Congratulations to Alison (agboss) who won Susanne Dietze's The Reluctant Guardian!

Congratulations to Elise Jehan who won a copy of The Secret Admirer Romance Collection!

Friday, February 24, 2017

The Writing LIfe and Author Misconceptions

You'll be seeing this headshot more. My next release is titled Saguaro Sunset.

I've been lurking in an online class about 'self' and 'small' publishing, and it's been eye-opening. I'm no expert in either, but it reminded me of my own innocence a decade ago. At that time, an author could only be published if they found a publisher. Makes sense, right? And that usually meant finding an agent first.  In this past decade, publishing has transformed faster than the switch from typewriter to computer keyboard.

Now, anyone can publish anything, and sometimes in a matter of days, not years.

I like to think that what I haven't learned first hand about the world of publishing, I've been able to learn about as part of the Inkwell blog where all of us have slipped out of unpublished land to the glorious kingdom of published authors.  Did you hear that fanfare? Me neither.

Recently, I visited Debbie Lynn Costello's blog (the Sword and the Spirit), where I basically ranted (or whined) about this same subject. Is it a gift to writers that we can all be published now? or has it just made things that much more difficult? 

I'd love to hear questions from readers and writers, as well as opinions from other authors. Let's talk about the HOWs of writing and becoming published! 

meanwhile... I still have this active promotion:

New subscribers to Debra's newsletter will be eligible for a $25.00 Amazon gift card. To do so, visit her website,, or click the SIGN UP link here. or email debra (at) If you're already a subscriber, send someone over and tell me via the above email, and you'll be in the drawing as well!

A new release also means new promotions. If you'd like to read, provide feedback or review a contemporary novella, please email me at the address above! 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Men in Black

The hero of my new novel is a Man in Black.

Image result for henry cavill black and white
Henry Cavill, who looks a lot like my black-wearing hero.
 He appeared in my head, without a plot or a plan, but his all-black wardrobe was concrete. It was my job to figure out why he wore black all the time, because when a guy does that, he’s making a statement.

Image result for johnny cash man in black
Johnny Cash made a statement!
 Color psychology has been around at least since the 1700s (as the “rose of temperaments”). The idea is that color can carry a specific meaning, and a person perceiving a color assigns an evaluation to it automatically, a response that’s either learned or biologically innate.

In color psychology, black has a lot to say.

I’m mourning. Black is related to death and mourning in western culture. It’s a color that absorbs other colors, as well as light and joy. It communicates deep emotion and loss that sometimes roots in person’s psyche long after the mourning period is over. His heart is not available.

I’m mysterious. A puzzle you want to solve. Black hides things, literally and figuratively, and in color psychology, it communicates concealment—of emotions and information. He doesn’t want you to know the real him—but is he protecting himself, or you?

Image result for batman the dark knight
I have power. Black intimidates and communicates strength and superiority. It’s unfriendly and unwelcoming. He wants you to fear him or at least maintain a healthy respect, and you’ll never know the real person beneath the façade.

Image result for darth vader
Darth Vader
I exude confidence. A British clothing company (buyshirtsonline) did a survey on clothing color, and most of its participants said black clothing makes people look confident, sexy, and serious. This Man in Black doesn’t need anyone’s approval. He has an agenda, but he won’t tell you that it’s rooted in pain and loss.

Image result for killian jones
Killian Jones, Once Upon a Time
 Stay away. Black communicates danger, unapproachability, and emotional separation from others. Villains are stereotypically portrayed wearing black, but as we know, villains are often broken individuals in pain. Black can be an emotional shield. He says to go away, but some women want to fix him anyway.

Image result for kylo ren
Kylo Ren
Wearing all black is a statement that communicates a lot at an emotional level. A Man in Black’s dress is an outward symbol of his pain, a reminder of his grief, a warning that he’s dangerous to know and love. Nevertheless, in his brokenness, he beckons our sympathy, compassion, and certainly our interest.


Susanne Dietze married a man in black...a pastor who wears clerical collars. This month, she's celebrating the release of her debut novel, The Reluctant Guardian.

