Category Archives: Blog

Observations from an Introverted Novelist



  • Marketing is hard and depressing 
  • Maintaining a social media presence requires a certain degree of pretense 
  • If one doesn’t constantly comment on other’s posts, one doesn’t have a social presence
  • Book fairs, community events, and speaking engagements are mandatory but mind numbing
  • Empty promises from people for reviews, promotions, or feedback, reiterates rejection
  • Extroverts don’t understand the struggle
  • Long periods of isolation are required for recovery from social functions 
  • Book publishers should provide free professional marketers (One can dream)
  • Writers need words of encouragement from readers and publisher
  • Discouragement leads to further withdrawal from being social

I’d rather be writing!

Are you an introverted novelist? How do you cope with marketing?


Bad Parenting Day?


parenting_joyRemember the joy of learning you would be a parent? You dreamed of your child’s future. Maybe you figured out how old you would be when your child graduated from high school.

But what if, by the time your daughter was seven-years-old, she was screaming, “I want to die.”

This happened to Charity Marie. “Time stopped in that moment. I lost the ability to breathe…”

Her journey with daughter, Libby, thus far, is heart wrenching. This courageous woman deals with struggles few parents can imagine. Less than 1% of children develop paranoid schizophrenia, a neurological brain disease with no cure.

Read her incredible story of love, heartache, and determination.

She needs us to care.

Visions of Liberty: Parenting a Child with Severe Mental Illness

Avisions_of_libertyny hope my daughter Libby would outgrow her fears ended unexpectedly one sunny summer day in July 2017, as we stood in a local children’s hospital room listening to my ten-year-old describe a skeletal figure holding a knife dripping blood, standing behind the doctor.

As she cried and told us she thought the figure would kill everyone in the room, my parental identity and dreams for her shattered into a million pieces. I listened to her say once again she wanted to kill herself, which she’d been saying for three years. For the first time, I understood a little better why.

It hurts. I can’t even tell you how much.

She was admitted to the local behavioral health hospital for a ten day stay and prescribed medication for anxiety and depression. And over the past six months, we’ve tried to pick up the pieces and find our new normal as she continues to suffer from debilitating hallucinations, delusions, paranoia, and other symptoms she can’t control. We’ve witnessed her battle every day against demons we can’t see or understand.

Since then, her medication was changed and she’s now on a heavy cocktail of medication to control the worst of her symptoms, which has thankfully restored some, but not all her ability to function. It wasn’t until December 2017 we really began to understand the battle we face will be lifelong and will get harder as she ages.

She’s had three subsequent inpatient stays for continuing symptoms since July and as of January 2018 has been admitted to the nearest residential treatment center for long term care, two hours away from us.

The loneliness and isolation are very hard to take. Some days you just need to feel like someone else cares, that someone will do something, anything to help make the situation a little better. In the last 30 days we’ve had so many medical emergencies, I’m mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted in ways I’ve never experienced. We haven’t had a good weekend in six weeks.

And I’m doing all of this while working full time. I don’t want or need pity. I do want solutions, help, support. I want to see change. This illness is hard enough without the roadblocks making it worse. I shouldn’t be fighting with medical professionals and the insurance company to get her treated. I shouldn’t be facing bankruptcy because the medical costs of her care are so high. Where will we be in six years or as Libby approaches 18? I don’t know, and I’m honestly scared to find out.

troubled_childSchizophrenia is a brain disorder that needs so much more understanding. Until it impacted me, I didn’t know about it either. No shame in that – but everyone needs to understand more than they do.

Together, we must do more to help people who are struggling with mental illness – any mental illness – to cope better, to BE better, and to heal. If we all try to understand a little more, try to be kinder, we can give hope to those who are struggling and those trying to help them.

Behavior has a reason, even if it seems it doesn’t and it’s NOT because someone is just “crazy”.

As a society, we must do better to understand mental illness and to support those affected.

Read more about this family’s struggle and leave encouraging comments.

Please help Charity Marie with Libby’s ongoing, lifelong medical expenses and care for severe mental illness.

Charity Marie is an Award-winning children’s author, a paralegal for a personal injury law firm, as well as a licensed realtor. 

About My Drabble


There is a niche for readers who like quick reads and for writers who love creating shorter than normal stories. A blog called, The Drabble, offers the challenge of writing fiction, non-fiction, or poetry of 100 words or less.

Give it a try.

My story was inspired by a co-worker in Branson Mo. who was a cave diver. One day he explained the dangers of going so deep into a dark cavern. “People have died because they didn’t plan for extra canisters of air to make it out.”


Horrified, I asked him why he’d risk his life like that. He smiled and said he couldn’t imagine a better way to die. “Just close your eyes and go to sleep. Very peaceful.”

The thought of cave diving still scares me. In my short, I wanted readers to experience both the fear and peace. Let me know how I did.

Here is my published submission called, Cave Diver.




Patty Wiseman: Where it All Started


patty_wiseman_authorThis month’s guest blog post is from Award Winning Patty Wiseman who writes stories of strong women overcoming insurmountable odds. From historical to contemporary these romantic and suspenseful tales carry the message of survival by extraordinary women. Find Patty on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, and Amazon.


