You know, as authors, people often disclose to us that they are writing their book. Maybe they just have a kernel of an idea, maybe they’re half way done. And they think that anyone can be a writer.

And you know what? They’re totally right.

Anyone can be a writer. If you’re putting words down on paper, you’re a writer. Trust me on this one.

There are a lot of good writers out there. There are a ton of former English majors out there (myself included!), and, for the most part, we’re all a pretty decent set of writers.

Before I ever set to write a story, before I ever thought to myself “Can this get published?” I was a good writer. I could crack out a paper in a couple of hours. I told stories to myself before I went to sleep.

Even the whole process of writing a book didn’t set me apart, in the great scheme of things. Lots of people have written books. Some of them are pretty decent, too.

Now, I’m no pillar of the publishing world. I’ve got a total of three books out, with a fourth book due out early next year, all out with small presses. Let’s be honest: most people won’t make it rich writing books and publishing them. Authors get between 7% and 35% in royalties from our publishers for the books we sell (and sure, there’s variation in there). Many people with small presses don’t get advances, and of those that do get an advance, it’s generally pretty small, so most of the money we earn comes from royalties. When you’re in competition with millions of other books, it’s pretty hard to make a decent living.

Most of us have other jobs that actually pay the bills, and if the writing supplements that, then AWESOME!

But, to all the budding writers out there, there is one thing that sets authors apart from writers.

It’s persistence.

Writing a book is hard work. So much goes into it. It takes persistence and patience to write a book, and to see it through to completion, especially when it’s a longer book. You will get stuck. Hopefully, you’ll push through it. But the real test is when you go to submit.

Writing the perfect query is hard. Shipping it off is harder, if you ask me. You will check your email a dozen times a day, hoping to see an email that says, “Congratulations! Your book is awesome!” (Because you know it is, right?)

Only, more than likely, you’ll get rejected.

The first one will sting.

The second one will sting.

The third one will sting.

Every time I’ve been rejected, it has broken my heart. Every time. The real test of your mettle as an author is whether you can pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and try again.

I’ll be honest, every time, I think about quitting.

You will question: is it worth it? What kind of blows to my ego am I willing to take in order to achieve this dream? Because it’s one thing to think you’re a good writer. It’s another thing to have other people in the industry think the same thing.

I’ve gotten some really harsh rejections, ones that made me question what I was doing. And it’s when I’ve gotten those that I’ve gotten some chocolate, had a glass of wine, and told myself I will never subject myself to that again. Let’s face it, sometimes life is hard enough without adding additional blows to the ego.

If you need an ego boost, a rejection letter is not usually the place to find it.

Anyway, I think that’s where authors and writers differentiate. I don’t think it’s a matter of talent necessarily, or innate ability (because editors rock). It’s a matter of being able to take the criticisms and the rejections and try again.

And doing it again and again and again until you finally get a yes.

It’s about believing–no, knowing–the yes is out there.

Maybe this book won’t hit. Maybe it will be the next book or the book after that. Maybe you’ll write for 15 years and finally get that yes. Maybe you’ll hit on the first book. But, if you keep trying, and you keep honing your craft, you will eventually get it.

Be brave. Be persistent. Never give up.

It will happen.


THURSDAY THREADS Welcomes DeAnn Smallwood

Title: Unconquerable Callie by DeAnn Smallwood
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: Sweet


Callie Collins, a proud woman in the late 1800’s is a liar and a darned good one, a master of the dubious art. She is also a dreamer. Her greatest hope is to reach a new life in South Pass City Wyoming, where she can open a bakery and live an independent life. To be successful, she will need her greatest gifts of deception to date. As a woman alone, she has to prove to Seth McCalister, the wagon master, that she has the wherewithal (a wagon and a set of oxen), the stamina to survive months of drought, dust, hardships and even risk of death, and a mythical fiancé who waits at the end of the line. McCallister is uneasy, but also mystified by the audacity and determination of the young woman. He allows her to join the train west. What he doesn’t realize is there is no fiancé. To make matters worse, Callie is in love with Seth McCallister, too. For the first time, the lies that have brought her so far in life threaten to keep her from her one, true love. McCallister is a man of strong character and Callie feels certain that once he realizes her deception, he’ll turn away, ashamed of his love and trust in her.


