Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Wonderful, Shocking Surprise

I have been writing for a very long time, not always consecutively when life got in my way, and it is often a long, lonely journey. Then there are days we feel worthy and feel our writing is perhaps starting to be recognized when we receive wonderful news in our email such as the one I received yesterday morning (around 8:30 am Alaska time). emailed me to tell me this:

IndieReader is now providing USA Today’s “Happily Ever After” blog with indie ebook recommendations. And we suggested yours!
The post goes live at 6 pm today.
Have a good weekend!

Well, of course I was ecstatic. What wonderful news to receive first thing in the morning. Merry Christmas to me!! I was so ecstatic that I tried the link she provided and of course, it didn't work. So I emailed Amy back right away, thanking her profusely for recommending my book, but unfortunately the link didn't work.

You would think that if a writer can write, that she could also read, right? Wrong!!! I definitely couldn't read anything right that morning. While I was patiently waiting to hear back from her, I read the email again and then I saw it. The link would not be live until 6 pm that day which meant 2pm Alaska time. I was so embarrassed for having missed that minute detail, so I immediately emailed Amy back, apologizing for not seeing the 6pm and again, thanking her profusely.

So now I had about 5 hours to wait until the link went live. What to do until then? Well, of course, I was at work and had work to do, but I couldn't resist telling a few special friends on facebook and contacted my friend Stephen Hise to ask him if we could post something on his blog, Indies Unlimited and he said of course. And he is such a great guy and wonderful friend that he waited right along with me until I gave him the go ahead to go live with his post here.
And if you want a great book to read, you can't go wrong reading Stephen Hise's Upgrade

And then my friend Robert Bennett posted this on facebook: My friend, Jacqueline Hopkins-Walton, just had her book reviewed in USA Today. Check it out:

And he posted that before I could post anything anywhere, which was awesome he saw it on USAToday. Then I started posting the link everywhere and on every group I belong to on Facebook. Here is the link on USA Today Happily Ever After blog as a recommended read. I'm just a little bit disappointed that my cover what not displayed with the recommendation, but I am not complaining. This was a such an honor to have my book recommended as an ebook read and the review itself was superb and wonderfully written as well. Thank you IndieReader Peggy La Vake and USA Today for posting.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

New Cover

Well, I decided to go with a new cover for my book. I hope you like it. Meet Jimmy Thomas, male cover model.

I thank Laura Redmond of England so much for designing the first cover I asked her to design. Everything on the cover was at my request and she did a fantastic job, but perhaps I am better at writing than knowing what should be on the cover of my books. I had a lot of feed back that the flowered heart should not be on there, that the cover looked more like a cartoon, and one reviewer's daughter asked her why Ken and Barbie with brunette hair were on the front cover.

With the reviews I have been getting and a lack of sales lately, I was wondering if part of the book that needed changing was the cover, and the other part was editing. Though my book had gone through some editors twenty years ago, perhaps it needed to go through some modern day editing. It is so easy for an indie author to edit their book again and again and again, if necessary, and that is what is so great about self-publishing -- we can take our books down and edit the heck out of them and hopefully make them better. So this week-end, I am editing Wilderness Heart with some changes recommended by editors and reviewers, especially taking out most of the adverbs. I had one person say they had a hard time reading it and would not review it because I had way too many adverbs and they were not fond of them. When did it change in writing that adverbs were not very well liked in fiction writing? When did it change that we should not put two spaces after a period? Anyway, I am from the old school of the way we were taught in school, but I am hopefully learning to change with the times and make my writing better. I can always learn as long as my brain is working and functioning properly. Without our reviewers, where would we be so I want to take the opportunity now to thank everyone who has reviewed my book and any reviewers of my work in the future.

Anyway, I hope you like the new cover and if you have't read it yet, I hope you enjoy my first work in light contemporary romantic fiction, a book to take your mind off your real world and delve into my 1970s Idaho world.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

How to Make Bookmarks


I made this bookmark to give with the paperback version of my book, Wilderness Heart.  I used Microsoft Publisher to design the layout.  The front I did by using the front cover my book and then said who I was, where I lived, name of book and a tiny bit about it, and my email address.  I did this layout 8 times to print out 8 bookmarkers on an 8.5"x11" good quality paper.  For the back side, I put all the places it can be purchased (at the time I designed the bookmark, though it can be purchased from more places now) for all ereaders and paperback.  I take them to the local business supply store to be laminated.  

So I hand out bookmarks to people I know, when they ask about my book, and ask them to take a few to hand out to their friends who might like to read it.  I also mailed quite a few to friends and family members who have lots of friends and asked them to hand them out if they liked my book.  

The cost per bookmark ends up being about $0.25.  But I also have a great boss who lets me use his nice printer and his ink.  He is very supportive of my writing, probably in hopes it will be a long while before I quit working for him, but he even brought me in some good quality paper to print them on without having to pay him back.  So the only cost to me is the laminating.  I use the 5 mil at a cost of $2.00/sheet.  

I have kept the layout so that when I get other books written and published, I can paste the new book info over the old.  