I was that kid with the flashlight under the covers every night. The minute I learned how letters formed words and words formed sentences which turned into stories, I was hooked.


My first-grade teacher, Mrs. Bell, really had the most impact on my love of reading. Oh my, could she tell a story! The classroom was transfixed when she read to us. Forty-odd years later and she is still the one I think of when I look back at how it all started.

Books became my escape. I always carried an armful of books home from the school library, read into the night, only to return them the next day for another stack. I devoured them.


All this reading lit a flame in my heart to explore the writing world. I won poetry contests in high school, secretly wrote short stories that never saw the light of day. There wasn’t a lot of encouragement for me back then.

When I married and had children, the spark grew brighter as I read to my children. I wanted to write that book burning in my heart so badly. Again, I received little encouragement.

Fast-forward into my twenty-five-year career in a financial institution, a divorce, raising my boys as a single mom and writing fell by the wayside.


A second marriage, a man who lived to fulfill my every wish, and once more, the writing bug latched on and wouldn’t let go. My husband encouraged me to retire from my job and throw myself into writing full-time.
Seven years later, I have eight books published and tons of ideas for the next seven years.

The moral of this story is…never give up on your dream. Years may pass, but the dream can ultimately come true. Keep moving forward, even if life gets in the way.

Writing is my full-time life now. Sometimes, I look back and say ‘I should have done this sooner. Look at all the time I wasted.’ The truth is, it wasn’t my time then. It’s my time now and I fully embrace it.

Follow your dream, don’t snuff out the light by getting discouraged, because just around the corner you may meet that dream head on.

Be sure to check out Patty Wiseman’s website and be inspired!

What are you goals for 2018?

There Really Are Reindeer


We lived in Phoenix Arizona in 1968. This event really happen! I wanted to keep the proof in a baggie, in the freezer, but my momma said, “No!”  

There Really Are Reindeer

One Christmas morning, back in my youth—I remember it well
My brother told me a most wonderful tale. 


It seems, Santa doesn’t always land his sleigh on the roof
If one of the reindeer has a sore on his hoof. 


For outside in our yard—there in the grass, lay all the evidence.
I wouldn’t have believed it, but there were the hoof prints! 

And most amazing of all—I’m telling the truth, a pile of poop.
Seems Santa had forgotten his scoop.We rushed into the house to tell Mom–how excited we were
“There really are reindeer. Now, we know it for sure!”


What is your favorite Christmas memory?

Self-doubt: An Authors Worst Enemy



IMG_2009Authors are plagued with self-doubt and worry over silly things.

Harper Lee, for one, threw her whole manuscript for To Kill a Mockingbird out her NYC window while editing. Fortunately, her publisher made her retrieve and finish the book. See, Fling Manuscript From the Window.

Laura Ingalls Wilder’s daughter, Rose, stated in a diary entry the she doubted her mother’s manuscript would “come to anything.” [Smith Hill, Pamela. Introduction. “Will it Come to Anything?”: The Story of Pioneer Girl] However, in an interesting twist, Rose later used her mother’s rejected Pioneer Girl to craft new novels for herself. By 1932 she and her mother had published novels base on Laura’s original adult manuscript. Laura Ingalls Wilder’s name and books are still world-famous.

Authors want praise for hard work, readers to love their words. They want to make a difference in the world. But even after a book is published, garnered accolades, and the author praised, doubt returns. Why? Simple rejection by one person.

Even if multiple people have purchased, reviewed, or praised the authors work, it’s that one person who reads the back cover and walks away, or promises a review and doesn’t, who triggers an author’s fatalistic imagination.

My dear authors, hang on to your sanity! Stay focused on your goal and start a file of all the praise, awards, and encouragement you’ve received. Self-doubt is destructive liar.

How do you overcome these times?

Happy Left-Handers Day


Happy Left-Handers Day!

There are people who care about our needs.


I found this store on Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco when I visited in June. I was awed by the wonderful treasures and wanted several items. Unfortunately, the prices were beyond my vacation budget.


I really wanted this notebook though.

lefty's_notebookI purposely flip spiral notebooks over to write in them because of the dang metal hindrance.

So, be encouraged fellow lefty’s and have a great day!

Click here to check out Lefty’s store. Treat yourself or a left-handed  friend to a gift.

Do Students Love Your History Class?


mickey_mouse_club_poster“History is boring.” This attitude prevailed in me until my junior year in high school. The first thing I saw upon entering Mr. Eklund’s American History class—a Mickey Mouse club poster hanging above his disk.

Okay, he’s different.

He stood in front of the class wearing Mickey Mouse ears, instructing us to take out paper and copy the notes from the chalk board. The information would be on our test and we could use the notes. He had a strange accent which required concentration to understand. As the class wrote, he filled a second chalk board with additional hard-to-read writing. Before finishing the first board of notes, he erased the top half and continued writing.

What the . . .

Each day we had a pop quiz. “What is the capital of– (random countries and states)? Occasionally, adding, city, to the place would land the correct capital. He also had us learn the name of each president, and their affiliated political party.

