OF HISTORICAL, ROMANTIC SUSPENSE AND CONTEMPORARY NOVELS
I have written several published novels, some non-fiction and scores of newspaper articles. I live with my husband, Cliff, in an 1880's granite home and am currently redecorating it because we are building a large addition onto the house. If you are interested in my historic home and would like a peek at it, I have posted pictures on the One Writer's Life page in the menu on left. Photos of the bedrooms will come later. (I love to refer to them as bed chambers) I have used my favorite books as a theme. Still working on them as the addition is not complete, but these are the books I've chosen as themes.
Bedchamber #1 - I Capture The Castle - Dodie Smith
Bedchamber #2 - Anne of Green Gables - Lucy M. Montgomery
Bedchamber #3 - Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
Bedchamber #4 - Plantation - Fern Smith-Brown (I had to choose at least one of my own books. Plantation seemed to fit our home the best.)
Bedchamber #5 - A Little Princess - Frances Hodgson Burnett
Bedchamber #6 - Shakespeare's Sonnets - Shakespeare
But back to the info about myself and my career. Incidentally, my sons say, "... writing isn't a profession with Mom. It's an obsession!"
While I was researching and writing a local book for the residents of our small village, The Beckoning Hills - Chronicles of the Hamlet of Darlington, I discovered Darlington had a newspaper in the mid 1800's. I talked to some prominent people in town with hopes of reviving it, but none were interested. Soooooo, I decided to do it myself much to my husband's chagrin. Anyway, it was an immediate success—again much to his amazement and earned a tidy profit the first year. He was truly amazed! From that venture Penny Paper Novels sprouted which, I must admit, never earned much money because of the cost of purchasing manuscripts from authors and the cost of printing 20,000 to 30,000 copies. I floated that venture with the profits from The Darlington Times. The Penny Paper Novels were distributed free (as was The Darlington Times) and we placed them in airports, hotels, grocery stores and the like. Both carried advertisements, though most advertising was done in The Darlington Times.
People really enjoyed our selections for Penny Paper Novels, and obviously looked forward to the new month's offering. A funny incident comes to mind: At one of our local Holiday Inns, apparently the housekeeping staff, also, waited eagerly for each edition to arrive. One of the maids couldn't wait to start reading that month's selection as she had read an excerpt in the previous edition and was eagerly looking forward to the new novel. Not wanting to get caught reading by management—and obviously not being able to wait until her break or off duty hours—she hid in a supply closet and was thoroughly engrossed in said story when the door was thrust open and there stood a stern faced member of management. She tried to explain how she just couldn't wait to read the new novel (feeble excuse) all to no avail. It was rumored that she was fired, but that wasn't so. However, she was severely reprimanded.
After PPN became so popular and after a series of rejections on a novel I had written, I decided to publish some of my own books—nothing like frustration to search for new avenues—which I did with some success.
During the years of Penny Paper Novels, we published some authors who later became quite successful. To name a few: Jack P. Jones who authored numerous westerns and How To Books for contractors and home owners who wanted to tackle their own improvements. Don Johnson, who had already won numerous awards in advertising, and had been a speech writer for a presidential nominee, was nominated for the Silver Spur Award for Best Western for his novel Brasada. We published A Texas Elegy which I always felt was one of his best works. Prolific Christian writer, Colleen L. Reece, authored dozens of novels, and Dusty Richards went on to really big things. He is the winner of many, many awards including the Silver Spur for Best Western—twice! He tells me he is working on his 90th novel! We are proud of all of them and to have had the privilege of publishing their work.
During that time, once a year, we hosted an Author's Tea and invited 4-5 authors to join us. Their book was released on that day. Our Author's Teas were anticipated with much delight from readers. We sold the book (books) at a slightly reduced price and served a lovely array of refreshments. I always planned the event for a Sunday starting at noon. Most folks are heading home from church and are ready for some entertainment—and lunch! We served both of those needs. They got the book, plus lunch and dessert and got to meet all the authors and chat with each and everyone as long as they liked—all for one price.
One of my authors was an Englishman who brought that continental flair to our gatherings. He may not have been my best writer, but the women loved him. When a lady (young or old) was introduced, clutching his book in her hand, awaiting his signature, he would bow slightly, lift her free hand to his lips and kiss her hand! They loved it—and him! At later gatherings, they always talked about our Englishman, but never mentioned his book! I don't think there was a one of them who even remembered it!
I once had an 80 year old lady, Virginia Kirk, who had written a delightfully humorous account of yachting with her husband—neither of whom had ever had any experience with boats. It was a hilarious story. Her husband's name was Dewey and the boating crowd called him "Admiral Dewey". I don't think any of my authors enjoyed that afternoon as much as Miss Virginia did. She entertained our guests with her lively accounts of other tales spent boating.
Another author incidence that I like to relate was of the handsome Texan, Don Johnson, who flew into our local airport, couldn't get a taxi to bring him to our county, so hired a limousine—and arrived in style! He was a bit late and it was quite a memorable scene when he stepped out of that mile long white chariot decked out with cowboy boots, a black cowboy hat, bolo tie and charm written all over him. I had to speed around from window to window to keep everyone from "rubbernecking" out the windows like they'd never seen a limousine before for heaven's sake! He told me later, that that was the best entrance he'd ever made!
Ah, yes. Penny Paper Novel days were quite memorable. It was truly fun hosting them.
But the years were going by much too fast and I really, really wanted to spend more time on writing novels. The Darlington Times and Penny Paper Novels didn't leave much time for my own writing. So I made the decision to give them up. From that point on, I devoted my time to writing and have never regretted it. Well, maybe, a little bit. Sometimes, I'm out somewhere and I get an idea and think—that would make a great article for the Darlington Times. So, yeah, I guess I do miss it from time to time.
One day, out of the blue, I heard from Jack P. Jones. He had decided to start his own publishing company and before long GoldenIsle Publishing, Inc. was born. He had contacted me for some information. We began to talk daily at length and he then asked me what I was working on. I told him a historical novel titled PLANTATION. He said, "Why don't you send it along and let me have a look at it?"
And as they say, the rest is history.