She Writes Southern Writers 4th of July Countdown Blog Tour

Yaaaay! Tomorrow our great Southern writers blog tour begins. Below is the full schedule. There is a great gift basket up for grabs. The more blogs you visit and the more comments you make, the better chance you have to win. I hear that some of the authors are also offering books as prizes.  I think you’ll enjoy what we have cooked up for you. So, pull up a chair, grab an iced tea, or a mint julip, and join in.

Tour Date: Wed. June 27
Blog Name: Sweet Music on Moonlight Ridge
Blog Owner: Ramey Channell
Title: “Evolution AND Creationism: The Birth of a Southern Novel”

Tour Date: Wed. June 27
Blog Name: My Writing Journey
Blog Owner: Charity Bradford
Title: “Hospitality, Welcome to the South”

Tour Date: Th. June 28
Blog Name: Ruminations and Reflections
Blog Owner: Rebecca Elswick
Guest Blogger: Natalie Parker-Lawrence
Title: “Patrice Melnick: Louisiana Poet, Festival Muse”

Tour Date: Th. June 28
Blog Name: Holly’s Narrative Dream
Blog Owner: Holly Raychelle Hughes
Title: “Pictures and Words”

Tour Date: Fri. June 29
Blog Name: Musings & Meanderings: Thoughts on Life and Healing
Blog Owner: Melanie Pennington
Title: “The Flavors of My Childhood”

Tour Date: Fri. June 29
Blog Name: The Full-Bodied (Book) Blog
Blog Owner: Zetta Brown
Guest Blogger: Dera Williams
Title: “Not Your Storybook Southern Belle”

Tour Date: Sat. June 30
Blog Name: Delani Bartlette’s Travel Blog
Blog Owner: Delani Bartlette
Guest Blogger: Stacy Allen
Title: “Changing The Past, Inventing The Future”

Tour Date: Sat. June 30
Blog Name: Emily Kennedy, Author
Blog Owner: Emily Kennedy
Title: “Southern Gentlemen”

Tour Date: Sun. July 1
Blog Name: Ryder Islington, Author
Blog Owner: Ryder Islington
Guest Blogger: Deidre Ann Banville
Title: “New Orleans Caulbearers”

Tour Date: Sun. July 1
Blog Name: A Penny and Change
Blog Owner: Penny Leisch
Guest Blogger: Trisha Faye
Title: “Change…as the moon goes on shining”

Tour Date: Mon. July 2
Blog Name: Zetta’s House of Random Thoughts
Blog Owner: Zetta Brown
Title: “Texas Tornadoes and Other Memories”

Tour Date: Mon. July 2
Blog Name: Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia
Blog Owner: Patricia Dorsey
Title: “A (Southern) Life in Poems”

Tour Date: Tue. July 3
Blog Name: A Penny’s Worth
Blog Owner: Penny Leisch
Guest Blogger: NancyKay Sullivan Wessman
Title: “Books & Business & Reality: No magic bullet”

Tour Date: Tue. July 3
Blog Name: The Novelette
Blog Owner: Laura Gschwandtner
Title: “Southern Living with True Grit”


Thought I’d add another article on Southern living, to prep my followers for the upcoming She Writes Southern Writers 4th of July Countdown Blog Tour. The first tour stop will be here:

 Tour Date: Wed. June 27
Blog Name: Sweet Music on Moonlight Ridge–Blog Owner: Ramey Channell
Title: “Evolution AND Creationism: The Birth of a Southern Novel”

In the meantime,  here’s one you might enjoy about Southerners and their love of college football.

Let me tell you, there aren’t many Southerners who don’t like football. And we’re willing to discuss it with anyone, any time. Parents put their kids in football as soon as there’s an age-appropriate team available.

 If you’re planning on talking football with Southern fans, be ready to talk specifics. We know our teams. We know all the players. We understand the running patterns. We know the language. We can talk about flea-flickers, Hail Marys, touchbacks, and the 3-4 zone blitz defense. We know the stats of the individual players as well as those of our team, and often, the stats of opposing teams, at least those nearby. We can describe the last game, play-by-play. And don’t mess with our mascots—we can get hostile over our mascots.

 And let’s not even get into a discussion about officials! I mean, really, I think they’re all blind. Yes, we know all their hand signs, and most of their faces. We could easily pick them out of a crowd at the mall, or one of the many parades.

 For the most part, we show good sportsmanship…unless our team loses. Ooooh, that really gets my dander up! Between the blind officials and the opposing team’s fouls, we sometimes get cheated out of a win. That’s not a good time to bad mouth the local boys. After all, it wasn’t their fault. And for the most part, we don’t care for that darned replay contraption the officials use when they don’t like our team.

 There are lots of ‘wars’ between the states when it comes to football. I know a family from Louisiana. One of the daughters married and moved to Arkansas. You can imagine what football is like in that household. If the LSU Tigers are playing the Razorbacks in Arkansas, the family goes to the daughter’s house, so they can all go to the game. If the Razorbacks come to Shreveportto play LSU, the daughter and son-in-law come home so they can all go to the game. Never mind that the husband’s a wild boar—he’s still welcome. After all, family is more important than football. And I’m sticking to that story, no matter what you’ve heard.

