Monday, November 18, 2013

Bride In The Storm, Book 3 in the Chance Creek Bride series, is now available on Amazon! Almost twice as long as Bride By Choice and The Sweetgrass Bride, I hope my fans enjoy this story. Thank you all so much for your support.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

 Good morning to all my author friends. Are you feeling a bit rushed? Overwhelmed? Some days I am certainly that way when I'm working on a deadline. This is an article from Randy Ingermanson's latest E-zine (reproduced with permission, of course). Some great ideas that might help you out on those frustrating days when nothing seems to get done. If you don't already subscribe to his E-zine, it's free and always packed with good advice for writers.


2) Organization: Dealing With Overwhelm

Once in a while life feels overwhelming. It feels like everything is crashing in on you at once.
Like you're spinning your wheels. Going nowhere.
I learned a neat trick a few years ago from Eben Pagan on how to deal with this. Eben teaches productivity techniques, and he's good at it.
Today, I desperately needed Eben's trick. When I logged onto my computer this morning, it told me that my external hard drive (the one that contains all my backups) was having problems. I ran some diagnostics and concluded that the hard drive really couldn't be saved.
This meant a trip to town to get a new one. Since I live quite far away from civilization, this meant taking hours out of my day. Hours I didn't have.
By the time I got home, I was feeling pretty depressed. I'd burnt a lot of time on an emergency and now I was way behind. And I had already been feeling stressed when I woke up, because there are a ton of things on my plate for this week.
I felt horribly overwhelmed.
So I tried Eben's trick. Here it is, and it might work for you on a day when you feel like you won't ever get caught up:
  • Open a new text file and start spilling your guts. Write down EVERYTHING on your plate right now. All the things that are stressing you because they need to be done today or tomorrow or yesterday. Don't get fancy here. You don't need an outline. Just dump it all on the page in whatever order things come to you. You can also write how you feel about each thing on your plate. If you're dreading it, say why. If you're mad at somebody for pushing this task onto you, say so. Get it out.
  • Stop when you run out of things that are overwhelming you. This will typically run a page or two. You might be surprised that your feelings of being overwhelmed tend to decrease with each item you write down. Mine do. It's a nice feeling to move the anxiety from your mind to the document. When you finish, your mind should be clear and you'll have a document that contains all the things that are making you crazy. Yes, it's a big horrible plate. Admire just how horrible it is for just a minute. Be astounded at what a tough life you live, you brute, you.
  • Find all the tasks in your document that you can reasonably knock off the list TODAY and put each one on a new line and mark it with one asterisk. You might want to pick out all the crappy little tasks that you've been putting off that really don't take much time. Knocking off a bunch of those all in one day really feels good, especially if they're things on your Dread List or your Hate List.
  • Find all the things you can reasonably get done this week and put them on their own line, marking them with two asterisks. Don't get too optimistic here. If you KNOW they have to be done this week or you're certain that you can work them in, then mark them. Otherwise, don't.
  • Everything else is stuff you aren't going to do this week. Either it's not important or it's not urgent or it just can't be done this week. Put each of these items on its own line and mark it with three asterisks. Now give yourself permission to forget about all the three-asterisk tasks for this week. Don't worry about losing them. You've got them all written down. Next week, when you look at this document, a LOT of things will be crossed off. Your plate will seem a lot more manageable.
  • Now collect all the one-asterisk items together into a single list and promise yourself that you'll do every single one of them today. This should be a much shorter list than the original big horrible plate that you started with.
  • Do everything on the short list today. It's a short list. You constructed it to be precisely the things you can reasonably get done today. So it's doable. Go do it. When you finish the list, you're done for the day, even if you finish early. Reward yourself with something nice — a walk or some reading time or the magic beverage of your choice.
  • Tomorrow, look at all the items with two asterisks and choose a few that you can reasonably get done in one day. Then do them. You know the drill here. Don't overbook yourself. Keep the list reasonable. Do it all. Reward yourself. Keep doing this every day for a week.
By next week, your dark and dreary world will look a little brighter. You'll have knocked off a lot of the riff-raff stuff. You'll be ready to tackle some of the longer-term items. You'll feel like you're finally getting some traction in your life.
If you're still feeling overwhelmed next week, repeat the process. But I would bet that you'll feel LESS overwhelmed next week than this. After a few weeks of this, you may actually start feeling human again. And your plate will start looking less ridiculous.
Remember that you aren't ever going to get it all done. Modern life is too crazy for that.
You may find that some tasks keep getting three asterisks week after week, forever. If they aren't really important to you, then why keep lugging them along? At some point you might want to cut their vile throats. When the time is right for this, you'll know it. Keep your knife sharp.
If you're wondering whether this actually works, all I can say is that it works for me. This article was one of the things that got one asterisk today.
Now it's done.
It feels good.
I'm going for a walk.
This article is reprinted by permission of the author.
Award-winning novelist Randy Ingermanson, "the Snowflake Guy," publishes the free monthly Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine, with over 5,000 readers. If you want to learn the craft and marketing of fiction, AND make your writing more valuable to editors, AND have FUN doing it, visit

