Wednesday, April 24, 2024

It's hard to let go...of your manuscript that is.


        Although I have 15 published books, in various genres, for me creating a story still requires rewriting, several editorial passes, and I still don't want to let it go.

     I’m also a slow writer, pantser/plotter. I cherish the fantasy of becoming more of a plotter, but even if I were, stories and character have a knack for surprising me with twist and turns which leads to more…re-writing.                                     

              Historicals especially demand research, (which I enjoy) so a timeline of important dates, who’s who in the country of choice, and what is happening in the rest of the world can be crucial. But like gathering the ingredients for making a cake, a lot can go wrong or change between accumulating this information and producing a baked good resembling the picture included with the recipe. 



     Once I have a suitable draft, I go through to make sure I’ve used all the senses. Back to the cake example, did I sample a smidgen of dough from the mixing spoon, see it rise, enjoy the aroma, brush against the oven and feel the heat, and jump when I heard the timer bell go off.  Did I give the reader all these human experiences as they pertained to the actual story? And did I do this actively, in deep point of view, showing not telling!


          Another pass might include replacing some dialog tags, he said/she said, with an action which still identifies the speaker, but adds insight into the character’s personality, mood, or the situation. This can also add to scene layering. Here is a great blog post by Rebecca Zanetti on scene layering


                 Editing out overused words is another challenge. The ones listed here, often result in telling not showing. Compile a list of the ones you use too often. Here’s my long list:

     The dreaded some words…sometimes, something, someone, somewhere, somewhat, somebody, somehow. Words ending in ing or ly. One of, that, it, really, to be, very, so, often, hear, remember, recall, notice, thought, realize, wonder, see, look, watch, think, know, believe, decide, feel, sigh, that, expression, headed, okay, well, too, also, should, few, just, only.

    In each book, I seem to glom onto one particular word and use it to excess. 

    My terrific editor is a stickler for never ending a sentence with “It”.  Not always and easy fix, but again replacing “it” with another word generally makes the offending sentence stronger, more interesting, and worth keeping.   

   I can obsess with fixing, editing, and rewriting. But like our finished cake, my manuscript has a shelf-life, and eventually my editor demands I give her the book! Letting our babies out into the world is scary. But if you’ve addressed some of these issues, the kid well probably be ready to survive anything. So, here's to happy writing, and I hope you find some of these ideas helpful. With each new book, I strive to grow more skillful at our craft. 


Gini's books include:
Western Romance: Break Heart Canyon * Undercover Outlaw * Cowboys, Cattle and Cutthroats * A Cowboy’s Fate * Special Delivery.
Contemporary Romantic Thriller: Fatal Recall
Medieval Romance: The Dragon and The Rose * Iron Heart * Promise Me Christmas.
Victorian Romance: Lady Gallant * Victorian Dream
Fantasy: The Fae Warriors Trilogy: Solace * Bliss * Portence

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Monday, April 22, 2024


Have you traveled to Goldfield Ghost Town the Legendary Gateway to the Superstition Mountains in Apache Junction, Arizona? If not, you are missing a real treat! I visited twice last month in March when I helped move my son and grandsons to San Tan Vally, Arizona. It was not the first time I enjoyed visiting Goldfield. I stop by everytime I am in Arizona. There is so much to do and see in this old mining ghost town! I love to go back in time when life was harder yet simpler too.
We enjoyed dinner at the Mammoth Steakhouse which I highly recommend! Delicious food, excellent service, seating outside where we enjoyed the view and a tallented singer by the name of Ryan Martin of the Triple C Cowboys.
Other exciting attractions are panning for gold, Walking down Main Street, exploring the many shops and historic buildings. Tourng the historic Mammoth Gold Mine and Goldfield Museum. Make sure to hop on Arizona’s only narrow gauge train. You’ll also get to witness an old west gun fight performed by the famous Goldfield Gunfighters! Spend a day, rich in Wild West history falling back in time to the nineteenth century. And if your up for a walk you can enjoy a beautiful day on the Historic Apache Trail. And if you are adventurous like my family there are Ziplines to ride while you enjoy the scenic view of the Superstition Mountains. Goldfield was established in the 1890′s as a mining town. At that time in history there were 3 saloons, a boarding house, and a general store, plus a blacksmith shop, brewery, meat market and a school house. As the town grew in size almost outgrowing Mesa, the vein faulted, the grade of ore dropped and the town slowly withered. After several attempts to reopen the mines, the town resurreected from 1910 on and off until 1926. More than 115 years later, tourists from all over the world still visit this gold mining town located on the historic Apache Trail and enjoy the excitement and grandeur of Arizona’s Wild West! In conclusion, Goldfield is a fun and historic destination for all ages. Well, what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip today! While you are there take a cruz through the Superstition Mountains to the lake and enjoy a swim to cool off!

