Wednesday, February 12, 2014

"A Lady Most Lovely," a dynamic historical romance by Jennifer Delamere

“A Lady Most Lovely” by Jennifer Delamere, a historical romance, centers on Margaret Vaughan and Tom Poole, who are attracted to each other from the start even though Margaret is engaged to wealthy Paul Denault. Tom and Margaret have conflicts that appear insolvable, and they experience the true-to-life emotions of those in love but who don’t believe they are meant to be together. Intrigue and mystery surround all the characters, which keeps the reader turning the pages.
As the second book in the Love’s Grace Series, Delamere makes references to people and events in the first book, “An Heiress at Heart.” It isn’t necessary to have read that book, but readers are sure to want to read it and see how the saga first began. A must read for those interested in a Christian-based love story.

Monday, January 27, 2014

A blog for Writers, Women and Adversity: Carly Watters

In the first post of my new blog: Women and Adversity, I featured New York Times bestselling author Kimberla Lawson Roby ( She answered questions I asked about overcoming obstacles to succeed as a writer in this competitive publishing world. I believe words of women who have succeeded will be inspirational for those aiming to get their stories and books in print.

Carly Watters, literary agent with P.S. Literary Agency, writes a popular blog ( giving writers advice on getting published. It is compiled in her ebook, “Getting Published in the 21st Century, Advice from a Literary Agent.” The book covers all aspects of the journey to publication and provides a valuable resource for aspiring writers.

The first question I asked Carly: What was the biggest obstacle you faced when you first began writing?
Answer: Starting out as an agent is like starting your own company. You need to acquire all your own clients and build all your own professional relationships with editors—whether you're with an established agency or starting out on your own it's all the same. It's a lot of hard work, long hours, and little reward for years. You have to love books, love authors, and love advocating for their success.

I followed with: What was the biggest obstacle you had to face when you decided to write your book?
Answer: Writing my ebook How To Get Published in the 21st Century was a fun side project for me. My blog was picking up steam and won an award from Writer's Digest in 2013 for one of the best blogs for writers to follow and I thought about making the posts more accessible to a wider audience. Immediately, the idea of a book came to mind: an ebook where all my best blog posts can easily be found and consumed. It's on sale for $2.99 from Amazon and Smashwords.

Finally: What obstacle/s do you face now?
Answer: There are always obstacles for a literary agent. If you think writers get faced with rejection, agents do even more so. We get passes on all our clients' work—even the ones that sell inevitably get a few passes. You have to have thick skin and confidence in your taste to make this a career. Luckily, I love it.

You can check out Carly’s Web site and blog at and follow her on Twitter: @carlywatters

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Women and Adversity: A Blog for Writers

Women and Adversity, a blog for writers, Kimberla Lawson Roby

My fiction concerns women overcoming obstacles, so I decided I would start a new blog: Women and Adversity, a blog for writers. I have contacted women authors, agents and editors to learn what they had to overcome to be successful in this competitive publishing world. I believe their words will be inspirational for those aiming to get their stories and books in print.

I discovered New York Times bestselling author Kimberla Lawson Roby when she was the featured interview in the September 2013 issue of “Writer’s Digest.” I started reading her Rev. Curtis Black series and became a fan, wondering how the wayward cleric was going to repent once again.

Kimberla has 19 novels published with the 20th, “The Prodigal Son,” to be released May 13. A host of impressive writing awards are part of her resume as well.

I asked: What was the biggest obstacle you had to face when you decided to become a writer?
Kimberla answered: The biggest obstacle I faced in the beginning was receiving lots of rejection letters from both literary agents and editors at publishing houses. Thank God my mom kept insisting that I shouldn't give up, and my husband encouraged me to start my own business to self-publish my first book.

I'd never once entertained the idea of publishing my own work, but I listened to my husband and moved forward with it. He then borrowed money from his 401K account, we used money from personal savings, and took out a small business loan, and once my first 3,000 copies were printed and delivered I began the marketing, promoting and selling process.

As it turned out, I ended up selling just over 10,000 copies within the first six months of publication, and within the first two months, I signed with a literary agent who sold my second book to a major publisher in New York.

