Thursday, January 30, 2014

Welcome SYTYCW Finalist and Debut Author Elle Marlow

Welcome, Elle. After submitting your first chapter to SYTYCW, did you have any second thoughts or was it completely ready and polished?

I absolutely had second thoughts. I decided to take writing seriously in July just months before the contest. I didn’t have anything prepared so I hustled and wrote Josey’s Mountain in three weeks. I never even had a chance to read through it before I submitted it. Can you imagine my surprise when it made the top fifty? I did cartwheels in the streets.

Have you entered a writing contest like this before, or any other writing contest?

Before SYTYCW my only other contest was the Camp Wanna be pitch that Harlequin hosted I think that was the end of July. I received a partial request.

How long have you been writing?

I started out years ago just for fun. Then about fifteen years ago I submitted a story via snail mail to a publisher that has now gone out of business. It took a year to find out the results. Unfortunately it didn’t go anywhere.

What are your thoughts about the promotional aspect of the contest? Do you love social media and all its aspects?

I do enjoy social media. Moreover, I enjoy the friendships I made during that contest with other authors. I love cheering everyone on and watching other writers also grow in their craft.

What are you working on now?

Now I have five titles in different stages of publication with Front Porch Romance. Josey’s Mountain may not have made the top ten, but because of that effort, and it’s success, I have made lots of contacts and now, a new publishing home.

Do you have any advice for someone considering entering So You Think You Can Write 2014?

I think it’s most important to study the different lines of Harlequin, study what they are looking for. Craft your characters carefully along with a plot that fits. You get one chapter to “sell” the entire book so make it spectacular.

Where can we find you on the Web?

Where can’t you find me? LOL.



And now an excerpt from The Gambler's Passion, Elle's debut coming to you from Front Porch Romance:

Beautiful Arizona Summers is determined to fulfill her mother's dying wish and realize her dreams-even if it means dancing at Bare Backed Belles, cheating at high stakes poker or running from a spray of bullets with a man she's given her innocence to. She'd do it all and over again to find love and keep her promise.

Jace Forrester gets a thrill out of living a double life. Preacher's son by day, card hustler by night. Always after the big win, he can't resist Arizona's ultimate challenge. He may lose more than he bargain for-his heart.

Coming in February, Pour Me:

Wanted: One Cowgirl Mommy

That was the ad right next to the bartending one. Carly wasn't sure she was prepared for either, but she was heading back to Arizona regardless. Running from her past and hopefully to a brighter future, Carly couldn't predict that all three would collide and force her to face her demons. And sexy cowboy, Cade McCormick would be to blame for all of it.

Cade had to be careful about the women involved in little Danni's life. A cowgirl was on the bottom of his list! But time has a way of changing hearts, minds and roping the past together. Is his new bartender really the woman he thought he lost years ago? Did little Danni really place an ad to find her?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Cassie Girl and the Author who Loves Her ....Pamela Thibodeaux

Cassie Girl.....

I’ll never forget the day I saw her running loose at the football field near my house. Two and a half years prior, my husband and I had to put Princess, our pet of 14 years down due to large tumors blocking off her intestines. The veterinarian said she was too old and feeble to make it through the surgery.

I’ve often wondered if he was correct and if we’d at least tried, if she would have survived it. Alas we’ll never know, but the grief was so profound we talked ourselves out of getting another dog for quite sometime.

On the rare occasions we honestly thought about another pet, I would reiterate my desire for a German Shepherd.... “Not a bulky cop dog, but a slick, slender female,” I’d say, not knowing how else to describe the beauty I saw in my mind’s eye.

Then one day I headed out for my normal morning walk and a voice I know so well said, “go to the track.” Not one to argue, I headed the two blocks east of my home to the high school.

And there she was....

I walked my standard mile and then took her home with me and called my husband to let him know she was at the house. That afternoon I returned after work to find he’d located the owners. We loaded her up in the truck and proceeded to take her back.

The minute I knocked on the door and asked if their dog was missing, the owner exploded. “That’s the fourth time she’s broken her leash, if I knew someone would give her a good home I’d get rid of her!”

