Wednesday, June 3, 2020

My New Book and How It Came About

It's official, FAMOUS IN MURRAYVILLE is published in print and ebook formats!

This book has taken me longer to finish than any of my other twelve books. I started writing it just before my father passed away in 2012, but when he died I couldn't seem to write anything, so took a break.

I've picked it up a few times since then, still things got in the way until last summer, when I was determined to write until I hit "the end." I'm thinking this is the best time anyway, since I've added more details as I've gone along.

I found that it was nice to do a contemporary story after being in 1870 for the last three books. Now, I'm confused about which era to write about next.

Anyway, the title came to me after hearing the song, FAMOUS IN A SMALL TOWN by Miranda Lambert. According to Lambert, everyone knows what you're up to in a small town. So I thought, how much more so for the town mayor and created one for my fictitious small town Murrayville named Faith Chadwick.

Around this time I met a man who had been searching for Spanish treasure in Northeast Oregon, had seen some symbols on a rock and started digging. Whether true or not, I thought it would be an interesting premise and did some research on Spanish treasure.

Here is the blurb for FAMOUS IN MURRAYVILLE:

When attorney Brien McGrew files a land claim to search for the Harney County gold, he finds that the claim backs up to a house on private property. Why would a young woman be so intent on avoiding others, he wonders? So much for secrecy. 

Mayor Faith Chadwick loves living on the edge of nowhere so she can keep the town’s people from interrupting her privacy. Then Brien McGrew shows up next door and starts digging a hole, the size of a coffin. What could he be planning, she wonders? So much for peace and solitude. 

A fragile truce begins to build between the two neighbors. Someone else however is watching Faith—his own plan already in play. 
Amazon Link HERE 

Tuesday, April 14, 2020


The article below is written by Idaho author Carol Peterson and used with permission:

Writers are regularly assaulted with the marketing advice that we must have an online presence. It is great advice.

Many writers however, tremble when facing the technology learning curve and don’t even know how to start. Other writers don’t have the couple hundred dollars each year to maintain a website or are overwhelmed with the work involved in providing continuously new and fresh content.

Even blogsites, most of which are free, have many of the same concerns for writers—the technology, the lack of direction, the work commitment.

Consider then a joint website. A joint website is nothing more than gathering like-minded writers together and forming an online presence.

Such an endeavor is not new. Writers often join together to share the work and expense as well as to encourage each other and build up their platform base. Writers might join together based on the genre they write, the location they live in, or just because they work well together.

Even if some or all of the writers in the group are still unpublished, having an online presence can help them become established online and build up a fan base and platform for when they become published. Having an online presence also provides a place to send agents and editors when pursuing traditional publishing.

A simple way to structure a joint website would be:

  • The website could have an active, changing home page. Each person could commit to writing a periodic post so there is always new and fresh content.
  • Create a separate web page for each person. There each person could write a bio, what they write and for whom and what books or other work they have published or are working on.
  • You might have a separate web page to list all of the books written by all of the members. The books could be listed alphabetically by title or listed by genre so it is less obvious if one person has written 50 books and the rest have only written one. Of course, make sure each book title has a link to purchase that book either online or directly from the author.
  • You might have an additional page of special posts or information or FAQs about the overall theme or purpose of the website. For example, if the website is dedicated to helping other writers, you might post individual articles about various writing tools or aspects of the craft of writing. If the purpose of your website is to encourage busy mothers, you might have a page dedicated to simple, healthy recipes kids love.
  • Elect a single person who will maintain the website to avoid having members add content willy-nilly. Set up guidelines folks will abide by, such as allowing new content only once a month or quarterly so as to not overload the website manager, or create a word limit per post.

Of course, encourage each member to invite their own friends, family members, and readers to visit and subscribe to the site.

You may not think you are ready for your own website either because you are just beginning your writing career, don’t yet have a book in print or can’t afford the cost. Creating a joint website might be a wonderful option for you. Not only does it provide you with a low-cost online presence, the group can create a richer website more quickly with each member providing content at the start.

