Monday, September 30, 2013


I found the above on Facebook and it made me laugh.
It also describes my weekend and where I am in my newest manuscript!
I've reached 70,000 words, and instead of moving forward, I'm going backwards and doing a little revising.
Frustrating at times, but it's also exciting when I come across scenes that I know are perfect just the way they are. 
Will I reach my goal of releasing this book in January? 
I'm not sure. 
And I'm not going to rush it.
I've never written a book and released it in six months. Can I do it?

The question makes me ponder over my story.

The sequence of events towards publication went a little like this:
I spent one year writing Sierra.

Then I spent one year writing Joshua's Folly.

Then I spent two months writing For Nick. (Yes, that one bled onto the page very quickly. However, the final version hardly resembles the original.)

I sent out query letters here and there. I received my fair share of rejection letters.
I wasn't ready. Frankly, neither were my manuscripts.

Next, I spent about six months writing Lancaster House.

Did I try to get published?
I moved on and wrote I Have People. That one took at least eight months.

Then I finally queried Lancaster House and was signed by an agent!
Excitedly, I wrote the sequel to Lancaster House, The Middle Aisle, in about six months.

Lancaster House, however, did not sell.
My hopes plummeted.
In spite of this, I was encouraged by my agent's enthusiasm over Lancaster House. He loved it.
I spent the  next year rewriting and editing I Have People and Joshua's Folly. My agent advised and I rewrote.
It was a year of learning, a year of cutting my teeth, and I don't regret it for a moment.
Sadly, my agent felt there was nothing more he could do for me. My brand of 'clean romance' wasn't selling at the moment.
We parted ways. It was a dark day for me.

Image courtesy of [Master isolated images] /

That's when I decided to self publish.
I spent six months revisiting Sierra and For Nick, editing them with a fine tooth comb.
Then and only then did I feel ready to publish.
Still, each book went through final edits, over and over, till I felt they were ready to see the light of day.
I like to write a book, then move on and go back to it later. With the passing of time, I see it with fresh eyes and I see what edits need to be done.

Back to the original question. Can I write a book and publish it in six months?
That remains to be seen. I'm used to having time to EDIT, EDIT, EDIT.

I'm so impressed with authors who can put good books out quickly. They are amazing.

However, I've learned a lot since my first attempt at writing a book. My current  manuscript is a much more highly polished piece of work than any manuscript has ever been at this stage. It's nothing like the unformatted monstrosity that Sierra once was in the beginning.

Ah, but is was fun to write that first novel. To explore different writing styles and just write to my heart's content with no thought about being published or wondering if anyone will like it besides me! Those were the days!

Image courtesy of [suphakit73] /

If you are a writer, and you are reading this, here is my advice: Don't rush the creative process. Don't slap a book onto the public's lap, just because you can. Take your time and really polish that manuscript till it shines.

Sierra is now a top-five finalist for the Best Indie Book of 2013. (The Kindle Book Review)

It was worth all my time and effort.

The winners will be announced on Tuesday. (Oct. 1st)
Doesn't matter if I don't win. (But of course I want to!)
Being a finalist is AMAZING!
I feel validated in ways I can't even begin to explain.

I've already won.

Friday, September 27, 2013


Friday Favorites include my favorite images on reading or writing!
(taken from Facebook)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Wordless Wednesday is actually filled with words--the words, thoughts, and feelings that pictures or images evoke within each of us without uttering a single word!

Image courtesy of [nirots] /

What WORD/WORDS does this picture evoke within you?

I'll start: 'Irresistible Access'

To join Wordless Wednesday, go here.

Monday, September 23, 2013


The highlight of my weekend was having the opportunity to be featured on a blog called Venture Galleries. 

All finalists for the Kindle Book Review's Best Indie Book of 2013 were offered the chance to do two blog posts on their site--one a Dream Interview and one a Dream Review. (Sierra is a finalist in the Romance category.)

A very creative idea! I've enjoyed seeing what all the finalists have come up with. However, while fun, it was a challenging task. Especially since, at the time, I was caring for my daughter and brand new grandson. Hence, my Dream Interview was written during the wee hours of the morning with my little grandson on my lap. 

Venture Galleries said last year's favorite Dream Interview was an author being interviewed about his book by Natalie Portman--while she massaged him! So clever! After much thought, here's what I came up with:

(See my Dream Interview on Venture Galleries, here.)

