Saturday, June 4, 2022

Choosing the Right Cover is Hard!


Some writers call the book they've created their baby as the words are so close to his or her heart. When the very first book is written and sent to an editor it can be hard to accept any suggested corrections or plot changes. Yes, I hesitated about making changes. Didn't my words come from somewhere deep in my soul and they should never be deleted? Yes, that was a long time ago, I was like that after my first manuscript was complete, not realizing then that if an editor suggested changes that meant she or he was very interested in the book - if you can make the changes, that is. I'm so far past that now. I can make a change at the drop of a hat and not think anything of it. So, I've moved on to worrying about my book covers.

Snake River Rendezvous was my fourth book contracted with a publishing house and I had this book with the company for almost seven years. I had no problems with the publisher, but I wanted to be able to get my rights back and put the book out myself and get more book royalties.

Professionals who can reformat the book and do the cover are not hard to find. Still, I have to decide what kind of cover I want. I can look at lots of cover ideas, but I can get confused and frustrated, then finally pick one and hope that I will love it forever. Or more important, that my readers will like it enough to pick it up. 

The cover below, right, is the cover that my publisher put on the book. I liked that at a signing I could point at it and tell people about the Snake River, tell them the general area in NE Oregon, and a little bit about the story. Many times, if they knew the area, they'd buy it. But since I got my rights back, the rule is that I have to put a new cover on the book.

The cover on the bottom left is the next cover I had chosen, but when I got the print version in my hand, I somehow wanted something more. I looked through some more pictures and came up with the cover above and the cover artist did the rest. I like the look of this one and hope you will too.

Monday, March 28, 2022

Cheers to Women of the 19th Century

 My first serious introduction to women’s rights came from my American history college class. I was to read and review Abigail Scott Duniway’s book, Edna and John: A Romance of Idaho Flat. Just as the book Uncle Tom’s Cabin exposed the unfairness of slavery, Duniway exposed the injustice of women’s rights in the late 1800s. She knew full well a woman’s limitations; a disabled husband put her in the position of bread winner and caregiver for him and her children. She had no choice but to work at jobs that didn’t pay the bills.

Cover image of an Idaho town in the 19th century for book: Edna and John, A Romance of Idaho Flat by Abigail Scott DuniwayOf course, living in an era that has given women more rights, I cannot fully understand the challenges Edna faced. If my husband dies, our house will not go to the closest living male relative, but to me. Still, I see some allure in the era that takes place around 1870, just after the Civil War. Enough to inspire me to write historical fiction anyway.

As I write about my characters, and to be in tune with women’s history, it’s not too hard to figure out how my heroine will make a living as there are only so many acceptable jobs. So, in reading our historical novels, we’ve come across the same professions many times. Otherwise, she may have what is either considered an immoral job, live in a rich family, or be married. So, to be different, and to please the reader, the heroine must be engaging in other ways.

Cover for Wanting Moore by Mary Vine

My heroine in Wanting Moore was the only girl among six children, which made her clever, competitive, and tough enough to get a task done. She thinks about being a teacher and sets off to mark her own trail until she’s injured and meets a post-civil war doctor on her journey.

When I wondered about the Civil War as related to women’s contributions, I searched for information about the few women nurses that have gone down in history. I set out to learn what medical changes came about because of the civil war hospital, or shortly after. Again, I had to think outside the box for the possibilities to include in my story.

Cover for A Nugget of Time, time travel romance by Mary VineIn my time travel series, Nugget of Time (book one), I take a successful news reporter from our time, back to an 1870s mining town where only men have jobs at the local newspaper. She has but few choices to make a living in a town where few women reside. I must consider what can she do. Will she be accepted in this wild west town? How can she be safe? What will she do to be safe and make a living?

I’ve thought about this scenario a lot because I’ve had a summer cabin along a creek in a Northeast Oregon mining ghost town, where I have considered the history and enjoyed the forest for several years. Taking it all in, I find that it is a great setting, and has been for many of my books.

But then, I have it easy. I say, cheers to the women of the 19th century who plotted the way before me!

Tuesday, March 22, 2022


I'm blogging over at Windtree Press today. I did an article called, "Cheers to the Women of the 19th Century." Also check out the many authors at Windtree Press and the many different genres of books.

Blog - Windtree Press

Saturday, January 22, 2022

 Here's a post on writing tips I did with Fresh Fiction twelve years ago, but it still makes sense today.

I'm blogging at Fresh Fiction today. Stop by and say hello.

Tuesday, November 30, 2021


What happens inside a writer to get him to sit down and type out a manuscript of five hundred plus pages? If that is not enough to accomplish, then edit the book multiple times, and further, do the work to get it published.

I understand that there are a few traits that are common with those able to finish a writing project. First, the book should be appealing enough that you can’t not write it. That is why it is so hard to write a book that your publishing house suggests you write instead because the genre will sell. To me, that would be like telling me to write a fantasy. Given it is a very popular genre that’s widely read, I don’t read them. I have written enough to know that I would have a very hard time writing a book that isn’t a book I’d love to write. I know I am not alone in this.

Certainly, you may be excited about your topic to the point of passion. After all, they are the book of our hearts. It’s just love. Love of telling your story. This love and desire can overcome all the problems and risks that come with writing a book. Simply, will power may be weak but love is strong. The love gives you the idea that it’s what we’re put on earth to do. What do you care about so much that you will talk about it anytime?

