There is one thing to be said for coincidences. There aren’t any. And, before you think I’m crazy or just ‘narrow minded’ consider the following story of how I became a published author.

A day came when I was confronted with an indisputable fact: My eternal soul lives in nothing more than crockery.  That day came in May 1998.

I awoke for another day of work. Hands reaching toward the ceiling in that wonderful morning stretch were stopped instantly by sharp, tear-producing pain.  As the initial pain subsided, I downed a pain reliever and was at my desk by 9 am.   The pain returned with a vengeance by noon.  At 1 pm I found myself in the emergency room.  A disc had herniated in my neck and I faced surgery with a long recovery.

This small writing is from a piece I wrote several years ago when I was asked to describe how I became an author. As they say, “The Lord works in mysterious ways.” Indeed, He does. Because if a disc in my neck had not herniated, if I had not read 100 books in ninety days because I could do nothing else while I healed, and if I had not listened to a good friend who suggested I write a novel, I would not be writing this article today.

My first book in what is now the Iconoclast series took many more years before it saw the black and white of printing. That journey was full of trips down other paths – going back to work time and again to make the almighty dollar and avoid the emotions and mental weariness that writing took. I took courses, joined online chat groups and talked about writing until I was blue in the face. In the end, I accepted the idea of writing was not going to go away. That was the day I sat down to write a book. It took twelve years to summon the courage and face the passion that would not leave, no matter what I did.

In all of the trips down other pathways, one helped me. I found out about National Novel Writing Month from a contact I made on a Christian writers forum. This is a yearly event where over 300,000 writers come together and grind out a novel in 30 days. I had tried everything else, so what was there to lose? So, I committed to the project. Low and behold, Ravens Cove was born.

Once written, then I was faced with the frightening and somewhat overwhelming question every writer has: “What now?” My answer for several months was, “nothing!” This was when I first discovered that writing a book is akin to giving birth. I wasn’t putting my ‘baby’ out into the world for criticism and rejection.

So, I let the book sit in the dark for several months. It stayed in the rawest of formats and I think I was actually in denial that I had written an entire novel. I didn’t have (or make) the time to edit it because I had no clue where to go and who to trust with my ‘baby.’

My husband read the prologue and told me it was great. Of course he did. He wanted dinner and to sleep in his own bed – what else would he have said? I knew he meant it. I also knew he loved me so I dismissed his compliment.

It just so happened that my father-in-law came to visit the summer after I wrote Ravens Cove. He asked if I might allow him to read it. His reading it was not such a frightening thought and, to be honest, I really wanted his opinion. And, I trusted his view because he has a PhD in education and had published works of his own. He also happened to be the most avid reader I had ever met. So, I thought if anyone could  

I gave him the book. He and my husband left that weekend for our RV in Anchor Point. He read it there. He came back and told me he really liked it. He said he had read authors he thought should have never been published. And, he thought mine should be.

My husband, with the I-told-you-so-look, agreed. Then, he took it a step further and emailed links to several publishers and publishing houses with information on what it took to get the book to press. And, here’s where providence is again disguised as coincidence. One of those names was Publication Consultants.

I debated sending out query letters to the ‘big houses.’ I heard stories of books that were tied up for months, even a year or more, by those ‘big houses’ that had initially accepted the author’s work and then left them hanging forever. I debated the self-publishing houses and again read and heard of the horror stories of authors that were taken financially to the point it wasn’t worthwhile to pursue marketing their books. With all this I decided I wanted to be able to look a publisher in the eye. So, I met with Evan Swensen of Publication Consultants.

Before I did, I reviewed the website and the different contracts available to an author. They all seemed above board and fair. I reviewed what authors had said about them and it sounded good. So, I called.

Evan reviewed the first few pages of what was to be Ravens Cove. There were some problems but he told me the story was good and he would publish it-after I took it to an editor to fix the ‘boulders’-his word for problems. The rest is history. Since 2010, I have been privileged to call Publication Consultants my publishing house.

Publication Consultants was and still is invaluable to this me. They have taught, and are still teaching me, the ins and outs of the road to becoming a successful author. There have been numerous mountains to climb and valleys to traverse. They have stuck with me throughout the process and have opened doors that self-publishing could  not. Without Evan Swensen and his staff, I would not have reached the goal of becoming a published author.

As I stated when I began this article, there are no coincidences. Each occurrence that seemed so small in and of theirselves led me to Publication Consultants and the adventure of being a published author. To date, the journey continues. The entire Iconoclast Thriller series is complete. And, when ready and God willing, the next book will be published with the assistance of Publication Consultants.   

 

 

Posted in Author tips, Christian Fiction, Creepy Supernatural Fiction, E-Book, Inspirational, Writing Tips | Leave a comment

I’ve lost count of how many people ask me when I started writing or how I knew I was supposed to write. Those two questions always make me uncomfortable. You see, I didn’t start my early life aspiring to be an author as so many have done. I think I was more surprised than anyone when I wrote my first book.

Since my early years weren’t consumed by  a need to write the next great novel, I thought I wasn’t a writer. That, I’ve found, is not true. In looking back over my life, I realized I always had a passion for storytelling. I wrote songs, poetry, and essays. I made up stories and told them as if they were real. And, people believed the stories until I told them they weren’t true. (Yes, I was somewhat of a practical joker, too.)

So, to answer the question posed in the subject line, my thoughts are:

  • If you feel a need to tell stories or to write poetry about events in your life, you’re a writer.
  • If you feel lighter when you journal about your day, you’re a writer.
  • If you daydream about a more beautiful world or a worse one and want to share those thoughts with others – you may be a writer.
  • The most telling answer is this: Non-writers don’t ask themselves, “How Do I Know I’m a Writer?”

Yes, you are a writer!