Autograph Sticker
The tiny autographed sticker I made by finding a graphic of a quill pen, and using microsoft publisher again, I place it on a layout to print about 30 or so per sheet after I inserted the small text box 'Autographed Copy'. I printed it out on sticker paper that does not have a lot of sticky stuff on it like large blank name labels.  In other words, I used a sticker paper that would come off easily so it didn't leave a sticky residue on the book when removed.  I place these stickers on the front, usually on the lower right or lower left of the book.  I put these stickers on books I have sold to a local bookstore, local grocery stores that sell books and gift shops like the airport gift shop who bought 5 with option to buy more when he sells out of them. 

To cut them in a circle, I use my circle cutter from my Creative Memory scrapbooking supplies.

Would you like to give out Bookmarkers and get some autograph stickers?
There a few places online like vista print and others that can also make these things for you.  I checked them out, but since I have a great boss, it was cost effective for me to do my own and I love working with Microsoft Publisher and I used it to make a company brochure for the boss.  I have used that program for over 20 years; used it when I first starting making web sites for real estate agents.  

Anyway, if anyone is interested in getting some made to hand out with their books, email me at iam14choctaw at hotmail dot com or ChoctawJac at gmail dot com and be sure to include a graphic of your book in good resolution so it will print out nice and still look like your book (readable when printed out the size of 1 3/4" x 2 3/4"), information you want on the front below the book cover, and all the places it can be purchased on the back (if that is what you want on there) or the information you want on the back, if anything.  I also use Paint Shop Pro X at work to work with pictures/graphics so if your cover needs to be resized, lightened, etc I can do that, too.

If you want the same autographed sticker that I use, let me know if you want any and how many. 

Autograph stickers - approximately 20-25 per 8.5"x11" sheet - $2/sheet, cut in circles.  ($0.08/sticker)

Bookmarker - 8 per 8.5"x11" sheet - without lamination and cutting - $1.25/sheet ($0.16/bookmarker), but you will need to take the full size sheet, uncut, to an office supply store to have them laminated and cut.

Bookmarker - 8 per 8.5"x11" sheet - WITH lamination and cutting - $2.50/sheet ($0.31/bookmarker)

Payment for the above can be by paypal at iam14choctaw at hotmail dot com or check in the mail.  In your email, let me know how you are paying for it. 

Thank you for stopping by.

Even if you don't order any made, I hope you found this post helpful and got some ideas of what to do to further market your book.  If you have Microsoft Publisher and would like the layout I used, I will sell it to you for $5.00 and I accept paypal at iam14choctaw at hotmail dot com.  Just email me and let know you want the layout so you will always have it to use on all your books.

Monday, June 20, 2011

ANNOUCING Autumn Rosen and her new book My Novel Affair

I am pleased and proud to introduce Author Autumn Rosen writting her latest book, My Novel Affair as Sinara Ellis!  I was so pleased when I picked me to be a beta reader for her newest book and I have to tell you that if you love comedy and want to laugh while you read, this is the book that will do it.  I rarely laugh out loud when I am reading, but Autumn brought me out of my shell when I read her book and I laughed.  It is funny, it is pure witticism at its best, and you will cry but I think you will fall in love with Sinara Ellis and her books if she keeps writing them like this.

Jacque - Do you have any quirks or superstitions that have become as integral to good writing as plot and character?
Sinara - Never be cliché or too obvious, I try to avoid those two things.  Strange as it sounds, I have to have gum to write. I buy it constantly; my desk drawer is filled with it. It’s usually the only time I chew it.

Jacque - Are your stories plot or character driven?
Sinara - My stories tend to be character driven. I believe that the emotion of a character can move a story along in a more realistic manner. Emotion can change so quickly and in unexpected ways, it allows you to keep a reader interested.

Jacque - Everyone has their own dream. What's yours… best seller, feature film adaption, fame, riches, Oprah, Pulitzer?
Sinara - I would love to see my work on the big screen. I’m not in it for the money or fame. I would love nothing better than to enter a theatre and stand in the back, to take in the reactions of a crowd watching my story unfold, that’s what I’m after.

Jacque - Where do you get your ideas?
Sinara - Different places, my first novel My Four Fathers & Eleanor was from a dream, as most of my books have been. My Novel Affair, just popped into my head while I was watching an unrelated movie. I walked out on the movie and pounded out fifteen thousand words in a couple of hours.

Jacque - Tell us, what is your most productive/inspiring setting?
Sinara - Last year I cleared out my old home office and created a space that was more conducive to writing. An open window with a great breeze flowing through and music to set a mood (depending on the plot) and I’m set. I have a catalog of eight thousand songs and growing, so I feel I have lots to write in the future.

Jacque - How much of you will a reader find in any given book?
Sinara - Most people find me complicated. My friends and family will tell you that my characters are all me in some way. All of my work is some side of my personality, some obvious, and some not so obvious. People that believed me to be insensitive were shocked by my debut novel’s depth and emotion. In turn my spouse spent weeks asking me if he was the protagonist in my new novel, My Novel Affair, because the main character was so like me. I think I actually had him worried.
Jacque - That's funny, you would say that, Autumn. I have my husband worried because I am doing research on poisons for one of my books, lol.

