Speaking (Pat)

A friend this past week asked me to fill in as a speaker to a church women’s group.    She was responsible for obtaining speakers and her scheduled speaker the next day had called to cancel because of illness.   She asked if I could do it on short notice.

She’s a good friend and a fellow bridge player, and I said, sure, I could.    I enjoy talking to groups  and have plenty of great statistics and info about romance writing.   No problem.

The next morning, I gathered up some old speeches and a few extra copies of books to give away as door prizes and trotted off to the meeting.   When I arrived, I noticed that at least a third of the group were senior men who, I think, expected to hear something about senior finances or health.   The last thing they wanted to hear, I suspected,  was the pleasures of romance novels although I have made believers out of the guys in my family.

Mental switch.   What could I do to interest them as well as their wives?   I went to the historical and current oddities I’ve found in doing research for various novels.   I’ve always loved to find unusual facts to plant in my books, whether they be historical or contemporary.

A few instances:

In researching a historical built around Francis Marion, the true swamp fox of the American Revolution (the movie, “The Patriot” was based on him), I discovered that he was a plantation owner, a  fifty-year-old bachelor, who gave up everything to recruit a militia band that lived in the South Carolina swamps and raided the British by day. He was an ordinary man who did extraordinary things.

He is credited  in large part with  winning the war in the south.    I found a diary of a militia member who rode with him who reported that  Francis Marion drank a cup of vinegar every day and urged his men to do the same.   They did not, and he was one of the rare militia men who did not get malaria.    The acidity leaked through the skin pores and repelled insects.   Not sure whether he knew the science of it, but he knew it worked and vinegar  is probably healthier than some of the insect repellents we use today.   In researching that same book, I found an account of an American patriot imprisoned on a British prison ship plagued with small pox who self-inoculated himself by sticking a pin in a small pox sore of a fellow prisoner, then sticking himself with the pin.  He was one of the few prisoners to survive.   It was years later that small pox vaccination was discovered.

Another search for a  romantic suspense book turned up unexpected tax haven for hiding funds.  One of the most popular is not in the Caribbean but on Guernsey Island, one of the British Channel Islands.    It seems an unlikely place for such activity, but the island  is controlled by no government other than its own, and this particular source of income provides a fine living for its citizens.    Another great trivia question.

I love finding all these little tidbits. And the group did as well.

Then one of the men asked how to start a book.   He had been wanting to write a family history.

I told him about a family  history authored by my uncle.  A lot of it concerned homesteading  in Arizona and is treasured by by every member of my extended family.   I added that it  would be one of the greatest gifts he could give his family and descendants.

But where to begin, he asked.

I  gave him the answer I give fiction authors.   Start at a point when everything changed for the family.   In my family’s case, it was the meeting of my grandfather and grandmother.   in a store in Arkansas.

Truman Capote once said that everyone who survives puberty has a story to tell.   I hope some of the audience Thursday were inspired to write their stories.

I had planned twenty minutes but questions carried it for an additional twenty minutes.   And it was fun.   Really fun.   Sometimes improvising — rather than following a speech — works.

Fascinating — and courageous — Women (Pat)

I was tidying up my office after the marathon finishing process of my next book (The SEAL’s Return) and in the process stumbled upon a news article and a bound remembrance of women who composed the WASPs during World War II.

I acquired them during a reunion of WASPs that I covered for the Atlanta Journal many years ago.   I was fascinated by their tales,  their intelligence, their daring,  I always intended to write a book about them but publishers were not interested in World War II at that time.

I wonder now that the fact that Kristine Hannah’s World War II novel,The Nightingale,  has stayed on the New York Times  Bestseller List for more than a year  might have changed the belief that World War II books do not sell.   The Nightingale, by the way, is one of my favorite books, and Kristine is one of my favorite authors as well as a very nice person.

“We’re one of the best kept secrets of World War II,” said one former WASP at the reunion in Atlanta.  She was one of 1,101 women who became civilian pilots during World War II, freeing male fliers for overseas duty.   They flight tested  new planes (more than a few were killed in doing so), transported soldiers and cargo, delivered planes to Europe and towed targets.  Thirty eight were killed.  They made $50 less that their male counterparts (a  big difference at the time) and  wore army issued mechanic’s overalls for daily wear — nothing smaller than a size 44.   The women called them “Zoot suits” and had to roll up the bottoms and cinch the waists.

Some were already pilots.   Others had never flown before.   Many of them said the reason they volunteering  was that their husbands or other loved ones were fighting overseas.  They went through the same six months training program as the men, completing ground school, basic flight training and advanced flight training.  But they never received any benefits and until this year were not allowed burial in Arlington Cemetery even if killed on duty.