SOUTHERN LIVING: Relationships Between Men and Women In The South

The upcoming She Writes Southern Writers 4th of July Countdown Blog Tour begins next Wednesday so I thought I’d give my readers a preview the kinds of articles you’ll find on the tour. So, I wrote this article to share with you today. This story is true. I was there to see it, so I know. I didn’t give specific names because the people involved are still alive and I don’t intend to cause any problems for anyone.

I thought I’d throw in a few articles in advance up the upcoming She Writes Southern Writers 4th of July Countdown Blog Tour, just to give you a taste of what you might find on the tour. I decided I’d share a story that shows a common relationship between husbands and wives in the South. So, here goes: There is a Mini-Storage in a very large city in the great state of Louisiana. A couple runs the business, and it’s been there for many years. A lot of customers are financially comfortable and rent spaces for storing Christmas decorations and other things that won’t fit in their garages.

The policy of the business is that whoever signs the contract has access and they can give access to anyone they choose. But it must be in writing. So Mrs.…let’s call her Smith, Mrs. Smith rented a large unit and her whole family participated in loading it. Months later her husband came to get something out. They have to sign in at the office. But his name was not on the contract, nor was there anything in writing giving him access. So Mrs. Manager told him he couldn’t get in. Well, being a ‘big man,’ he decided he’d do what he wanted so he jumped in his truck and drove right on back to that unit. Mrs. Manager walked back there, hot under the collar. She told him that if he tried to access the unit, she would call the police, to which he responded, “Why don’t you get your fanny up there in the office where you belong and leave me be.” He didn’t have a key, so he was going to cut the lock, which only made Mrs. Manager more irate. Wouldn’t he have a key if his wife wanted him in there? Are they separating and is he trying to take everything? She took out her phone and started to dial and the man threw his bolt cutters in the back of the truck, gave her a few choice words, and drove off.

A half-hour later, Mrs. Manager got a phone call from the wife. The two of them discussed what was wrong. Mrs. Smith thought her husband had access just like her. Mrs. Manager explained—again—the rules about written authorization. She also told the wife about the bolt cutters, a no-no on the property of any mini-storage, and what the husband said. “He said what?” “He told me to get my fanny back in the office where I belong,” Mrs. Manager said. “I’ll get back to you.”

A half-hour later, Mr. Smith returned to the Mini-Storage. He quietly entered the office, took his hat off and turned it round and round in his calloused hands for a moment, and then cordially apologized. To see that ‘big man’ so humbled was heartening. No one knows what was said between husband and wife, but whatever it was must have reminded Mr. Smith that men don’t talk distastefully to ladies, especially ladies they don’t know intimately. I suspect she had some form of ‘correction’ in mind for him. The couple moved everything out of that unit at the end of the month. After all, a wife can’t have a unit where her husband is not welcomed, and the relationship between Mr. Smith and Mrs. Manager of tenuous. Husbands and wives tend to stick together down here, even if one of them is wrong. Mrs. Smith chose not to do the simple thing and just give the written consent. She stood by her man, whom she assumed had been wronged. But only after she stood by a lady she didn’t know, and let her husband know she expected him to be a gentleman.

So, there you have it. While this story doesn’t represent all Southern men and/or women, it is representitive of our way of life. Husbands and wives stick together, but women tend to take up for each other too. Most of us take it for granted that if one spouse signs a document, it really includes the other spouse as a matter of custom.

I hope all of you will return and enjoy more articles about Southern Living. the tour schedule will be posted soon.

The She Writes Southern Writers 4th of July Countdown Blog Tour

As a Southern Belle, I’m happy to announce that I’m part of the She Writes Southern Writers 4th of July Countdown Tour. The women of She Writes are quite a group and I’m glad to be a member of the site, as well as the group of Southern Writers. We decided it was time to share some of the ambiance and eccentricities of Southern Life. The tour starts June 27th, so, please take time out to visit the sites and enjoy the humor, fun facts and interesting lifestyles of the great South.


DATE: Wed. June 27
Sweet Music on Moonlight Ridge / Ramey Channell
My Writing Journey / Charity Bradford

DATE: Th. June 28
Ruminations and Reflections / Rebecca Elswick
Holly’s Narrative Dream / Holly Raychelle Hughes

DATE: Fri. June 29
Musings & Meanderings: Thoughts on Life and Healing / Melanie Pennington
The Full-Bodied (Book) Blog / Zetta Brown*

DATE: Sat. June 30
Delani Bartlette’s Blog at Matador U / Delani Bartlette
Emily Kennedy’s Blog / Emily Kennedy

DATE: Sun. July 1
Ryder Islington’s Blog / Ryder Islington*
A Penny and Change / Penny Leisch*

DATE: Mon. July 2
Zetta’s House of Random Thoughts / Zetta Brown
High Heels and Hot Flashes / Debra Elliott*

DATE: Tue. July 3
A Penny’s Worth / Penny Leisch*
The Novellette / Laura Gschwandtner*

Kristen Lamb Rocks!

