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Happy Third Blogoversary!

Do you remember this picture? I sure do. It was used on my very first post, “Hanging On For Dear Life”, three years ago.

Three years ago? Can you believe it’s been three years already? Where does the time go?

Lots of things have happened in our lives since then. For most of us, they’ve been too numerous to count. I mean, some of us have been thrown a curve ball or two in the midst of trying to eek out a living and at the same time, follow our passion. And for those of you who are fortunate to make a living off of your passion? Congratulations to you!

As you may have noticed, my blog has grown silent over the past couple of months.

Why, you may ask?

Well, because of life actually. I had too many things that demanded my attention. And the blog, for one, was not a priority. So I let it go. But then, as weeks went by, it became easier not to blog. I mean, who cares if I blog or not? Does it really matter?

It’s not like I’m saving lives or changing the world. It’s just little ‘ol me writing a little ditty about nothing very earthshattering. Nothing that could put an actual dent in someone’s existence.

So I thought, why not take a look back at my first post and see what my purpose was for starting this venture. What was my core motivation for blogging? After all, there had to be some reason why I had decided to jump into this crazy endeavor.

Here’s what I said:

“Since this is my first blog, that picture got me thinking. What is my purpose for writing a blog? Yes I’m petrified, but I’m certainly not dangling on a rope suspended from the rooftop of a high-rise hotel.

“My hope is that through my writing I will be able to touch people’s lives and connect with others that will in someway benefit them and not just myself. Just know that as I embark on this new venture, I will be hanging on for dear life while I look out from on top, ready to descend that steep and slippery slope, putting myself out there amongst the unknown galaxy of the universe, otherwise known as the internet, sharing a little splice of our lives.”

Ah, interesting. That picture says more than a thousand words. It’s a great motivator, is it not? But notice something else. The purpose of this blog was not to write strictly about myself. And I think that still rings true. I get great satisfaction writing about life and other people. I find it stimulating to share things with you that stem from a variety of topics.

No, it’s not all about me. Although some day it may be when I get ready to release my new little baby out into the world. Yes, I’m still working on that one. But believe me, when it’s finished, you’ll be the first to know!

Meanwhile, it’s Happy Third Blogoversary!

It’s good to be back!

So what do you think? How has life been treating you? Do you find it easy or difficult to blog? Does life get in your way, or are you able to navigate through the muddy waters? What helps to keep you motivated? What topics have you found interesting lately?
Cheers everyone! And as always, thank you so much for all your support and wonderful comments!

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Boot Scootin’ Re-Launch Party!


Welcome to the party everyone!
Y’all might want to grab a glass of the bubbly before we take a look around.

(I only bring this picture out on special occations!)

Yes, I thought we were due for a blog party around here. It’s been six long months since a post on this site has hit the Blogosphere. And we’ve got a lot to celebrate!
Well, what do you think? Do you like what you see? It’s a big change, isn’t it?
As you know, change doesn’t always come easy. In my case, or should I say in the case of my old theme, it was dying a slow death. Plugins refused to play nice with widgets who refused to play nice with the theme. It would send your comments to spam, yet spammers were allowed to leave a comment. You have no idea how many times I’ve saved all of you from the trash.

Time for a fresh start and a new beginning!

So I called the illustrious Wana Web Techie Guru, Laird Sapir.

But I had to wait. Yes, it seems Laird is a pretty popular web techie gal. Yet, just in time for spring, she became available. And as I found out, if you’re willing to wait, you may even be serenaded by her three year old daughter. “I love you, you love me.” Yep, she’s that precious!
It always pays to be patient. And as you can see, Laird was so worth the wait!

Let’s scoot to the top of the page shall we and take a look at the new header. You may have noticed that my tagline “Life Happens” went missing. I wasn’t quite sure where to put it. So it is my hope that these pictures will say more than words. They are the backdrop of my life and the stomping ground for the main characters of my future books.

Yes, life will still be happening around here! :)

You’ll notice as you scroll down the left sidebar, there’s the usual About and Contact page. And right below is my picture. Now we, as in Amber West and Lynn Kelley, graciously tried to play with a new picture in Photoshop. Thank you Amber and Lynn! Well…my picture looked quite frankly…Photoshoped. Lol! So I opted to leave the old picture in place because it’s the same little ol’ me. Besides, a new picture gives us all something to look forward to in the future.