In addition to the shortage of male pilots, there was another reason for the creation of the WASPS.  Putting women in the cockpit of the Super Fortress was done to shame male aviators who feared the plane that killed one test pilot, according to one source.

One officer at a base where two WASPS delivered a Fortress noted that the pilots were “two luscious femmes,” adding that flying the bomber was “quite a job for two delicate dishes of femininity.”   He went on to say that perhaps” they should take  some of our supermen for a ride and show them how to get off the ground with speed and dispatch.”

By the end of 1944, the pilot shortage was over.   That put many civilian male pilots at risk of being drafted into the ground troops  – unless they could get the women pilots’ jobs.

At that time, Congress was considering a bill that would have militarized the WASPS so the male pilots launched a massive anti-WASP campaign.  The lobby succeeded and the bill failed.    The WASPs were disbanded on Dec. 20, 1944.  It would be more than three decades before women were allowed to fly military aircraft for the United States.

They, along with a number of very successful women spies, were among the unsung heroes of World War II. .   They should not be forgottenen.

The Book Is Done/Pat

Ah, happiness!.

I have finally finished the very last stage of “Jubal’s Return,” the fourth in the Covenant Falls series. It will be released in February.

It’s a bit different than the other soldier and dog themes in the Covenant Falls series. This time it’s Jubal and a horse, and I hope you love the ending because it is going to lead to more Covenant Falls book.

Jubal’s always going to be one of my favorite heroes. A former SEAL no longer physically fit due to injuries, he’s lost his very identity. He has no idea where he wants to go or what he wants to do until he meets a troubled teenager, a new doctor in town and a horse name Jacko.

This last stage of the editing process  was my third and final chance to improve the book.. I gave it a read-over after finishing the raw product, another after finishing revisions from my editor, and then a third reviewing any changes she might make.

This very last stage involves reviewing the copy editor’s changes and it was my last chance to make the book better. I found myself spending an hour or more on a paragraph. Then I panic when I add up in my head the time I’ll spend on succeeding paragraphs and know I can never make it as perfect as I want it to be. Next step in this process is paranoia. For loss of an improved sentence, it’s going to be a terrible book. My career is over, etc., etc.

Because of the limited time to review this copy edited stage of the book, I missed the famous Countrywood Garage Sale. I’ve blogged about it before. It’s a mammoth neighborhood garage sale of some 600 homes plus businesses and area churches. It draws approximately 25,000 people from as many as seven states. I was sitting inside at the computer when hoards of people were enjoying a nice fall day.

It’s usually great fun, and I always have heroic ambitions. I’m going to get rid of at least twenty of my more than 3,000 books. Twenty is an admirable goal for me since I admit to being a book hoarder. I almost made that goal of twenty last year, but since then I’ve  probably added  another hundred.

Wwll, maybe next year.

And now I’m off to clean up my house which has been neglected in the frantic dash toward the book’s end and I might even step outside for a breath of fall air.


Please Excuse My Absence/Pat

So sorry I’ve been absent the past two weeks, but they have been harrowing ones..

Two sick dogs and revisions that had to be done in record time took over my life.   I’ve missed every social commitment, read not even one page of any of my books in waiting.   I’ve had as many as  six  veterinarian  visits during this time and  one medical appointment of my own (poison ivy).

Katy, my Australian Shepherd, has slipped disc problems in her back.  The only thing that seems to help her move are steroids.   She also has Cushings disease and the medicine for that nullifies the steroids and vice versa.   It’s been a balancing act and visits to three different vets to find an answer.   Haven’t found a permanent solution yet, but we’rel doing a balancing act between steroids and the Cushings medication.

Then Little Guy, my newly adopted elderly poodle, had voiding problems   Off to the vet only to hear there was a mass and she needed a biopsy.  I waiting for results now.and in the meatime she’s in misery.

In the midst of this, I received  revisions on my last book and they had to be finished in four days while nursing two dogs.  Usually I do a lot of rewriting at this stage, but I didn’t have time.  But I sent them back on Wednesday, then received  the copy editor changes Friday, and they have to be  reviewed and back Monday.   Fortunately  they are   few but still time consuming.

Between animal health and finishing touches on the manuscript, I’ve had precious little sleep so please excuse any typos..

The new book is the fourth in the Covenant Falls Series.  It’s been officially titled ” The SEAL’s Return” and will be available in February.    My editor has told me Harlequin  wants more books in the series about returning veterans and the animals — and loves  –who help them heal.   Thus far I’ve featured a chopper pilot, a battlefield surgical nurse, and an Army Ranger.   As the title indicates, my current hero is a SEAL who finds healing with the town’s new doctor and her troubled brother.

In preparing for the book, I did a lot of research on  SEALs, and my admiration for them is greater then ever.

Now off to take care of my dogs.

Have a great weekend.