Until Next Time,

 

Posted in Author tips, Inspirational, Ravens Cove Blog, Writing Tips | Leave a comment

Catfish PlantationMy family went to the Catfish Plantation in Waxahachie, Texas to celebrate our son's birthday. It is a restaurant housed in an 1895 Victorian-era home. It is purportedly haunted and has been featured on The Dead Files and investigated by other paranormal groups. Well, I can't say I had a supernatural experience. And, I can't say I didn't have one. I will state I didn’t go in looking for an experience. I may write supernatural thrillers but that doesn’t mean I want to be in one.

We were seated in the front dining room. A cozy room with about five tables. All of the sudden there were five loud knocks on the wall next to me. They were so loud I asked my son, "who would be knocking like that on the other side of this wall?" He shrugged and now tells me he doesn't remember hearing it. My husband doesn't remember hearing the knocking, either. Then, I heard a whisper in a male voice. It wasn't anyone at my table. Again, no one heard it but me. Paranormal? Maybe.

I’ve visited the Catfish Plantations before. Nothing happened. So, going back I felt nothing even akin to nervousness. I didn’t even feel nervous after the knocks or the voice. Until later….

If you've been to the Catfish Plantation, let me know if you've had a similar experience. If you get a chance to go to the Catfish Plantation in Waxahachie, Texas, let me know about your experience – supernatural or otherwise.

No matter the experience, I really enjoy this restaurant and plan to return again. They do serve a delightful Cajun-style catfish.  

Until next time,

Posted in Paranormal, Supernatural Thrillers | Leave a comment

A retired veteran in south central Texas says he saw an unidentified bipedal creature.

The man, whose name wasn’t released by the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization, (BFRO) said he was driving Highway 60 toward Burleson County on the night of September 2 when he noticed a “large dark object” on the side of the road, about 300 yards after crossing the Brazos River.

“It was 2:45 a.m., I was traveling at 80 mph, so I passed it fast, but it rose up to a standing position and took a leap into the darkness,” he said about encounter. ” I have never seen anything like it. I have fished everywhere, from Montana to Argentina.”

BFRO investigator Eljay Willow reportedly conducted a telephone interview with the eyewitness and was able to determine more details about the purported encounter.

“The river is quite flooded from Hurricane Harvey, pushing some wildlife north,” explains Willow. “At first he thought it was a large hog, but it immediately stood up and got out of sight.”

According to Willow, the eyewitness described the animal as a “dark tall and thick bipedal”.

“He says it was about 8 feet tall,” says Willow, adding that the Texas man was “confident in his measurement”. “He says it was slightly taller than a street sign.”

Willow, an ex-military officer “dedicated to conducting Bigfoot investigations based on evidence”, says the man claimed to be a skeptic until his alleged sighting.

But this isn’t the only recent sighting.

Last June, a man from eastern Texas, says he was fishing on the Trinity river when he recorded the images of what he called a Sasquatch.

In 2015, a Texas man said he had an encounter with Bigfoot and that the monkey-like being had even “smiled” at him.

The same year, a preacher in Wise County, Texas claimed a Bigfoot was living in the area.

So, maybe this Halloween, you’d better check and make sure that Bigfoot you see is only a costume……

Sources: beyondrealitynews.com

                Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization

Until Next Time,

 


 

 

Posted in Creepy Supernatural Fiction, Paranormal, Paranormal Thrillers | 2 Comments

The GroveThe Grove (also known as the Stilley-Young House), is an 1861 historic home in Jefferson, Texas. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark. In addition, The Grove house has been called the most haunted place in Texas.

The Grove’s history dates back to the 19th century, when the property was purchased and the house that became known as “The Grove” was built. It has been featured in the television series, "If Walls Could Talk" on the cable channel HGTV. It was selected “as one of the top twelve most haunted houses in America” by “This Old House,” and was also named as one of the "eight scariest places in Texas" by "Texas Monthly" magazine. These are just a few documentations about The Grove.

The Grove has a vibrant history of unexplained happenings: voices, sounds of footsteps, moving objects, and other ghostly phenomenon. These stories indicate that The Grove is the most haunted building in Jefferson, and perhaps the most haunted site in Texas. According to Patrick J. Hopkins, a previous owner who turned The Grove into a restaurant, many mysterious events occurred while he was at the house. These events include mirrors falling off walls, loud wails heard coming from the upstairs, unexplained moisture in spots around the house, and the constant feeling of being watched. “Legend has it that the property lies in an area where several murders occurred, and several unmarked graves reportedly lie under or near the house”. Hopkins’s niece and her friends recall seeing a black man lying in the street, and as they went to see if he needed help, the man supposedly disappeared. This black man could have been a man rumored to have been hanged on the back porch of the house.

A ghostly woman has also been reported many times being around The Grove. She was spotted in the house by Hopkins right before he was opening up the restaurant. The woman has also been reported by a neighbor and her sister, who saw a “glowing white figure” on the porch. This woman has been said to be the original owner, Minerva Fox Stilley. She has often been seen walking beside the house, and then stepping up through a wall of the house. On the inside, she emerges from the wall and then walks across the width of the house. This strange path makes more sense when one considers that the wall that she steps up through was once the back porch to the house before an 1870 addition was made. Instead of stepping up through a wall, she instead is probably stepping up onto the back porch, coming through a door that was at the back of the house, and walking across to what would have been the children's bedroom.

The most haunted location in Texas? Who knows. What is sure? The Grove is rich in history (see Wikipedia.org) and has been a place of supernatural experiences for many people over the years. I get goosebumps just thinking about visiting it. You?

Source: Wikipedia

 

Posted in Creepy Supernatural Fiction, Paranormal, Paranormal Thrillers, Supernatural Thrillers | Leave a comment