Monday, August 29, 2011


Quote of the week:  Character is like a tree ... and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing. Abraham Lincoln.

Here in Texas we've had a sweltering summer. Our temperatures have broken all time records. And we've forgotten what rain looks like. So I'm trying to think cool. What better way to remember temperatures below 100 and rain and snow than to think Christmas. Yes, it's not too early. Which of course leads me to the topic of today's post, my Christmas story that is going to the printer. Don't you just love those words?

Tumbleweed Christmas is a story about love and miracles. The book, written for early readers, is illustrated by Bridget McKenna. 4 RV Publishing LLC gave my characters the chance to show the world that miracles do exist though sometimes we have to help a little. Here's the gorgeous cover.

 Have a nice week.

Happy reading and writing.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


The race is on. Yes. The local annual Hotter Than H...... race is today. Our road is on the 50 mile route. I've been watching the riders peddle past the house. Tried to take some pictures. Murphy's law is in effect however. Low battery light came on, so I'm charging the battery. The race will be over before my camera's working again. Ah well.

This year the race will live up to its name. Temperature expected to top 100 plus again. Right now it's fairly pleasant. The race started an hour earlier than usual, I think, to allow for the heat. The 100 milers may be melting before they finish.

Any bicycle racers out there? They do have the competative racing for the serious racers.

Me? I prefer the comfort of my air conditioned house. My exercise is flexing my fingers as I type.

Have a super weekend.

Friday, August 26, 2011


Sometimes we have unusual visitors. Here are a couple we've had this week.

Roadrunners get thirsty too!

Hi, Cardinal!

Texas Sunset.

Have a nice weekend, everyone.

Happy reading and writing.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Special Poem for a Special Girl



So tiny

So frail

Sweet baby girl.

I saw you one time only

Through the glass

In the nursery.

Tiny lips smiling,

Or were they frowning?

For you knew what was to come.

Cute little nose

The size of a button.

Sweet baby girl.

You were not meant for this world.

God had other plans for you.

I wish I could hold you

And tell you I love you.

I think you know,

Sweet baby girl.

God wanted you with him,

To tell you He loves you too.

I miss you,

Sweet baby girl.

One day I’ll see you again.

I’ll hold you and

Whisper in your ear,

I love you,

My granddaughter.

My sweet baby girl.

Happy Birthday,

Sierra Marie.

August 21, 1983 to August 26, 1983



Friday, August 19, 2011


I recently read another debut novel that I'd like to share with you. The Pineville Heist, by Lee Chambers, makes the eighth novel I've read for my YA Debut Challenge started way last January. Only two more and I'll reach my goal of ten.


Born and raised in Canada, LEE CHAMBERS holds a post-graduate diploma in Film Production from Leeds Metropolitan University in the UK and an Advertising diploma from Sault College. He returned to Canada in 2004 after spending ten years working professionally in London and working on film and television productions for the BBC and Miramax. His short films have been screened at top festivals, such as the Cannes Film Festival, with critical acclaim coming from EMPIRE and TOTAL FILM. Along with his teaching duties at Confederation College and workshop presentations at festivals around the world, Lee has also been running the Make It Short Film Project since 2005. The community event has raised thousands of dollars for charities and exposed hundreds of people to what it’s like to work on a movie.



By Lee Chambers

ISBN: 978-0-9864943-1-4 (paperback)

ISBN: 978-0-9864943-2-1 (eBook)

The book is available now in eBook.
The paperback will be out Oct. 4, 2011.

eBook courtesy of the author

Take a wealthy, seventeen-year-old kid with an attitude, a robbery, and cops with secrets, add missing bodies, a pretty teacher who may or may not be involved in the crime, stir, and you have an adventure story with twists and turns that will keep you guessing who the bad guys are until the end.

In Author Lee Chambers’ debut novel, The Pineville Heist, seventeen-year-old Aaron Stevens accidentally finds a backpack from PINEVILLE SAVINGS AND LOAN full of stolen money. When he hears Tremblay, Sheriff of Pineville, and Officer Carl discussing how someone got away with four to five million dollars, Aaron decides to return the money with the help of his friends. Well, the boys have good intentions, but they encounter major problems on the way to do their good deed. Soon Aaron, Mike, and Steve are running for their lives, pursued by a gunman determined to kill them. Aaron escapes to the school where more killing is going on, and a battle ensues between Aaron and one of the robbers. I’m not saying who because that would give away the story. However, the timid boy who was afraid to shoot a deer when he was a child, now faces a choice: kill or be killed. Will Aaron find the courage to not only protect himself but his teacher, Amanda, as well?

Readers that like a fast-paced action story will enjoy The Pineville Heist. If you’re a bit squeamish, there are dead bodies, gunfights, and some bloody scenes. This novel is better suited for older teens, 14 and up. I did have a problem with the change in point of view so often. I can see why Mr. Chambers wrote the story this way because so many characters are involved. Maybe space breaks would have warned the reader that we were in a new character’s thoughts. Nevertheless, The Pineville Heist is a good story about a young man who faces more challenges in life than most teens and how he deals with the changes in his life. Even though I’m not big on bodies lying around, I enjoyed watching Aaron tackle each situation the way only he could. I think you’ll enjoy the read as well. You might want to leave the lights on if you read the novel at night.

You can learn more about Lee Chambers and his work at:

Monday, August 15, 2011

Write On Con is Here

Quote of the Week: You are never too old ... to set another goal or to dream a new dream. C. S. Lewis

It's here. The 2011 Writeoncon Conference. What is it? Here's a little info.

Live Forum Events:

Monday, 8/15: Post your picture book queries for Emma Walton's critique. Leave questions for Jessica Sinsheimer.
Tuesday, 8/16: Post your MG/YA "Twitter pitch" for critique by Carlie Webber and Christina Hogrebe.

