Two 5-Star reviews for Darlin’ Irish

October 19, 2013

By Barbara Lamping

This review is from: Darlin’ Irish (Texas Devlins) (Kindle Edition)

5 stars for this exciting western romance. This the first of a trilogy will keep you on the edge of your seat while Jessie flights [fights] her temper and the forces of evil to find a love she saw in a vision. Captain Taylor meets a rare Irish beauty in a full out rage and falls instantly in love but he refuses to admit it even to himself until. . . It becomes almost to late. With a sadistic villain trying to take Jessie from him he must fight hard to win her and even harder to keep her. Can’t wait to read book two.

September 27, 2013

By Lisa Williamson “suteko”

This review is from: Darlin’ Irish (Texas Devlins) (Kindle Edition)

This tale is a fun read. You can hear the voices of the characters clearly as you move through the tale. The visions of the heroine are both intense and understandable. This tale is a good fast read with a lot of rich vistas and strong characters.


Halloween Special at Heart of Romance

I’m privileged to be part of the Halloween Celebration at: You’re invited to join the party. I’m giving away a digital copy of Dearest Irish. See you there!

Monday Author Meetup: MT McGuire

Friends, you’re MTMcGuirePhotoin for some fun and nuggets of writing wisdom today. My guest is British author of humorous, speculative fiction, M T McGuire.

About the author:

Hello everyone. I’m M T McGuire. I grew up on a windy down but now I live in Bury St Edmunds, in Suffolk [UK] with my partner and our five year old son (who is rather more mature than either of us).

Despite checking all unfamiliar wardrobes for a gateway to Narnia I’m disappointed to report that I haven’t found one. When I do, I promise you’ll be the first to know.

If you like humorous speculative fiction you might enjoy my novels: Few Are Chosen, K’Barthan Trilogy: Part 1 and The Wrong Stuff, K’Barthan Trilogy: Part 2. Both are available in pretty much any e-book format you like and also in paperback. The third book in the trilogy, One Man: No Plan, should be available in April 2014.”

Welcome, MT. To start off, please tell us how you began writing.

I don’t know really. I’ve always been away with the fairies and I developed a rich and varied daydream world – the precursor to K’Barth – way before I came up with it. My first attempt at a novel was called “Charles the Dragon Slayer”. Yep, even then it was spec-fic. I was five. Writing words takes time when you’re small so it was… hmm… how to put it? Illustration led. Charles was somewhat taciturn, but he had a way cool hat and knee high suede boots. And he killed dragons, yes siree. Like nobody’s business. And he ALWAYS got the girl.

Good for Charles! Are you self-published? If so, what made you choose this route?

I submitted to agents in 2009 when I finished writing my first book. It took me a WHOLE YEAR to get a polite no from five of them. Response times varied from 3 months to 24 hours. I decided that I would like to see my novel in print before I actualy died, and realized that I could spend the next 10, 20, 30 years querying agents and publishers without getting anywhere, or I could put it out there myself.

I have a background in brand management and a good grasp of how to produce print so I decided I’d have a pop at doing it myself. I knew it would be difficult, I was under no illusions but when it came to it, I still managed to be more clueless than I believed possible.

Ha! Me too! How do you develop your plots and your characters?

To be honest, I just set them up and see what they do. The starting point is usually a few lines of a conversation, often at a point of emotional conflict. Then I zoom in on who’s talking and what about. What is going on?  Are they together or at loggerheads? Why? Soon, I have a whole load of back story. Once I know who the characters are and the denouement, I also know what characters will do when faced with choices. Even so, I often have to bin vast tracts of stuff, (60,000 words so far in the current W.I.P.) and strike out in a different direction.

Wow, 60,000 words? You have a whole new book there. I’m curious, do you research for your alternate reality stories?

Ah, this is the joy of creating my own worlds. I can make up any old crap and it’s true because I’M IN CONTROL! Mwah ha hahargh!

Er hem. Sorry. Seriously, I love science, especially things like quantum physics. The idea that everything is positive or negative and all the same at a basic level fascinates me. It follows that, if you get down there, you can build things back up any way you want. I also like this idea as an explanation of telepathy – if everything interconnects, of course we know what other people are thinking.