Now directly underneath is my “Follow” information. If you haven’t already subscribed to my blog, you are more than welcome to join us at any time. As you can see, I am not a blog maniac. I do not blog five thousand times a week.

Then of course, you may also Follow Me on Twitter, Facebook or LinkIn. How cool is that?

Scootin’ right along, next you’ll find my Facebook Author “Like” and Twitter feeds, archived posts and then if you scroll down just a little bit further, you’ll notice something kind of special at the end of the sidebar. Do you see it?

Yep, it’s the Pelican. He’s a pretty handsome dude, don’t you think? I thought he’d make a great mascot. But there’s only one problem. He has no name. I had thought of naming him Alfred. Don’t ask me why. There is no rhyme or reason to my madness. But hubby hated it. “No, don’t name that poor bird Alfred!” I know, he needs to get his own blog. Lol. Then I thought, why not ask all of you what you think might be a good name for him. He can’t just not have a name. After all, he deserves some recognition since he plans on staying for a while.

So what do you think? How do you like my new Digs? Please do that poor bird handsome Pelican a favor and suggest a name for him in the comments section before you Boot Scoot your way out of here. And of course, you know I’d love to hear how y’all are doing!

Cheers everyone! It’s great to be back. Thank you as always for all your support and wonderful comments! See you next week!

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“K.B. Owen’s Dangerous and Unseemly Mystery Book Tour”


I cannot tell you how delighted I am! Not only do I have exciting news about Historical Mystery Novelist Kathy Owen, but I have been bestowed the title of “Mistress of Ceremonies.” I know. This is a huge honor! And I’ll be happy to tell you all why in just one moment.

For starters, I’d like to ask, who really is K.B. Owen?

Many of us know her through Twitter, Facebook, Mywana and through her blog. Yet, I am suspicious there is more to Kathy Owen than just meets the eye.

So the first thing I did was go to her website. It says that K.B. Owen resides in the beautiful east coast state of Virginia with her husband and three sons. That she loves gardening, Hummingbirds and has a special fondness for Tea and Cookies.

But then it goes on to say that Kathy taught college English for nearly two decades at universities in both Connecticut and Washington, D.C., and holds a doctorate in 19th century British literature.

Aha! That would explain her love for mystery and what helped her to create amateur sleuth, Professor Concordia Wells!

Speaking of Professor Concordia Wells…

Today, as Mistress of Ceremonies, I have the distinct pleasure of announcing the launch of:

K.B. Owen’s…

“Dangerous and Unseemly” Mystery Book Tour!

If you enjoy curling up to a cozy historical mystery, you are going to be totally enthralled by K.B. Owen’s new novel!

Here’s the description:

It’s an unseemly lesson…in murder.
The year is 1896, and Professor Concordia Wells has her hands full: teaching classes, acting as live-in chaperone to a cottage of lively female students, and directing the student play, Macbeth.

But mystery and murder are not confined to the stage. Malicious pranks, arson, money troubles, and the apparent suicide of a college official create turmoil at the women’s college. For Concordia, it becomes personal when a family member dies of a mysterious illness, and her best friend is attacked and left for dead.

With her friend still in danger and her beloved school facing certain ruin, Concordia knows that she must act. But uncovering secrets is a dangerous business, and there are some who do not appreciate the unseemly inquiries and bold actions of the young lady professor. Can she discover the ones responsible…before she becomes the next target?

Okay Kathy, now we’re really hooked!

So what’s the catch?

Ah, that’s a good question. It turns out that Kathy has added a little Mystery and fun to her book launching tour. Plus a special Prize!

So do you want to play? Here’s how it works:

At each stop in “K.B. Owen’s Dangerous and Unseemly Mystery Book Tour,” there will be a mystery question to answer. The correct answer has a corresponding letter. When you collect all the letters and unscramble them into sets of four, you’ll discover which ROOM, WEAPON, and SUSPECT. Then, at the end, you’ll email Kathy at kbowenwriter@gmail.com. It’s just that simple. I’ll be announcing the winner right here on my blog, at the last stop of her tour on Wednesday, April 3rd. What could you win? A free ebook copy of “Dangerous and Unseemly” and a $25 gift card of your choice to either Starbucks, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble!