Didn’t take long for me to load the beauty, whose name we found was Cassie, back into the truck along with a 50lb bag of feed the woman sent along with us. Cassie (dubbed Cassie Girl by my granddaughter) has been a part of my family ever since.

She has helped me endure the grief of losing my husband, has been honored for her role in his life in the anthology The Dog Next Door (Revell 2011), and has made it into my book, In His Sight as Princess. :-)

Grade school teacher Carson Alexander has a gift—a gift that has driven a wedge between him and his family. Worse, it’s put him at odds with God. Feeling alone and misunderstood, Carson views God’s gift of prophecy as the worst kind of curse…that is until he meets Lorelei Conner, landscape artist extraordinaire, and perhaps the one person who may need Carson and his gift more than anyone ever has.

Lorelei Connor is a mother on the run. Her abusive ex-husband has followed her all over the country trying to steal their daughter. Distrusting of men and needing to keep on the move, she’s surprised by her desire to remain close to Carson Alexander. Through her fear and hesitation, she must learn to rely on God to guide her—not an easy task when He’s prompting her to trust a man.

Can their relationship withstand the tragedy lurking on the horizon?

In His Sight can be purchased through Pelican Book Group, on Kindle & Nook!

Award-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!” ™ and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.”

Website address:


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Twitter: @psthib

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Process of a Pantser

An author friend who plots recently asked me about my revision process. She's trying to fine-tine a process that works for her, and wondered what I do.

It got me to thinking about a process that's taken a few years of trial and error, and certainly one that could use improvement. At least from where I sit. I'm what most would call a "pantser", that is I don't plan and plot. I don't make out charts and graphs and do personality quizzes on my characters (though this is something I'm going to do - the personality quiz, that is).

Charts and graphs make me crazy - I believe they are primarily a left brain function, and I admire writers who have full access to both sides of their brain. Apparently I do not, or maybe I wouldn't want to throw up when I see a graph.

But I do believe in the three act structure, and this is where I begin. I always have an idea of the hero and heroine types I will write about, and the inciting incident. By my third book, I had come up with the turning points and black moment (called the climax in other genres)before I began to write. However, of course these changed. Naturally. Hence, the pantser label.

Something about the process of writing jiggles my brain. If I were to try to figure this out beforehand I'd sit and stare at a blank piece of paper. Believe me, I've tried. Nothing comes to me.

The current process, therefore, is that I prepare four folders - Act I, Act II-1, Act II-2, and Act III. This helps me to know where the turning points must be, and helps the revision process since I'm not dealing with one very large document.

Since I aim for an 80K word count, I know each act should be in the 20K range or thereabout. That's my goal.

Usually, that goal is met in revisions. Is the first draft 20K in each Act? Puhleese, don't make me laugh. No.

Someday, I'd love to be in on the process of a plotter - how they work it out, plot point by point. I'd love to be a fly on the wall and see their notes. Not that I'm going to copy them (horrors) but I might be able to use said process in my own work.

Anyway, hope springs eternal.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Drink Your Cake

This is a great rum cake to start (or end) the year. I've been making this one for the past few years and everyone loves it. This is possibly the moistest cake I've ever had.

Puerto Rican Rum Cake


1 cup chopped toasted walnuts or pecans

1 18 1/2 ounce yellow cake mix

1 1 3/4 ounce instant vanilla pudding mix

4 eggs

1/2 cup cold milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup dark rum


1 stick butter

1/4 cup water

1 cup sugar

1/2 dark run

For the cake, preheat over to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour (important, as I've had this cake stick in a Teflon coated pan and its not pretty) 12 cup Bundt pan. Sprinkle nuts on the bottom of pan. Combine all other cake ingredients. Beat for 2 minutes on high with electric mixer. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour. Cool in pan. Invert on serving plate. Prick top with fork and drizzle glaze over the top of cake. Watch as it pours over the sides and makes a pool in the center. If you like, use a brush or spoon to put the dripping back on the cake.

Glaze: Melt butter in saucepan. Stir in water and sugar. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in rum. PLEASE BE CAREFUL as the run will cause steam and you don't want to burn yourself. You want to drink your cake, not wear it.

Happy New Year!

(This post was first published on 1/3/13.)