Jacque - What advice would you give to new/unpublished authors?
Sinara - No matter how many times you are rejected do not stop writing. The great thing about writing is the audience, you will find one since you have an entire world of people to share your work with. Possibilities are endless, treat them that way.

Jacque - What's the best advice ever given to you, and by whom?
Sinara - I was told by an English teacher in school that my writing was rubbish, but it was good rubbish and to keep trying. I don’t remember his name and I should, but I have always followed that advice. It keeps my ego in check and makes me work harder.

Jacque - Do you have an author you feel your work most resembles?
Sinara - That’s a hard question to answer. Fans usually compare my work with films rather than books. My first novel was compared to Rainman and Pay it Forward. I’m a visual person and I think that transfers over to my stories, so people find it easier to find resemblances to something they’ve seen rather than read.

Jacque - What is the one thing you would most like people to know about you?
Sinara - I answer 99.9999% of my fan mail and I have an unexplainable addiction to gummy bears sent in that fan mail.

Jacque - What are the biggest misconceptions new authors have about the publishing industry?
Sinara - I think that most believe they are not good enough if they are not published by the large publishing houses. There are other avenues out there now, take advantage of them if you don’t get that big publisher.
Another is that agents are goddesses/gods sitting upon pedestals, untouchable. In reality they are just people with the same problems as the rest of us.

Jacque - Where do you see yourself in five years? Where did you see yourself five years ago? Did you make it there?
Sinara - In five years I see myself at my desk, still entertaining readers and myself.  Five years ago I didn’t think that far ahead, call it irresponsible, but I liked not knowing. I guess I’ve come out better than I thought I would.

Jacque - What do you do when you're not writing?
Sinara - In my spare time I hang around my house and with friends. I play the piano in my kitchen when people are not around. I’m piano shy.
I also write book reviews and blog on-line. I love Twitter and Facebook, they allow me to bounce ideas and find people who are like minded to chat with.

Jacque - Do you belong to a writer's group, on or offline? Critique groups?
Sinara - I belong to a brilliant writing group called Book Country, it’s run by two fabulous ladies from Penguin Books, Colleen Lindsay and Danielle Poiesz. I was more than happy to join the Beta group when it started several months ago and I have met some great writers there. I have learned a lot from my fellow authors, I love the fact they are willing to tell me when I need to take something back to the drawing board. I use beta readers for critiquing; I pick volunteers from my social sites to do this. I think this is more honest since these are the people more apt to take a chance on reading my work. I take that feedback and work it over.
Jacque - I want to thank you again for letting me be a beta reader for this book.  It was a great pleasure to read and I hope you make lots of sales from it.

Jacque - Who's your target audience? What aspect of your writing do you feel targets that audience?
Sinara - I work in seven separate genres in my writing so I have a pretty wide audience. My target audience for My Novel Affair is anyone who has ever been in, or wants to be in love, from ages eighteen to six-feet under. I think the ultimate goal for anyone in life is to find and give love, those are the people I see reading this novel. Love is messy, hard, easy, scary, funny and irresistible.
I think the characters really help people dive into the story because all of us can find something in common with at least one of them.

You can find Sinara's books here:

Thank you for joining me here today. 

Monday, June 13, 2011

I am pleased to Introduce Laura Watts

When did you realize you wanted to become a writer?
When my travelling days were over and I decided I wanted to write a book about my experiences. It was only as I began to write that I realized how much I actually enjoyed the process, and made the decision to write other books.

Is this the only job you’ve had?
I wish it was! I’ve done quite a few things from working in a psychiatric ward to working in pubs. My favourite job other than this has been working in a library.

Have other work experiences made you more determined to follow a writing career?
Definitely. There’s nothing quite so satisfying as working for yourself. You’re the one in control; you don’t have to answer to anyone else. That’s the best bit.

What genre do you write?
At the moment I am currently writing a memoir about my days travelling Canada. My first book is also a memoir about travelling Australia and New Zealand.

Have you written under more than one genre?
No, not yet but I plan to do so. After my current book I want to take a break from writing so I can spend more time reading different kinds of books to decide what genre I want to write in next.

Where do you get your inspiration for writing?
Everywhere! I have a very active imagination which is the best thing to have while writing, but it can be frustrating when I want to switch off my brain to go to sleep. As for getting inspiration for my first books, I kept a detailed diary of both travelling accounts.

Do you ever dream of your next book?
I don’t think I ever sleep enough to dream!

Describe the highlight of your writing career.
Definitely selling books on Amazon. That has been fantastic.

Have there ever been moments where you’ve wanted to give up?
Absolutely not. This has been one of best things to ever happen to me. I am not giving up on it at all.

What’s been the worst thing to happen to you regarding your writing?
I think the stress of having to constantly market, it’s never ending. I didn’t realise at the time when I was writing how much work I would have to do after releasing the book.