She left the empty dining room and, with shoulders squared, set out for the general store. The town hummed like a beehive of angry bees, streets crowded with wagons of every description, vendors set up on any available space offering any and all items needed for the trip west. If you wanted it, Independence had it. You just had to find the right stall or store.
Callie strolled past each vendor seeing-without-seeing the wares. There would be time to stock her wagon once she had one. She reached for the door to the general store only to have it shoved open from the inside, hitting her with such force she went tumbling backward down the steps. She landed on her rump in the dusty street, hat askew, petticoats up over the top of her fashionable buttoned shoes.
Before she realized what had happened, she was pulled up into strong arms, then flopped over a masculine forearm while a large hand administered rib shaking blows to her back.
“Breathe.” The order came harsh in her ear while he smacked her back again.
“I said breathe, lady.” The stranger shook her.
“Stop,” Callie gasped weakly, head wobbling from side-to-side. “Stop pounding my back and shaking me.” She forced the words out between squeaky intakes of air.
As sudden as the earthquake had started, it stopped. She remained in a tight vise against the man’s chest.
Then he spoke again, his voice full of anger. “What in the hell, begging your pardon, Ma’am, but just what were you doing on the other side of that door?”
Callie pulled her head back and attempted to focus. How dare he! He’d just pushed her down two steps, into a dirty street, showed her petticoats to passersby, knocked the breath out of her, pummeled her back to black and blue, and then berated her for standing in front of a door leading to a place of business.
“You . . .”
“Hush,” he barked. “I hollered to ‘Stand clear’ before throwing open the door. Are you deaf?”
No, she hadn’t heard. She’d been thinking, worrying, about that dratted wagon. Anyway, it certainly wasn’t her fault and as soon as she freed herself of a pair of strong arms and a man smelling of witch hazel and the clean scent of wood smoke, she’d tell him so.
“We were rolling out kegs and barrels. You could have been hurt. I’ve seen some dumb stunts, lady, but standing there with your head in the clouds when someone is trying to prevent an accident, is just, well, it’s just crazy.” With that, he released her and set her firmly on her feet. He brushed off the dust clinging to her dress.
Callie eyed him apprehensively and backed away only to feel the heel of her shoe teeter over the edge of the step. She flailed her arms and would have tumbled back down the steps again if, quick as a snake, he hadn’t reached out and grabbed her.
“Ma’am,’ he growled, “you’d better get home to the safety of your kitchen and not venture out without your husband on your arm. You’re a menace.” And before Callie could put her tongue into action, he picked her up like a doll and firmly set her to one side while he stormed down the steps. He was part of the crowd before she could speak all the unladylike words that were on her lips.
Of all the egotistical males, she had just met the king. How dare he admonish her to home and hearth? How dare he knock her down, brush her off, and scold her in front of everyone? Men. If she ever needed proof she’d done the right thing in seeking independence, there it was. A tall, strong, pigheaded stranger who just happened to have the deepest pair of blue eyes she’d ever seen.


Soul Mate Publishing:
Other books by DeAnn:

Death Crosses the Finish Line

Sapphire Blue

Montana Star

Wyoming Heather

Tears in the Wind

THURSDAY THREADS Welcomes Collette Cameron

The Viscount’s Vow by Collette Cameron
Genre: Historical Romance/Regency
Heat Level: Sensual
Amidst murder and betrayal, destiny and hearts collide when scandal forces a viscount and a gypsy noblewoman to marry in this Regency romance sprinkled with suspense and humor.
Part Romani, part English noblewoman, Evangeline Caruthers is the last woman in England Ian Hamilton, the Viscount Warrick, could ever love—an immoral wanton responsible for his brother’s and father’s deaths. She thinks he’s a foul-tempered blackguard, who after setting out to cause her downfall, finds himself forced to marry her—snared in the trap of his own making.

When Vangie learns the marriage ceremony itself may have been a ruse, she flees to her gypsy relatives, declaring herself divorced from Ian under Romani law. He pursues her to the gypsy encampment, and when the handsome gypsy king offers to take Ian’s place in Vangie’s bed, jealousy stirs hot and dangerous.

At last, under a balmy starlit sky, Ian and Vangie breech the chasm separating them. Peril lurks though. Ian’s the last in his line, and his stepmother intends to dispose of the newlyweds so her daughter can inherit his estate. Only by trusting each other can they overcome scandal and murderous betrayal.