That said, it’s kind of happenstance that the stuff I’ve put in my book ties in. What I actually based it on were accounts of precognition. Sir Robin Get’s explanation of time and reality in Few Are Chosen, the first book of the K’Barthan Trilogy, is based on the experiences of precognitives dreaming things that come true. Turns out this fits with some theories about quantum and reality. Who’d have thought?

I’m a believer! The heroine of my first book is a precog, and I’ve had such dreams myself. On a more mundane note, are your books professionally edited?

All my books are professionally copy edited by a chap who does a pretty good proof as well. After that, I send them out to a handy group of eagle-eyed beta readers, one of whom is also a professional proof reader. After THAT I inflict them on the unsuspecting public.

Ahem, that’s an interesting way to put it. What about your book covers? Who designs them?

Ah, a subject close to my heart. I used to be an artist. Before McMini [MT’s darling little boy] came along I could paint like ringing a bell and I did OK money-wise. However, when McMini arrived, I found that the kind of creativity I use in my painting is the same kind I use to get a small boy from point A to point B without tantrums. Thinking up ways to make putting on shoes, dressing and getting ready for school interesting enough for us to actually… well… get to school, drains my creative painting juices.

However, that doesn’t stop me from behaving like an artiste with attitude when it comes to my book covers. For me, a cover has to do four things:

1. Show readers what’s inside.

2. Persuade them that it’s interesting and exciting.

3. Stand out from all the other, similar books.

4. Display all the shorthand indicators of its genre and type. The readiest example of this is the use of a male torso with abs you could break rocks on to signal a hot romance. Actually, Lyn, I think you do this really well with your books, because the artwork has all the indicators but it’s different from most of the others I’ve seen.

The artwork on my books is kind of 2000 AD meets the backgrounds on a cartoon TV series, Danger Mouse. It’s informed by film posters and pop culture, and this may be where I’ve gone wrong. You see, I don’t like that many book covers in my genre. I liked the Harry Potter books, but I’m not so keen on the monochrome covers, all grey with a splash of olive green, burnt sienna, Moorish gold, or aquamarine.

So along I come, all bouncy and bushy tailed thinking, “but we have digital presses these days, we don’t need to save money by doing black and white and one spot colour! We have the whole rainbow!” The result is an explosion of primary coloured madness that I LOVE! However, I’m not sure other people do. Should I change it? Probably. Will I? No. Partly because, if the books take off, I have a lot of way cool ready-made merchandise… but mainly because, rather pretentiously, I think it’s art.

MT, you just taught a condensed course in cover design. You rock, girl! OH, and thanks for the compliment. (I used to be an artist too.) So, when you’re not writing, creating book covers or being Mum to McMini, how do you unwind and relax?

Putting aside the people I hang out with, who are my main relaxant, I love telly and music. I watch 1960s rubbish like the first StarTrek or things like the New Avengers and the Man from U.N.C.L.E., James Bond, that kind of thing. I listen to lots of music; from Pink Floyd to Mozart, Bach to the Beatles. I put on the CD, sit back, close my eyes and watch the pictures in my head. Later, I writeFACSnurdsNew them down.

Then we come to cars… driving, admiring, tinkering…. To say I am an incurable petrol head is a bit of an understatement. I can fix a shorting electrical system armed with nothing more than some tin foil and a pot of Vaseline… well… actually it was Atrixo but no-one’ll know what that is. As for the ride, few things feel better than driving a finely designed auto. When you put your foot down it should shout like James Brown. You know you’re driving a proper car when you have to keep turning the stereo down so you can listen to the engine. Hmm … you can see how I came up with the whole snurds thing now, can’t you?!

Go snurds! What aspect of writing makes you happiest? What frustrates you most about writing?

The happy moments are when it’s going well. I love telling stories, I love the texture and rhythm of words on the page and it sounds a little bit crazy, but even I don’t quite know what’s going to happen until the end so I really like finding out. That probably is the biggie. The other is when I sit back, having read it through, and think, “Blimey! I can’t believe I wrote this!”

