Monday, April 30, 2007


Sunday afternoon I enjoyed lying in my chaise lounge for hours reading a sweet romance book. There was a stiff breeze stirring the leaves around, and I watched a variety of birds nibble at the birdfeeder. The humidity was less than 35% and for Atlanta, that is spectacular with the temperature of about 76 degrees. An awful lot was on my heart, so being able to totally abandon myself selfishly to reading a good book, and mindless wandering of the mind, I discovered, is good for the soul and for healing the body.
I wondered as I return back to my sweet romance book, whatever happened to the popularity of that genre of writing?
Well, I’m here to tell you that it is alive and well on planet earth. Despite the racy novels of sex, language and violence that cover the shelves at the bookstores, women especially enjoy a good read of sweet, old fashioned romance, where sex is insinuated but not spelled out graphically, be it modern day, or transported back in time to another era. Like my novel, for instance. It’s sweet, and romantic without gratuitive sex. I leave that for the imagination. Which brings me back to the book that I am reading, At Odds With Love, by Betty Neels. A divine love story of a damsel in distress. The pure warmth of the crackling fire, scones and hot tea, place me slap in the middle of the England, and I feel that I’ve come home. The author uses description in such a way that every page is vivid and leaps off the page. This book was written in 1993 and it’s a simple little Harlequin paperback, probably out of print. All I can say is, that is delightful, heart-warming, and don’t we all sometimes just want to read a good sweet romance, much like the Hallmark movies? Well, I do, and my writing buddy, Kelly, said that I must read some of Betty Neel’s books, because I write much like her, she loaned one to me. I’m not even finished with it and I’m singing her praises!
The Mayo Clinic said that one of the top ten ways to reduce stress, is reading a good book, or a good movie which will redirect our thoughts from unproductive worry. Now who can argue with that? If you’d like to learn more about Betty Neels and her 130 popular books visit this website,

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Columbine Trail

A long time ago, my brother, Jess who wrote novels, said to be careful who I allow to read my manuscript. In fact, only a few should have that privilege. Pretty much, I've only let my critique partners read my first unpublished book. It has been written into a screenplay, and I have signed an option to that effect. Last week once again, it was requested by a well known producer for a TV movie. That's requested, folks, not sold. You bet I was excited, but in the long run, it may not be optioned. Where am I going with this? Well, back to the warning--I let someone outside of my critique group read the script, and before they were even a few pages into it, they told me that my story was predictable! Death to a writer's ego and hopes!! I asked the person, how could you know? There are a couple of sub-plots and a surprise, but you haven't read them yet. Predictable to me, means the guy's gonna get the girl, maybe a cat and mouse game, but what separates different love stories from being the same ole thing, is what goes on in between, and what challegenes they will face to reach their ultimate goal. Well, I've learned my lesson, Jess, and I won't do that again. But if anyone has read this far and would like to read what my novel is about, keep reading. I refuse to lose hope, and my second book is half-way completed, with my third idea and title simmering. After all, if a screenwrite saw much promise and it has been requested twice for submission, how far off can I be? See what you think below.

There’s a saying in the Old West that “A Man don’t have thoughts about women till he’s 35. A’fore then, all he’s got is feelin’s.” For me, the wit and wisdom of the Old West provide an endless treasure store of great story potential. My story, Columbine Trail, is unique because it chronicles the hardships of the first attempt by a female of a working ranch to move cattle from the Yampa Valley to Denver, Colorado. The main character relies on her faith in God for strength and guidance, which ultimately shapes her character and her future. Here's a brief synopsis:

In 1892, a cattle drive is no place for a
woman. Yet delicate southern belle,
Crystal Clark, is forced out of her
comfort zone. She will brave the dangers
of the Colorado Yampa Valley with the
strength of her faith and her determination
to succeed. Crystal is not the perfect Christian,
but God ultimately shapes and refines her
character as she battles the harsh realities
of managing a ranch, personal tragedies, and
her growing feelings of her engaged handsome

Luke Weber is used to managing drovers,
cattle, and his own time. He thinks
Crystal is beautiful, but green as a spring leaf
on an aspen tree. He has never given
God free rein in his life and has no place
for a tenderfoot, no matter how much
she occupies his thoughts. But suddenly,
the tenderfoot is his boss, and he must
choose between the cattle baron’s daughter
and the spunky southerner.

Columbine Trail is the romantic story of a
female’s first attempt to move cattle from the
Yampa Valley to Denver. This story reveals
God’s refining touch on the lives of two
headstrong people in everyday challenges,
from managing big life issues to controlling
tempers, will and desire.

I'd enjoy any and all comments. You can do that anonymously if you choose to; it's not hard to do. I'm tougher that you think-a regular Steele Magnolia!