Found here
The Reluctant Guardian:

Under the Spy's Protection 
When Gemma Lyfeld inadvertently interrupts a dangerous smuggling operation in her English village, she's rescued by a mysterious Scottish spy. Now with criminals after her and her hopes for an expected marriage proposal recently dashed, she will make her society debut in London. But not without the man tasked with protecting her… 

Covert government agent Tavin Knox must keep Gemma safe from the criminals who think she can identify them—a mission he never wanted. But as he escorts her and her rascally nephews around London, the lovely English lass proves braver than he ever imagined. Suddenly, the spy who works alone has one Season to become the family man he never dreamed he'd be.

Friday, February 17, 2017

I Need A Hero...

by Barbara Early

Have you seen the Amazon Fire commercial lamenting the dreaded "show hole"? Apparently when a show you've been following ends, you have a hole that needs filling. Yes, roll those eyes and call it a first-world problem, but, you know, I think there really is such a thing.

Ugh...Rizzoli and Isles is gone. Castle is gone. Bones is
almost over (and probably should have gone sooner). And don't even get me started on one-season wonders like Forever and Limitless.

It got me looking a little outside the box. Well, at least my current box, and back to a revival of a former favorite.

Yes, I'm falling back in love with superheroes.

I grew up on Adam West's Batman (and, of course Batgirl). And Superman. And the Incredible Hulk. And Wonder Woman. I thought I'd outgrown them.

Then came Gotham, which intrigued me at first, but I've stopped watching. It's gotten just a little too dark for me.

So I caught most of Smallville, then binge-watched all of Lois and Clark, which I somehow missed the first time.

Then came Supergirl. And then the Flash showed up on a crossover episode, so I had to check that out. Of course I got hooked on that, which introduce me to the Arrow. Legends of Tomorrow is up next. 

The superhero genre has developed quiet a bit. (And as writers, it's hard to just kick back without analyzing what you see.) The tone is a bit darker, the characters are more developed...and definitely more tortured. They not only fight the bad guys, but their own demons and darker impulses: substance abuse, guilt, anger. They struggle to raise children and maintain relationships. 

Life can be hard, even without a dual identity.

OK, I'm hooked.

Question: Any new shows capture your attention?

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Archives Need Your Stuff

by Anita Mae Draper

This summer while on vacation, I'll be visiting municipal and provincial archives while researching family history and it's bringing up memories of other visits. Back in 1978, my husband and I visited the National Archives of Canada (now Library and Archives Canada) where we found census records that showed where his paternal grandmother lived in York County, Ontario.

In 2015, I went to the York County area - basically the area from Toronto north to Lake Simcoe - and spent a delightful day in the Georgina Pioneer Village & Archives (GPV&A) where I finally met the curator, Melissa Matt, who happens to be one of my husband's cousins by marriage. With Melissa's help, I was able to confirm that my husband's 3 x Great-grandfather, Rev Joel Draper Sr, bought land in 1807 in what was then known as Upper Canada.

Melissa brought out several old maps that I scanned in segments with my Flip-Pal scanner and then stitched them back together on my laptop. For example, this 1860 map shows 3 lots owned by Joel Draper. I know that the one on Lot 13, Concession 4, was owned by Joel Draper Jr as that was where my husband's great-grandfather was born, but the other two lots may have belonged to him as well, or to his father, Joel Draper Sr who died in 1856.

North Gwillibury, York County, 1860, South part Lots 1-17. Courtesy of GPV&A

The hand-drawn map is ripped and stained, but it's the only one for 1860 and that makes it a valuable resource. If I remember correctly, the Archives received the map collection while Melissa was going through the files of someone who had passed on after living in the area since birth. The relative who'd invited her to peruse the files to see if there was anything of worth was surprised that Melissa showed interest in the maps. The person donating the collection saw the rips and stains, but Melissa saw the historical value of the printed information.