Ooh Kathy, that sounds really cool!

Now if you run into a few stumpers, don’t worry! You’ll be able check out Kathy’s Mystery Quizz page at kbowenmysteries.com. It has Clue-type graphics and lays it out, step by step. And if you join us in the middle of the tour, the complete list of Book Tour hosts can be found here and at kbowenmysteries.com. The Email Deadline is Monday, April 1st. No foolin’! 🙂

And just so you can keep up with each clue, here’s Kathy’s scheduled date of appearances:

First stop Tomorrow, Feb 25 – Elizabeth Spann Craig – “The Butler Did It?”

Then Wednesday, Feb 27 – Janice Hamrick – “Fantastic Formula: the Perry Mason Series”

Friday, March 1 – Jill Edmondson – “What Nancy Drew and Scooby-Doo Taught Me About Writing Cozy Mysteries”

Tuesday, March 5- Margot Kinberg – “19th century Con Men – the Best Salesmen Ever”

Wednesday, March 6 – Nancy Lauzon – “Book Shower”

Friday, March 8 – Renee Schuls-Jacobson – “An Unusual Interview”

Wednesday, March 13 – Julie Glover – “The Language of 19th century Charlatans”

Thursday, March 14 – Jenny Hansen – “When You Gotta Go…in the 19th century”

Wednesday, March 20 – Rachel Funk Heller – “Skype Interview”

Monday, March 25 – Laird Sapir – “The Interview”

Friday, March 29 – Tiffany A. White – To be announced

Wednesday, April 3 – Karen McFarland (me!) – “Announcement of Winner and Tour Wrap-Up”

So please be sure to join in on all the fun!

“Dangerous and Unseemly” is available now at:

Amazon Kindle

Paperback (Amazon)

Barnes and Noble Nookbook





And please check out Kathy Owen’s website for more historical mystery at kbowenmysteries.com!

So what do you think? Are you ready for “K.B. Owen’s Dangerous and Unseemly Mystery Book Tour?” Mark your calendars and bookmark this post! You all know how I love to give away prizes! And since I do happen to have some pull with the author, I’m working her over as we speak! So follow all the clues and you could be a winner!

Thank you everyone for stopping by and giving Kathy Owen all your support!


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To Write or Not to Write…


What kind of atmosphere inspires you to be at your best?

Do you work well under pressure, or does your creativity run in good measure?

Does your muse fancy daylight or does it prefer the first stroke of midnight?

I guess what I’m trying to say is that we’re all different. That means every single one of us is truly unique and extraordinary. Which is an amazing thing, right? Could you imagine living in a world where all of us were identical?

Life would truly be boring.

Because of our differences, something that works for one person, may not work for another. Yet, it helps to know that we all suffer from the same malady, even though this isn’t a one size fits all kind of gig, which in some ways might make us feel like we’re losing our minds.

So what’s the answer?

Keep writing, no matter what the mood or environment!

I think it’s in our nature to get side tracked from time to time. It happens to the best of us. We all have different obstacles thrown in our direction that divert our attention. But here’s what James Scott Bell says in his book “Plot and Structure”:

“If you want to break through with this thing called craft, you’ll need to be your own disciplinarian.”

Uh-oh. Does this mean I need to limit how much time I spend on Facebook and Twitter and Google+ and LinkedIn and Goodreads and WanaTribe? 🙂

Ah, what can I say? It’s an oldie but goodie, but it doesn’t matter how many times I peruse its pages, I’m reminded of something that inspires me. It just proves that no matter how long we’ve been writing, sometimes we just need to get back to the basics.

Here’s a few of Mr. Bell’s simple reminders that I love:

1- Get Motivated: “Today I resolve to take writing seriously, to keep going and never stop, to learn everything I can and make it as a writer.”


2- Try Stuff: “I’m digesting the material as deeply as I possibly can. I want it to be a part of me. I want it there when I write my next novel.”

Okay, got it!