The frustrating thing is how long it takes. It’s a bit like sitting down to watch a movie and having someone come in, switch it off and tell you that you can’t watch the end for four years. The thing is, though, I am a wife and mother and being those things can take a lot of time. It takes me two years to write a book. I get to write no more than about an hour and a half a day during school terms. Over holidays I have to shelve it completely, so there’s always a settling in time at the beginning of each term as I get up to speed again. The endless stop-start of momentum makes it difficult to keep big projects moving. Writing a trilogy was not smart in this respect.

I understand your frustration. Can you describe what it’s like to be an author in three words?

Fan bloody tastic.

Too right! What advice would you give beginning writers?

· Make sure your book is ready before you publish it. For years I showed my books to everyone who’d look at them, desperate to hear “this is wonderful.” When I finally wrote a decent one it was like scales lifted from my eyes. Suddenly, I just knew it was alright. You will too when you’ve cracked it.

· Always get your books professionally edited. Some people can proof read their own work, but they are rarer than unicorn poo. I believe it’s always best to work on the assumption it’s impossible.

· Always get a professional to do your cover, even if they are working from your own drawing.

· Start knocking about online before you publish your book. Get to know other authors and ask them questions. They are often keen to share information; things like the name of a good editor or cover designer. This is how I found my editor. If you want to start somewhere friendly visit Kindleboards, or meet readers on Goodreads. There’s a great group here: (

· Think hard about what you say online. Never post in anger or say anything you wouldn’t say to the person’s face. Remember, you are the brand and mistakes are hard to undo. Don’t expect to sell much from your online activities at first, but don’t discount them. Writing is a solitary profession and the internet is your water cooler.

· The e-book world is ever changing and unpredictable as the recent temporary withdrawal of all self published books from Kobo has shown. It’s worth making a print version of your books if you can. I sell many more print books than e-books. Aaron Shepherd’s books explain how to do this very well. I can recommend Print on Demand for Profit, and Aiming at Amazon.

Such great advice! A definite keeper! Please tell us what project(s) you’re working on now.

One Man: No Plan, K’Barthan Trilogy: Part 3. I confess I am having an absolute gas and I can only apologise that it’s taking such a long time. Real Life is a bit intrusive right now. I am creeping towards the finish and am hoping it will be out in Spring 2014.

Lyn, thank you so much for letting me witter away on your blog!

My pleasure, MT! Now readers, here’s a taste of Few Are Chosen, K’Barthan Trilogy: Part 1:

Book blurb:FACCover 600dpiFront

Charming outlaw with own transport and limited social skills seeks lucrative, employment at minimal risk.

When you’re running from a murderous government and work for an equally murderous gangster, accidentally torching his apartment is a bad move.

All The Pan of Hamgee wants is a quiet life but destiny has other plans.

Book Excerpt:

In the cellar of The Parrot and Screwdriver, in the dim gleam of a guttering candle the pub’s two septuagenarian landladies, Gladys Parker and Ada Maddox were setting up a machine. It was cobbled together from bits of a fully functioning original (which had met with an accident) a biro, an old saucer and some of the red elastic bands the postman always left on the step.

“Are you sure this will work, dear?” asked Ada, her voice full of concern.

“Yer. Trev went down the Business Side and found some longer elastic bands.” Ada wore a blank expression. “’S bigger parcels in business and more post,” Gladys explained. “It’ll wind longer, so’s it’ll get up more speed and run longer.” She was busy with a small wooden propeller that had a hook in it, twisting it round and round. One end of the larger elastic band under discussion was attached to the hook; the other was attached to the central spindle of the wobbly home-made contraption. As Gladys wound the elastic band, Ada held the machine steady with one hand, while in her other hand was a tuning fork.

“Ready dear?” asked Ada.

“Yer. What’s yer note?” Gladys asked.


Gladys sniffed. “Should be an A.”

“I know dear, but I’m sure I can find an A.”

“I hopes so. Does you have the jar?”

Ada checked that the jar of Gladys’ homemade chutney was within reach, towards the edge of the only clear surface available for them to set up their apparatus; the lid of the freezer.

“I do.”