The second question I asked: What obstacle/s do you face now as a writer?
Kimberla answered: The primary obstacle I face now is that I'm always wondering if my story will be good enough. With every book I write, my hope is that every one of my readers will enjoy it. Of course, I do know that it's not possible for every person to like every single book they read, but again, this is what I hope for and what I struggle with year after year.

Check out her Web site at Her books are available at,, and

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Johnny Gosch and Writing

Dec. 1 at home after from spending Thanksgiving with our son and his family, I saw a program about Johnny Gosch. I remember Johnny's story because he's about the same age as our son, Steven. Johnny was abducted from a West Des Moines, Iowa street while delivering the morning paper. It was 1982 and he was 12. Steven was a paper boy at that time as well, and Steve and I began helping our son deliver his papers after the report of Johnny's disappearance.

Johnny has never been found. His parents divorced in the 90s, and his mother, Noreen, reported that Johnny came to her house one night in 1997. He told her not to tell anyone because he'd be killed, so she didn't report his visit right away.

Our family is fortunate not to have had to face this horror, and I extend my prayers and heart-felt compassion to the Gosch family and other families who have had to endure this tragedy.

What does Johnny Gosch have to do with writing and writers? His case:
* offers a multitude of opportunities for a reporter to investigate
one of these crimes and possibly help solve it.
* motivates someone to write about an organization or various organizations
that assist families of abducted children.
* provides a chance for someone to write publicity for an organization that
assists families of abducted children.
* gives the nonfiction writer a chance to delve into the psyche of the abductor.
* write about creative ways children can avoid being abducted.

This is just the start. Anyone out there with more ideas?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Joan Leotta Interviews Me

Joan Leotta is a professional story performer and an author of several books including her Legacy of Honor Series: "Giulia Goes to War" and "Letters from Korea." Her books are available at

Q: Tell us when you first wanted to become a writer?

Jo Ann: I was 12 growing up in Joliet, IL. I read all the Nancy Drew mysteries and any other novel available. That's when I told myself I would write a book.

Q: What career path did you follow.?
Jo Ann: I wanted to go to college but didn't want journalism, so I gravitated to teaching. I majored in English and minored in Spanish and education at University of St. Francis because I could live at home and work to pay tuition. I went on for my master's at Notre Dame immediately after graduating college, which proved to be one of the best career moves I ever made. I taught English and reading in high school and didn’t think of writing to publish. I took a leave to have children and never went back full time. When my youngest son started kindergarten, I started my writing career in earnest.

Q: Did you do any writing on the job or your spare time then?
Jo Ann: I wrote every single day--a journal, short stories, essays, opinion pieces, anything that came to mind--for two years and spent a ton of money on paper, envelopes and stamps before I got a humorous piece published in the Chicago Tribune in a guest column. A few months later I had another humorous piece in "Grit," then articles in "Liguorian" and other religious magazines. At the same time, I wrote a novel and started querying agents. I got one, but nothing came of that novel. I sent him another that he said had great promise. He was circulating it when he died suddenly.
Members of my writers’ group told me I’d have more success writing articles, so I wrote a feature story on local pro football wives and sent it to the area's biweekly newspaper. They accepted it and asked me to be a freelancer. Word went out that the school district where I lived needed a writer for its newsletter. I stepped forward and got the job. The town where I lived asked me to do its newsletter. The local community college needed someone part time to do its newsletter, so I applied and again got the job. I quit the college job and took one at an area hospital. Again, writing newsletter pieces. I was doing this all at the same time then got a job teaching part time. I gave up the newsletter jobs but kept the newspaper one and continued writing novels.
Our move to North Carolina in 2000 didn’t change my determination to write for publication. I was hired as a freelancer at The Sun News. My niche continues to be feature stories. I have written three novels since we moved, none of which has been published. I’m working on another.

Q: When did you start really writing? What types of writing do you do? Tell about nonfiction and fiction.
Jo Ann: I knew I couldn’t teach full time, take care of the kids and the house—not with my husband’s job taking him across the U.S., so I took a job teaching night classes once or twice a week. That left most of the day free to fulfill my dream of writing.