Stay encouraged!

Carol Peterson

The content for this article was part of a workshop presented at the 2018 Idaho Creative Author Network (ICAN) Author’s Fest. For more information about how writers can market together, please check out Working Together; Achieving Success: Critiquing, Marketing, Masterminds available on Amazon.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

My Mother and the Depression Era

My mother lived during the depression era. In her adult life, she saved so many things that it was a nightmare to move her, and a it bothered me that she couldn’t throw away something such as thirty margarine tubs stacked in her closet. I don’t think that she’d classify as a hoarder, she had a large house and had a place for most things. Yet, it was also a pain to dust over many odds and ends she’d displayed around the house. I learned later that many of these items were given to her by friends and loved ones and they meant a lot to her. Now, after she has passed, I wish that she would have told me why she saved so many things, that they meant a lot to her or that she saved because she had been without so much in her early years. My thoughts as I’ve gotten older tell me that she knew I wouldn’t understand, and she would have been right.

With Covid-19 as part of the present, I find myself looking through my cupboards, pantry and freezer, thankful that we had stocked some items away in early March and have been able to exist on them and for a while longer. In my mind I have gone back to my 20s when I was on a strict budget and stretched the groceries in a creative way in how and what I cooked. Those thoughts have come back to me and I am now grateful I had those years to learn how to fare in times like these.

I’ve been thinking about making a face mask for my husband and I, we eventually must get out and shop for something. I figure even a homemade face cover is better than none. I kept a cardboard box of sewing items that my mother had used over the years, thinking I could use the buttons, needles, and spools of thread. I knew that she had some scraps of material in there too, as well as elastic. Basically, I can find everything I need in there and more to make a mask. There are even some shoulder pads in there that can work as padding inside the mask, too (as long as I can breathe). I smiled many times as I sorted through her things and thought how she would so enjoy if I would use her items for something as important as a crisis that she’d saved for all her life.

These are strange times. Be creative, be thankful for what you have, exercise a bit and please stay well. Best wishes to you.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Dragon Gilby is Here!

Dragon Gilby has released!
Dragon Gilby by Mary Vine, Illustrated by Kaylynne Dowling.
Dragon Gilby’s mama told him that dragons were made to protect man, but most dragons he knew were mean and made fun of people. He wanted to be a different dragon yet was not sure how to go about doing the right thing. Gilby asks his friend, the preacher Max what he can do to be a good dragon and the preacher decides to give it some thought.
On Dragon Gilby’s trip to the store, he comes across people in need and helps them the best he can. When he comes back to visit with Max, Max tells him his new friends have visited and told of Gilby’s good deeds. Dragon Gilby learns that just one dragon can make a difference after all.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Dreaming of your first book signing? If you’re a writer chasing a dream of publication, you probably are. I certainly looked forward to the day, until it got here. My thoughts went wild. What will I wear? If I’m with another author, will we both end up wearing a navy blue suit jacket? But then, is a jacket too fancy?

It turned out to be scarier than I’d thought and not because of wardrobe. For my first two signings I was with one other author, then three others. What if their book sells but mine doesn’t? I certainly didn’t want to look pitiful. Well, I did sell some books, too, and no one was wearing the same thing as I was.

I’ve since learned that you don’t have to wear something eye catching each time you sign, and that depending on the amount of time you are signing has a good deal to do with how many books you sell. It also matters if you know anyone in the area where you’re signing. Unless you are Nora Roberts, even selling one book at a one hour signing is something. If it’s four hours, I think six is pretty good. Of course the more books you have written and displayed, gives a reader more choice and perhaps more sales.

A fellow author told me of a time recently that she’d signed with three other authors in a nice book store near Seattle. Two of the writers had multiple deals with big publishing houses. The other two had contracts with small houses but were selling nonetheless. Yet, not one person bought a book from any of them. As a matter-of-fact, people avoided them by giving them a wide berth in the store. Things like this do happen and to the best of writers.