The definition of an archives in this case is a place or collection of records, documents, or other materials of historical interest, such as:

  • land records and deeds
  • photographs
  • maps
  • books & periodicals
  • film & video
  • diaries & journals
  • letters & postcards
  • scrapbooks
Municipal, provincial, state, and national archives want the old stuff your grandmother has been storing in the attic. They want the old postcard collection your great uncle spent years gathering. They want the old letters your grandfather wrote to your grandmother when he served overseas in the war. They like old Bibles with family inscriptions of birth, death, and marriage records. 

This postcard is part of the donated collection at the Georgina Archives. The image may be Alberta, but according to the writing on the back it was sent to a local resident and deserves to be preserved.

1910 Alberta postcard found in the GPV&A postcard collection

Melissa said that someone was going to through out an old photograph album because they didn't know any of the people, and gladly handed it over to the archives when Melissa said it didn't matter because they may already have photographs of those people in the archives and can match them up. Any day, someone can walk into the archives and recognize someone and that's another mystery solved. The archives is the place to gather these different pieces of history to tell the story of the area.

This 1911 image of a Scottish immigrant and her children is one of many held at the Library and Archives Canada (LAC). This particular series was taken by photographer, William James Topley (1845-1930) who was commissioned to take photos of immigrants upon arrival in Canada. Although they don't know the woman's name, the LAC considers this image worth preserving. 

Scottish immigrant mother and her children upon arrival. Public Domain. Courtesy of LAC - Series:Topley Photographs of Québec Immigration Centre, 1911
However, an archive won't accept every donation. According to the LAC, "Various factors such as the offered material’s uniqueness, age, rareness, condition, relationship to other material in the collection, and restrictions on access or use are considered in the final decision."

Also, a donation of historical material to an archive is just that - a donation. They don't pay out for whatever you bring them.

As for leaving your old stuff at the back door of the archives and then running away with glee - DON'T. Not without leaving a note with your name and address in case they don't want it. An archive can only accept material that comes from a known source. The curator needs to know who owned it. Not only does it show that it wasn't stolen, but it helps the curator put it in perspective.


I've been using the word collection here, but there's nothing to stop you from donating one journal, or one photograph album, etc. An archives grows one historical piece at a time.

I was amazed to find funeral cards at the GPV&A, especially when I came upon those of family members, such as my husband's great-granduncle. 

Funeral card of Elemuel Draper (1840-1907). Courtesy of GPV&A

And this brings me to the collection of journals, letters, photographs, and other ephemera which my husband received from his grandmother. We posted their 1911 courtship letters and are now posting his grandfather's 100 year old World War 1 letters, including the photographs and postcards that accompany them. Once all the letters are published online for all to see we will donate the collection to either the Saskatchewan archives, the Ontario Archives, or maybe even the Library and Archives Canada. 

Regardless of where the collection ends up, we can be sure that it will be safeguarded from fire, theft, flood, etc and stored in a temperature-controlled room IF we donate it instead of hoarding it in our basement or garage.

What about you... have you visited an archives? What would you donate if you could?


Anita Mae Draper's historical romances are woven under the western skies of the Saskatchewan prairie where her love of research and genealogy yield fascinating truths that layer her stories with rich historical details. Her Christian faith is reflected in her stories of forgiveness and redemption as her characters struggle to find their way to that place we call home. Anita loves to correspond with her readers through any of the social media links found at

Readers can enrich their reading experience by checking out Anita's Pinterest boards for a visual idea of her stories at

Monday, February 13, 2017

Release Party--Valentine Matchmaker Collection--And Conversation

The Valentine Matchmaker Collection (*digital Ebook) includes nine sweet novellas, contemporary and historical, from Authors Mary Alford, Brandi Bobbie, Martha Rodgers, Jennifer Vander Klipp, Jennifer Collins Johnson, Sherri Stewart, Gail Gaymer Martin. 

And Inkies Niki Turner and Debra E. Marvin. 
Here's the link to Amazon. Spring for the 99cents and make us happy!  If you're a paperback only reader, Niki is your girl. See her offer below!