I received Kristen Lamb’s two books, We Are Not Alone, The Writer’s Guide to Social Media,  and Are You There Blog? It’s Me, Writer,  recently, and wow, now I know why she has such an awesome reputation. It’s because she’s an awesome lady. Both of the books are great. They are easy to read and understand and I’ve already put a lot of her suggestions to use.

But books or no, Kristen is a wonderful person. All of her advice is based on being a good, kind, generous person. And she practices what she preaches. She has made me see that it’s okay to spend some time online with social media, without feeling guilty for ‘wasting time.’  And she took the fear out of dealing with the web, which was a biggy for me. I’m not a high-tech kind of person. I don’t have a Kindle or a Nook. I don’t have an iPad or an iPod. I don’t have a cell phone. I have my desktop, which is connected to the web, and my laptop, which is not, and that is the extent of my gadgets.

In this day and age, self-promotion is required for writers. And promotion doesn’t mean the same thing today that it did even ten years ago. So I would recommend, if you want to actually sell the books you work so hard to create, that you buy both of these books and put them into practice. Even if you  haven’t sold a thing yet, you need this information.

You can find Kristen at and there is a buy button on her blog so you can get to the bookseller directly from there. Do two nice and necessary things for your career today. Get to know Kristen Lamb. And buy her books.

Arg! What’s Up With The Colons: Already?


I’ve been reading a long list of new books by authors who have asked for reviews. I think every book so far has had tons of colons and semi-colons. It wouldn’t be quite so bad if anyone knew how to use them. I find sentences with comas and semi-colons. Or semi-colons instead of a period. Or colons between two statements that are barely related to each other.

I’m of the school that says colons and semi-colons should be left for scientific papers and instruction manuals. Okay, I know everyone is free to use their own judgment when it comes to their own writing. But really…if you’re going to use punctuation, could you at least learn how to do it correctly?

 I will be judging entries in the Daphne writing contest soon. I hope the entrants aren’t in love with colons and semi-colons. Or, at least, if they use them, they know how to do it correctly. I never mark down an entry for doing things I don’t do. But I do mark down if the writer isn’t using punctuation correctly.

 C’mon, ladies and gentlemen, if you’re writing fiction, in any POV except omniscient, you are deep in the minds of the characters. Do your characters really think in language that needs colons and semi-colons? Every time you use any word, punctuation, or writing technique that is unfamiliar to your readers, we stop and try to figure it out. Why is there a colon here? Why is this sentence in question form, but without a question mark? Why is there a semi-colon in the middle of this sentence?

Try this exercise. Grab a paper and pen, and just sit around and listen to people talk. Don’t copy down what they say, but put the punctuation on the paper. If someone hesitates during a sentence put an ellipsis on your paper… or a comma,

Are you hearing anything that sounds like it needs colons and semi-colons to make you understand the relationship between the statements?

Sure, a hundred years ago, colons and semi-colons were everywhere. In fiction, as well as every other kind of writing. But then writing changed. We learned about using shorter paragraphs, showing more white space and making chapters shorter to encourage the reader to read one more page, or one more chapter. We learned that deep POV helps the reader connect with the character, to feel what the character feels. We learned to write in a different voice for each character, so the reader could really see the difference in the way characters, think, talk and act. Now could we please make the leap from the use of fancy punctuation to the use of punctuation that allows the reader to stay in the character’s head, and not get caught up in possible meanings of simple sentences?

It’s crazy making to be reading along, enjoying a story, when suddenly something pops up and you say to yourself, “Why did the author do that?”  And it’s even crazier making when the author didn’t know how to it correctly. Which is why I’m CRAZY! Okay, I’m just slightly off. But if I have to read one more fiction book filled with colons and semi-colons, I may go right off the deep end. And you wouldn’t want to be responsible for that, would you?


Creating a Schedule for the Blog

I’m trying to get my act together and make this blog a useable tool for readers and writers. To that end I’m creating a schedule that I hope will work. Here’s the plan:

Monday: Author interviews or Guest Posts.  If you need an interview or would like to do a guest post, related to a blog tour or just to boost traffic or sales, please contact me by comment here, or by email at

Tuesday/Thursday: Book Reviews.  I generally review mystery, suspense, thriller, historicals, and the occasional inspirational, sci-fi and paranormal. Each review is according to my schedule and what I think I can offer in the way of positive reviews. So I receive a book to review and find that I just don’t like the book even though the writing is very good, I usually contact the author and let them know. That rarely happens. I’m pretty open, and my library is pretty eclectic.

Friday: Memories of Me. You all may be bored silly with my little rants of  my past, but I’m having a blast remembering things that happened during my childhood and putting the words on paper…er…screen.

I’m hoping I can maintain this schedule, make my readers happy, and help out other writers. Wish me luck!