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Archive for October 2014

FWA 2014 Conference


Talk about motivation! The 2014 Florida Writers Conference offered four days of workshops addressing the needs of over 400 writers from all over Florida and beyond who gathered at the Marriot Conference Center in Lake Mary, FL in October, 2014. A conference of this size involves months of planning and hundreds of volunteers.

Agenda Topics: Publishing a Book, Punctuation, Creativity, Editing, Outlining, Financials, Marketing, Contracts, Poetry, LGBT Character, and more.

Many took advantage of scheduling an appointment with one of the attending agents seeking new authors. Volunteers staffed the book store making members’ published books available for sale.


The culminating suspenseful event of the Conference began with a social hour and ended with cheers and jubilation when the results of the Royal Palm Literary Awards competition were announced on Saturday night after a chef’s special meal at a banquet for the hopeful Finalists.

Joy of Joys, I hear my name announced as the winner of a 2nd Place Award in my category of autobiography/memoir. I received a beautiful engraved acrylic plaque for my memoir, Monastery to Matrimony, A Woman’s Journey.

It took years of trial and error to pull this manuscript into an award winning book. Walking up on the stage and receiving the award from Chris Coward, director of my writing group and President of FWA made it all worthwhile.


The taste of success motivates me to sit at my computer and pull out the idea for an historical novel burning in my brain. Tune in to my BLOG next week to see if I have started it.

In the meantime, click on the link to hear an interview on Journey For Truth Radio Show with Tami Urbanek.






I am experiencing many great marketing events lately.

This week a film crew came to my home to shoot a video promoting my book Monastery to Matrimony, A Woman’s Journey. First I was interviewed on camera by Monica who focused on general questions about writing: Is it my passion? What did you hope to accomplish? Why did I choose to self-publish? What advice do you have for those considering publishing? After the interview,  Josh, the videographer, filmed me in different settings where I wrote in my home.

They wanted my cat, Sammie in the picture, so I roused her from her sleep on the lanai, brought her in to sit on my lap while I attempted typing on my laptop. Her favorite annoyance when I wrote on my desktop computer was to jump up on the desk and lay across the keyboard. Cats love to be in the center of activity.

Sammie is sometimes exasperating, but I tolerate the old girl’s need for attention because she is TWENTY-ONE years old this month. She came to my rescue after I lost my husband; I needed her company and someone to care for. I rescued her when she had to leave her home after seventeen years with the same family. I figured who else would want such an old cat. We are two seniors enjoying each others company.

Today I will be interviewed on another online radio show. Tami Urbanek, author of Loving Conner, expressed interest in having me on her  show, Journey For Truth.

 Marketing is an essential part of publishing a book. Writing is gratifying and challenging, but marketing is a necessity. There is no satisfaction in having boxes of books collecting dust in the garage. I actually enjoy promoting my book. I find talking to people at book signings, interviews, and speaking opportunities rewarding. In speaking, I not only talk about writing the book, I also share “The Steps to Moving Forward in Life.”

Watch for my video on my website. Listen to my online radio interview on Tami’s show which will air October 27.





What’s A Nun?

Catholic education has changed in the past fifty years. The scarcity of nuns probably has something to do with it. The content and teachings in Catholic schools is the same, but the face of it is different. No longer are guests greeted with a nun in full habit or even a modified habit. Nuns are no longer on the scene at all in most Catholic schools.

Recently a teacher friend of mine in a Catholic school talked to her class about my book, Monastery to Matrimony, A Woman’s Journey, telling them that I had been a nun. Their response was, “What’s a nun?”  We were both surprised. After a brief reflection, we realized that of course they would not know.  They had never seen one.

The number of nuns who left their religious communities in the 60s and 70s, including me, resulted in the closure of numerous Catholic schools, especially elementary schools. Some remained open when the laity stepped up to  fill the void. They do it with great sacrifice monetarily. They teach for the love of teaching and the love of their faith. People of parishes make sacrifices to support the schools to fill the financial gap left when the cheap labor of the nuns was no longer available.

A religious life as a nun is still a viable vocation. Many women are joining religious communities in their late 20s, 30s, and even 40s. Many are answering a call that they resisted their early years. They come from teaching, the corporate world, legal profession, and other diverse occupations. However, the numbers are not adequate to fill personnel needs in schools, nor does the diversity of their talents fit an education model.

From my perspective of the twenty years I spent in the Benedictine community of St. Mary Monastery,, I can truly say it is a good life, a life of service and one to be considered for women seeking a prayer life and complete dedication in God’s service.

The harsh customs depicted in my book are no longer practiced in todays communities. For example, today sisters would be allowed to spend time with family as needed at the death of a family member.

Catholic education will continue and it will grow thanks to the dedicated laity. The number of Catholic nuns will grow, but they  will be participating in various works while standing up for the poor, the neglected, the sick, and those suffering injustice.



Writing a book is a major accomplishment. Getting it published takes a double major effort. Then marketing it once published is a forever project. How many times do you hear of people who self-publish a book, order hundreds of copies, and leave them stacked in their garage or closet never to see the light of day.

I was determined not to do that. I felt if it was worth writing, I had to believe it was worth reading. I knew I could not work hard enough, nor would I live long enough, to give it the exposure it needed, so I solicited the help of public relations personnel. As a result, the book is being recognized far and wide. I am trusting that the recognition will result in sales.

Yesterday, I had the fun experience of being interviewed on the Christian Television Network. I appeared on the show Homekeepers with Arthelene Rippy. She devoted a full eighteen minutes to enthusiastic promotion of my book, Monastery to Matrimony. Her questions were focused and tantalizing to viewers. Her genuine interest and curiosity about my convent life will no doubt prompt people to search for my book. She made it known that it is available through Balboa, my publisher,, e-books, or directly from me at  The studio taping was in Largo, FL and will air during the week of October 6, 2014.  The program can be seen on the Christian Television Network out of Tampa, FL. It will be readily available to audiences with sattelite reception on the CTN channel. It will also be on my website.  See the SCHEDULE page on my website for other marketing activities.

The more books that are sold, the more I can contribute to the COPE Fund. The ministry for educating children in Pokot, Kenya, Africa—Children of Pokot Education—receives a portion of the proceeds from sales of Monastery to Matrimony.