A curt nod. “Hmph. You knows what’ll happen to the chutney if we done it.”

“Yes dear,” said Ada, who was aware, or at least partly aware of what would happen to the chutney – partly, but not wholly, on the grounds that while she knew the chutney would disappear, neither she nor Gladys had a clue where it would actually go to.

“I is going to count three.”

“Right’o, dear.”

“THREE!” shouted Gladys, letting go of the propeller. Everything happened very quickly. By some miracle of science, the wobbly gyroscope began to spin with remarkable stability. Dim bolts of electrical charge flickered between the machine and the chutney jar. They gave off a green glow, while the machine itself hummed; a low bass hum. Ada bashed the tuning fork on the table, put it to her ear and sang:


Gladys grabbed a thing which looked a little like an upholstery needle and stuck it into the green flecks; moving it towards the jar. The note emanating from the machine changed. As the elastic band wound down, there was just time for the green flecks to turn blue before it ceased to spin.

The old ladies waited in silence. The chutney stayed where it was.

“Oh dear! I thought we had it that time,” said Ada. Gladys and Ada had been paying regular visits to the cellar to work on their project for some time. They planned to make contraband equipment with which they could establish an escape programme for the blacklisted; a ticket to a new identity and a new life. A one-way ticket, of course, because they couldn’t come back, but then, why would they want to? Where they were going, there was no Blacklist and nobody was vermin. The original scheme had gone swimmingly for two years, until Ada had dropped a vital piece of equipment and Gladys’ son Trev had trodden on it.

Gladys and Ada were on the brink of giving up on their plan and informing their colleagues that they had failed; that the organisation must make do with only very occasionally transporting people to safety using a far more dangerous means. It could be done, but only by people with enough special training. No, not people, a person – Sir Robin Get, the last of the great Nimmists, the last hope of the nation –nobody else could do it, nobody who was alive any more, anyway.

Sir Robin was, as Trev would put it, ‘knocking on a bit’ and Gladys and Ada were keen to get their disposable transport system up and running before he, or they ‘pegged it’ (Trev again). It had taken some hours to get the machine going, and several apparently successful attempts to set up the chutney jar had failed, when, for all the hopeful signs, the chutney remained stubbornly in position. This latest attempt was no exception.

“That were the note.” Gladys scratched her head. “We isn’t doin’ this wrong. I is sure.”

The two regarded the jar thoughtfully. Always a chutney jar and always full, because that was the only thing in the Parrot and Screwdriver that gave a suitable reading for conversion.

“I don’t understand it. Why won’t it go?”

Gladys shrugged.

“’S gotta be an expla-… expla-… reason.”

Ada picked up the jar and turned it over. Nope. Nothing. The chutney remained stolidly where it was, except the jar was different. She held it in front of the candle.

“Has it changed shape a little?” In the dim light it was difficult to be sure but, it seemed to have acquired a waist. No. Surely not. She handed it to Gladys who tried to take the lid off. It wouldn’t turn.

“’S stuck.” Gladys banged it on the side of the freezer and removed it without further trouble. She stuck her finger in the contents and licked it.

“’S not done the chutney no harm,” she said, proffering the jar to her friend with a definite here’s-the-bright-side ring to her tone. Ada stuck her finger in and tasted some. A fine kick there – a little more than usual, perhaps – or was that simply down to age?

“I think it might be a tad richer than before,” she said.

Gladys put the jar down and they both looked at it for a moment.

“I is not surprised. We has been working on this jar a long time an’ given it time for aging. It’s good for aging, my pickle.”

“So what are we doing wrong?”

Gladys sucked a breath in through her teeth. “It’s something blindin’ obvious I reckons. Or we is missing a step.”

There was a noise, small but growing louder and louder. Like the sound the water used to make running out of the bathtub upstairs in Ada and Gladys flat, before Trev and his mate Stan the Plumber had ripped out the old stuff and replaced it with something better – a noise like soapy water gurgling and screeching through ancient, decrepit pipes. And a pop.

“Ooo!” said Ada.

“Yer,” said Gladys.

The chutney had disappeared.