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Mysterious Airships in the Old West


 In the late 19th and 20th centuries, during the era often referred to as the Old West, there were sporadic reports of mysterious airships witnessed in the skies across the United States. These sightings, which predated the invention of powered flight by the Wright Brothers in 1903, have intrigued historians and enthusiasts for decades. Accounts often describe large, cigar-shaped objects propelled by strange engines, sometimes emitting peculiar lights and noises, and manned by mysterious figures.

One of the most famous incidents occurred in 1897 when numerous witnesses across several states reported sightings of a massive airship. Witnesses claimed if equipped with powerful lights and moved swiftly through the sky, far beyond the capabilities of any known technology at the time. Newspapers of the era were filled with reports of these sightings, sparking both curiosity and skepticism among the public. Some speculated that these airships were the work of eccentric inventors or even visitors from other planets, while others dismissed them as hoaxes or misidentifications of natural phenomena.

The mystery of the Old West airships remain unsolved to this day, with explanations ranging from secret government experiments to the collective imagination of a a populace grappling with rapid technological advancements. Regardless of the truth behind these reports, they serve as a fascinating glimpse into the intersection of history, folklore, and the human fascination with the unknown. The legacy of these mysterious airships continue to capture the imagination of enthusiasts and historians, inspiring speculation and debate about their origins and purpose in the vast skies of the American frontier.




Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Knocked Up by the Country Singer by Rhonda Lee Carver

 Hi, y'all! I have a new pre-order. Knocked Up by the Country Singer will be released 4/30/2024. Grab your copy now so it scoots right into your ereader that day.

Pre-order here!

He left her at the altar to pursue his dreams of becoming a country music star. Ten years later, he returns home and faces his high school sweetheart who has a child with his brother. Turns out, she has a secret of her own.

Single mother, Dr. Milani Vance, has stayed focused on raising her daughter and growing her career as a pediatrician. Her past is in the rearview mirror until he strolls back into the small town, Whiskey Fork, and sends her life into a vortex.

Joseph Wayne has it all. Career, money, freedom. What more could he want?

He’s about to find out because an old flame burns anew. She has a secret that’ll turn his life upside down and spurring him into asking her to marry him. After all, a cowboy takes responsibility for what’s his. Unfortunately, he has a few fences to mend before Milani will find forgiveness.

She’s never stopped loving Joseph. Even after he’d broken her heart. Will she marry him and risk having her heart broken a second time? Or does a single mother, small town doctor have no place in a star’s life?


Her eyes filled with tears. Pain mixed with disbelief and disgust twisted her expression.

He knew then she’d never forgive him. Not in a lifetime.

Her arms dropped to her sides and her hands were drawn into tight fists.

“You couldn’t have told me this a year ago? Why did you ask me to marry you? Why did you allow me to plan our wedding? To get my mom’s dress altered.” She touched the delicate lace.

He shoved his fingers through his hair, feeling a surge of contempt for himself for hurting her. How could he ever expect her to understand. “I love you, Milly. That won’t change.”

“Don’t you dare!” Her voice broke. “Don’t you dare say those words to me ever again. You lost the privilege the second you decided to leave me at the altar. Any man who loves a woman would never do what you’ve done. You have had plenty of opportunities to make this choice over the last year. This is selfish. You’re selfish! You never loved me. The man I loved never existed.”

“Don’t say that. I know this is messed up. I know you’re hurt. But you’re logical. You know this is for the best. Deep down I know you do. One day maybe we can—”

“No! There is no second chance or one day for us, Joseph,” she said eerily low.