“A brilliant tale combining Regency romance with exotic Romani culture.”


“You didn’t eat much, wife.”
They were alone on the dance floor. Ian deftly twirled Vangie around his aunt’s smallish ballroom, mindful of the interested gazes watching them.
Stealing a glance at the smiling and nodding onlookers, he suppressed a frown. He felt like a curiosity on display at Bullock’s Museum. He wished others would take to the floor, so he could dispense with the devoted bridegroom facade.
The twelve courses at dinner had been torturous. His wife hadn’t taken more than a dozen bites nor said as many words. He’d tried to eat the succulent foods Aunt Edith had gone to such efforts to have prepared, but his anger made everything dry as chalk and every bit as tasteless.
“I’d not much appetite, my lord.”
He chuckled. “Don’t you think you might address me by my given name, wife?”
“Why?” she asked pertly. “I’ve known you but four days, certainly not long enough to be so familiar with you.”
He lowered his head, breathing in her ear, very aware every eye in the room was trained on them. He’d give them something to gossip about. “Because I want you to, wife, and you did promise to obey.”
He nipped her ear.
She jumped and a tiny yelp of surprise escaped before she clamped her lips together. Her eyes were shooting sparks again; only this time they were directed at him.
“What’s my name, wife?”
“Please, don’t call me that. I too have a name, as you well know.”
Drawing her closer, her breasts pressing against the breadth of his chest and cresting the edge of her bodice, he murmured, “Indeed, but Evangeline sounds . . . angelic, and we both know you’re no such thing.”
“Pardon?” She stiffened, trying to shove away from him. “I don’t under—”
His head descended again. “Say it, or I’ll trace your ear with my tongue.”
He grinned as her breath hissed from between clenched teeth. She stumbled, her fingers digging into his shoulder and hand. A very becoming flush swept across her face.
“Will you cease?” Her worried gaze careened around the room. “We’re being watched.”
Voice husky, he said, “Say my name, sweeting.”
Giving her a gentle squeeze, he started to dip his head, caressing her elegant neck with his hot breath.
“Ian, your name is Ian,” she gasped breathlessly, twisting her head away.

Contact Collette
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Land of Milk and Honey… Oh Wait, That’s Not Right

So, we have a stomach bug going around my house. And it’s wicked. Horrible. The can’t-keep-anything-down-barfing-every -40-minutes type bug.

So after doing this overnight with Monkey, I decided to call her doctor for some Zofran. They wanted her seen, which okay fine, I get. Her normal doc wasn’t there, so we agreed to see one of his partners.

After waiting another three hours, during which Monk threw up another five times, once while walking into the doctor’s office (she had a bucket…and tough kid that she is, she kept walking while throwing up).

Then the doc came in, and here’s where things got weird.

Initially, she refused to give us Zofran, saying kids should “be made to tough it out.”

The look on my face must have been, “Are you out of your mind?” because she went on…

“I’m old school. Kids should have to just deal with the vomiting. It’s like giving too many antibiotics.”

I wasn’t asking for antibiotics. When the kids have a cold, I don’t take them to the doctor. I keep them home, give them Tylenol and lots of fluids. If it gets bad, we see a doctor, but I don’t ask for antibiotics. I know about MRSA and C-dif. I also know that antibiotics won’t work for a virus.

So I don’t ask for big meds. I wasn’t even asking for anything to make her well. I was asking for something to make her feel better.

Because I don’t believe in needless suffering. And I don’t understand why you would refuse to give someone a drug that will ease their suffering just because she’s a kid.

In any case, she went on to explain that children need to wash their hands, and they need to learn to do it effectively. The tone was…different. Almost like she was blaming Monkey because Monkey got sick. Like if my child learned her lesson, she wouldn’t have gotten sick in the first place.

At that, I said, “She’s diligent about washing hands. She’s very conscious of that.”

She countered with the notion that children are notorious for not washing their hands.

I could have told her that this is a kid who reads food labels to make sure everything that goes with her to school doesn’t contain peanuts, because a boy in her class is allergic. She coughs into her sleeve. And she sings “Happy Birthday” two times when she’s washing her hands, because she doesn’t want to make anyone sick.