Something in Ada’s mind floated to the surface, something from a science lesson at school all those years ago, about vacuums. Of course it had disappeared. It would probably have done so long before now, she thought, if only they had taken off the lid.

Where to find M T McGuire online.




Amazon (wherever you are):



Barnes & Noble:


Social Media:

Twitter: @mtmcguireauthor

Twitter profile for easy following




Tumblr: caveat, I’ve no idea what to do with Tumblr but WordPress offered to add my blog posts and it seemed churlish to refuse.

New Review for Dearest Irish

WordPress Cover 2

I just found this lovely new review for Dearest Irish on Amazon. I’m doing a happy dance. Smile 

5 stars for an endearing tale of Love and western excitement that will make you read the two other tails [tales] in the series. The story of Rose’s family and their rare gifts and the persecution they suffered for being different is what endeared it to me as I have heard of many people’s who have been feared for being different including the blacks and native Americans. This story is pure joy and the love between Rose and Jack timeless. A great read. – Barbara Lamping

Writing In Living Color And Two New Lists

Terrific lists for authors! And, an excerpt from White Witch is used to illustrate. Many thanks to Sharla Rae!

Writers In The Storm Blog

By Sharla Rae

I’m sharing not one list today, but two. The first one covers shades of the basic color spectrum. The second deals with adjectives describing color and the possible “conditions” of color, that is, how it’s used. But Writing in living color is more than just knowing and choosing color descriptions. It’s showing the reader the story in living color even when “no” colors are mentioned.

Here’s how Laura Drake did it in her book, The Sweet Spot.  In this excerpt, the focus is not on the color but the “entire” picture the character Belle presents. Only three basic colors are used. Remove the color terms and the reader would still see this scene in living color.

At the end stood a woman perusing a dog-eared catalog – a woman Char had never met, but recognized from the gossip. This was that new Yankee that moved…

View original post 1,611 more words

Monday Author Meetup: Susan Horsnell

Susan Horsnell

I’m joined today by my Australian friend and author of western romance, Susan Horsnell.

About the author:

Susan says,

I grew up in the Western Suburbs of Sydney in the 50’s and 60’s.

My parents are originally from the Newcastle-Under-Lyme area of England and came to Australia in 1952 as £10 poms. It was during the migration scheme to help Australia with workers. The word “Pom” meant English people. Assisted by the government, adults traveled for £10; children traveled for free. My father was a Painter and Decorator and I was the eldest of five children.

I met my husband, Robert, in 1973 and we married in March 1974; we were both 18 years old. We have two wonderful sons, gorgeous daughters-in-law and five incredible grandchildren. We have been extremely blessed.

I was a Nurse, a career that spanned more than 35 years. During my career I specialized in caring for people with Alzheimer’s type Dementia, an area that fascinates me despite how heartbreaking it can be. My dear father-in-law is unfortunately afflicted with this disease and now resides in a Nursing Home. In the not too distant future I am hoping to pen a novel incorporating some of the stories I have heard from these amazing people. Part of my career was with the blind and I also cared for severely disabled children for a while too.

When I retired 4 years ago I decided it was time to get the stories out of my head and onto paper. From there I just hoped my stories were interesting and well written enough to attract readers.

It is difficult being a new author now that anyone can publish a book. I can understand readers’ reticence to read Indie authors but hopefully they will give people like me a chance. I find as an avid reader, you can be pleasantly surprised most of the time. I can’t imagine sticking to just one or two authors and just because an author has a publisher doesn’t make them good. I have certainly read some terrible books which have been published by some of the largest companies.

I do hope readers enjoy my books and would love them to leave reviews.

Thank you so very much, Lyn, for inviting me onto your blog.

I’m delighted you’re here, Susan. May I ask if someone inspired you to write? If so, who and how?

My husband encouraged me to write. I have always had a good imagination and English/History were my favorite and best subjects at school. I read a great deal and had so many ideas for where authors could have taken their books. When I retired 4 years ago I decided it was as good a time as ever to see if I could put together something a reader would enjoy. So far it has worked out reasonably well.

Are you self-published? If so, what made you choose this route?

