of bloggers on that blog. Many writers prefer group blogs because they only have to blog once a week or less. You don't have the worry of maintaining your own blog. That's wonderful but it is back to the name game. 

A group blog won't build individual recognition as far as your name or your brand.

A while back, I read that in an article on author platforms. Glancing at my sidebar blog roll, which I need to update, the History Hoydens has great historical posts but I don't remember the writers associated with that blog. On the other hand, the blogger with their own blogs, I have become familiar with their names and their brand. Such as Anna Markland. I know she writes medievals. Carla Swafford has a great branded blog. Go, Carla!

One plus of having your blog in your name listed on sidebars is that a blog reader might notice your name, say to themselves 'Oh, that name is familiar. I think I've read one of her books.' and click to read your blog. How many people do you think will remember you are part of a group blog unless they are a dedicated reader of that blog and have a great memory? Nada.

That being said, you need your own blog in addition to the group blog. You can think of it like this:  instead of living in the commune, you're going to have your own place to entertain company.

Okay, so this post is longer than what I had planned to write.  Here are some other quick tips:

Keep posts under 500 words if possible. Most people scan anything longer.  Like this post.

If you can post on a regular schedule, that is great.  I haven't mastered that one yet.

Make your blog an interesting place to visit. Vary posts. Be entertaining. Your blog shouldn't be all promo about your books. Would you have a guest over and do nothing but talk about your book the entire time?

I love to visit blogs where great photos posted. I like to see how others have decorated their houses. And, I love pretty gardens, regional posts, art, history, movie reviews, author interviews, vintage photos, family stories and recipes are always popular.

Keep your background light and print dark, which is easiest to read on a computer screen. If you want a reader to read your post, you need to be considerate and make it easy on the eye. If you have a dark background, use a block post. 

Do not have music play when someone clicks on your blog or website. This could create a problem where music is an unwelcome intrusion.

Blogging can be fun and you can meet some great people by blogging. It is also a lot of work. Such is life. Happy Blogging!!!


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A Perfect Summer Day



A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken.  ~James Dent

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday June 3


This week’s snippet is from “The Yard Sale,” now available on Amazon.  The narrator, Jennifer Riley, has lost her job, her husband has left her for another woman, and the bank has foreclosed on the house. She has a yard sale that changes her life as she meets a host of characters from Early Birds to Prince Charming.  Below is a more serious moment in the story.


As Early Birds continued to make purchases, I took in bills, gave back change, and I did each transaction with a big smile.

But, to be honest, this yard sale was the culmination of my shattered life.

Amid the possessions I had for sale were wedding gifts, vacation souvenirs, and birthday presents from Clint. The past seven years of my failed marriage surrounded me. Orange price stickers proclaimed its worth. My belongings had become a corpse and the yard sale, a funeral.

Thanks for stopping by!  I appreciate the visit and hope you'll come back.

You can find other Six Sunday authors here.  Please note some snippets may not be suitable for under age 18.  Read more about "The Yard Sale," Amazon Top 100 in Comedy, on my website: www.patriciaannpreston.com

Sat Sample from Almost An Outlaw June 3


From my novella, Almost An Outlaw, this is a sample from a scene with the heroine, Darcy, who has talking to Austin about her husband's death and the guilt she feels. 

“Stephen lived a few minutes. Long enough for me to tell him I was sorry. And I’ve apologized every day since then. I know they did wrong too, but I should have handled the situation differently. If I had, they would still be alive.”

In some ways, Austin understood how she felt. “I wasn’t home the night my mother was killed. I went on a five-year rampage, trying to settle the score and make myself feel better.” He took off his gun belt, put it on the dresser and walked over to the washstand. “I’ve learned guilt is just a way of punishing yourself. It serves no good purpose.”

As he splashed water on his face, he heard the rustle of her skirts as she got to her feet. He mopped his face with a towel as he glanced her way. She stood with her back to him, looking out the window again. Blonde curls trailed down her back and her bottom was hidden beneath a protrusion of silk ruffles and pleats. Topping off her bustle was a wide black bow.

He grinned as he admired the big bow riding high on her hips. She was like a pretty package. A gift all wrapped up in black. He wanted to unwrap her. Slowly.

“Storm’s coming,” she remarked quietly when a distant flash of light illuminated the dark horizon.

As far as he was concerned, the storm was already here.

Thanks for stopping by!  Hope you have a wonderful weekend! And, check out other samples at http://sweetsatsample.wordpress.com/


Almost an Outlaw is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Carina Press.


Friday, June 1, 2012

If You Hate Cooking Now....


Just think of what it would be like if you had to slave over this sucker. And generations of women did have to cook on such beauties until electric stoves arrived in the early 1900's. The small top door beside the oven is the fire box where you put your wood in the stove. The bottom is an ash bin. Your wood burned on grates and the ashes fell into a metal drawer that you would have to empty regularly. The burning wood heated up the iron stove, along with the cook, I'm sure. You had six trivets on top so you could have six dishes cooking at the same time. Plus the oven was small, the door extremely heavy, and you had to watch your fire so that you didn't overheat the stove and burn your food. The stove had to have a flue pipe to vent the smoke and this one also helped heat the bread warmers. Can you imagine cooking Thanksgiving dinner on this?

So the next time you face your modern stove with a self-cleaning oven and instant heat at the touch of a button, take a moment to be grateful. Then, you can pop a frozen dinner in the microwave.