Book Review: Picking up the Pieces by Wendy Dewar Hughes

Author Wendy Dewar Hughes

Author Wendy Dewar Hughes

Wendy Dewar Hughes writes inspirational romantic suspense novels set in contemporary times. For a passionate reader like me,  finding a great book is like discovering a gold nugget while panning for gold.

When my husband finished reading “Picking up the Pieces” by Wendy Dewar Hughes, he passed the book to me, saying, “Now this is a great book.” His endorsement sent me to the pages immediately.  I highly recommend the novel to readers of all ages and genres. Stellar writing craft.  Gripping mystery and intrigue. Did it keep me hooked? Oh yes!

I walked in the protagonist’s shoes, felt fear amidst her dilemmas full of danger, and experienced the international settings through her eyes.  I felt like I was there. I cared deeply, and pulled for her on every page. The story and the characters stayed with me, like real people I know. This writer has gifted readers with a fine piece of work.

Here is a partial quote from the book blurb on Wendy Dewar Hughes website: “Jill Moss is pulling her life back together after her husband’s death when she is shocked to receive a message that her uncle, famed archaeologist Neil Bryant, has made a Mayan archaeological discovery of such consequence that his life is in danger.”  You can read the entire blurb at  Enjoy!

Wishing you all good reading, and to writers, great writing, and in addition, the best blessings in 2013.

Refurbishing for Fall, as in Autumn.

Decision time today.  I feel like Mary Poppins when she said change is in the air.

While I stirred the blackberry freezer jam, my ‘hunker down and get cozy genes’ also stirred.  The crisp cool days, misty fog in the mornings, and  deciduous trees coloring my world, make me dream of hearth fires, an afghan throw,  and a good book. And maybe a Castle episode or two.

My blog days will change to two times a week until November.  Tuesdays and Thursdays.  The third day I have reserved to update my blog site and my website.   My guide?  Two books by Kristen Lamb, “We are not Alone, The writer’s Guide to Social Media” and “Are you There Blog?  It’s Me, Writer.

I kinda hope my subscribers will miss the three blogs a week, but in reality I think we’ill all be glad of the gift of time … one less blog to read as Thanksgiving approaches in Canada.  (I grew up in Canada.)  So one more blog this week, on Friday, and the following week, only on Tuesday and Thursday.

A five minute detour for you down memory lane:  the movie trailer for “Mary Poppins.”  Makes me want to rent the movie!

Hope your Wednesday is a wow day.

Public Critique & My Response: My Manuscript Opener

Mia Marlowe, Author

Mia Marlowe, Author

Touch of a Thief, due out Apr 26

I submitted the first 500 manuscript words for THE HIGHLAND PIONEER to Mia Marlowe’s blog Red Pencil Thursday.

She provides an instructive encouraging critique and comments from her viewers.  The result?  I dug deeper and improved the opening chapter.  The process of writing, critiquing , and revision of a good story followed by final editing so necessary to produce a quality  finished manuscript.  Finding areas in a manuscript that need improvement requires many pairs of eyes. My blog readers who write already know the drill.  Click  here to take a peek.

As a reward for taking part in beta testing for her new website, she gave me an advance copy of her novel TOUCH OF A THIEF,  due out April 26.   If you prefer a cozy novel without steam, this book might not be for you. I enjoyed her writing style and have matured with age, (I am smiling here) so didn’t get burned by the steam.  A good historical romance story.

Wishing you all that surge of creative energy that comes with spring. I can see blue sky here in the Pacific Northwest.  For those being teased by mother nature, I hope spring is just around the corner.

Surrey International Writer’s Conference Master Class


On the Road to Alaska

Autumn is not a quiet time in this writer’s life. Homework.

One of the SIWC Master Classes, Welcome to Your Rewrite presented by Robert J Ray, is based on his book The Weekend Novelists Rewrites the Novel .   He  sent his prospective students homework! How neat is that?   I have a better idea about class content, and suspect it will be three hours of  aha moments.

The bit about weekends?  He means doing nothing else … both Saturday and Sunday, minimum ten hours, dedicated writing labor.   I am excited about this class.  Having completed two manuscripts, I needed a method for revision.  His book walks the writer through the process.  Reading his book (not finished) and doing the homework provided a glimpse at the content of the class and I hope to come home, ready to tackle the big job of a rewrite, learning … always learning.