I am self-published. I chose this route after researching several publishers and deciding I could do everything they offered and more. I get to keep all the profits too. If I wasn’t retired I might have considered a publisher as I wouldn’t have had the time to do what needs to be done.

Do you have critique partners and/or beta readers?

I have a great critique partner, mentor and friend in Margaret Tanner. Her help on my last 2 books has been invaluable and I have turned out much better books because of it. I will be always grateful for her guiding hand.

What book are you reading now? Is this by a new author to you, or an old favorite?

I am reading ‘Where the Rain is Made’ by Keta Diablo. Keta is a lady I met through a forum and she is one of my many supporters and encouragers, along with yourself. I have read one other of Keta’s books and my housework suffered because of it!

LOL! I have the same problem. Do you have a favorite charity that you support?

We support a Moon Bear called Crystal through Animals Asia. Crystal was in a terrible state when she was freed from bile farming. She had no teeth or claws and her general health was extremely poor. She is a high care bear who resides in a sanctuary in China. We are extremely proud of the work this group does and we are also proud to be associated with them.

Poor Crystal! She must have suffered terribly. Bless you for helping to save her! Changing the subject, how do you react to a bad review of your book?

I have had a couple of bad reviews, both were when I was a new comer and I really took them to heart. I hated the thought I had upset readers. Now I have the attitude. I can’t please everybody and even the best of authors get bad reviews.

That is so true. We must grow thick skins. What project(s) are you working on now?

I am working on the sequel to Blind Acceptance. It is called Blind Achievement. Phillip is now an adult and has gone off to college to study Law and Government Politics. It was to be due out at the end of October but let’s just say I am behind schedule and need to get my act together.

Same here, my friend. Life tends to distract. Do you have a favorite quote? Please share it.

My favorite quote is one my grandfather used to say all the time: “Only people who aren’t intelligent enough to think of the correct word to use, swear.”

This has stuck with me throughout life. Another was “You have to have a really good memory to be a good liar.”

Grinning! Your grandfather was a wise man. Now, please tell us about one of your books. Blind Acceptance

All right, here’s a small sample of Blind Acceptance.

Book Blurb:

Will Luke accept his son, Phillip’s blindness?

When Phillip is injured in a wagon accident and blinded for life, his father must come to terms with the fact that his only heir will be unable to run his beloved ranch unaided.

He struggles to accept his son is still whole; even the beautiful teacher he employs to help Phillip can’t seem to break down Luke’s walls.

Then, without warning, there is an event on the ranch that will change their lives forever.

Book Excerpt:

…..Less than five minutes later the men spotted something lying on the road up ahead. Luke stood in his stirrups, raised his hand to his forehead to shelter his eyes from the sun, and strained to see what it was that lay on the road.

“Dear God, NOOO!”

Luke’s stricken shout startled Nathan and Smoky and they sat stunned as he spurred his horse into a gallop. They were left in a cloud of choking dust kicked up by his horse’s hooves.

He’d barely brought his horse to a stop before he jumped out of the saddle and landed beside the body of his pale, lifeless son. He dropped to his knees and scooped Phillip into his arms.

He tore the cravat from Phillip’s mouth and flung it away. As he held Phillip close and began to rock back and forth, he lowered his head and sobbed.

Nathan and Smoky rode up and dismounted. “Luke?” Nathan didn’t know if Phillip was dead or alive and tears began to well in his own eyes.

He crouched down and placed his hand on his grief stricken brother’s shoulder.

Nathan attempted to console Luke and get close enough to check Phillip. Smoky dashed over to check on the other two bodies that were lying at odd angles nearby.

“Luke, let me see.”

Nathan didn’t know much about doctoring but he knew enough to tell if someone was dead or alive and he could tell when bones were broken.

He gently moved his hands towards Phillip and Luke held his son out for his brother to check.

He lowered his ear to Phillip’s mouth and rested his hand on his chest. “He’s breathing and his heartbeat’s strong Luke. I think he’ll be okay but we need to get him home and get Doc to look at him.”

Luke gazed at Nathan through watery eyes. He wanted so much to believe Phillip would be okay but his tiny body felt so limp lying in his arms.