What do I know for sure? That besides setting up a good visual display, it doesn’t matter what you do to get people to come in and see your books. I do try to say good morning, or afternoon, to those that cross my path, but if a person likes to read they will stop and look. Many people don’t choose to read, whether due to time restraints or they spend their time with all that technology has to offer these days, and if that’s the case they don’t need what you have to offer. That’s okay, because there are also those that love reading what you write. I also know for sure that men will come by and look, too. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that half of the people that bought my first book, Maya’s Gold, are male. I assume it’s the gold in the title that they want to read about.

It’s been years since my first book came out, and I’m no longer frightened of book signings. I enjoy talking with people going by and am delighted when a fan comes in to buy my next book.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Anxiety, As I Know It by Mary Vine

First, I’d like to mention that I’m not a physician, I am a writer and this is my blog post. To find help for anxiety please see your doctor. In addition, do not stop any medication without talking to your doctor.

Looking back, I was an anxious child, sometimes shy and quiet but afraid to step out and take a chance. I thought I was unique in this, but I’ve recently read that I wasn’t. Perhaps my problem only had to do with needing encouragement, but I have learned to sometimes live without it and still prosper.

Eleven years ago, my husband was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and our world fell apart. We were shaken and turned upside down, it seemed. Of course, my husband had the hardest part and still does, but I’ve been right there with him.

My own health started to wane, so I asked my then doctor for something for anxiety. Contrary to what some may say, the anxiety medicine did help me – a lot. My well-being moved back to healthy; I helped make financial and physical decisions with steady reactions that continue to help us to this day. The medicine helped keep me steady at work and home.

Now, things have changed, my husband is feeling better than he did eleven years ago, and I am retired from my day job. My children are stable, and my current worries have to do with book sales and public speaking. I’m not that worried about book sales, as much as some authors are, because I have a pension. Even Martin Luther King, Jr. got a C for a speech in college but went on to give a highly regarded, well-known speech. Practice helps everyone, even me.

Recently, I went to see my doctor for my yearly checkup. I talked to her about changing my anxiety pill to one that had less side effects for seniors. She had me fill out a long check list involving depression and anxiety. After an additional conversation she helped me see that my anxiety was within normal limits and concluded that I didn’t need the medicine anymore. She cancelled the medication in my presence, saying that my medicine wasn’t meant to be used lifelong.

The weaning off the medicine can be the hard part, I understand. As directed, I went to a half dose immediately and then lesser amounts as time passed. I went to the pharmacy and bought some seasick pills to steady my stomach and the checker said, “Looks like you’re going on a cruise.” Hardly, but the seasick pills do help my stomach on occasion. A nap helps, too, and telling those that live with you what you’re doing.

At the same time, I came across an article in last April’s Family Circle magazine by Lisa Damour, PhD, titled Talking About. The psychologist said that most of the anxiety our kids experience is the healthy and normal kind. Anxiety can help kids be safe; it can help them sense if something is wrong. She says to try on worst case scenarios with your child (and yourself, I say). Also, anxiety in daughters is different than in sons. Boys may act out while girls have been known to share some of their concerns, yet I was silent and somehow survived.

The bottom line is, that over time I have learned to judge a scenario and step out and take chances. Yet, I think my belief in God and seeing the good that comes with the bad in life has helped me be more proficient at that.
I’ll end with one of my favorite quotes. “If you fixate on the worst-case scenario, and it actually happens, you’ve lived it twice – Michael J. Fox

Sunday, September 29, 2019


Fifth Annual Treasure Valley Writers' Fest

For any genre. This writing conference is an amazing opportunity for those new on the writing journey as well as seasoned authors to come together and add valuable information to your writing toolboxes. Our amazing speakers organize detailed workshops for you. There are door prizes and giveaways as well as a catered meal. There is a writing contest associated with this event, as well, and an awards ceremony completes our evening.  Visit​ to get details on the writing contest and register.

DATE: Saturday, October 19, 2019 
TIME:  9:00 A.M. to 4:00 p.m.
PLACE: Sand Hollow Baptist Church
                29627 Old Hwy 30, Caldwell, ID