Sierra by Taylor Dean
My dream interview with my favorite High School English Teacher
By Taylor Dean
Me:  Hello, Mr. Peckham?
Mr. Peckham: Taylor? Taylor Dean?
Me: I’m surprised you remember me.
Mr. Peckham: Of course I remember you. You and your sister were two of my favorite students. And when one of my students becomes an author, I take notice. Congratulations on your success. My wife loves your books.
Me: Thank you. It was in your Advanced Writing class that I fell in love with English. I remember that I actually wanted to keep the workbook. I was ridiculously sad on the day I had to turn it in. You gave us the option to purchase it, but I remember not being able to afford it.  Still to this day I wish I had that book.
Mr. Peckham: Seriously?
Me: Absolutely.
Mr. Peckham: I can’t say that anyone has ever said that to me before. Ever.
Me: I guess I should’ve known right then.
Mr. Peckham: Known what?
Me: That writing was the career for me.
Mr. Peckham: But, you didn’t?
Me: No. All the signs were there, but I didn’t recognize them.
Mr. Peckham: What were the signs?
Me: I was constantly making up stories in my head. To the point of distraction. I can’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t.
Mr. Peckham: The world loves a daydreamer.
Me: That’s just it. I wasn’t exactly daydreaming. I was imagining my stories in my head as if I was writing them, word for word. All the time. Sometimes my stories kept me up at night.
Mr. Peckham: And that’s when you knew you should write?
Me: Nope. It never occurred to me. Then one afternoon I couldn’t stand it anymore. One of my stories wouldn’t stop playing in my head. I suddenly felt the need to commit it all to paper or else I would explode. At the time I was a young mother with four small children and I didn’t have much time for myself. I grabbed a pen and paper and hurriedly handwrote ten pages. I still have them and they’re awful.
Mr. Peckham: Yet that was the beginning.
Me: No, actually. Seventeen years passed before I revisited the idea of writing my stories. Nearly all of my children had left the nest. My youngest was gone all day at school and track. I wondered what I should do with my time. I’d always been a stay-at-home mom and I felt as though my job was leaving me. I decided I would try my hand at writing a children’s book, but then I remembered those ten pages sitting in my files. Suddenly I couldn’t wait to write that particular story. I had no idea if I could write a novel, but figured I’d give it a try.
Mr Peckham: And you did it. You became an author.
Me: Well, no, not really. I spent the next year writing every day, creating a monstrosity of a novel, 165,000 words long. It was so drama-filled, it would have exhausted the most loyal of reader. That’s when I learned to edit. But, I loved every single minute of it.
Mr. Peckham: So, that’s when you knew?
Me: Still no clue. I told no one I was writing. It was my little secret.
Mr. Peckham: What changed?
Me: My sister came to visit. When she found out I’d written a book, she put her hands on her hips and said, “I want to read your novel.” I finally gave in and nervously let her read it.
Mr. Peckham: Did she like it?
Me: She stayed up all night and finished it. She said she couldn’t put it down, that it was the best book she’d ever read. That’s when I knew.
Mr. Peckham: Not till then?
Me: Not till that moment.
Mr. Peckham: Which book was this?
Me: Sierra. It’s my personal favorite. I went on to write five more books before I finally felt brave enough to publish.
Mr. Peckham: Six books? That’s amazing.
Me: I still have a hard time calling myself a writer. I feel like a fraud.
Mr. Peckham: How so?
Me: I’m really just a stay-at-home mom having fun on her computer. That’s all.
Mr. Peckham: And I’m really just an average Joe with a penchant for English and a need to support my family. It doesn’t change the fact that I am an English teacher.
Me: Point taken. I’ve taken up enough of your time. It was great to see you.
Mr. Peckham: Thanks so much for stopping by. I love to hear from my former students . . . wait . . . before you go, I have something for you. (He walks to a cupboard and pulls out a book.) This is for you. I think it’s high time you owned your own English workbook.
Me: Thank you, Mr. Peckham. (My eyes fill with tears—I’ve wanted this workbook—dreamed of this workbook—for thirty years.)
As I’m walking out the door, Mr. Peckham stops me, “Taylor.”
Me: Yes?
Mr. Peckham: You are a writer.

Now, here's the thing with my Dream Review--I don't have to make one up, I've already received a Dream Review for Sierra! How amazing is that?
(Okay, so I don't love that the reviewer says Alex is dumb-as-a-box-of-rocks, but other than that, it's perfection!)

And to everyone else who has written a wonderful review of Sierra, I love your reviews too, but I had to choose just one!

See my Dream Review on Venture Galleries, here.

Taylor Dean’s Real-life Dream Review for  Sierra
This is my favorite review of Sierra and, frankly, I couldn’t  write or ask for anything better. I’m not sure I will ever receive a more amazing review!
Taylor Dean
Taylor Dean
Let me begin by saying that any review I leave here will never do this book justice. Not since Hunger Games has a book so captivated me and taken me on such an emotional roller coaster! I thought I had read romances before, and books like Jane Eyre and A Tale of Two Cities, I had always considered the peaks of romantic literature. Let me say this. This is the most romantic book I have ever read in my 38 years on this planet! In case you have not guessed by now, I loved this book!
When I began this book, I had no idea what I was getting into. I was horrified right off the bat, but I was so intensely drawn into the story that I savored every word on every page. Alyssa and Alex are fantastic characters, and Taylor Dean has made them truly three-dimensional. I connected with both in ways I never dreamed possible that I could connect with fictional characters. Alex gets my award for the most romantic character in a book–right alongside the Dumb as a Box of Rocks Award. No spoilers–read the book yourself.
I found myself tingling in unexpected ways and moaning (even when there were students in the room with me). More than once, I found myself crying over this story, and once I even threw the kindle down on the desk, determined to not finish it. It was too painful to read. Why? Well, let’s just say that while I have not experienced anything like Alyssa did, I long for so much of what she and Alex expressed. And the book was so real to me that I found myself longing for what I don’t have. Very rarely does a book ever affect me like this. I am a romantic at heart (which the majority of people would never guess), but so far, I can’t find anyone who wants to share that romance with me. At least I was able to have some vicarious pleasure with this story.
Let me end by saying there is basically no profanity. No misuse of God’s name–always makes me happy. And no sex before marriage. What? Really? What an amazing idea in this day and age! And I am glad the author had the decency to give the characters privacy in the bedroom. In fact, that makes it even more romantic, in my opinion. This book brought out the true romantic in me that often gets neglected.

