Sneak Off and Read: Lines with the topic, TRAIN #RSsos #RomSuspense

#OneLineSunday by #RSsos Lines with the topic, TRAIN

Interested in reading more? Click on the book covers below for information about the novel and the author.

Finally, there was a light at the end of the tunnel that wasn’t an oncoming freight train.

Sam Bradley w/a McKenna Sinclair

While I waited, I gazed out at the bustle of downtown. Streams of people flowed like ants in and out of the plexiglass enclosed entrance to the train station, the surge swelling or fading with the rhythm of the Red Line.

Claire Gem

The only safe time to travel was at night, and the best course, to follow would be the train tracks.

Kathryn Jane

Join him and a bunch of military vets on an adventure trek? I wasn’t an amateur at hiking, but I’d seen the website and knew this required some serious survival training.

Follow Me (work in progress)

Doubts and questions rumbled through her brain like a train on a continuous loop of track. Clock hands sat at five. She ached for the release of sleep.

Marsha West

From the third floor, Nate saw a barge inching up the Savannah River, a heroin addict sleeping in the no-man’s land between the riverbank and railroad tracks, and four CSX train cars overfilled with coal stopped at the track switch.

 Sharon Wray

“There’s always the disposal.” Our gazes traveled over to the bug now hiding next to a pink sponge with only the bobbing antenna visible, and then, back to each other.

Vicki Batman

They were trained for these kinds of scenarios, knew what to do, how to react, but, given Murphy’s Law, Connor wasn’t surprised she was worried.

Jacquie Biggar

















Dealing with Writer’s Block

After spending over three decades dreaming about the novels I would write during my retirement years, I was totally unprepared for the tyranny of the blank page. Thankfully, that first bout of writer’s block didn’t last too long. Inspiration came a month later at a creative writing workshop.

Several other bouts followed, some longer than others. Workshops and seminars definitely helped and so did the following strategies:

1. Change it up. Use pen and paper instead of a computer. If you’ve always written in the morning, switch to evening writing. Find a new writing café or create a new workplace in your home.

2. Improve your writing circumstances. Change the lighting, keep a coffee or tea pot nearby, declutter your desk, or hang up an inspirational poster.

3. Write something that comes easily–a letter, a recipe, a poem–and then return to your original project.

4. Move your body. Dance, run, practice yoga or Tai Chi, revisit a sport or fitness activity. Get your body into flow and your mind will follow.

5. Take up a new creative pursuit: painting, scrapbooking, decoupage, woodworking, quilting, weaving…If you’re stuck, buy an adult coloring book stock up on colored pencils, and start coloring.

6. Journal or free-write for 15 to 20 minutes each morning. You can write about random subjects or personal issues. Don’t worry about grammar, spelling, or punctuation.

7. Sign up for a Continuing Education course that is out of your comfort zone. You could learn a new language, practice karate,  or take a Japanese cooking class.

8. Make a list of all possible directions in which your manuscript could go. Don’t exclude any ideas, even silly or unworkable ones. Try out one or more of these directions until something clicks.

9. Set a reasonable deadline and offer yourself a substantial reward for finishing the manuscript. Share with a friend who will keep you accountable. 

10. Participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). During the month of November, writers worldwide commit to writing 50K words in one month. I participated for the first time in 2016 and wrote 51K of a cozy mystery,  A Different Kind of Reunion (released by the The Wild Rose Press in April 2018). In 2017, I wrote 55K of a stand-alone novel. I connected with a local group and met regularly throughout the month. It was a great experience!

Any other tips to share?


Where to find Joanne Guidoccio…

Website | Amazon | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Goodreads | Pinterest

Sneak Off and Read: Lines with the topic, AIRPLANE #RSsos #RomSuspense

#OneLineSunday by #RSsos Lines with the topic, AIRPLANE

Interested in reading more? Click on the book covers below for information about the novel and the author.

The plane hit a pocket of turbulence and she gasped, her stomach sky-diving down to her toes.

Jacquie Biggar

As the plane rose up into the sky, part of his stomach tried to stay on the ground, but he recovered quickly.

Sam Bradley w/a McKenna Sinclair

A flash of panic made Laura feel as though she’d been pushed out of an airplane without a parachute. She reached forward and lifted the giant margarita glass with two hands.

Claire Gem

There was one plane and a helicopter inside, and a dead guy.

Kathryn Jane

A storm that shoved me in a direction where I couldn’t rest until I was on a plane with one itinerary – find the person who’d started it all.

Follow Me (work in progress)

As the plane sailed into the air at that heart-stopping take-off angle, she gazed through her window one last time at the Fort Worth skyline. Considered less impressive than Dallas, it had been home for fifty years.

Marsha West

Balthasar circled Rafe, holding a knife. The whirring sounds from the helo rotors ceased, which meant it’d crashed and died in the conservatory.