Nathan attempted to reassure Luke again. “He’ll be okay I’m sure of it but we need Doc to see him.”

Smoky walked over with a grim look on his face. “They’re both dead. Looks like Marie has a broken neck and the man’s body is at an odd angle; I think he might have broken his back. His head is split real bad too; lots of blood. I’ll go get the undertaker from town.”

“Ask Doc to come to the house and see Phillip.” Nathan reached out and began prizing Phillip out of Luke’s arms. “Mount up Luke and I’ll hand him to you.”

Luke was still in a daze but he handed his son over and stood up. Nathan noticed the blood all over Luke’s shoulder as he took Phillip into his arms. He checked to find where it was coming from.

When he ran his hand over Phillip’s head; it came away red, wet and sticky.

The look of anguish on Luke’s face broke Nathan’s heart and he did his best to reassure him. “He’s cracked his head and knocked himself out but he’s still breathing okay and his heart beat is real strong.”

Purchase Blind Acceptance here:

See all of Susan’s books here:

Find Susan here:

Monday Author Meetup: Sandra Millett

Are there any photoquilter out there? If so, you’re in for a treat. My guest today is author and quilter extraordinaire, Sandra Millett.

About the author:

Sandra Millett (Mill et), is a multifaceted author, lecturer, stitchery teacher (including quilting and haute couture), and a quilt show judge. Sandra is also a freelancer, who lectures about quilting, stitchery, writing and the business of writing. Her feature articles have appeared in McCall’s Quilting, Threads, Dallas Medical Journal and various national publications and newspapers. Her popular it-happened-to-me humor stitchery column Needle ‘n Pen, was a regular in the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram and featured in The Quilter Magazine.

Sandra has studied writing and the publishing industry since 1983 and enjoys sharing her knowledge at both national and local workshops and conferences. Topics include the business of writing, contracts, research and various issues of fiction and nonfiction writing. She has recently rejoined Romance Writers of America and the local Yellow Rose RWA chapter. Her two manuscripts are an historical Oregon Trail romance and a humorous contemporary. In 1993, Sandra stepped back in time to travel with a wagon train on the Oregon Trail. This appreciation for early emigrant-quilters is translated into her historical slide lectures.

As an outgrowth of her writing, Sandra is also a professional photographer, generating her own images, in addition to camera ready line art to accompany her writings. She is also a proud volunteer first responder for the Trophy Club Fire and Police departments. (Photo of her in uniform)

Sandra, I’m fascinated by your varied career as an author! How did you first begin writing?

That’s a rather long story. After trying almost every handcraft/hobby, I discovered quilting in 1974. I went to an open class at a fabric store in Fresno, CA and discovered that I knew more than the instructor. After several answers from me, she asked me to teach the class. From a core of six people who raised their hands wanting to meet, we grew to a group of twelve that gathered weekly for twenty-five years. I also began teaching quilting (I am self-taught) and so do some things differently. By 1975, I was so involved with quilting that I asked two friends to join me and within three months we opened a quilt store, Quilters Paradise, which is still in operation all these years later.

During this time, my students kept asking me to write my class in book form. With a quilt store, teaching and five children, somehow there just wasn’t time to write. Something had to give–after much agonizing, the store went. Eighteen months later, Quilt-As-You-Go was born.

At the same time I was broadcasting a weekly, call-in radio show about quilting and stitchery on KMJ-AM and had as many men callers as women. Three years later, I was frustrated just talking about a visual art, so I organized a television show about all things to do with thread and needle. I employed a staff of twelve and a manager. We filmed with a studio audience. With national support, I was about to go national when I was misdiagnosed with ovarian cancer.

During treatment, I lost my business, but while laying in the hospital over nine months, I decided to write romance –my favorite reading genre. After I recovered, I joined an RWA chapter. Yellow Rose is my fourth chapter and I was founding president of one: The Monterey Bay Chapter.

Do you use a pen name?


That’s a definite no, I guess. LOL! Changing the subject, can you write amid noisy distractions?