Have you always believed in yourself, or have you let negative comments get you down?
I take no notice of nasty comments if they are just meant to be spiteful. Constructive criticism is another matter entirely, I can listen to that no problem because I can learn from past mistakes.

Who is the author you’d most like to be and why?
I like being me, even if I don’t sell millions of books. I’m very proud of my achievement. I didn’t know at first whether I would come this far.

Can you name the drawbacks to being a writer?
Definitely! The lack of time for doing anything else with your life. That’s why if you want to become a writer you must enjoy it because you don’t have a lot of time for anything else. That’s a major downside if you have a family.

What’s your typical writing day?
Well, I usually work a 6-7 day week. I’m always doing something. Most of the time I write in the mornings and then spend the rest of the afternoon marketing. I sometime work at night too, depending on what I am doing. Sometimes I’ll market for the whole of the day, other days I’ll spend mostly writing. It’s pretty full on.

What’s the most outrageous thing you’ve ever done?
You’ll have to read my first book to find that one out!

What do you do when you finish writing a book?
Have a glass of wine to celebrate.

Do you hire an editor or do you do that job yourself?
I hire a professional editor, I wouldn’t want to publish anything if it wasn’t edited to a high standard.

What do you do when you receive criticism of your work?
Take it on board if it’s constructive. Otherwise, if it’s nasty I just ignore it.

What’s your best tip for other writers?
Listen to constructive criticism. You’re never going to learn otherwise.

What’s been the most helpful advice you’ve ever received?
To do plenty of research on the topics you want to know. If you plan and research, you’ll do well.

What do you think of the ebook industry?
I think it’s amazing! It’s given so many people an opportunity.

Please list your books and give your online details.
My book: Secret Confessions of a Backpacker: My Adventure Down
Under - can be found at: - -
Visit my blog where I blog about useful marketing tips:

Saturday, June 11, 2011

6 Sentence Sunday

For Sunday, June 12, 2011 #2

Since we didn't post 6 sentences last Sunday, I am posting 12 sentences from my contemporary romance, Wilderness Heart.

Here is a set up to the scene. It is the next morning where Lyn is trying to get the flue open on the cook stove in the canvas tent to cook breakfast for the men she is guiding on an elk hunting trip, when Nic walks in and sees her bent over trying to open it. It is so stuck, and he can't resist helping a woman in distress, of course, so he has gone to help her.

After a few minutes of staring at her, he quietly walked up behind her, leaned over her, reached his arm out to hers, and turned the handle with ease. He couldn't help but notice her sudden intake of breath and he didn't do anything to change his position over her.
“Uh, I didn't hear anyone come in.”
She spoke so softly that if he weren't leaning over her, he wouldn't have heard her. “It looked to me you were having some trouble, so I thought you could use a hand.” He made no move to stand up away from her; she was soft, warm, and very firm from what he could tell by leaning on her.
“Thanks, I appreciate it.”
Lyn didn't ask him to move and she made no move to try to get out from under him, but being this close to her, touching her with the front of his body from the waist down was proving his undoing. He stood erect and looked into her eyes as she turned to face him. At this closeness, he could see the gold flecks in her eyes sparkle, but the movement in them from yesterday to now was as different as night and day. Could she be as aroused as he was by their touch? He hoped she didn't give him a once over from head to toe like yesterday or she would see how aroused he was.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

4-Star Review by Mia of The Romance Reviews

WILDERNESS HEART ended up being a satisfying and charming story where readers will gain insight to what it is like being a woman in a "man's world.".

Set in the late 1970s, in the Idaho wilderness, Lyn Taylor runs Taylor's Outfitters and Guides. Struggling with being a woman in a man's world where many men don't want a woman on their hunting trip, let alone having one guide them, Lyn works hard everyday to gain the respect she feels she deserves. All the men in her life, even her father, want to change her into someone more ladylike. Will she ever find love with a man who will accept her for who she is?

Nic Randall works hard to gain his father's approval. His father is ready to retire and Nic hopes to inherit Randall Lumber of Montana from him instead of his older brother who doesn't seem to like the work as much as he does. Scouting for new locations to cut timber sends him to Idaho. Posing as a hunter, Nic decides to employ Taylor Outfitters to get close to the potential job site before the lot goes up for bid. But when Lyn shows up claiming that she is the guide he hired, Nic doesn't know whether to fight for his job or for his heart.

Jacqueline Hopkins writes WILDERNESS HEART in such a way that you can feel, smell, breathe the places Lyn lives and works. This is a wonderful book, set in an interesting location. Vivid descriptions give the reader a sense of being right there. The dialogue is believable and moves the story along. Many plot twists kept this reader reading long into the night. The main characters were relatable, and I really enjoyed the witty dialog. The secondary characters were great addition to the story and were quite likable as well.

WILDERNESS HEART is a story that makes you want to keep reading to see what happens to the main characters--you think you know what is going to happen, but then, situations change and you begin to wonder if the story is taking a different turn. If you enjoy strong, independent women in rugged settings, you'll enjoy WILDERNESS HEART.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

6 Sentence Sunday

For Sunday, May 29, 2011.