3- Stay loose: “Writing is never any good when it is done in the grip of anxiety. A tense brain freezes creativity.”

Aha! This would explain why I’ve been in such a deep freeze! But the good news is, I’m thawing out!

4- First get it written, then get it right: Ray Bradbury said, “Let the world burn through you. Throw the prism light, white hot, on paper.”

Dang that perfectionism!

5- Set a quota: “Most successful fiction writers make a word goal and stick to it. Sure you were at your writing desk for three hours, but what did you produce?”


6- Don’t give up: “The main difference between successful writers and unsuccessful writers is persistence. Keep writing.”

Nope, not giving up!

So what kind of atmosphere inspires me to be at my best?

Well, I find that I write at my best when I’ve had a good night’s sleep. Sleep and a good dose of protein and exercise stimulates my brainpower, along with a designated space to write with no interruptions! Is that really too much to ask? 🙂

Now what about you? Do you ever get discouraged or distracted? Is there a specific writer, mentor or teacher of craft that has inspired you? What are some of your suggestions and what inspires you to be at your best and to keep on writing?
Thank you so much for dropping by and for all your wonderful comments!


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Guest Post by Angela Peart

I can’t tell you how excited I am for Angela Peart to be my guest. Like most of you, I was drawn to her gravatar on Twitter and Facebook. Have you ever seen anyone exude so much happiness within a single shot of their face?

Yet, I have learned there is much more to Angela Peart than simply meets the eye.

She was European born and raised in the country of Poland and now resides near Seattle, Washington while balancing her many responsibilities as a wife, mother and writer of Adult, YA and Children’s literature. She is a hopeless romantic, a self-appointed organic food ambassador and an environmentalist with a passion for watercolor paints.

A romantic organic environmentalist? Love that!

It can be no surprise that Angela prefers sunshine over rain, loves all types of music from Train to Chopin along with one of my personal favs, jazz musician Jesse Cook landing somewhere in-between. She has an exceptional flair for salsa dancing. Arriba! And on any given day she can be seen wearing her designer heels to the least of appropriate places.

Her son’s soccer practice? Okay, we won’t go there.

So with the everyday juggling act that Angela has to face, how is it that she is able to keep her focus and what has helped her to achieve her many goals?

Well with 2012 just around the corner, Angela is here not only to answer that question, but she is going to share with us her highly motivating formula for success!

So without further ado, I am thrilled to introduce to you, Angela Peart!

Thanks Karen and hello everyone!

As was mentioned, our lives can easily get in the way of our main objectives and achievements.
What I’d like to do is share with you what has helped me and many others to change that by
keeping us accountable while successfully achieving our goals.

What’s the best thing about it?

It really works…

ROW80 Straightened My Twisted Perspective on How To Achieve My Goals.

We all have goals. It must be in the human nature to realize what our desires are and to shape them into the quantifiable and time-targeted intentions simply called “a list of goals”. Some of us have a long list, while others might only have a few items on it.

Or maybe there is just this one goal that is strategically placed in front of other goals—we consider it most important for our immediate future. Perhaps we have a list of goals that are connected to one another, like stepping stones: the completion of some of them strictly depends on achieving the preceding ones.


Our goals are usually formed on a realization that our life is currently lacking something—a better job, a slimmer body, healthier eating habits, a fulfilling hobby, etc.

The list might include the goals that have formed simply because we have achieved this one specific goal in the past, but until now we haven’t attached any strings to it.

For example, let’s say Susie bought a gift certificate for Amy at a craft store. Amy, who has never been very crafty, went to that store and examined various items without really knowing what she should be looking for. Finally, some fabric caught Amy’s eye and she spent her gift certificate on the fabric along with some thread and needles (per the store clerk’s suggestion). Amy took all her purchases home, but she had no idea what to do with them. Susie brought Amy some quilting magazines to look through, and Amy decided that she loved the way the quilts look. So what happened next?

Amy had a goal!

Her goal was to sign up for a quilting class, which she did. But she needed a sewing machine. So her next goal was to save enough money for that purchase. This was Amy’s goal number one, and as you can see, it made it to her list because of the completion of her previous goal (taking the quilting class), which was also on that list because of another preceding goal—spending her gift certificate on something crafty.