He reached out to take her hand and she backed away.

“I understand, but I won’t change my mind. I’ve made it and, I’m sure.”

She blinked, repulsion burning in her eyes. “I’m glad you made this decision. I wouldn’t want to be married to someone like you. You don’t deserve me and your—” She caught herself.


 She gave her head a shake as if to dislodge her train of thought. “You don’t care about anyone but yourself. You think you only hurt me? What about our families? Our friends? Those who believed in us. You’re a jerk Joesph Wayne and I hope I never have to lay eyes on you again!”

Hell, what could he say?


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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

The Ranch Saga Continues

 We've met the Ridge Brothers - Wyatt, Conner and Cooper with the women that bring them to their knees--Ari, Liv and Jo. We've met the four legged friends. I think Scout, he's a morgan, quarter horse mix and Bear, a Caucasian Shepard are my favorite. In the process Ryan and Heather's story demanded to be told and Bo and Bonnie pushed through the front line as well. Bonnie is a firecracker who has to prove to herself that she can make it on her own. Bo starts falling as soon as he meets her--the problem, she's an intern at the ranch he works at. Can they push feelings down or will stolen kisses get the best of them?

The Ridge Ranch Series

Loving Bonnie

Bo and Bonnie’s Story


I was not going to be derailed by a breakup. The timely acceptance letter to a premier Ranch Management Intern Program gives me time to clear my head. It’s not the first time I’ve come across men who don’t think I belong in their world. I might have to work harder than they do, but I deserve it just as much. When there's a mention of a permanent job, I know it’s mine. I just can’t let a handsome ranch hand distract me no matter how much I  want him to.


Helping oversee the boss’ Internship Program is not my idea of fun. I’d rather muck stalls all year, than babysit a bunch of wannabe ranchers. Girls in our program are few and far between and the guys don’t take it easy on them. Several of the interns don’t feel she belong, but she earned her spot just like they did. In fact, she gives them  a run for their money. As an intern, she’s off limits, so why do I feel  I want to protect her? She won’t let anything get in the way of what she wants, even me.

Check out my social media pages for information and watch for the pre-order link.

Monday, April 15, 2024

Leavenworth Washington


  On my travels through Washington, I stayed in Leavenworth. It's a fun little Bavarian town with lots of beer and German food. Established in 1885, it became a home to many during the construction of the Great Northern Railway in 1892.  Highway 2 was constructed over the railbed in later years. The railroad was relocated to Wenatchee in 1925, leaving Leavenworth to lose people and business. The town survived on tourism and it was a favorite place for skiing. In the mid-1960's the Bavarian theme began to boost tourism.

  Set in the Cascade Mountains, it's the perfect setting for a little Bavarian village. A horsedrawn carriage will take you around the little village. Authentic German food and bakeries (and lots of beer) add to the appeal. 
  In December the town has a Krampus Festival. December 5th is Krampusnacht, a holiday celebrated in Germany and Austria. Krampus is the dark opposite of St. Nicholas. He is a half goat, half demon monster that punishes misbehaving children at Christmas time. While St. Nicholas rewards nice children with presents, Krampus beats those who are naughty with branches and sticks. Some legends say that he eats them or takes them to hell.

   The Nutcracker Museum holds thousands of Nutcrackers dating back a couple centuries. The different styles and varieties of the Nutcrackers and the history behind them was fascinating. My Grandmother collects them, so a stop at the museum to see so many different ones was a must for me.  

  So if you are ever traveling through Washington put Leavenworth on your list of places to visit. 

Now my journey continues for a few days on San Juan Island before heading to Bellingham, Washington for the Chanticleer book conference.

Thursday, April 11, 2024

It's your turn

Most of my posts consist of me telling things.
Today, I want to hear from you.

If you could have dinner with any fictional character, 
who would it be and why?


If you could live in any period of history, 
when would it be and why?

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Digging for Gems

 New Idea -- New Treasure

And so it begins. A new idea tickles my brain and fans the embers of my imagination. A book title floats to the surface of my mind unexpectedly while watching TV one night or right before I fall asleep or even when I'm cleaning house! And I am off and running.