Here are six sentences from my current book, Wilderness Heart.

But then she realized thoughts such as these would have been so much better if they had been alone. She switched her train of thought on him straddling the log directly in front of her. The view of him sitting that way was very intoxicating in itself. Lyn wondered how much longer she could hold out before she kissed him again, or him her. “What did you want to talk about?” she asked, as she stuck out her tongue and raised her face to the sky of falling snow, trying to catch the large flakes as they fell.

Add the hashtag #sixsunday to your tweets about Six Sentence Sunday. You can follow the official Six Sentence Sunday twitter at:

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sample Sunday Cookoff! New Chili Recipe

I'm doing a fun Sample Sunday Cookoff. Below you get to read a sample from my Contemporary Romance, Wilderness Heart, and also get my mother's great chili recipe at the end. My book is about a woman hunting guide in the Idaho wilderness and she is constantly having to prove to the men she guides that she is capable of doing the job she was hired to do. In this scene, they have just arrived at the camp they will be hunting from and its dinner time. Lyn is serving them her mother's chili.

Nic didn't help with the unloading except of his gear. He was here to hunt and it was the responsibility of the guides to get the camp situated. He walked over to the large white Army canvas tent to stow his clothes and hunting gear inside. Once inside, he saw that the tent was large enough for six canvas cots. He figured all the men slept in this one including Carl. But where was Lyn going to sleep, he wondered? After placing his gear on a cot close to the door, he walked the short distance to the cook tent.

The temperature was steadily dropping and snow threatened to fall. Nic brought the collar of his Carhart coat up around his neck as he walked the short distance to the cook tent. Quickly, he opened the tent flap and stepped inside. He adjusted his eyes to the light and noticed a small pot-bellied stove in the center of the area. Quickly, he walked over to it to warm his hands. A large metal pot sat on top emitting a wonderful smell. Lyn was doing the cooking and he wondered if her cooking was better than her attitude toward men?

“What's for dinner?” He rubbed his hands together closer to the stove. Was he that cold because of the weather or was it from the frigid air he felt emanating from Lyn because her response was just as frigid.

“It's chili. Sit down and I'll get you some. Where are the rest of the men?” She picked up a metal bowl, filled it and placed it on the table. “Sit!”

Was she still upset about what happened to the mules this afternoon or still upset with him and their first meeting this morning? Didn't really matter, she was still in a place she didn't belong, he figured, and she had yet to prove to him she could do the job they hired her to do.

“Ahhh, they are putting their gear away and probably arguing with Adam over who gets what cot to sleep on. Adam loves to argue just for the sake of it.” Nic sat down at the wooden table in front of the bowl of chili.

Lyn seemed to be agitated over the days events, but suddenly she let out a big sigh and Nic saw her look directly at him.

“Look, I'm sorry about yelling at you today. But we can't afford to lose one of our pack mules. And I thought everyone understood when I explained to them about the horses getting too close to the mules carrying hay what could happen.”

Lyn was trying to make amends and it was probably really hard for her, Nic thought. “You did and thank you. I guess I was daydreaming. I'm the one who should apologize.” He couldn't tell her it was because he was checking out the timber. He wasn't ready to get into a confrontation with her about why they were really there.

They held each other's gaze for a few moments. Lyn was the first to look away from him. He cleared his throat and looked at the bowl of chili real close before he took a bite and noticed there were no beans in it. Hesitantly, he took a bite and was surprised at how good it tasted, although it was a bit hot. Not fire hot, but pepper hot and he wondered what kind and how much she had put into the pot. “The chili's real good. I must say I'm surprised. Not only at the taste but the fact there isn't any beans in it.”

“Thanks, I think. That's the way we make it around here. True chili doesn't have beans in it.” Lyn went back to giving the chili a couple more stirs and then set about getting more bowls out and the cornbread out of the stove.

“I beg to differ with you. . . “ Nic stared to say, but Lyn interrupted him.

“I'd rather not get into another argument with you, Mr. Randall. Especially over whether true chili has beans in it or not, if you don't mind.”

“Sure, no problem.” Nic had ruffled her feathers yet again and for some strange reason he was sorry. Her voice was soothing to hear after a long day of riding horses over terrain he wasn't familiar with and she seemed genuinely sorry about yelling at him today. What was the matter with him? Yes, he had bad experiences when he took women out hunting and swore he would never do it again, but she wasn't hunting with him, per se. She was their guide and they had yet to get out to the areas she would take them to.

Perhaps he should give her a chance. Let her show him she knew what she was doing. See if she could keep her mouth shut and not scare the game away. It was definitely clear from their meeting this morning that she was not the kind of woman who worried about her make up because she wasn't wearing any. She was beautiful without it. Most women he knew caked the stuff on their faces and some turned out to look like a witch. He stole a glance at her as she began cutting the cornbread up into squares.

Looking away before she noticed he was staring at her, Nic continued to eat in silence and looked around the tent. The wood cook stove, he noticed, had a double insulated chimney reaching through a hole at the top. The hole, for the flue to go through, was large enough and far enough away from the chimney that he could see there wasn't much of chance of a chimney fire igniting it from the creosote in the wood she burned in the stove. He had experience with chimney fires and if not caught early or watched carefully once a fire started, it could burn the whole building down.