Thank you so much to Venture Galleries for the opportunity to be featured on your blog!

Check out some of the other Dream Interviews and Reviews on Venture Galleries. Some of them are really quite entertaining--to include an interview with the Devil, and an interview with the characters of Supernatural!


Friday, September 20, 2013


Friday Favorites include my favorite images on reading or writing!
(taken from Facebook)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Roisin O

I don't usually advertise for others on my blog, so when I do so, it is only because I want to! I don't receive any sort of compensation.

I received an email asking if I would be willing to share a preview of a new release music video because I've posted a love for similar types of music in the past.

I thought, why not? I went to the YouTube page and watched the video and listened to the music and I LOVED it! It's the kind of music that inspires my writing. The story told in the video is quite touching as well. I've found a new artist that I love!

I'm honored to have been asked to share this with my readers.

So, here it is, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! The video doesn't go public till Thursday, so this is a 'sneak preview!'

The artist is an Irish singer and songwriter named Roisin O.

Talking about Hold On, Róisín O explains:

"Sometimes our minds take us to dark places and it gets hard to escape. A very close friend of
mine was going through a tough time, as happens us all, and I found myself wanting, but unable,
to help make things better for him. Sometimes all you can do for someone is to be there for them
and let them know that things will get better one day. This song is for him."

The Sunday Times described Róisín O as having “a quality of tone and voice that is near pitch-perfect, at times evoking the likes of Joni Mitchell, Joanna Newsom and Kate Bush”.

Good luck with your new release, Roisin O!


Wordless Wednesday is actually filled with words--the words, thoughts, and feelings that pictures or images evoke within each of us without uttering a single word!

Image courtesy of [Victor Habbick] /

What WORD/WORDS does this picture evoke within you?

I'll start: 'Romantic Getaway'

To join Wordless Wednesday, go here.

Monday, September 16, 2013


When I say weekend, what I really mean is the last two weeks!
You probably noticed, I didn't even get a 'weekend' post up last week. That's because I spent the last two weeks taking care of my daughter and my newest grandson.

Gavin Michael

Above is a picture of me meeting my new grandson for the first time--a memorable moment. 

That's two new grandsons for me in the year 2013 and I couldn't ask for anything more!

I was able to get a little work done here and there. (The best way to work is with a newborn baby on your lap!)

But, mostly two a.m. looked a little like this . . .

The little cutie had his days and nights confused!

However, all is well with both baby and mommy, and we couldn't be happier.

On the way home, we visited my son at college. (One more child to get through college and we're DONE! Yay!)

Now I'm home and playing catch-up with everything.

Book news: On Oct.1st the winner of the Kindle Book Review's Best Indie Book of 2013 will be announced. Sierra made it as a top five finalist in the Romance category! So excited!

Friday, September 13, 2013


Friday Favorites include my favorite images on reading or writing!
(taken from Facebook)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Wordless Wednesday is actually filled with words--the words, thoughts, and feelings that pictures or images evoke within each of us without uttering a single word!

Image courtesy of [ponsuwan] /

What WORD/WORDS does this picture evoke within you?

I'll start: 'All Consuming Love'

To join Wordless Wednesday, go here.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites include my favorite images on reading or writing!
(taken from Facebook)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


Wordless Wednesday is actually filled with words--the words, thoughts, and feelings that pictures or images evoke within each of us without uttering a single word!

Image courtesy of [tungphoto] /

What WORD/WORDS does this picture evoke within you?

I'll start: "It's a new day!"

To join Wordless Wednesday, go here.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


It's been a wonderful week. Two monumental things happened.
First of all, my fourth grandson entered the world, 2 1/2 weeks early!

Gavin Michael

Then, if that wasn't amazing enough, I found out that Sierra made it as a top five finalist for the 2013 Best Indie Book Awards!! (in the Romance category)
See all the categories and all of the top five finalists here.

Hope you had a great labor day weekend!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

2013 Kindle Book Review Best Indie Book Award Finalist!!!!!

My novel, SIERRA, has been chosen as a 2013 Kindle Book Review Best Indie Book Award Finalist!!!!

Congrats to all of the top five finalists in the Romance category!

Romance: Top-5 Finalists

To see the finalists and semi-finalists in all of the categories, click here.