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Skillet Cooking

Think about being the 'woman of the house' in 1875 and getting ready to move west, whether to Texas or even on out to California. There are no fast food joints along the way. All the cooking will be done on the trail. Trail fare will mostly be bacon, beans, biscuits, cornbread, and possibly pancakes, or gruel.

If she was taking no other cooking implement with her, the woman would take her skillet, or, as some might called it, frying pan. She would use it to fry her bacon and make her cornbread over an open campfire, with smoke in her eyes and children running through the camp. I love to read, and write, about those adventures, but I am thankful for my own kitchen.

I think of those women every time I use my old cast iron skillet. It is a staple in my country kitchen. My favorite skillet is fairly old, though not old enough to have been 'on the trail' with anyone. My grandmother bought it about 45 years ago at a yard sale in California . She passed it on to me when I married 31 years ago. Maybe someday I will pass it on to one of my daughters, or maybe a granddaughter.

Do you have an old skillet that you love to use?

I'd like to share the recipe for our favorite skillet cake. Hope you enjoy it! To clarify, there is no baking powder or baking soda in this recipe.

Grease your skillet very well, or line it with aluminum foil and grease that. The foil can be used to life the cake out of the skillet.

Pecan Skillet Cake

1 1/2 cups of sugar
1 1/2 sticks of butter, melted
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoons of vanilla flavoring
1 cup of chopped pecans, divided
2 tablespoons of sugar

Preheat oven to 350 and grease skillet.

Stir sugar into melted butter. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well. Add flour and salt to batter, mixing well. Stir in vanilla and a half cup of chopped pecans. Spread in skillet. Top batter with the rest of the pecans and 2 tablespoons of sugar.

Bake for approximately 30-40 minutes, until top is slightly browned. Cool in skillet. Remove and enjoy! Do not overbake to point of dryness--this is a heavy cake and should be slightly doughy and moist inside.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Summer Reading

Summer weather is almost here! Our weatherman says that we will reach 100 degrees by the end of next week. Whew! I'm not sure I'm ready for that, just yet. Still, the warmth is welcome after such a long winter for us.

Have you made your summer reading list, yet? It's such a perfect time of year to sit in the shade in a comfy lounge chair, or, my favorite, sit on the porch swing and enjoy the cool morning air before the heat takes hold for the day.

I usually re-read a few books every summer. One of them is Shepherd of the Hills, by Harold Bell Wright. It is such an old-fashioned book and I love reading the old style of writing. The Branson area is one of my favorite summer destinations and this book always brings the beautiful area to mind.