Two medium-sized picnic-like tables used for the meals sat on each side of the cook stove. They were made of pine and worn from a lot of use, Nic noticed. A new coat of stain and they'd look good as new, he thought. In a corner, close enough to the stove for warmth, but not too close to catch on fire, was a cot. He saw Lyn's saddle bags lying on the floor nearby and figured this is where she slept. Probably to keep the firing going in the stove so it would be warm in the morning during breakfast. He didn't like the thought of her sleeping alone in here by herself and the other men in the tent away from her. Too far away, in his mind, if an animal came into camp, like a bear. Would any of them be quick enough to help her if a bear wandered inside, looking for food?

Now, why was he so concerned for her? If she had been guiding for six years, she was used to sleeping in a tent by herself. He knew the only protection she needed was protection from him, as she had said earlier. Hmmm, the thought intrigued him. How would she handle herself if he came too close to her again?

Nic thought about making small talk with Lyn while the other men were still out of the tent, but it was too late. The others just came inside and from the looks on their faces, it must have gotten colder and started to snow. They all shook the snow off their coats and starting jostling for a seat closer to the heat of the stove.

Kirk, being bigger than the others, managed to take a seat across from Nic, close to the stove. The others seemed to just fall into a place at the table wherever they could find one. Nic noticed Adam was the last to sit, probably wondering where Lyn would sit down so he could sit next to or near her. But she was dishing up the chili and placing the bowls in front of the others, which left Adam to sit down quickly if he wanted to eat. Lyn then placed a platter of cornbread in the center of the table. She dished up Nic a second bowl, dished one up for Carl and then dished one up for herself. Carl and Lyn sat down at the other table on the other side of the stove, and Nic was sorry he wouldn't get to sit across from her to watch her beautiful face and her eyes dance as she ate.

“Hey, this chili doesn't have any beans in it!” Adam exclaimed.

“We've already discussed its lack of beans,” Nic interjected. “I have a feeling that if we piss off the cook, we won't get anything to eat for seven days. So I suggest you keep quiet, Adam.” He gave him a level stare and dared him to say anything else. Nic knew Adam understood his hidden meaning.

Lyn didn't finish her dinner. She got up from the table and started heating up some water. She got out a large metal bowl and sat it on the table. “Morning comes pretty early around here if you want to go hunting. I suggest you finish eating and get some sleep,” she said, knowing she spoke too harshly. She was getting very annoyed with the men. Why couldn't they just learn to keep their mouth shut?

She started preparing the breakfast for the next day. Morning came quickly in the wilderness. It was still dark outside when the morning meal was eaten and it always made her feel as if she were eating dinner twice a day.

“I think she's right, boys. We better get some sleep.” Nic finished his last bite and stood up. He walked over to Lyn where she began washing the metal bowls. “Sorry,” he said softly for her ears only. “Adam usually doesn't know when to keep his mouth shut. Good night.”

As he handed her his bowl, his hand touched hers for the first time and he felt the warmth radiating from within her. She didn't pull her hand from his right away and locked eyes with him yet again. Was she feeling it too, Nic wondered? The attraction he had for her? Did she feel attracted to him? He rather sensed she felt something or she wouldn't have looked at him the way she did this morning when they first met.

Again, she was the first to look away and pulled her hand from his. All too quickly, the electrified touch he felt from her was over. He cleared his throat. “Come on. Let's get some sleep so we can get that trophy bull elk we came for, guys.”

Nic turned and walked out of the tent. Lyn was rather sorry to see him go for some reason. Slowly, the others got up from the table, handed their empty bowls to her and followed Nic out of the tent. “Good night,” a few of them said over their shoulder.

“Good night,” she managed to reply, stunned, really to say anything at all. Where did that gentleman come from she asked herself? And why did he apologize for his friends? He had known them longer. It didn't make sense. He didn't like women in the woods, made it quite clear, so why was he being nice to her? Apologizing for his friends, bringing her his bowl to wash, saying good night. . . . things she didn't expect him to do. His manners from earlier in the day told her he couldn't or wouldn't know how to be a gentleman. And that touch. What was that all about? Why couldn't she pull away from him?

Well, it was getting late, it was getting colder outside and she was dog-ass tired. She quickly finished washing the bowls, stoked the fire in the stove so it would be nice and warm in the morning for breakfast, and made out the cot in the corner for her to sleep on. Lyn opened up her sleeping bag, sat down and began removing her boots. “Good night, Carl. See you bright and early in the morning.”

“Good night, Lyn. Sleep tight,” Carl said as he turned down the wick in the kerosine lantern and left the tent.

Copyright 2010 Jacqueline Hopkins

Wilderness Heart is available in paperback:
in ebook format from as well as for all other kinds of electronic readers.