Oh, yes. I ran my husband’s law office in the Santa Cruz, CA area for twelve years. I learned how to be writing a romance scene and have to answer a caller’s detailed law question. That’s focus! But it took some time to learn.

Do you need to do research for your quilting books? What about for your other books?

The quilt books are written by making specific quilts that I design and execute. The First Peoples: The Hmong of Southeast Asia,” was published internationally in both Singapore and in the US. It’s one of a twelve book children’s series about tribes of the world for libraries. I worked with the Hmong in Fresno, CA, moved to Trophy Club, TX, and joined a church that has a Northern Vietnam outreach. Days before we left, I found the job on the internet, bought six research books in Hanoi in a street book store, came home and wrote the book’s outline in four days with a raging Hanoi bug doing awful things to my body. But it was accepted.

For the 1845-1875 historical, I was lucky enough to live in the Portland, OR, area when the State celebrated the 150-year Oregon Trail anniversary. I researched, attended lectures and rode with the official wagon train for a week in historical dress, traveling around the skirt of Mt. Hood to Oregon City, the end of the Oregon Trail. I learned during that trip that it’s the little things that make your descriptions ring with truth.

Do you have your books professionally edited?

The three quilt books were edited by the publisher’s editor. However, they virtually went to press without editing–several phrases or words changed in each. The Hmong book was edited to fit into the series only. My newspaper column and magazine articles are virtually unedited. I intend to edit my historical.

I’ve developed a method of “V” editing that works for me and I’m able to write to a specific word count, if needed. This technique comes from typing my first two books on a typewriter. I was a lousy typist and would leave words–even whole phrases–out. Needing to fit the omissions in, I’d look to cut phrases and replace with one or two words. It was a painful learning, time consuming experience.

For my first quilt book, I taught myself camera ready line art, and photography. Now, I have to learn a high-end computer program for drawing quilts.

You’ve obviously acquired many important skills. No please describe what it’s like to be an author in three words.

Humbling, frustrating–simply wonderful! Those last two words count as one, really. Smile

Yes they do! What advice would you give beginning writers?

Stick to it. I did–and you should read the first chapter of my first novel. It is summed up in two words–appallingly bad.

What’s your favorite quote?

It’s taped to my monitor. “Good writing is stringing words together well.” I don’t know who the author is, but if someone recognizes it, please let me know.

That’s a great quote! Which of your books was most favorably reviewed?

The first one: Quilt-As-You-Go. It received wonderful reviews, including, “Add this to your library,” by The Library Journal. The book was in print for ten years and considered a classic. It’s Second Edition was in print for five years.

Awesome! Can you tell us about your current project?

Yes. The novel that I’m working on is a rewrite of my Oregon Trail book, “Walker’s Pledge.”Quilt As You Go

It’s a story of a young woman who leaves her foster family and goes East to be trained as a physician, returns home, then is rejected by most everyone because she’s a female doctor and, in desperation, doctors the prostit . . . well, you’ll just have to wait to read it.

I’ll end by sharing my third son’s remark when the boxes arrived with my first book:

“Gee, Mom! It looks like a real book.”

Oh my, aren’t kids just so funny! Now here’s a bit more about two of Sandra’s books. First,

Quilt As You Go

This is a practical guide to quilting, packed with innovative ideas and useful tips to the craft. Contains many new patterns, all with detailed diagrams and step-by-step instructions, with instructions for making and using a frame so that you can create beautiful, hand-stitched, full-sized quilts. Offers advice on selecting fabrics, mixing prints and working out measurements. Features the author’s simple way to applique so that nobody need baste and press ever again, as well as instructions for a unique straight-seam method for bindings and borders.

Hmong of Southeast Asia



And, The Hmong of Southeast Asia

Grade 4-6-Colorfully bordered spreads introduce each group, the habitat in which they live, the plants and animals native to the region, and early contacts with outsiders. Later spreads consider traditional and modern lifestyles: home construction, foods, clothing and fashion, languages, performing arts, crafts, recreation, myths and spirits, and rituals associated with birth and death. The attractive layouts feature photographs, usually in full color, as well as adequate maps. Text boxes with colorful backgrounds expand on the information.

Look for Sandra’s books on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other online retailers.