I am suddenly alive with the possibility of another tale. Another story set in in the Texas or Kansas or even Indian Territory. For example, I heard a news report on Guthrie, Oklahoma. I'd visited there before and recalled its interesting history. After the Land Run, Guthrie was a place for those starting anew. Saloons sat next to opera halls, cattle mingled in the street with fancy buggies. And scores of lawyers obtained divorces for people who traveled far and wide to be shed of a bad marriage. Now that's a place where a great story could be located! So, I began piecing one together, which eventually became my novel "To Seduce and Defend."

I love it when a story crooks a finger at me, bidding me to come closer. It's like a treasure hunt. You know the location of the buried treasure and now all you have to do is dig, dig, dig -- plot, plot, plot until you locate the gleaming crown jewel  -- the crucible -- and the golden chain or red thread that binds all of your characters and scenes together. The crucible is extremely important, especially in a romance. It is the reason why the main characters can't escape their current situation. Without a believable crucible, the readers will think to themselves, why doesn't he/she just leave or give up? That's why some romances seem silly -- the characters argue and fuss and there isn't a good enough reason for them to continue to stay together. There has to be a life or death reason -- an all or nothing circumstance to keep the main characters in the same orbit.

In "To Seduce and Defend" ownership of a ranch is the crucible and the red thread is the tangled web woven by deceit. The "red thread" comes from tapestry or rug making when the weaver would include a crimson thread as a flaw because only the Almighty can create perfection. It runs in the background throughout the story and usually is the "lesson learned" by the characters. 

In fleshing out characters for that book I uncovered the gems of the crucible and red thread. Plotting can be tedious and/or exciting, depending on your progress. However, once the book is plotted I always celebrate because the hard part is over. Now all I have to do is write. Oh, sure, writing is difficult, but it is the creative part of the process. Plotting is the business of it. Plotting is finding the right place to dig and then putting your back into it. Writing is after you find the treasure chest, pry open the lid, and begin to polish the beautiful jewels inside.

Since that book was published, I've had several people ask me if it was true that people traveled to Guthrie for a divorce. And it is true! Back then, Guthrie was sort of like Nevada. You could divorce someone without him/her even knowing about it. Mainly, you could divorce quickly and that's why people traveled from far and wide to Guthrie to end their marriages. Women, especially. Women had a difficult time obtaining a divorce and rarely were granted one. In Guthrie, women could live there for ninety days and file for divorce. They only had to list abandonment or cruelty as a reason for the ending of their marriage and their husband did not have to be present. In other states, they had to obtain permission from the husband to divorce, which was impossible if the husband had disappeared! And, naturally, they never won on cruelty.

Some places like Guthrie fairly overflow with good ideas for novels. I might head back there and write another western because that town is chock full of gems! Hey, that gives me an idea . . .

It's back to the shovel for me. Blisters are forming on my brain and my back is killing me!

Did you know?

 Post (C) by Doris McCraw

aka Angela Raines

Photo taken on a cog ride to the
summit of Pikes Peak

Did you know April is National Poetry Month? Did you also know it's National Card & Letter Writing Month? 

Before the Internet, we wrote letters and sent cards.  We wrote in journals/diaries. In honor of this special month, I thought I'd share a piece I wrote for a local publication as a letter from Katharine Lee Bates. Yes, I did costume performances as this amazing lady.

 Dear Friends,

I realize we have never met, but in truth we are adventurers together. It is in that spirit that I am sharing with you some advice I garnered from my time in Colorado Springs at the base of Pikes Peak.

You will want to have a plan, but at the same time, be open to spontaneous options, for exciting adventures await those make the journey. You also will want to stay hydrated. The area is high plains desert and as such the air is dry. Drinking, especially water is highly advised.

During the six weeks I was in Colorado Springs, teaching two courses at the Colorado Springs Summer School, I was busy with lesson plans and grading papers. Those duties were just a portion of the experiences that awaited.

You can start or end with The Garden of the Gods, This is a place where one can enjoy the beauty no matter what the time of day. Each hour brings another vista of changing color and grandeur. If planned, one can also take time to picnic, and hike the trails that wind their way through the area.