Here is the recipe for my mother's Chili

3 lbs of hamburger
3 lbs of beef stew meat, pre cut

Brown meat lightly. Chop 2 to 3 medium size onions and saute in oil before browning meat. Chuck in 1 quart of water with the meat and onion in a large stew pot. Toss in 1 doz cloves of chopped garlic, 1 tablespoon of sugar, 4 teaspoons of salt, 1 teaspoon marjoram, 1 teaspoon cumin. Add paprika and chili powder until the seething mass looks like the color of an old inner tube (red).

Add 2 cans of tomato sauce and plenty of red pepper (cayenne), if desired for hot, spicy chili. Cook for 2 to 3 hours or until meat is really tender. Taste frequently to see if its hot enough. Thicken with cornmeal, if desired.

Enjoy on a very cold, snowy or rainy day.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

An Interview with Linda Sandifer

Linda Sandifer is the author of thirteen novels of various genres, but mostly western romance. She is a member of Western Writers of America, Women Writing the West, and Idaho's Blue Sage Writers.

I used to be a member of the Idaho writer's group when it wasn't the Blue Sage Writers and when I used to live there back in the 1990s. Since moving to Alaska, I had lost touch with a lot of my writing friends, in Idaho and Hawaii, but recently got back in touch with Linda and she agreed to do an interview with me. She talks about her new novel, "The Last Rodeo", her feelings about self-publishing, who her writing influences were, her writing regime and what she is currently working on.

- What drove you to write The Last Rodeo, your latest book?

I guess you could call The Last Rodeo a "book of the heart." It's one of the first ideas I ever had for a book, back when I was in my early 20s. It started off being a coming-of-age story with the main character and his brother as teen-agers. The only other character in that early version that was also in the final version was the brothers' father. Over the years, the idea grew and matured, as did the characters. I tried writing it several times, but never got it where I wanted it. I was writing all my other contracted books and so I kept putting it on the shelf because I knew there wouldn't be a ready, or an easy, market for it. Finally I did write it, and by then, the brothers were in their 30s and it was more of a family relationship story with a love story. It spans four generations of people (all in one family) so I think it helped that I was older, too, in order to write all those characters at different stages of their lives.

- Is the book in any one particular genre? Is it a genre that’s familiar to you?

I would label the book as contemporary mainstream women's fiction. I hadn't written contemporary before, but I had written a historical saga that was mainstream.

- Who are your greatest writing influences?

That's a hard one because I've always read a wide variety of writers. Very early on, I liked William Faulkner and Jack London.

- What’s your writing regimen? Any tips for keeping focused?

I try to do something every day for a few hours, depending on the stage of a book. It might be research, or it might be a final edit. Just depends. If I'm writing, I'll spend 4-6 hours a day at the computer. I usually don't write on weekends. I don't have trouble keeping focused. It's like any job. You just get up in the morning and you go do it.

- How do you feel about the direction of the publishing industry and the trend toward ebooks?

Well, it seems to be catching fire. I have a Kindle myself and two of my books are available as ebooks. I find reading from it handy at times. I like that you can pump up the font. I still prefer paper books. Maybe I'm just old-fashioned, but it's hard to get a "connection" to an ebook. It's just words on a screen. Whereas, with a book, you can hold it in your hand and get a sense of the work as a whole. It has substance. It really distresses me to see bookstores and libraries closing. I think it would be a mistake if we didn't maintain paper copies of books in some sort of depository.

- How do you feel about the pricing for ebooks, from free to .99 to 2.99 and higher?

I think people prefer to spend less on ebooks simply because they aren't getting anything but words on a screen. Like I said, it's nothing they can hold onto and later display on a shelf or trade at a used bookstore. The Kindle now has a loaning program, which I'm not in favor of. It's just another way to cut in author profits. Publishers, however, are asking as much for ebooks (sometimes more) than they are paper books. Former agent-turned-author, Nathan Bransford attempts to explain the reasoning behind the publishers' pricing of ebooks on his wonderful blog. I would suggest people read his article to get a better understanding.

- What are you working on now?

I just completed a romantic suspense set in Idaho. It's a new direction for me and I'll probably use a pseudonym. I'll see how it goes. That doesn't mean I'm giving up writing western romances and other novels of the West. I still have a number of those types of stories I'd like to tell, but the market is really soft right now for westerns.

For audio versions of Linda's previous books they can be ordered through Amazon. If you want to know more about her books, you can go to her website.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Kim Barnes "In the Wilderness: Coming of Age in Unknown Country"

This book brought out so many memories of my childhood growing up in Lewiston since moving there in 1965.  Kim was a year older than myself, but I graduated with her cousin, Les, she mentions in her book and we hung out a few times.  The rebelliousness, the drugs we all tried during the 70s, but unfortunately, because I was not brought up in a religious household, it was hard for me to understand what all Kim had gone through, other than the taste of freedom was all so desired.  For anyone wanting to know what it was like to grow up in Northern Idaho in the 1970s, this the book to read.