 Sharon Wray

For work, we’d traveled to Colorado Springs to attend a workshop on web design innovations. After check-in, I’d joined him at the bridge crossing the lake to decide about lunch before the meetings commenced.

Vicki Batman
















Sneak Off and Read: Lines with the topic, JUDGE #RSsos #RomSuspense

#OneLineSunday by #RSsos Lines with the topic, JUDGE.

Interested in reading more? Click on the book covers below for information about the novel and the author.

“No.” Shaking her head vigorously, she crossed her arms firmly. “He has to earn the money. I’m adamant about this.”

Vicki Batman

Olga’s anger had burned. She’d acted like judge and jury without giving Maggie the benefit of a doubt. It hurt.

Jacquie Biggar

I can be myself here because nature never judges me. The purity of this place cleanses my soul and I can freely express my spirituality

Sam Bradley w/a McKenna Sinclair

He flashed me a shy smile as he lifted my hand and kissed it gallantly, and quick tears sprang to my eyes. How I’d misjudged this big, lovable oaf.

Claire Gem

But I had to be careful not to judge Cassandra. From what I had read this morning, she had built a very successful career as a psychic.

Joanne Guidoccio

Broughton was a good judge of age, and would have put this guy in his early seventies if he didn’t know he was eighty-five.

Kathryn Jane

If I let it, it will dig deep under my skin and push Eva’s case into my head. She didn’t belong there right now. Scenes like this if he wasn’t careful would cloud his judgement and bring him down.

Marian Lanouette

Most people judged him by the worn attire, scruffy beard, and the tattoo peeking out from his shirtsleeve.


A Twisted Fate (work in progress)

As he’d listened to his mother’s words, he’d made his way back into the courtroom to find the judge’s clerk to tell her he needed to reschedule. Then, he placed a call to the sheriff.

Marsha West

Rafe scoffed. “Anne was guilty, and the people of the Isle judged her and hanged her for witchcraft.”

 Sharon Wray
















Plotting Circles & Why I Love Them

Plotting Circles, and why I love them.

Good morning, it’s great to see everyone here. Over the course of my writing career I’ve used many programs and tools to plot. Even though I’m a pantser/plotter, but I always come back to my plotting circle to begin a story.



green circle


Everything in the circle is what initial comes to me before I think to write a story. It’s like a movie running in my head. And darn, it always seems to happen just before I drop off to sleep or am about to wake. That’s the reason I keep a note pad and pencil on the nightstand, and a recorder (in case I’m too lazy to come awake.)


What determines if a character whether the protagonist, villain, or secondary character is crucial in a story? It’s what they contribute to move it along. You always need a protagonist, but not a villain if it is a romance. Secondary characters are fun to write because most times they’re the ones causing havoc with the main characters. And it’s a great place to unload your inner demons.

The next circle I use is the full plot circle. This is where everything I can imagine that can happen in the story goes. It doesn’t matter if it’s off the wall, or will never make it into the book, it goes here.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          blue circle                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The most important part of the circle is you can’t go wrong. Plot any way you like. I find the plot circle allows me to see everything right in front of me when I start to write the first three chapters. Yep, I tape it to the wall or lamp in front of my computer and if I get stuck or wonder why I’m putting that into the story, I only need to glance up and say Awww! Now I remember, or no, that doesn’t work anymore. And I might create a new circle as I get a quarter into the book to update and change plot points.


I don’t use the circles to build my characters bios. Those I put on large graph paper and pin to the wall. As I write the novel or novella, I’m constantly checking to make sure I didn’t give Jake Carrington black hair with smoky gray eyes when in all the other books he has reddish brown hair and green eyes.  Lol, I’d never forget Jake, but I might with a repeating secondary character and their stats are as important as the hero’s.


I hope this helped. If you’re interested in checking out Jake Carrington and his band of characters, his second book, All the Hidden Sins releases on July 31st. If you read it, I’d love to hear back on your thoughts on both the story and the characters.


Enjoy your week, and keep reading. Here’s a quote I love:


“Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.”
― Anna Quindlen, How Reading Changed My Life


cover All The Hidden Sins

Visit my author  page at: Marian Lanouette

Website: Marian’s Website

Ahhh! Technology!

I’ve written about Technology here before. Those of you who follow me on my blog have read lots of stories about my misadventures. I sort of have a love/hate relationship with the big T.