Writing Your Male Heros from a Male POV


Pin Oak Dressed for Autumn


To our Canadian Friends, Happy Thanksgiving!

Mary Buckham posted this link on Facebook, called The Gender Genie.

Sections of my story The Highland Pioneer are written from a male Point of View,  so I had fun and got a bit of a pat on the back.  The results are quick.  I scored as a male writer for the 500 words I cut and pasted.


Break Into Fiction by Mary Buckham & Diana Love



Author & Teacher, Mary Buckham


Mary is well known in Writer’s Associations as an instructor for her varied writing craft workshops, both online and in person. During the recent Emerald City Writer’s Conference in Bellevue, WA, she fortified the skills of those attending her workshops. The round table discussion to hopefuls during a pitch fest session sent us to the editors and agents with confident smiles. Thanks, Mary, for helping writers get to the next level of good fiction writing.

Win a Copy of “Wild” by Pamela S Beason

A Child is Missing in the Wilderness

Win a copy of Pamela Beason’s autographed self published book, no longer available as her novel was picked up by a New York publishing house.

This story will debut with a different title, and a few minor changes … sometime in 2011.  I enjoyed reading it, and noticed that for me, a notorious ‘skipper’, I skipped no words in this novel.

To win, subscribe to my blog and add a brief comment with your most effective time organization tools, listing the major things you do, to keep those words flowing onto the pages, while attending to the business end of being a writer—and not neglecting personal obligations.

Last date to comment will be Sat, August 21 at midnight, Pacific Daylight Time.  I will choose the winner and post it on Monday, August 23.  It is my hope that we will all benefit from reviewing the time challenges that every writer faces every day.

I will pick the one (s) most likely to help me, totally subjective, and send the book.

Have a great writing day,  and a wonderful weekend.

Writer’s Tracking Spreadsheet by Laurie Ryan

Members of GSRWA have access through the email loop, to shared experiences, tools, hints, education, and motivation from other writers.

Pirate's Promise, by Laurie Ryan

Laurie Ryan, a romance and women’s fiction author who writes sensual stories of real-life characters thrust into extraordinary situations, shared her exceptional spread sheet with all chapter members.  The spreadsheet is available on her website, a free download for use by any writer.

I experienced almost immediate motivation in two ways.  I could visualize the progress in the revision of my manuscript and  the time/effort required to finish it by the target date.   The data removed the shadows of doubt “that I’ll never get it done in time” and lightened the pressure load.   Additional benefits provide data for planning deadlines, information to give to agents and editors, and evidence of writing efforts for tax purposes.  I suspect that if we are not deducting expenses yet, if sales occur, it may be possible to go back a year or two. but consultation with a tax expert would be necessary to provide more reliable information.

Stolen Treasures, by Laurie Ryan

This exceptional tool has two tabs at the bottom of the sheet.  One is labeled “Instructions” and the other is the sheet itself.  Be sure to read the brief instructions  first.  The sheet is write protected in any area where fooling around with it would destroy the formulas set up  to provide the data calculations.  Folks who are not yet familiar with spread sheets would find it easy to use.

As a thank you to  Laurie Ryan, I’ve included the covers of her two latest novels.

Have a great week everyone!

A New Romance Novel in August by local writer

I met Pam Beason last October at the Surrey International Writer’s Conference and since then, we have met at the Bellingham Whatcom Writers & Publishers meetings.

She self published a book called “Wild” which I bought (members of WWP can bring their books to meetings & sell them) but didn’t get around to reading it until recently.  Wow!  When I told Pam how much I enjoyed the book, and appreciated her writing style, she gave me an update.

Berkley Prime Crime has purchased the rights to “Wild”  so it’s no longer for sale on the internet or in regular bookstores.  The title will likely change and the book will not be available until late 2011 after Berkley requests a few small changes.  Pam Beason is an example of a self published writer who got picked up by a publishing house.

"On Shakey Ground" by author Pamela S. Beason

In the meantime, keep watch for her new romance novel available in August, “On Shaky Ground.”

When Terrence Langston ran Langston Green, the plant nursery sailed along like a well-run ship. But when his daughter Elisa takes charge after his sudden death, she feels more like the captain of the Titanic. First, vandalism, then a major earthquake, then arson. And now a handsome insurance investigator believes that she’s behind all the destruction? Will she have to get killed to prove him wrong?

She is an RWA member, and I am trying to persuade her to commute with me to GSRWA meetings in Seattle.

Until another day, wishing the best for you …

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