Also, maybe you’ve had someone encourage you, helped with, or liked, your writing. For me, a retired English teacher was the first person that looked over my very first chapter. She became so important in my life because I was so vulnerable and needed someone to say my dream was possible. If she’d been negative, I may have stopped writing, I was that unsure. Who has encouraged your writing?

Have you ever been to a writer’s workshop or listened to an author share what he or she has learned (and later apply the information to your writing)? Perhaps you have read a book on the writing craft that has inspired you. Sometimes, I hear a line in a song that inspires my story. Also, I met a writer who lives on her royalties. I heard an agent speak. I have talked to two people who have treated their writing as a successful business by having an hourly/daily schedule and then abides by it. All of this helps me write with pleasure and purpose. All these things can keep you inspired and on track as well. Where can you go to find writing inspiration?

In 2002, I joined my first in-person writing group. I found two critique partners that fine combed through my manuscript, Maya’s Gold. They gave me suggested changes as far as grammar and let me know what needed changing in the plot. Frankly, this help was how I was able to attract a publisher.

This past weekend I met up with two writers, one published and one seeking, or working, to be. The beginning writer was feeling disheartened because he’d had a critique that didn’t leave him with much hope of ever being published. The other writer I was with spent time telling him to keep what he had written, put it aside and sprinkle the information into your chapters instead of all at once. He left us visibly encouraged and wondering how he could fit writing into his daily schedule. Therefore, be careful how you critique someone’s work. Give them helpful ideas and be vigilant not to destroy the writer’s dream. Some writers may want to prove the naysayers wrong, but others will be distraught and overwhelmed enough to quit.

When something happens to us in our lives (or we see it happening to someone else), it leaves us upset and even angry. Writers can express those emotions through their words. Or show some injustice in the world through their writing. Author Paty Jager grew up hearing about the Native Americans that had lived in the area she’d grown up in, but didn’t think too much about it until she was an adult. Her book research on the area upset her enough that she wanted to express what happened, the unfairness to the native people, in some of her fiction western books. What upsets you so much that you what to include it in your book?

Sadly, in life a person can be hurt emotionally and rejected. We can make bad choices with consequences. Sometimes hitting bottom is an interesting thing as far as writing is concerned, that is if you can get back up. A strong reason to write can come from being wounded or upset.

Is there a need for such a book as yours? Will it relate to others? You may not have personal injury, but righteous indignation can rise from political affairs or social injustice, for example. Perhaps you can prove someone wrong, or perhaps it can drive your writing in another way. Still you’re walking a fine line so be careful that you don’t make your reader mad enough to throw your book across the room.

People seem to look for reasons as to why tragedy happens. We know we might never know, still we wonder. Should I write about this event? Will it help others in some way? You certainly would understand the grief that a character is going through if you’ve lost someone. In a different light, author Ann Rice lost a daughter and through her grief she created a book with a young girl that could never die.

Finally, the reason I write children’s books is because there are certain things I want my grandchildren to know long after I’m gone, things I’ve learned through my many years of living, working and watching God work in lives. Things that I deem are important enough for me to pass along. It’s as simple as that.

What inspires you to write?

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Idaho Creative Authors Network (ICAN) November Gray Saturday Cyber Sale!

You're heard of black Friday sales, well at Idaho Creative Authors Network (ICAN) there is a November Gray Saturday Cyber Sale! Multiple authors will be on hand! On Friday November 12, there will be previews throughout the day. The sale is on Saturday November 13, from 10:00 to 6:00 (Mountain Time). 

Come join us! Use this link:   November Gray Saturday Cyber Sale!

    Dragon Gilby by Mary Vine

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

New Time Travel Box Set by Mary Vine

 Amazon Link

I am happy to announce that I have my time travel books, otherwise known as Gold Club Series Books 1-3, are in a box set! And it's available now.

How fun it has been to see all the books in one set and with beautiful new covers. Thanks to Covers by Karen, Maggie McVay for formatting and to author Paty Jager for answering my questions pertaining to the new format.

Here's a condensed version of the blurb for the series:

A Nugget of Time

A Boise newspaper sent Dixie Lea to Oregon, to interview the owner of the largest gold nugget found in a century. While waiting, she steps into a cave, yet wakes up alone on a hill in a different era. Following the Civil War, retired Lieutenant Colonel James Brogan decided to try his hand at gold mining

and discovers Dixie lost and confused. An ethical man, James is at a complete loss of what to do with a spirited, eccentric woman alone in the woods with no knowledge of how to survive in a rough gold mining town. 


FBI Agent Crawford Stone expects to go hiking in Oregon but enters a cave and travels back in time to a rowdy gold mining town. He’s not the only one out of place as he finds a woman attempting to ward off men gathering around her.
School teacher Sarah Goldbrick travels to Cracker City, Oregon in search of who is responsible for the death of her husband. She finds the investigator she needs in a strangely dressed lawman with unusual expertise.

Summer Solstice

Teacher, Emily Stone had prepared for a journey back in time since middle school, when she received a tintype photograph and a letter sent by a relative from the 1870s. After traveling back in time through a cave, Emily opens a one room schoolhouse. Farmer Elijah Brady, a war veteran, has plenty to be sullen about and has no patience for a schoolmarm who teaches his sisters ultramodern ideas. Still, his interest in furthering his own education draws him to her.