But I didn’t have to. Because Monk looked at me, picked her her bucket, and threw up.

The doc looked at me and said, “I’ll write you a script for Zofran. But only a couple. I don’t want her having it for several days. I’m tired of people over-medicating. They hand these things out like candy in the ER.”

I wanted to make a smart remark, but I was getting what I wanted, so I thanked her instead.

Then Monk threw up again.

“I’ll give her one now.”

“Thank you.”

After what was probably one of the weirdest doctor’s visits, we came home. Monk has been fine since that initial Zofran (because it’s a miracle drug, I’m telling you).

Only now, Chewey has it.

This is not the land of milk and honey. That much I’m sure of.

THURSDAY THREADS welcomes Char Chaffin!

By Char Chaffin
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Heat Level: Sensual


“Ah, Christ. You’re killing me.” He fumbled for the nearest wall, propped her against it, and took her mouth hungrily. She fisted her hands in his hair, nipping his full bottom lip. The kiss went deeper, and she could have sobbed from the glory of it.

They broke apart, both panting. Kendall slowly unwound her legs and Denn loosened his hold, letting her slide down his body until her feet touched the floor. She felt every hard muscle along the way.

“Hell.” He sucked in a shaky breath. “I don’t want to leave you here.”

“I’ll be all right,” Kendall lied. She wanted him to stay, wanted him in her bed, all night, and then she wanted to awaken in the morning, safe in his arms. They’d known each other less than two months, and she wanted forever.

I must be crazed with lust. That’s the only explanation.

“You know, you don’t have to stay here alone.” He caressed her cheek as he gazed at her, still pressed intimately against her. “You could come home with me.”

“Eventually I have to live here, Denn. By myself. I have to get used to it,” she pointed out.

“But not tonight, okay? Come home with me, Kendall. Stay with me, tonight.”

“We’ll end up in bed together.” It was a question and a statement.

He slowly nodded. “Yeah.”

She whispered into his shirt, “We’ll end up making love.”

“I can just about guarantee it.”

Fascinated by the strong, steady pulse at the side of his neck, she shuddered to think of what lay ahead, if she said ‘yes.’ Most of the shudders were from excitement.

He waited patiently in her dimly lit store while she battled inner demons he might never understand or be able to accept.
“Kendall . . .” His voice held a rough plea.

She took a deep breath and raised her eyes to his. “I should pack a few things.” She hesitated, and took the final plunge. “I’ll need my contact lens case, too.”
His smile, wide and happy, blinded her. “I can wait.”


Book Trailer for Unsafe Haven:

My website:
Soul Mate Publishing:


Parties Exhaust Me

I am what you’d call an extroverted introvert. Now, it hadn’t always been this way: I used to be an introverted introvert. See, in my younger years, I was pathologically shy. I couldn’t order at McDonald’s. I couldn’t call people up on the phone. It took me a long time to warm up to people. It wasn’t because I didn’t like them, it was because, well, everyone scared me.

But hey, I’ve gotten over that. I got over my fear of being laughed at by always being the first one to laugh at me. It works, so I guess there’s that.

But even though I am now capable of attending parties and engaging in idle chit chat, it doesn’t mean that I like it.

When I’ve been too social, my inner introvert screams to be caged in. No, seriously. I can be all boisterous and friendly, but I can’t hang on to it for extended periods. Large crowds get to me. And once I’ve hit my limit, or exceeded it, I have to go find myself a wall to stare at.

Seriously. I get overloaded with all the people, and soon the chit chat becomes a struggle. I start running my words together, and my tongue gets twisted. And once that starts happening (unless I have had a few too many margaritas), I know I need to find that empty room and stare at that blank wall STAT.

So, I guess I’m not surprised with my exhaustion tonight.

Last weekend, we did three parties in two days. This weekend, we’re doing two parties in two days. And though I love and adore the people I’m seeing, I’m finding the whole process utterly exhausting.

Yes, exhausting. I’m so tired I can barely see, and all I want to do is sit at my computer and write. You know, lose myself in something different for awhile. I never was, not will I ever be, the party girl. Not even in college. I’d go to the parties, and come home with a social hangover way worse than the one from alcohol.

Hm. I think that’s still true.

If you are an introvert, what do you do to recharge the depleted social battery? Or are you a true extrovert?