There were times he taught deep and profound wisdom, like the day a fellow student whined, “I’m bored.”

Mr. Eklund replied, “Only boring people are bored.” *Grin

His tests were essay, requiring a paragraph with complete sentences. Yay for the notes. The last question on the test would be “What is the capital of—”. On the back of the test we wrote our president list. Bonus points were awarded for each one correct. Brain cells were depleted.

Making an A+ in Mr. Eklund’s class was ridiculously easy but excruciating at the same time. Of course, I can no longer remember all the presidents and their political parties, or the capital of those random countries, but he made history a proactive subject, and I’m thankful.

I found his obituary from 2004. In lieu of flowers his family created a Scholarship Fund to help students go to college. The family also included this tribute:

Love of his family was equaled only by his love for the students he taught with great joy for so many years. Learning of his sudden passing, one student remarked that “Mr. Eklund was one of those rare birds who did it right, did it well, and left a bit of himself in each student. I know he left his mark on me, and the older I get the more I appreciate it.” Another, writing from the naval carrier on which he serves, said that “He made each student feel important, even if he was calling us ‘cloth ears’ or giving us ‘a zero for the day, sport.’ His unique phrases and unforgettable mannerisms made an otherwise dreaded subject something to look forward to for countless thousands of teen-agers, all of whom are grown now, most with kids of their own. So to say his impact is immeasurable is an understatement. He really embodied all that Hollywood would have us believe about teachers, that theirs is a noble profession and that they truly change lives. He did.”

Among those left behind:

. . . thousands of friends and former students enriched by his gift of teaching with love and tremendous wit.

Don’t be a boring person. Make history fun and challenging for your students and change the negative perception that history is boring.

“The capital of _________________ is?”

Review of Not Bound by Blood

not_bound_by_bloodIntriguing and Inspirational

In this Historical fiction novel, two strong-willed women form a strong friendship in high school. Their lives twist and turn in different directions for several years, then their bond is tested by an unexpected event.

The point of view switches between Blanche and Miriam in separate chapters, making their stories easy to follow. Ingram’s tight writing style makes for a fast paced, enjoyable read. One slightly explicit sex scene and one suggestive, but neither were overdone.

Purchase Here

Back Cover

In a friendship forged in high school days, solemn athletic Miriam Meyer and flamboyant actress Blanche LaRue seem as different as apples and kumquats.

After winning an Olympic Gold Medal while still a teenager, a plane crash forces Miriam to give up her dream of a repeat performance. She marries and settles for small-town life as the wife of her banker husband, Brad Hammond.

Blanche disposes of anything that will come in the way of achieving her goal, even husband and child. Her career carries her into the European war scene. An enamored Count Romano Vicente comes to rescue her.

Although continents sometimes separate the friends, their strong bond of friendship remains.

Who is Gay Ingram? (From Amazon Author Page)

Gay Ingram writes from her cabin in the piney woods of East Texas. For over twenty-five years she has been entertaining and informing readers either through her novels or by way of articles published in magazines such as Writer’s Journal, BackHome and The Herb Companion. Recently introduced to blogging, she now contributes a blog to and posts twice-weekly on her own blog, Comparing Oranges and Apples, at

Contact Gay




Review: Murder in Maggie Valley (A KEPS Cozy Mystery)

murder_in_maggie_valleyEnjoyable Cozy Mystery

Sister-in-laws, Edna and Klara Pidgeon arrive in the small cabin-rental community of Maggie Valley to work on their pastry recipe. They expect a peaceful retreat…

The writing team of Kasandra Elaine have created believable characters readers will relate to while the murder mystery unfolds and mayhem ensues. I totally sympathized with Klara at the loss of her pillow!

This is an entertaining read, and the who-done-it question kept the pace steady all the way to the exciting conclusion.

Well done Kasandra Elaine! I look forward to more KEPS Cozy Mysteries.

Purchase Here

More about Murder in Maggie Valley – Back Cover

Two sisters-in-law, a mountain cabin in North Carolina, burglaries, and the murder of one of the residents in the cabin community—can Edna and Klara Pidgeon work out their pastry recipe and return home to Texas without being arrested for murder or becoming murder victims themselves?

When Klara meets handsome Gerald Thomas, thoughts of returning to her dull, daily life become replaced by dreams of the future with the handsome Cary Grant look-alike. Edgar Farley arrives from Texas to the surprise of Edna and continues his low-key wooing, much to Edna’s chagrin.

Edna and Klara become embroiled in solving the murder and break-ins but figuring out why a young boy, David, seems to be running around the area of the cabins without his parents’ supervision.

Will Edna and Klara ever be able to perfect their KEPS recipe and return to a normal life?

Who is Kasandara Elaine? (Goodreads source)

Kasandra Elaine is the pseudonym for writing team Kassy Paris and Elaine Bonner. Friends since 1966, they formed a writing partnership in 1997.  Elaine went to sleep one night in 2015 and awoke in heaven.

kassy_parisKassy Paris plans to continue the partnership by developing the stories and ideas the two plotted together.

Connect with Kassy on:




« Older Entries Recent Entries »