For the birds (#MFRWAuthor)



The topic for this week’s Marketing for Romance Writers blog contest is what I learned when researching my book.

In the latest book in my Calusa Town Tales, I include a scene featuring an escaped emu. Yes, this actually happened back when I was the editor of our local newspaper. I got repeated calls of emu spottings in various neighborhoods. It took a few days to track the critter down and some firefighters and animal rescue to round it up, as I recall.

It doesn’t happen quite that way in Island Dream. In the fictional version, the emu serves as a means for two minor characters to work out their communication differences.

The actual research I did was to check emus’ height and habits. They can grow to 6′ 2″ in height and run as fast as 31 mph. They are grayish-brown in color and eat mostly plants and the occasional bug. And people really do raise them in Florida.

Read more research stories here.

Love’s Bittersweet Beginning book release


LOVE’S BITTERSWEET BEGINNING, a new story by Traci Wooden-Carlisle in the First Street Church KindleWorlds. Now available on Kindle & Kindle Unlimited!  Get your copy today!



Tony Cahill is at the top of his game as the starting kicker for the Scranton Sparrows. A crushing hit places him on the injured list, but even worse is the news of his grandfather’s passing. If that isn’t enough, his grandmother shares her desire to move back home to Sweet Grove but she is hiding something.

Once they reach Sweet Grove he is surprised by his usually healthy grandmother’s decline. Meagan Rowe, his grandmother’s new nurse/companion is an unexpected pleasure. She is the only woman with the ability to take his breath away when he’s in her presence. He can’t help but be drawn to her no matter how many miles will soon separate them. Though she seems a little young and overqualified as a support care worker, her energy and zest for life makes her perfect for his grandmother.

Meagan Rowe has lived in Sweet Grove for most of her life. It was a place of refuge after the death of her twin brother. Her brother’s terminal illness influenced her decision to become a nurse practitioner. For years it was the only career that made sense, both to her heart and for her family’s decimated budget. She loves helping people whom others have given up hope on but has begun to wonder if her chosen path is just a way to keep her brother close.

Imagine her distress when she discovers that the handsome and charming grandson of the sweet woman she cares for is on the Upton Foundation’s board of directors. The same foundation that denied her family the financial help needed to take care of her brother as they felt he deserved.

Will hard feelings and a heartbreaking secret sideline this budding romance?


Let’s start at the very beginning (#MFRWAuthor)



This week’s blog topic is “My contest experiences-win, lose, get signed.” The only contests I have ever entered were two by Harlequin: So You Think You Can Write.

The first one was several years ago. The theme was medical romances. I was a huge fan of House, MD, and had begun a story featuring a brilliant and prickly doctor. (How original.) As you have not seen this novel in print, you may surmise that Harlequin did not drop everything and sign me up. I did, however, get some helpful advice. Start in media res.

Here’s how Encyclopedia Britannica defines that term

In medias res, (Latin: “in the midst of things”) the practice of beginning an epic or other narrative by plunging into a crucial situation that is part of a related chain of events; the situation is an extension of previous events and will be developed in later action. The narrative then goes directly forward, and exposition of earlier events is supplied by flashbacks.

I had started, as many beginning authors do, with backstory instead of at the moment when my naive but plucky heroine met said doctor. Lesson learned. I redid the opening, but have yet to complete the novel. Maybe someday.

I recently entered a similar contest that called for submission of a first chapter. Harlequin favors exotic locations and careers, so I wrote about the maestro of a fledgling opera company in Salzburg who is accused of harassing a violinist. He is immediately cleared by the company’s new PR director who must then pose as his fiancee to keep other women at bay.

I got positive comments on my pacing and characters, but Harlequin’s editor thought the subject was too touchy in today’s climate.

I’ve decided to write the story anyway, but I’ve relocated it to Florida where I live. I’d love some feedback. Is the topic too sensitive? Would you read this book? Please leave me your comments.

And if you want to find out how my fellow authors fared in contests, go here.


Help! I need somebody…(#MFRWAuthor)



Oh, my goodness! We are into the 11th week of the year already? This week’s #MFRWAuthor blog challenge is “If I never had to do this one task again…”

Some of these weekly topics are difficult to answer. This one isn’t.

If I never had to deal with telephone customer service, and I use that term loosely, I would jump for joy. This goes for cable television, medical practitioners, bank or insurance personnel, and any and all government bureaucracies.

All of the “push this button for that” business is circular and infuriating. My husband has been known to bellow “Get me a human being” into the phone. This rarely works. I try repeatedly pressing zero. Same non-result.

If by some stroke of luck you actually get to a person, that person cannot give you a satisfactory answer anyway. The most recent excuse I got was they hadn’t called back since they were catching up from the hurricane. The hurricane that happened six months ago.

Take a look here to see what bugs my fellow authors.


Do unto others (#MFRWAuthor)


Week ten Marketing for Romance Writers blog challenge is things only my family would understand. My siblings and I use the term “do-less” to describe people who are a combination of useless, clueless, and helpless, and also short on common sense.

My mother used this adjective, and we all picked it up. I’ve never heard anyone else use it. I never knew if it originated in her native West Virginia or if it was her own original construct, but I suspect the latter. It is very useful, however, in conveying a lot of information and more than a little disdain.

I can’t wait to read family stories from my fellow authors here.