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Taking A Short Rest (Pat)

Hi all!

Just finishing the fourth Covenant Falls book and taking a breather before starting the next.   I’m catching up on email, on publicity, on family stuff and on sleep and I’m thinking about the next Covenant Falls story.

The new book now has a name.   It’s a “A SEAL’s Return” and will be published in February.   It’s the story of Navy SEAL Jubal Pierce  and Dr. Lisa Redding, a Chicago doctor who leaves a fellowship in Chicago to help heal her sister and troubled teenage brother after their mother’s death..  I might add that I’ve learned a lot more about SEALs during the writing and have an even greater appreciation for them.

And this time it’s a horse and a foal who  helps my veteran heal.

Jubal is one of my favorite heroes and I hope you’ll love him as much as I do.

I was delighted when one of my romantic suspense books was featured in Bookbub.  It was number one in romantic suspense on Amazon that day and stayed high on the list for the rest of the week.   If you enjoy romantic suspense or western or Scottish romances, you might check with Amazon/Patricia Potter from time to time because there are often specials.

If you don’t subscribe to Bookbub, you might try it.  It’s free and features four or five books daily in categories you specify for prices ranging from free to $2.99.  You will find old favorites as well as newly published  authors.   Just go to Bookbub and sign up.

My Katy, my Australian Shepherd, is ailing.  In addition to operations on both her rear legs, for acl tears, she now has an added back problem, and I’ve been  spending the last few days babying her.   I’m going down now to do just that.

Have a great weekend.

Pinterest Again And Other Matters (Pat)

Sorry to be late again this morning but I had dog problems again.   My twelve year old Katy is having back and knee problems.   She’s had operations on both her rear legs for a torn ACL  and now has a disc problem in her back, probably because of the first two .   Arthritis is the villain here.   She’s been on steroids and had just completed the course when, last night, she couldn’t stand.

However when I took her to the vet, she marched in like a soldier, just to make me look bad after an emergency call.

The vet is hopeful that another more steroids will do the trick, but I’m babying her.

Inbetween nursing her, I’m trying to finish revisions on the book in progress.  It’s hard to do when I’m running down the stairs every ten minutes  to check on Katy.  However, I’m really enjoying polishing Jubal’s story.    He’s an ex Navy Seal.   My heroine is the new doctor in Covenant Falls, and they don’t have much in common.   In truth there is a wariness between them when he becomes close to her wayward son.

Covenant Falls is full of helpful animals.   This time it’s a  particular Buckskin Quarter horse named Jacko and a Pinto foal that helps the healing process for both Jubal and Dr. Lisa Redding.

Hope you drop over to Amazon and check out my backlist.   More than forty books are now available in ebook form.  There’s something for everyone: western, Scottish and, American Revolution historical romance, Romantic Suspense and now my modern day Covenant Falls series.   Check it often and you’ll find some good bargains that come and go..

Have a great week everyone.

Happy Dog News (Pat)

Hi, everyone!

I’ve been busy taking care of Katy,m y twelve year old Aussie, who had a disk problem and I feared I might lose her.   She couldn’t walk and she already had  operations on each of her rear legs and has Cushings disease.   When I arrived home after the national convention in San Diego, she deteriorated rapidily, going from limping to unable to move at all without help and then with a plaintive cry.   Since Katy is probably the most stoic dog alive, I feared the worse.   Could I put her through another operation?

It was a slipped disk and the vet gave me bad news.   We could start medically (six pills twice a day and two others once a day) or send her to a surgeon.  The medical course  may or not work, she said.  . Katy, who is fast becoming the million dollar dog, opted for the medical course first.

Happily, it is working.   Her tail is back up.  She is walking normally and eager to go on her usual walk.    Unfortunately, that is a no-no now.   She’s limited to an outside the house bathroom visit, but she’s doing well and in another week or two will be ready for her daily exploration of a local park.   I am so thankful.

So now I can get back to my book.   The manuscript went in tour weeks ago and I was waiting for revisions.  They came this week, and I’m, busy on repairs.   I’m blessed with an editor who is great on spotting weaknesses.   I truly enjoy this particular process.  I can concentrate on making each chapter better.

I love my hero in this story, “A SEAL’s Return.”    One thing I’ve learned in the research process is that each letter in SEAL should be capitalized.  It represents Seal,Air and Land Teams.   It takes thirty months to train a SEAL to the point he is ready for deployment and therefore is highly valued.    Their re-up bonuses can be up to $150,000, but only a tiny percentage of those who apply make it through the hellish training process.

Jubal Pierce is MY Seal and he’ll always be one of my favorite heroes..   I thorough enjoy the revision process of making him even more intriguing.

Have a great weekend!



Back and Recuperating (Pat)

Sorry to be so late in posting but the last few days have been frantic.