So, we need a party! We searched the Four Corners area without much luck, and decided on The Draper Castle in Draper, Utah. Let's say it's somewhere half way between Grand Canyon Village and "Indigo", Colorado, We've got 23k square feet, so you should find plenty of space to spread out in. 

 Happy Valentine's Day! Happy Single Awareness Day! 

Are you a romantic? 

Give us your romance rating from 1 to 10. 

Just grab a bowl and a spoon!

(what were we doing? I forgot. Oh - right)

SWEET TALK by Niki Turner
Indigo, Colorado.

When Piper Delaney and Emory Barrett, who have sworn off dating and romance after painful breakups, find themselves hosting a romantic radio program that has been making matches between people for decades, they’ll have to decide whether to take a chance on romance again. How can they resist when they’re surrounded by love songs?

(PS, don't let the dog on the furniture)


WHY NOT? by Debra E. Marvin
pinterest page

Grand Canyon, 1914

Society girl Amber Wynott’s wintry escape to the Grand Canyon provides a chance to pursue her dream and prove she has what it takes to be a successful architect. It doesn’t take long to realize the incredible scenery can’t hide the simmering anger between ‘railroad money’ and the struggling locals. 

Which side is master builder Stone Morrison on?

Amber has met her match in the handsome, hard-headed man. He’s been directed to keep an eye on her, but when iron meets iron—oh the sparks! As their unlikely old matchmaker tells them, pride goes before a fall, and this is a bad place to fall. Will danger finally knock some sense into the pair?

Ahhhhh. This is more like it!

Between back to back deadlines for the last year, buying a weekly newspaper and becoming a full time publisher and editor this year, Niki hasn't managed to create a newsletter. But if you follow her Facebook author page and leave her a message, you'll be entered into a drawing for a print copy of "Sweet Talk" and a print copy of "Blue Ribbon Brides."

New subscribers to Debra's newsletter will be eligible for a $25.00 Amazon gift card. To do so, visit her website,, or click the SIGN UP link here. or email debra (at) If you're already a subscriber, send someone over and tell me via the above email, and you'll be in the drawing as well!
Shades of Brown  in honor of HERMIT'S REST

And because two deadlines isn't enough, Deb's been playing with her sewing machine again, and is giving away a quilted Table Runner called "Hermit's Rest", the setting of Why Not.  But, please note in a comment if you'd like to be in the drawing.

Note: The prizes have gone back in the vault in our secret underground Inky location.

No Patrick Dempseys were harmed in the making of this post.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Dusting off an Old Manuscript

by Dina Sleiman

When I teach writing classes, I always talk about how important it is to get those ideas out of your head and down on the paper. Lump of clay writing, I call it—or in less delicate terms, word vomit! In the winter of 2013-2014 I word vomited the sequel to Dance from Deep Within onto my computer while I awaited the decision on my Valiant Hearts Series from Bethany House Publishers. As many of you know, I landed that deal, and the next two years were a blur of writing, editing, and marketing Dauntless, Chivalrous, and Courageous.

But now those books are out on the market, and for the last year I’ve been launching a new career of public relations writing for the non-profit humanitarian organization, Operation Blessing. I haven’t had much time for writing anything new. You see where this is going, right? While I didn’t have time for writing something new, I did have time to edit and complete my 95% finished first draft.

So I dusted off (okay, I found and opened the old Microsoft Word file) of Dare from Deep Within and set to work. I still had some challenges to face since I had shifted directions somewhere in the middle and needed to clean up my characterization and motivation. The wording needed a good edit, and I had to write the ending. However, just a few months later, in my spare time, I’ve managed to complete a very solid draft of the novel. WhiteFire, who published the first book in the series, has agreed to release book 2 sometime in 2017! That's a mock cover, I still want to find a more youthful, thinner looking figure of a Muslim woman in a niqab.

It turns out what I teach my student’s is true. It’s always worth getting those ideas down on paper, even if they grow dusty on the shelf. How about you? Have you ever dusted off an old manuscript? What were the results?

Dance from Deep Within is Available on Amazon now.