July 10, 2016
Did I dare to dream? That question has haunted me for the many years I have worked on this book. I would work on it almost in a frenzy for a while and then I’d think, It’s never going to happen. I’m not smart enough. I’m not good enough. I’m not creative enough. Who am I fooling? Nobody will read it. And I’d quit. But it stayed in my mind. Something would happen and I’d go at it again.
I remember one day we had cowboys come to pen and work cattle. One of them brought his son with him. The boy was about nine or ten. I watched him out at the lot with the horses and at lunch when they all came into my kitchen stomping the dirt off their boots and washing rough calloused hands with my lemon scented kitchen soap. They all were laughing, joking around and hungry as bears after a winter’s sleep. As I watched this young boy, who had been a student of mine, I saw my character, Will. My Will, who at the time was flat, without much life to him, suddenly took form and blossomed into a real boy in my mind. Because I fed the cowboys my book took a giant leap forward.
That is the way this adventure has progressed, from stagnate pools of self-doubt to forward progress in antelope leaps. Now, it’s done. But still I have no image of its bookness (can you tell I made that word up?) It still doesn’t seem real to me.
Then, one day I got an email from my editor and in an attachment was the first very rough draft of a possible book cover. I began to think of it as a book instead of a manuscript. I began to think of it in book form, something I could actually hold in my hand. A book. A real book. My real book!
After viewing several cover possibilities, deciding on the general idea for the cover, going back and forth with my editor, fine tuning and tweaking, the wonderful cover design folks at Pen-L Publishing came up with a cover that passes all my hopes. It is terrific and beautiful. I am so pleased!
I will be posting it on my website and my author Facebook page soon. Let me know what you think.
This is Thunder. The WTA&M mascot. His pen for his attendance at special events is right outside my dorm window and he was here this morning. What a wonderful experience for my writing to be so close to a live buffalo that [if I were brave enough and it were allowed] I could reach out and touch him. He is only 2 years old so still has some growing to go.
I have a blog entry on my website from August in 2014 where I was wondering if I would ever get a book published. Well, hopefully, by August of 2016 River of Cattle will be launched or about to be launched. It has been a roller coaster ride for these last two years. But, I can honestly say I’ve had a great ride.
Pen-L Publishing has been diligently working on getting it ready and I’m excited about the cover they are designing. It’s going to be awesome. I’ll put it on my website as soon as I can.
Book Two of the Will and Buck series, Murder on the Pecos, is beginning to show strength. The basic plot is pretty well formed and the details are beginning to take shape with six chapters under my belt. Not to shabby for a master at procrastination.
We have had an avalanche of rain this past week. I was in town getting my drivers license renewed and grocery shopping when it started raining really hard. I thought I was going to have to change my name to Dorothy and make a visit to Oz because everywhere I went I was one step ahead of a tornado that wrecked havoc in town and across the countryside. I didn’t know it was behind me until people started calling and yelling at me to get the heck out of Dodge (so to speak). Sometimes ignorance IS bliss. My house got some water in it but, MY WRITING CABIN DIDN’T! YEA! My priorities are in the right place.
I’ll be heading out soon to Canyon, Texas to the West Texas Writers Academy at West Texas A&M for a week long lesson in plotting using the Three Act Plot Structure, lots of hard work ahead of me. Y’all might think I’m crazy but, a week spent with a bunch of other writers working my you know what off is pure heaven.
If you haven’t already checked out my new author Facebook page please do so and be sure to Like it. Also, please go to by website (please Like it as well) and leave me your email address on the contact page. I’ll soon be sending out a newsletter periodically with updates on the progress of my books and maybe a contest to win something (I haven’t decided what just yet, but it will be awesome) or a free give away of a teaser about River of Cattle to whet your appetite for what is to come. Stay tuned.
I’m back. After a long hiatus I’m back on track. Here’s an update.