I hope you are having a wonderful to start to summer:)

This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Happy Sunday

For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God  I Corinthians 1:18 KJV

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Do you enjoy reading about the day to day activities of our fore mothers? I've always liked to read about pioneer women. In fact, Pioneer Women, Voices From The Kansas Frontier, by Joanna L. Stratton, is one of my favorite books. Can you imagine living in a dugout house with a dirt ceiling, dirt walls, and a dirt floor? No wonder they covered the ceiling with sheeting and papered the walls.

After reading about those brave women, I have a lot of sympathy for Ma Ingalls and her dislike of that dugout they were in for a while, despite Laura Ingalls Wilder's enthusiasm for the little home. The thought of snakes dropping through the ceiling is a little too much for me!

There are some aspects of their lives that I enjoy--making bread, soap, and cooking on a woodstove. Although my woodstove is really a stove for heating the house, I can cook on it in the winter. A Dutch oven filled with a roast, potatoes, onions, and carrots makes a wonderful supper!

What is your favorite pioneer woman book? And what aspects of their lives do you enjoy reading about and maybe like to 'copy' today?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Thank You!

A big thank you to all my fans on the enthusiastic comments about my new e-book, The Sweetgrass Bride! It is a joy getting to 'meet' all of you through cyberspace. And I love hearing from each and everyone of you.

In the coming weeks, I will be telling you more about the third book in the series--title pending, as yet, that will be out later this summer. Now that the older Murphy brothers are married, it is time for younger brother, Mark, to have his story told. This e-book will be a tad longer than the other two due to so many of your requests for a story with more detail.

I hope you are all having a great week.

Happy reading!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Book Release for June Foster

June Foster's third book is finally out! Enjoy, everyone!

Join us in celebrating the launch and release of June Foster's book, Deliver Us, Book Three in the Bellewood Series. Releasing April 1st from Desert Breeze Publishing

About the book:

The young fraternity man who coaxed Jillian Coleman upstairs that night is only a blur in her memory. Now she lives with the unrelenting guilt that she aborted her baby. God might forgive her, but she can't forgive herself. As Bellewood's premier gynecologist, she hopes to open the Jeremiah House to offer teen girls an abortion alternative. Though the handsome and successful Dr. Jett Camp wants to marry Jillian, he believes her plan is a waste of her skills.

Riley Mathis spent ten years in jail for dealing drugs. Now as a Christian, he's trying to put his life back together. Working as a janitor at night, he attends college by day. When he meets Dr. Coleman, he recognizes her from the sapphire necklace she wore the night he stole something precious from her. When she confesses the choice she made to abort her baby, Riley can't tell her he's the father of her child.

About the author:

June Foster is a retired school teacher, who until recently traveled full time with her husband, living in their RV. Now settled in Alabama, they are enjoying their new home, and being close to family.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Free Read

Today on Amazon, Kate's Kisses (Sweet Treats Bakery, is free on kindle books! Click that Buy Now button and enjoy one of Mary Manner's sweet romance novellas!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Happy 2013!!!

Hello friends! Hope all of you are doing well. We had a white Christmas here in the Ouachitas. At least seven inches of snow fell by midnight Christmas Day. I've loved seeing all the pretty white, but there are still remnants of it sticking around, and this warm-blooded Southern gal will be glad when it is all gone!

Do you make New Year's resolutions? (And do you have black-eyed peas on New Year's Day?--it is a definite tradition at our house!). I have made resolutions in the past, but these days I tend to work more on what I call 'eventual' goals for the year. In 2013, I want to eat better, read more, garden--flowers and vegetables, and, of course, I want to spend more time writing. I'm not sure how I'm going to make all of that work together, but I'm going to try, LOL!

I am still writing book two of the Chance Creek Bride series. It should be out by the end of February. I hope all of you that read Bride By Choice are looking forward to the second in the series. Several have asked if there will be another book to go with The Stagecoach Bride. For now, there is no plan for making that book part of a series, but I'll keep it in mind. And thank you for your interest.

I am now on Goodreads, so I hope all of you will join me over there, as well.

A Happy New Year to all of you:)