I returned from a very good Romance Writers of America Conference only to have my Katy (Australian Shepherd) suddenly hampered by a back disk problem which grew progressively worse during the week.  She could barely move and then only with great pain.  The good news is it seems to be under control today with six different medications but I have to be with her all the time to make sure she doesn’t move suddenly.

But back to the conference.   It was great being with Tara and other friends, and I met the editor of my SuperRomance line.    She assured me that there would me more Covenant Falls tales coming in the future.   The next — the fourth — will be out in February.  In “A Seal’s Return,” horses will replace dogs as a returning vet’s best friend.

A highlight of the conference was two autographings where I signed “A Soldier’s Journey,”  It was such a pleasure hearing from readers how much they enjoyed my past books.   There’s nothing like being told someone loved my ‘babies.’

In the meantime, my backlist is doing really well.    “Twisted Shadows,” my favorite romantic suspense, was featured on Bookbub and the sales were terrific.   Come visit me at Amazon/Patricia Potter and preview the books.   There’s something for everyone: contemporary romance, Scottish historicals, Western historicals, American Revolution historicals and contemporary suspense.   There’s usually a bargain stuck in there somewhere.

Now back to nursing Katy.

Have a great week everyone!


A Happy Fourth!

I apologize for missing the last few weeks, but they have been full ones, especially this past weekend.   My great niece, Mary, was married, and relatives from five states turned the occasion into a three day non-stop party.

It was a lovely evening wedding, and it was wonderful to see out-of-state relatives and friends.   The bride was beautiful, the groom handsome and there was even a junior love affair between the four-year-old ring bearer and three-and-a-half year old flower girl.  The latter two charmed everyone by dancing and holding hands until late in the night.   A romance in the making!    Can’t wait to see what happens in twenty years.

Weddings always inspire romance writers.   I couldn’t wait to get home to revise my last chapter in Jubal’s Return, a Harlequin SuperRomance scheduled for next January.   It will be the fourth in my Covenant Falls series.   I’m starting the fifth.in the series Tuesday.    I have fallen in love with the town of Covenant Falls and the veterans who heal there.   The last Covenant Falls book, “A Soldier’s Journey,” did extremely well, and I thank all of you who supported it.

But I particularly want to wish everyone a wonderful Fourth of July.  It has always been my favorite holiday, surpassing Christmas and Thanksgiving.   I always watch “1776,”, a broadway musical made into a film.   It’s a witty but also moving story about the writing of the Declaration of Independence.   And then I watch the the Fourth of July concert In Washington D.C.  and Boston.    I think about the courage of those patriots who confronted a mighty army and prevailed with a courage and fortitude that carried the country through a civil war, two world wars and other wars.

The Covenant Falls series honors our veterans and that’s the reason I’ve enjoyed writing the books so much.   I am so grateful to all who served and who continue to bear the physical and emotional scars from that service.   We owe so much to them.

I hope you enjoy the day and pause to say a silent thank you to all those who fought for this country from Colonial times until today.

Busy Weeks Coming!

My blogs may be rare in the next few weeks.

My great niece whom I dearly love is getting married in two weeks and it will be a three day non-stop party with relatives coming from several states.  The wedding itself will be held Saturday, June 25 at Memphis’s much acclaimed Zoo with partying beginning the day earlier and running through Sunday.

I’m finishing the fourth book in the Covenant Falls series.   The first three books were about vets returning home and rescue dogs.   In this one, I’m introducing Quarter Horses to the mix.  I now know a great deal about birthin’ foals and Quarter Horses in general.  I also had great fun researching the Navy Seals.   My hero, Jubal Pierce, is a former Seal  who’s having a hard time adjusting to small town life.

And then there’s the upcoming Romance Writers of America conference approaching in San Diego.   It’s one of my favorite cities, and not entirely because it’s the home to Navy Seals.  I’m in the planning stage so I won’t miss anything.    If anyone has a suggestion about places to go, please pass it on here..

I’m also thinking ahead to book five of the Covenant Falls.   I plan to take the Quarter Horses another step farther.

Inbetween all this, I’m, trying to promote my backlist – - Romantic Suspense, Western Historicals and Scottish Historicals — that are now available as ebooks.  There’s been a number of sales, including Bookbub that sent one of my books to number one on the Amazon Romantic Suspense list.   Wow.

This week through June 14th one of my favorites, TWISTED SHADOWS, is included in Barnes & Noble’s Beach Reading Sale, which runs from June 1 to June 14  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/b/beach-reading-sale/fiction/_/N-ro1Z10h8 . During the sale TWISTED SHADOWS will be down priced at $1.99

One of my favorite romantic suspense tales.

One of my favorite romantic suspense tales.

I hope you check it out.

Have a great weekend.