I went to an intense writing workshop last summer given by Margie Lawson on deepening the emotional level of your writing. It was awesome. I learned such a tremendous amount. When I came home I reworked River of Cattle and hopefully improved it considerably.
River of Cattle has been picked up by Pen-L Publishing. I have just completed the first revision of their corrections, comments, and suggestions. I’m anxious to get their response back and the second set of corrections, comments, and suggestions.
They offered me a three book contract, which I signed.
So, I have started work on Murder on the Pecos, the second book in the Pecos River Series. I have a spreadsheet of the overall plot of the book and the first three chapters roughed out. But I have recently realized that I don’t have the details of the actual murder sufficiently developed. So, that is my next project. I need to figure out exactly how it was done, down to the last tiny detail. I can’t solve it if I don’t know how it happened.
I sent Rootin’ Tootin’ Ruthie out to a publisher in Houston and she was rejected, however, they liked her and made a suggestion on how to better the story. So, I followed their suggestions and am planning on sending her out again. We’ll see what happens.
I’ve completed the first version of Bluebonnet Ball, A Rootin’ Tootin’ Ruthie Tale but, I’m not sure I’m satisfied with it. I think it needs to be changed up a bit. It is definitely a work-in-progress.
Please go to my home page and Like my website. I’m starting to work on building my author platform and need all the help I can get. Thanks.
Bluebonnet Ball is coming along nicely. It’s almost done. I’m in the revision stage. It started at over 1200 words and now it is about 885.
When I was teaching and would read aloud to my students I would think about the book I had just read. It was short—only a few words per page. I would think to myself, I can do that. It can’t be that hard.
Well, I’m here to tell you a picture book can be harder to write than a long novel. In a novel you have lots of words to describe feelings, thoughts or actions. In a picture book you have only one or two words to say the same thing you could take paragraphs to say in a novel. Each word must be the perfect choice. Your thesaurus becomes your best friend.
You have to write with the illustrator in mind. Actions have to be evenly paced in order to give the artist enough material to stimulate his/her imagination. However, too much description of setting or actions can limit their choices.
Once you have your first draft done, then the revision process starts. It is so hard to hit that delete key when you have worked and struggled to say something just right and then realize you don’t need it. I usually have to save it to another place for a while before I can actually throw it out. Sometimes I don’t ever throw it out thinking I might use it somewhere else.
My Rootin’ Tootin’ Ruthie stories have many of the Texas icons that we teach in the early primary grades. I am writing my stories to go along with Texas history units for kindergarten, first or second grade. The Mockingbird (Texas state bird), pecan tree (Texas state tree), Longhorn cattle (Texas state large animal) armadillo (Texas state small animal), Monarch butterfly (Texas state insect), and Bluebonnet (Texas state flower) are the most common icons. Bluebonnet Ball has other common Texas wildflowers as well. I will be using other icons as I develop new adventures for Ruthie.
Rootin’ Tootin’ Ruthie is a spunky gal – determined, strong, and fearless. She has blonde curly hair and sparkling green eyes. She is a Texas cowgirl in cowboy boots and hat, jeans and a western style shirt. Varity is her desire in life. No job is too difficult, but she needs a little time to think before she solves the problem.
She lives on the Bar B Ranch in Texas with a community of friends, both domesticated and wild. In the stories so far readers will meet the following characters:
• Rootin’ Tootin’ Ruthie – a very talented fairy
• Tex – a stubborn Longhorn bull
• Bertha and “the girls” – Longhorn cows
• Mockingbird – Ruthie’s friend – always willing to help
• Armadillo – plods along, slow and steady
• Coyote – helps Ruthie because she worries about her pups
• Rattlesnake – dangerous – but reluctantly helps Ruthie
• Monarach butterfly – Ruthie’s date to the Bluebonnet Ball.
The next Rootin’ Tootin’ Ruthie adventure is rolling around in my mind. I have a title and a vague idea for a story. Hint – think Texas storms.