Q: Is your writing a business or a hobby?
Jo Ann: A business. I play bridge and do needlepoint, digital scrapbooking and photography for hobbies.

Q: What else would you like to tell about getting started in writing?
Jo Ann: Writing is a tough business. Determination and study bring successes.

Q: What awards have you won?
Jo Ann: I have won several awards from Illinois Women’s Press Association, North Carolina Press Club and National Federation of Women. They are all for feature stories and photojournalism. My most recent award was for “Old Friends/New Friends: A Veteran Reunites with a Vietnamese Friend” that appeared in South Brunswick Magazine in Spring 2012.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Review: "Letters From Korea, Legacy of Honor Series, Volume 2," Joan Leotta

Joan Leotta has taken the ordinary act of letter writing and made the action into an extraordinary love story in “Letters From Korea,” the second book in her Legacy of Honor series.

The book opens with Sgt. Sal Leonardi on his way to Korea, regretting that he never told Gina DeBartolo how much he loves her. He is pleased he’ll be serving his country by being a pharmacist in Korea, but his only means of communicating with Gina is via letters. He avoids writing about his feelings toward her because of the uncertainty of war and the miles between them. Instead he writes about mundane things, such as the weather and what his duties are.

Gina, on the other hand, waits for letters from Sal, hoping he reveals he cares for her beyond thinking of her as a little sister. When his letters don’t contain any romantic elements, she doesn’t know what his feelings are toward her. She has moved to Pittsburgh where she has acquired a job at University of Pittsburgh working in the laboratory of Dr. Jonas Salk, the research doctor who discovered the first successful polio vaccine, and plans to earn her degree in chemistry. She tells Sal about these events in her life, but does not include her romantic feelings toward him, thus the two are basically in limbo. However, intrigue develops in Pittsburgh, not only with Sal’s letters, but with Gina’s job.

Jealousy, theft, surveillance, espionage and feigned concern by those Gina meets at Pitt are all part of the plot. The book also expresses a philosophy of life that embraces honesty, integrity and charity and includes close family bonds. The author provides a wide spectrum of ideas that encourages readers to evaluate their own value systems.

Leotta also demonstrates her knowledge of Korean and Italian foods. Readers are sure to glean other benefits of reading the book and will probably want to know more about Gina’s family, especially since Guilia, John, Anna Maria, Carmie, Ernie and others continue their roles in this book, which were started in the first Legacy of Honor book, “Giulia Goes to War.”

The third book, “A Bowl of Rice,” concerns the Vietnam War and is due out in March 2014.

Digital Scrapbooking for the photographer/writer

As a kid, I always liked photography. This interest has never waned. I belong to the Coastal Carolina Camera Club, and three years ago I discovered another way to use my photographs: digital scrapbooking. I have three digital scrapbooks now and will start a fourth by Sept. 1. It is one of the most creative expressions through photography and writing that I’ve ever experienced.
Think about it. If you like photography, you have an outlet for those landscapes, portraits and memorable pictures you’ve taken. If you like to write, you add captions.

My interest in digital scrapbooking started when I covered a story about scrapbooking. The diehard scrapbooker sticks with the traditional method: buy background paper, use scrapbook-developed implements to have unique shapes for pictures, paste pictures on the paper and add embellishments. All of these are preserved in plastic covers. I didn’t want that route. I spend most of my hours at the computer, so digital scrapbooking is an extension of my workday, which I don’t mind at all.

I did research on scrapbooking programs and chose My Memories Suite. It works well for me and what I want to accomplish. My goals are to preserve high points in my life, which include family members, family events and vacations and travel experiences. Nothing from my work life is included in any of my scrapbooks. I have preserved memories of our cruise to the New England states and eastern Canada, our journey through Eastern Europe and most recently our excursions in New Mexico and our nephew’s wedding in Santa Fe. A highlight was my experience in a hot air balloon.

This year——2013——will emphasize our son, Steven, who is in Afghanistan. Trips to Hawaii, San Francisco, Virginia Beach, Chicago, Raleigh and other places will be part of the year I want to remember.

My husband says, “Who cares? Nobody wants to see all that?”
My answer, “I do.”
That’s worth all the work to me.