The waterfalls of South Cheyenne Canyon, called Seven Falls, are a sight to behold. One does not need to be athletic to stand at the base of those falls, but to climb the stairs to the top does take physical effort. They offer another option of viewing the top of the falls from a vantage point that is less strenuous to access.

The above options fall into the planned category. You may ask, how can one be spontaneous with so many options available that you plan? The answer is simple, you take advantage of unique opportunities that happen unexpectedly.

My friends and I planned a trip to the top of Pikes Peak, but the day we set aside for the trip, the Cog Railway was not running. Instead of giving up, we took the road. As they say, it was a trip to remember. It was from the top of the mountain that the first stanza of my poem ‘America’ came to fruition.

The residents in this town have many smaller and fun events they plan throughout the year. One never knows what may be found when you search out events you may have overlooked. Fairs, dances, music and more await those who will take the time to seek them out.

If time had permitted I would have enjoyed journeying further into the mountains and down to the Royal Gorge of the Arkansas River.

So many wonderful options await. Choose the ones that call to your heart and soul, and take the adventure of a lifetime. Carry the memories fondly throughout your life. I know I did.

So, dear friends, I leave you with a poem and heartfelt wishes that my tips will help you enjoy your adventurous journey.

Mountains soar

Over Native lore

Under turquoise skies

Breezes sigh

Red spires rise

Where dinosaurs lie

Creeks and rivers sing

As laughter rings


Katharine Lee Bates

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As Always,

Stay Safe, Stay Healthy, 


Monday, April 8, 2024

Looking Back by Jan Scarbrough

My mother was a reader. When she died, I found several notebooks filled with titles of the books she'd read. Recently, I typed a manuscript she wrote in 1987 about her early life.


This is what she said to begin her memories:

Having just finished Carol Burnett’s book ONE MORE TIME which described what she could remember, I decided to put down what I could remember from my early childhood. I am sure that I could have remembered more had I recorded this when I was in my forties, instead of near seventy.


I found the details of her life in the 1920’s and 1930’s interesting. As a child, she was a reader too.


For a while at the Sears place, we took the Courier Journal. I’d read that paper. I read people’s used magazines when I could get them Read and reread the books from the small bookcase at Millport. I used the church library and public library while in Greenville. I’d try to find a place to myself to read.


In summer, I’d go to the tree in the orchard. Anywhere to get out of sight so a job wouldn’t be given to me to interrupt the fantasyland I was living. Once I hid my books in the hen’s nest and then under the mattress in the bed.


My mom only mentioned one book by name.


I continued reading. One book that was wonderful was THE GIRL OF LIMBERLOST by Gene Stratton Porter about a young girl collecting moths and had rooms in the forest. The setting was before all the woods were cut down to build houses and farms.


Sure, I’d heard the name of the book but didn’t know anything about it. I looked it up on the internet. For one thing, the novel was so popular that it was made into several movies.


From Wikipedia,

The novel was adapted several times for film, with versions released in 1924, 1934 and 1945. A 1990 made-for-TV version differed most from the original plot.

·      1924: A Girl of the Limberlost, starring Gloria Grey; produced by Gene Stratton Porter Productions, distributed by Film Booking Offices of America

·      1934: A Girl of the Limberlost, starring Marian Marsh; produced by Monogram Pictures

·      1938: Romance of the Limberlost, starring Jean Parker; produced by Monogram Pictures


In 2008 Nina left this review on Goodreads.

There is a line in this book that I carry on a card in my purse. "If you are Lazy and accept your lot, you may live in it. If you are willing to work, you can write your name anywhere" Gene Stratton-Porter is a gifted writer that writes of her beloved Limberlost swamp and the people that around it. As with her other books, there are characters that have extreme hardship and rise above them to become better individuals. Elnora Comstock is an impoverished young girl that feels unloved and earns much of her living by collecting rare moths from the Limberlost. You will want to start checking out books on the beauty of the swamp and all the natural resources therein. An amazing book that makes you wish for something more from this life, and a return to old fashioned values.


What about you? Are you a reader? Have you read any novels considered “classic”? If so, do you find them “old-fashioned” or can you relate to them today?