Last Friday, I was getting my new Surface ready to go to the Saturday NTRWA meeting where were going to have a giant writing fest. Lots of folks were away at RWA, so this was a good plan. So, I charge up the Surface, which I’ve only had a month or two. It’s so light and fits into my purse. Love this about this device.IMG_7185

I opened Word, so I could save my book document and the character list to the Surface which I’d emailed to myself.  I got a message that Word was about to expire and if I didn’t do anything, I could lose my work! Not words a writer wants to read. Ultimately, I didn’t go to the meeting. ☹

Sunday afternoon, I took the Surface to Best Buy and explained what the deal was. (I do love the Geek Squad. They are all so very nice, and never make me feel like an idiot. 😊 ) The kid asked if I had other computers at home and did I have that message on them. I knew I didn’t on the big computer and told him I’d check the laptop when I got home. So, I checked, and the Laptop is okay. If my husband can find the documentation for the program (I think that’s not the right word.), I can just update it on the Surface. If not, I’ll take it and let the brilliant Geek Squad guy/gal unload and reload it on the Surface. (Should I use the “the” in front of Surface? It sounds a bit odd either way.) 😊

So Sunday, after church Bob and I ate Mexican food for lunch.taco-2610649_640 (Free from Pixabay RobinsWorld)

(Just because it’s 109 outside is not a reason to skip Mexican food.) I responded to a friend’s text and then ten minutes later I was going to text the family. (There is a whole other issue about whether I should’ve been doing anything on the cell phone while I was at a restaurant with my husband!) I picked up the phone and a black screen stared back at me. Nothing changed when I punched the bottom button. I punched the on/off switch. NOTHING!

IMG_4730 (It does have a cracked face, because I’ve dropped the phone too many times!)

I don’t know about you, but pretty much my whole life is on my phone. Well, not my books, or reports I’m working on for the church move, but everything else. I know my cell number, which would do me no good, since the phone wasn’t working, and I know my daughter’s cell number, which she’s had since she was 16. She’s in her very early 40s now. Other than that, I know nothing.

I asked Bob who was on his way to work (long story) to text the family so they knew I was out of the loop.

Driving to the store with no phone was like driving naked. I mean, what if I had a car wreck? What if I ran out of gas? (I had a half a tank, but still….) What if I went too fast, and a police officer pulled me over? Being naked is scary.

You know how at technology stores they have greeters who open the door for you and ask what the problem is? Well, this nice young, emphasis on the young part, woman looked at my phone and did two things, and the little apple with the bite out of it popped onto the screen. Now I don’t know what caused the problem in the first place, but the next time this happens, I know what to do to try to fix it myself.

Push the bottom button and the side on/off button at the same time. Somehow that resets the whole deal. So for little time and no money, my cell and I were back in business. I am a happy camper.

Do you have those heart clutching experiences with your technology? Or are you a ninja warrior where technology is concerned? Love to hear from you.

PS Thanks to all of you who helped spread the word about my 3-Day $.99 sale I had going to celebrate the 5th birthday of VERMONT ESCAPE. Forgot to take it off so it’s still on Sale at Amazon

Vermont Escape 300dpi (1)

Please sign up for my Newsletter on my website

Contact me at , and follow me on my social media sites. for my Blog  @Marsharwest



Sneak Off and Read: Lines with the topic, SENTENCE #RSsos #RomSuspense

#OneLineSunday by #RSsos Lines with the topic, SENTENCE.

Interested in reading more? Click on the book covers below for information about the novel and the author.

She took two deep breaths before meeting the heat in Rafe’s eyes. “I thought you had a life sentence.”

 Sharon Wray

“You said to ‘look it up in the dic-shun-ry.’”

“Dic-tion-ar-y,” I corrected.

“That’s it. Only we don’t have one.”

Vicki Batman

“I’m so tired of being alone,” he said, his voice thick. “I’m not a person who likes solitude, yet it seems I’ve been sentenced to a lifetime of it.

Claire Gem

Her sentence was a lighter one, and she would be out soon. Too soon.

Joanne Guidoccio

“You don’t get to manhandle me just because…” She clamped her mouth shut on the rest of the sentence.

Kathryn Jane

Turning back to his computer Jake studied the sparse record on Phil Lucci. He had a sealed record at the age of fifteen, a burglary charge at nineteen—he served two years of a fifteen-year sentence and then nothing.

Marian Lanouette

He decided to turn state’s evidence against Sid Cranston, the Las Vegas mob kingpin behind the push to legitimize casino gambling in Texas. Richardson wanted to escape the death sentence Texas so liberally handed out.

Marsha West
















Sneak Off and Read: Lines all about a WEAPON #RSsos #RomSuspense

#OneLineSunday by #RSsos Lines all about a WEAPON.

Interested in reading more? Click on the book covers below for information about the novel and the author.

The opening of the shirt displayed the soft curve of one of her breasts. He yanked his hands from the covers, grabbed the weapon, and walked away from the desirable, but troubled woman.

Marsha West

“Two people were killed with a misericord, a close-quarters combat weapon favored by Fianna warriors. And I believe Montfort is one of them.”

 Sharon Wray

Boy, did I have the wrong impression. There were no tools of torture, unless books counted. No scary outfits.

