All posts in the blogging category

Yeah, yeah, yeah (#MFRWAuthor)

Published June 22, 2018 by francesothomas



The topic in this 25th week of the Marketing for Romance Writers blog hop is an easy one: Do I keep a diary or journal?

Why, yes. Yes, I do. Although I’ve tried to follow the advice of Julia Cameron and write “morning pages,” I failed. I don’t write something every day. I don’t use a fancy book designed for the purpose. A spiral notebook works just fine. I have half a dozen or more lying around in a drawer.

But what I don’t have, and desperately wish I did, is the diary I kept as a teenager.

You see, I just read an advanced review copy of Diary of a Beatlemaniac by Patricia Gallo-Stenman who had the foresight not only to write in a diary but to hold on to it. Her book jogged my memory, but truthfully I hadn’t forgotten what life was like circa 1964. How exciting it was to see our idols on stage in an erstwhile ice arena in Pittsburgh. The breathess anticipation for every new album release. The heartbreak when the Beatle who was supposed to wait for me to grow up so I could marry him went and married someone else. Yep, it all came flooding back.

I recently talked with another author who told me she writes historical fiction. When I asked about her book, I discovered it is set in the 1960s. Say wha’? It is kinda sobering to realize how much of your life is now considered history.

I can’t wait to read about other authors’ journals here. I’m betting the percentage of us who keep them is high.



Eeny, meeny, miny, moe (MFRWAuthor)

Published June 15, 2018 by francesothomas



The item I can’t live without is the topic for this week on Marketing for Romance Writers blog hop. If you ask my husband, the answer would be my laptop. He definitely has a point. I spend most of the day, every day, tapping away on it.

Then there’s the television. Even when I’m not actually watching it, I often have it on for company. What about my phone? Not my cellphone, mind you. I rarely use that one, but I have a standing one hour minimum land line conversation with my sister weekly.

But what about my bottle of foundation? Or my hair dryer? I use both daily unless I am really, really, and I mean really ill.

Of course, there’s my Keurig and my espresso maker. Those are pretty important.

I am, after all, a writer. So, the item I can’t live without is my library card. Or my Kindle. Or my reading glasses.

I give up. It is impossible to choose. Take a look here to see what other authros have to say on this subject.

No gift-wrap needed (#MFRWAuthor)

Published June 1, 2018 by francesothomas


This week’s blog hop topic has me stumped. What is the best gift I ever gave?

My husband and I stopped exchanging gifts quite a while back. Whenever either of us need anything, we just buy it.

When I think of gifts now, what comes to mind are little things I do for him. It might be a food he particularly likes that I bring home from the grocery store as a treat or the birthday card I create for him on Canva and email to him.

I guess my attitude toward what constitutes a gift extends to family and friends. I try to offer a listening ear and a helping hand whenever I can.  In terms of Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages, mine obviously is acts of service.

I can’t wait to read about the gift-giving experiences of fellow authors here.



Hail to the King (#MFRWAuthor)

Published May 25, 2018 by francesothomas



It’s Week 21 in the Marketing for Romance Writers blog hop. This week’s topic is the best gift we ever got.

It’s too difficult to choose a “best gift,” so I will go with most unusual gift.

One year, my husbad was at Mardi Gras in New Orleans while I was back home in Pennsylvania, slogging away at my insurance job. He must have felt sorry for me and sent me a king cake. These cakes have been around for hundreds of years to celebrate Epiphany, hence the name that commemorates the visit of the three kings to  the Christ Child. The cake tradition eventually extended to Mardi Gras.

This particular specimen was a 9 by 13 cake frosted in the traditional yellow, purple, and green colors. King cakes also come with a surprise. Baked inside is a tiny plastic baby. This was originally a representation of Baby Jesus. Whoever gets the piece of cake with the baby is supposed to provide the next cake.

Oddly enough, the first romance I ever wrote included both an unhappy insurance job and New Orleans. I can’t remember if I ever finished it, but I bet it is hidden in the dark recesses of a drawer somewhere. If I work up the nerve, I may take a gander at it. Some day.

To read about more gifts, go here.

Social Butterflies (#MFRWAuthor)

Published May 18, 2018 by francesothomas



This week, we authors of romance will talk about our favorite social media platforms. I spend far too much time on social media. Time I should be devoting to, oh, I don’t know, writing maybe.

On Twitter, I have two handles. The first is @RusticTropics for romance and girly type pursuits. The second is @FrancesOThomas for my more serious side. That one revolves around empowerment for women.

I could scroll through Facebook posts for hours and, sadly, often do. In my own defense, I live far away from family, and FB is my main source of news about relatives. I also rely on FB for news of what’s happening in my community. Just as on Twitter, I have two pages for my “split personality.” One is fiction and romance, the other educational psychology oriented.

I’m also on LinkedIn and Pinterest, although I don’t do much on either site.

I’d be delighted if readers followed me or connected on any of the above channels.

Check out other social butterfly authors here.

I’ll Take Romance (#MFRWAuthor)

Published May 11, 2018 by francesothomas



This week’s topic is my most romantic memory. It probably says a lot about me that this memory concerns food.

My husband and I took a trip to California a while ago. We rented a turquoise Chrysler convertible and set off north from San Francisco on Highway 1. The scenic road took us along the coast, through the redwoods, from winery to winery. Our northernmost destination was Fort Bragg, California.

This small town was originally a military garrison prior to the Civil War. Nowadays it is a picturesque area with an artsy downtown.

What I remember most is sitting across for each other in a candlelit booth eating the most delectable bowl of cream of mushroom soup and drinking white wine. Obviously, the way to my heart is through my stomach.

To read about other authors’ romantic memories, go here.

Special Note:

I am offering a Mother’s Day special. On May11, 12, and 13, The Lady Is a Mayor, the first book in my Calusa Town Tales series, is free. Get it here.

Gotta be a better way (#MFRWAuthor)

Published May 4, 2018 by francesothomas



Uh oh. It’s week 18 in the Marketing for Romance Writers bog challenge, and the topic is how do I work up character/setting profiles. Short answer: I don’t.

I have tried. I really have. I tried to figure out Scrivener software since other authors swore by how much it helped them.  I failed miserably.

I tried Microsoft One Note. I managed to list names of characters in my Calusa Town Tales series. That’s not the same as character profiles. What passes for character profiles are all in my head, not on paper.

As far as setting profiles go, my Tales are set on a fictional island that is based on the real island where I live. I use some of the landmarks but call them by different names. Other landmarks I just make up as I go along.

I’m looking forward to reading how my fellow authors go about this here.