And Along Came Personal Computers #4

The first computer I ever saw was in the home of a friend who worked for NASA. It ran around the whole room.
Years later, I began seeing advertisements in magazines about personal computers and all they could do. When I saw one offered in a catalog I decided to buy it. I don't remember how much it was, but it was a big commitment. Well, it arrived and with the help of my husband, tried to set it up. It was far too complicated. I sent it back.
A friends began selling KayPro computers and I told him I'd buy one if he set it up and taught me how to use it. He agreed. It had slots for two floppy (and they really were floppy) discs, one was for the computer, the other for whatever program you were using. For writing, it was WordPerfect. 
I  kept writing, submitting, and bought newer, easier to use computers. By this time, my friend had a computer store. I spent a lot of time in there as he helped me learn about each computer.
I had run-ins with some other publishers who were disho…

Book Published, What Next? (#3)

For Trail to Glory I went through the same process to find a publisher as I did for Two Ways West. Though I still gor rejections, I finally got a self-addressed envelope back rather than the manuscript. Yep, a major publisher wanted Trail to Glory.

This one was based on the genealogy of my mother's side of the family. I went through a lot of the same process for research as I did for Two Ways West.I must admit the earliest part of the book is more fiction than fact, although much of the information about the Menominee people came from a wonderfully informative article in a copy of National Geographic. 
Exuberant, of course I signed the contract for the book to be published. I went though the editing process and after what seemed like a long time, the book was a reality.
Remember, this was before the Internet. I had no idea how to promote. 
I sent out letters to everyone I knew about the availability of the book. I also arranged a book signing--only one. Only one bookstore was nea…

The Business of Writing Way Back in the Day (#2)

I could have titled this "Finding a Publisher."

With my nicely typed, no mistakes manuscript all ready to go--how did I find out where to send it? Writer's Digest big Marketing Book. (Bought each year's new copy for a long time.)
The procedure was to find a publisher looking for the genre of Two Ways West, historical family saga, write an introductory letter, and include it with a synopsis of the book, and stamped self-addressed envelope, and put everything into a box with my address and return postage, and put it inside another box with the publisher's name and address on it. Back in the day, they sold boxes that fit inside of each other for this specific purpose. Then off to the post office to launch the book.
Of course the hope was that the self-addressed stamped envelope would come back with an acceptance letter from the publisher, not the box with the manuscript inside. However, that's what happened time after time. And when it came back, the pages were …

How it Was at the Beginning of my Writing Career (#1)

This month I was asked to give a talk to a writer's group about what it was like way back when I began writing. I've always written, but I'm going to start here what it was like when I began the first book of mine that finally got published, Two Ways West. 
The idea came when my sister did our family's history. That was long before the computer and the Internet. She researched the census and talked to old family members who were still around. She composed a booklet for all of us with what she'd discovered. It fascinated me, and made me curious about why the family did what they did--especially all the moving from one place to the other.
I began writing in longhand and doing my own research. As I learned more about these people I researched the history of the places they'd been by using the library.. I also had the opportunity to actually visit and chat with some of these old-timers.
One big help came from the historical society of Brownsville, \ Texas. When I …

Some Tidbits About the Writing of End of the Trail

This book was not an easy one to finish--and yes, the pandemic we're experience was one of the problems.
The book was 3/4 of the way done, when one of our writing critique members doctor husband advised us we probably shouldn't keep meeting. We stopped.
We did share our chapters via email, but it wasn't quite the same.
I struggled with the ending. Some days I couldn't write at all, others I only managed a paragraph or two.
Finally, my good friend and editor. Lorna Collins,  prodded me a bit and I sat in front of my computer and wrote for a couple of hours most days until I was finished.
Finally it was done. The critique group had a pass at the final chapters, then I sent it on for editing.  When it came back, I accepted most of the changes/suggestions, but one of the clues kept bugging me--to the point that I woke in the night thinking about it.
Discussed the problem  with Lorna, and what I felt needed to get fixed was--and then it was published, both as an e book and…



GANGSTA STORY by John R. Taylor

I met John Taylor at a PSWA conference several years ago--and had the good fortune to visit him once again at another PSWA conference.
I asked him what was his motivation for writing this particular story, and here's his answer:

"Much too often, IMHO, police procedural novels follow an all-too-familiar story-line.  With this book, I wanted to write an outside-the-box tale that broke from the standard formula, where the "good guy" protagonist inevitably triumphs in the end.  
Instead, I crafted an anti-hero in the vein of characters that Clint Eastwood portrayed in the many spaghetti westerns he made popular in the 1970's.  Rather than Eastwood's "mysterious stranger" who rides into town to save the day, however, I place my "bad guy" in a critical situation where he experiences a crisis of conscience, and the decision he makes will determine whether thousands of people live or die."
You can read the blurb on the back of the book.
Here is …