I so miss being in Lewiston, having left there in 1980 to go to college in California, then back again for a brief time until I went into the Navy in 1981 and have moved around since then.  I still have family living in Lewiston and Orofino area and go back to visit when I can.  But I plan to go back one day to live, perhaps along the Clearwater River where we swam, boated and floated or in Orofino where the Dworshak Dam Kim talks about in her book brings back so many wonderful memories as well.  We used to swim in the river before the dam was built that my father had worked on as a computer programmer and my sister currently works there.

Truly a wonderful book, especially for those of who lived there, to bring back memories of our childhood, good or bad." View all my reviews

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Hemlock Lake by Carolyn J Rose Lake
My rating: <a href="">3 of 5 stars

I rather liked this book of a man who goes back to his home town as a police officer to make sure nothing happens on a new construction site, where a lot of bad things keep happening.  Is it the local towns people who don't want the new subdivision there or someone else.  When he comes back home to his old home, he has to face that some of the people who still live there don't like him because he left in the first place.  He also has to fight his own demons:  that of the death of his wife and brother and what really happened the night they died.
I like this book although it is written in the first person singular, which is sometimes hard for me to follow, but this was well written.  As an author myself, I have considered writing a book in the first person singular, but have not done it yet.

<a href="">View all my reviews</a>

Exciting Interviews Coming up

Look for some exciting author interviews I have coming up in the future.  If you are an author and would like to be interviewed on my blog, please let me know (and if you have some preferred questions you would like to answer).

Friday, February 11, 2011

Self-Publishing and Promotion

Boy, once you get a book published by self-publishing it on Amazon, you really need to do a lot of self-promotion.

I have been really busy since my book, Wilderness Heart, has come out on's kindle book list on February 8, 2011.  I have been researching how I can market it on other ereaders and have joined some author forums as well as some book review web sites, such as, joined author forum, working on this blog, and researching and downloading all sorts of programs for the writer to use to help me publish the next book....if and when I get started/finished with it.  I have to say there are a lot of great people/authors out there willing to help new authors such as myself with formatting, cover suggestions, how the kindle process works, etc.

I had really great news when I woke up this morning and logged onto facebook.  One of my father's twin sisters left me a message that she purchased my book that morning.  I asked her if she had purchased a Kindle to read it and she said no, she downloaded the Kindle for PC program so she could read my book.  I had forgotten about that.  So if people want to read books and don't have a kindle reader, they can do what my aunt did.  I also reminded a friend who said she had a Nookbook that she too could download the Kindle for PC and read my book on her computer that way.  I told my aunt she could be the first one to review my book if she liked it on Amazon.  Totally awesome.

This is actually an exciting process and fun.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Formatting and cover problems for my book

Still working on getting my book published to so it can be sold/downloaded to a Kindle reader or any other kind of electronic reader one might have.

There is now the formatting part of the book and there are so many programs and advice on what or how to do it.  I found someone willing to help me for free to format it correctly for uploading to after, of course, I have a cover and description of the book.

So that is the big problem I am facing now.  The cover.  I am not an artist.  Don't have an artistic bone in my body when it comes to drawing, painting or even scribbling, lol.  So, I am hoping to get a friend, who is better at Paint Shop Pro than myself, to help me put a few photos together to show what the book is about.  We are hoping tonight we can put something together.

But what was really cool about yesterday, was that the person I found to format the book for me, sent back a copy that I was able to download to my Kindle and low and behold there is my entire book with a Table of Contents, Title and acknowledgements.  It was really cool to see it on there.  So after it is completely formatted and sent back to me, I can down load it to mom's Kindle I bought for her birthday and surprise her with a dozen books to read as well as MINE!!!

I am excited.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

To blog or not to blog! That is the question.

I have been thinking about whether or not to blog for some time.  My first reaction many years ago when I first heard the word, was what is it and how is it used?  So I looked online for its meaning.

Wikipedia's definition:

blog (a blend of the term web log)[1] is a type of website or part of a website. Blogs are usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order.Blog can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.
Most blogs are interactive, allowing visitors to leave comments and even message each other via widgets on the blogs and it is this interactivity that distinguishes them from other static websites.[2]
Many blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, Web pages, and other media related to its topic. The ability of readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of many blogs. Most blogs are primarily textual, although some focus on art (Art blog), photographs (photoblog), videos (video blogging), music (MP3 blog), and audio (podcasting). Microblogging is another type of blogging, featuring very short posts.
As of December 2007, blog search engine Technorati was tracking more than 112 million blogs.[3]

It has taken me a long time to decide whether not to blog.  I think I have finally decided, as you can see here, to blog.  And what is my blog about you may ask?
Well, since I am an aspiring author since the early 1980s with nothing published by the old school way of publishing (writing a book, hiring an agent, finding a book publisher, hopefully getting it sold and then marketed in true book form), I am now ready to embark on the self-publishing way of getting a book published.  I am hoping the ereaders will be an asset and inspiration to all of us aspiring authors.   
The first book I wrote set in the Idaho wilderness in the late 1970s was brought out of the dusty cabinet, reworked and I am now ready to upload it to Kindle department for publication and available for purchase on not only the Kindle but for all the other readers out there.  

SO please watch for the publication date here.