And more. To find out about all the good stuff going on, go to and

Vlogs and live chats, thirteen of the top literary agents will critique queries, and a contest at The Reading Room, the grand prize $1000 and an Author Profile Page on The Much more.

And it's all free. So check it out. I'm going there in a few minutes. See you there.

Happy reading and writing.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Three Times A Charm

Hi, All. Kai Strand has posted her interview with me. If you have a chance, please stop by and learn probably more than you ever wanted to know. See you here at Strands of Thought. Or you can see it at Kai's Live Journal blog. Comments would be nice. It's pretty lonesome there.

Stay tuned for more exciting news soon.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Story of a Family of Firemen

 I am delighted to introduce you today to some of our true-life heroes, not the ones in movies and books. Meet Gary R. Ryman, the second of three generations of firefighters in his family. He has a bachelor’s degree in Fire Science from the University of Maryland and has been employed as a fire protection engineer for over twenty-five years. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in American History. Ryman is married with two children. His oldest son makes up the third generation of firefighters in his family, which makes
him feel both old and young at the same time.

About the Book:


By Gary R. Ryman

Having served over thirty years in fire departments across three states, Gary R. Ryman brings a unique perspective to the firefighting experience. The son and father of firefighters, Ryman ignites the fire, smoke, blood and fear spanning three generations of the "family business." He recounts his early days in upstate New York learning from his father, the department fire chief. He describes the blazes he battled with a career and volunteer crew in the crowded suburbs of Washington, D.C. He examines the mentoring relationship established with his son as they respond to the calls of a volunteer department in rural Pennsylvania. Overall, Ryman shares both the personal and professional turning points that define a firefighting career.

My Review:


By Gary R. Ryman

Book Courtesy of Tribute Books

The sirens blare as the fire truck races down the street. Firefighters on their way to another fire or accident, we think, and are thankful our house is safe or our family or someone we know aren’t injured. But do we ever stop to think what being a fireman is really like. Sure, they visit schools and teach fire safety. They answer alarms for drownings, auto accidents, fires, and other things we can’t even imagine. Well, if you’ve ever wondered about or thought of becoming a firefighter there is a book out that will give you an inside look at what it’s like. You may be surprised.

Author Gary R. Ryman has written a book about three generations of firemen in his family: his father Richard Ryman, himself, and his son Mike. From battling house fires to administering aid at auto accidents, to saving babies’ lives the author takes the reader along with him and his fellow firemen. The scenes are so vivid that sometimes I could almost smell the smoke and feel the heat of a roaring blaze. The author also talks about trust among firefighters. For example, you don’t leave your partner alone in a fire. He mentions, too, that being a firefighter is a “thankless job” at times. So why does he do it? Why do others do it? For Gary Ryman it’s “the satisfaction of doing something only a small percentage of people can do--entering buildings being consumed by fire and having the skill to save lives.” Some of the calls are funny, but I’ll let you enjoy reading about those yourself. Others are sad and make you appreciate the bravery and dedications of the firefighters.

FIRE MEN, STORIES FROM THREE GENERATIONS OF A FIREFIGHTING FAMILY tells a great story about the joys and the sadness of the job. Of course, fire departments in different towns, large and small, would be a bit different. But they all have one thing in common: saving lives and property. As the wife of a retired firefighter, I recommend this book for a close look at the brave men and women who we take for granted, but who we want to be there when duty calls.

Book web site:

Book Facebook!/pages/Fire-Men-Stories-from-Three-Generations-of-a-Firefighting-Family/183551625026176?sk=wall

Gary Ryman Facebook:

Tribute Books website:

Tribute Books Facebook:

Tribute Books Twitter:

Buy links:

Thank you, Gary and your family for all  you do.

Friday, August 5, 2011

CPSIA Testing Requirements

From my eMail Publishers Weekly newsletter. Good news for publishers. On Monday, both the House and Senate passed an amendment to CPSIA that exempts “ordinary” children’s books, along with a few other classes of products (e.g., all-terrain vehicles and motorcycles), from the law’s testing provisions. See details at Publishers Weekly.

Rest easy now, everyone. If the President signs the bill then all's cool. Wish I could say the same about the temperature. This, too, shall pass.

Remember the snow in the winter.
Yeah, it was almost as tall as the 4-foot high fence. The dog walked right over it to eat the biscuits I'd thrown out for the birds. I hated the snow then. Today, I'd bury myself in it and enjoy the coolness. Next winter I probably won't say that.

Have a nice weekend.
Happy reading and writing.

Monday, August 1, 2011


Quote of the Week:  Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers. ~Charles W. Eliot

A new week. A new month. New stories (or revisions) to write. New books to read. Lately, I've won several books and I think I'm becoming addicted to contests. We may have to move all of the furniture out of the house and replace it with more bookshelves. Rather than do that, most likely I'll donate some to our small town library. I'm keeping the signed ones for myself though.

Speaking of books, to choose the winner of my recent contest for the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War, I went to Random. org that everyone else seems to be using. It was simple enough for even computer challenged me to figure out. Here are the results. The winner of a signed copy of my YA Historical Fiction, Caves, Cannons, and Crinolines is:


Congratulations, Catherine. Your book will soon be on its way. I'll be emailing you for your address.

A big thank you to all who entered. My favorite thing about the Internet is meeting new friends from all over the world.  Now that I have 100 followers (squeeeee, I do, 101 actually) watch for another contest probably this fall. And there's the giveaway of Frankie's Perfect Home going on over at Good Reads. See. I told you I'm addicted. Think I'll go eat some chocolate now, my other can't do without obsession.

Have a nice week. Happy Reading and Writing.