This example shows us how we end up with some of our goals without even planning them ahead of time. Just like Amy in my example, we might end up with one goal creating the next and then the next and so on. Amazing how these things work.

A list of goals might be quite straightforward but the road to completion is often filled with many obstacles. Every now and then we throw our arms up in frustration and quit. Sometimes a goal slowly slips away from our focus and we conveniently “forget” about it. Other times we seriously try to achieve a goal because we know all too well that without completing it we might lose something we don’t want to give up. This is a “working under pressure” scenario that most of us know from experience.

I have set up all kinds of goals in the past—some of them I have accomplished, but some I have discarded for various reasons. I’m sure everyone has done their own share of both: great achievements and epic failures.

Then last summer I’ve heard for the first time about ROW80.

One of my WANA711 buddies Kerry Meacham was participating and posting updates on his blog. I got very interested in learning more and, after doing a bit of a research, I decided to join several of my other WANA711 friends who were signing up in October.

There is a bunch of us participating in the current ROW80 round, which ends on December 22nd.

I’m already planning to sign up for the next round, and my main reasons are explained below:

1. ROW80 is a simple way of structuring and working toward achieving our goals.

2. There is a certain amount of camaraderie and support among the participants.

3. By participating in ROW80 we naturally become a part of a fabulous, compassionate and inspiring writing group.

4. We put our goals (and a pledge to achieve them) on a display, which makes us accountable in the eyes of the other participants (and anyone who reads our updates). In my opinion, this is one of the greatest kinds of motivation.

Number 4 is my favorite part of ROW80 because if I am not held responsible for meeting some my goals, I might never achieve them!

Everyone who takes part in the ROW80 displays in their blog the official badge that looks like this.

There is also a hashtag of #ROW80 on Twitter where the participants not only post links to their updates, but simply socialize, exchange advices and words of encouragement.

Sometimes we set a goal that we truly believe we are capable of achieving but, in the process, we might learn otherwise. The reasons behind us not meeting that goal might be completely out of our hands.

Carrie Spencer’s post on trying to fulfill her dream to learn how to juggle is a great example of it. Carrie has discovered that she has a problem with depth perception—thus will not be able to ever master the art of juggling.

I also would like to share with you some of my ROW80 friends’ goals and methods of reporting their semi-weekly or weekly achievements or failures.
Check out Natalie Hartford’s list and her swanky calendar-based reporting. Quite impressive, isn’t it?

Gene Lempp is one of the ROW80 Round 4 sponsors. He only has listed three goals, but they are quite substantial. The first one is to participate in the NaNoWriMo by writing fifty thousand words and editing it. By the way, Gene was one of the winners of this year’s NaNo challenge. His other goal was to complete Kristen Lamb’s Blogging for Writers course, which he did. I highly recommend this workshop for every writer who wants to learn how to successfully build his or her online platform.

And last but not the least, the brain behind ROW80: the fabulous Kait Nolan! Make sure you visit her Blog and follow her on Twitter.
Here are a few of my favorite quotes on goals:

A goal without a plan is just a wish.
Antoine de Saint

Man is a goal seeking animal. His life only has meaning if he is reaching out and striving for his goals.

Goals are dreams with deadlines.
Diana Scharf Hunt

You must have long term goals to keep you from being frustrated by short term failures.
Charles C. Noble

Without goals, and plans to reach them, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination.
Fitzhugh Dodson

In life, as in football, you won’t go far unless you know where the goalposts are.
Arnold H. Glasgow

May I encourage you all to keep setting your goals and to consider ROW80 to help you achieve them!

So thank you everyone and to Karen for having me here as her guest.


No, thank you Angela!

After this encouraging post I think we’re all ready to join you over at ROW80!

I know I am!

So what do you think? Do you create lists of goals? And if so, how do you stay focused on achieving them? Do you participate in ROW80? If not, would this be something that could help you stay on task? I would love to hear your ideas and stories of success and/or failure.

If you enjoyed this post, I encourage you to follow by email for future posts.

Thank you for your many thoughts and kind comments everyone!


And a big thanks to all my new WANA friends and all others that may grace my presence by visiting this post. Take care and make it a great day!

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