Vicki Batman

“I must insist you prove to José that you carry no weapons. Or wires. Open your shirt, querida.” His voice turned hard. “Now, if you please.”

Jacquie Biggar

AJ, what the hell are you doing carrying a gun? Cops carry guns, not firefighters.”

Sam Bradley w/a McKenna Sinclair

Macknight worked without shortcuts, which meant he maximized safety and minimized jamming his gun. Perfection was one of his best weapons.

Veronica Forand
Daughter, Traitor, Spy (work in progress)

The ghostly soldier lowered his weapon, and his face softened. He smiled at me, a strange kind of recognition dawning.

Claire Gem

While I enjoyed watching celebrity chefs brandishing knives on television, I wasn’t comfortable being in close range to one with potential weapons.

Joanne Guidoccio

Before touching down, Alex rechecked the laces on her boots—again—then touched her fingertips to the top of the zip on her vest, laid a hand over her weapon.

Kathryn Jane

“A date?” He didn’t respond to anything else. A smile tugged at her lips. Gotcha.

Marian Lanouette

Andie Mills stood behind her weapon of choice—a slick black Nikon camera with a 70mm lens.

S.A. Taylor
Shutter (work in progress)
















Cover Girl

In June, I published another indie book.

I totally stress over creating covers. As a reader, you may not know what we think when we see a cover.  It is so exciting when I open the email. For example, with my story The Great Fruitcake Bake-off, I wanted to see a cake, some baking elements, a prize ribbon. My name and the title. And because the story is a romance, a cute couple.
For my mysteries, Temporarily Employed and Temporarily Insane, I subbed an art sheet with information about the cover. I did request the Squirrely Shirley font and the first one to be red background, the second one to be in blue. TemporarilyInsane cover 100 x 100  03 18 17 TemporarilyEmployed 314 x 235
I’m lucky in that the friend who designed the cover for Just Desserts…and Other Stories knows me and my work. My voice. When I told her about my latest project’s title, she knew exactly what to do. This:

Just Desserts 400x600 72dpi
Name: The font is Squirrely Shirley, one used with most of my work. It conveys fun. I was concerned about my name in dripping chocolate and if people would think “mud”; however, after querying author friends, it got a “thumbs up.”
Background: Actually came in blue or pink. I went with the pink. I do love the color; however, blue did not seem as much fun as pink, nor as romantic.
Foreground couple: Recently, I put the cover in a Facebook reader’s group for promotion. The group owner asked me if the book is romance. I don’t know about you, but I see a couple with arms around each other. That spells romance. In a way, the pink surrounds them like a cameo. The cover is cartoon-style.
Title: Is in a strong blue. It contrasts from the pink and is in the forefront. The same Squirrely Shirley font. Underneath is not a subtitle. “And Other Stories” is part of the published title but making the font large like Just Desserts would swamp the whole cover. Plus, it is in black and indicates these are “stories.” Very important note because some people won’t ever read stories.
The bottom: is a huge row of chocolate cupcakes with blue, purple, red fruits and green icing. A tiny red and white flag embellishment. This element balances my name at the top and indicates sweetness which the eleven stories are: sweet, cute meets.

What part of the cover causes you to purchase a book? Is there a color that turns you off? Do you prefer real people over cartoon ones?

asteriks 2

Find Just Desserts…and Other Stories at: Amazon      Print      Nook   

Other e-retailers

Your Life in Six Words

By Joanne Guidoccio

Whenever I attend workshops, I take note of any icebreakers. While some participants may groan, I find these short, introductory exercises very effective in creating community and stimulating creativity.

One of my favorites is the “Six-Word Memoir,” a spinoff of the challenge once given to Ernest Hemingway: Write a story using only six words.

His reply was quick and succinct: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”

In November 2006, Larry Smith, founder of SMITH Magazine, asked his fans to describe their lives in exactly six words. Intended to be a one-month contest, the project took on a life of its own. Since that time, Smith has received millions of responses, from the hilarious to the bittersweet to the inspirational. You can find out more here.

At the workshop where I was first introduced to this project, the facilitator shared the following examples:

“Married by Elvis, divorced by Friday.”

“I still make coffee for two.”

“Cursed with cancer, blessed with friends.”

And these from celebrities:

“Seeking the fullest expression of self.”  Oprah Winfrey

“Healed with steel, then got real.”   Dr. Mehmet Oz

“Me see world! Me write stories!”  Elizabeth Gilbert

“The miserable story leads to royalties.”  Frank McCourt

“Fear not, live in the now.”  Goldie Hawn

“Secret of life: family, friends, bacon.”  Katie Couric

“Divorce your story, marry the truth.”  Tony Robbins


Here’s my six-word memoir:

“Enjoying the process of reinventing myself.”


Any other six-word memoirs out there?


Where to find Joanne Guidoccio

Website | Amazon | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Goodreads | Pinterest