Alpha~Beta…some crazy code? #writerlywednesday #awriterslife


There is so much more to writing than sitting down with pen and paper or computer. On Wednesday I will try to share some of the things I have learned by trial and error. We all have our own methods, some may like one thing while dislike another.  There is no one way of writing that is the right one. Since I just finished my current WIP which means work in progress, I will share my next step that is on to a Beta read, In my case, I send it o only one reader so I guess you would say she is my Alpha reader. What’s the difference?

An alpha reader or beta reader (also spelled alphareader / betareader, or shortened to alpha / beta), also pre-reader or critiquer, is a non-professional reader who reads a written work, generally fiction, with the intent of looking over the material to find and improve elements such as grammar and spelling, as well as …

Beta reader – Wikipedia

An Alpha reader is a person who gets your work as soon as you finish your rounds. In my case I write a rough draft, go over it running it through my ProWritingAid.   

I found a friend through my chatty chick writing group. She is my Alpha extraordinaire.  even though she makes tough calls, she and I understand each other. she never changes my voice no matter how deep the call. We pass the manuscript back and forth until we both are happy with the product.

Yes, sometimes I get teary at some of the cuts. Once we finish, the story is crisp, more polished and Ready for an editor.

What does an Alpha look for?

 Alpha versus Beta 

another great article between Alpha Beta and Arc readers Here 

of course, any glaring mistakes such as typos and stuff that stands out but the job is deeper. Their main job is loopholes things that don’t make sense, tense change and pacing. That’s just a tip of the iceberg. Having all this done ahead of time makes an editors job easier and makes for a more polished book.

It is important you have an Alpha you bond with because calls can be rough and you need to trust it’s not personal and for your best interest.  They have to be tough too and not let the author bully them too.  my Alpha Misty and I fit like lock and key. she knows when she will hae to hand me a tissue or calm me down.  She knows not to be offended if I like something so well I don’t want to make the change we discuss it and if I keep it she understands.  We have worked together for years now but this past year more seriously. We have one manuscript almost ready for me to either sub or hire an editor and this new project with a deadline of  Jan 31 just about ready to submit.

I don’t know what I would do without my Alpha. LOL Sounds like a wolf pack or something LOL

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Do you use an Alpha, or do Alpha reads?

Back in the day #MFRWauthor #earliestmemory #amblogging

Welcome to the 2018  52-week MFRW blog challenge. this weeks topic is Our Earliest memory.

My earliest and fondest memories are of my Grandma and grandpa on my mom’s side. They were known simply as Grandma and Grandpa. occasionally called him grandpa Lebo. I spent as much time as I could with them on their farm. The house was set way back down a winding road. It was a tall white house with two stories. They had indoor plumbing but there was an outhouse on the premises. I thought it hilarious and even used it from time to time. I was so little Grandma had to hold me up. The also had a pump and grandma used it some too. I remember carrying pails of water to the chicken coops and pig pens. Grandpa or one of the uncles would take me out on the tractor. The uncles (three of them) were a bit mischievous and like tormenting me. I was like a little puppy and just kept going back for more.

I remember walks with Grandpa along the railroad track across the lane down to the Tressel. I hated the Tressel because once we walked across and one of the beagles fell through so I was always afraid we would fall or another dog would. I guess that was the worse memory.

I would spend the summer helping grandma can peaches, pears, and everything from the garden. This is where I get my love of gardening and canning foods. I’d sit on the counter and help or stand in a chair listening to grandma sing hymns. She always sang The Garden and it to this day soothes me.

I remember Grandpa putting me in a cart drawn by his horse tiger and we would go down the lane to one of the local stores. We would get a soda for a nickel and a bottle. I always got root beer or cream. I remember a paper doll book that you colored first then cut out. He would get that and scissors and colors for like 25 cents. I thought I was in heaven. We would get a puzzle and after dinner, Grandma and I would work on it.

One of my fondest memories was they had a big German shepherd called Duke. He was a guard dog and pretty mean. They always told me to stay away and during the day he was chained to a pole. Grandma had a large wash tub out near the pump that she let me “swim’ during the summer. mom told me the story of coming out and I had duke in the tub with me.  They were all scared to death he would hurt me but he wouldn’t let any of them near us. I told them It was ok after I finished his bath Id put him back up and that’s what I did. He let no one near him ut my Grandpa, my uncle and me.

One last story. Grandma had a big chicken coop and a large space penned in for them to roam. We always had chicken on Sunday. One day she asked if I wanted dumplings and I said yes. She made the best dumplings. She said we’d go get a hen and fryer. Off to the chicken pen we went. She grabbed a fryer and handed to me and got a hen. I was tickled we were having the chickens to dinner. SHe took the hen gave a snap and said to do the same to the fryer. I was terrified and tossed the chicken screaming run chickens run.  That day I learned that she meant FOR dinner, not TO dinner.

When I was 8 the farmer my grandpa farmed for sold his property so Grandma and Grandpa moved to Kennett from the country. I miss that farm a lot and have a few stories you will see it, some of these memories and more.

Lets go see what memories the other authors have to share!


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Why Blog? ~~Writerly Wednesday #awriterslife #amblogging

Why blog? That’s a big question. How many people really read what you write? Its hard to say. There are trackers but some of those just show visits, not acutual readers.  I get very few comments on mine. I became frustrated and last year with life coming at me full force, I quit blogging except Friday. I had entered the MRW52 week blog and didn’t want to be a quitter. I made it until December and started missing some days then. How do you know what blog to use, Weebly, blogger, WordPress, and many others? Blogger is very user-friendly. I used it as my first ever blog and did get comments and followers.  I used it like a journal posting each day. Blogging like that got me on my feet and pulled me through a hard time.


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This year I decided to revive my blog, three days a week. My most read blogs were Foodie Friday and Writerly Wednesday and Teaser Tuesday. I am going to move Foodie Friday to Monday as Munchie Monday (Thank you Misty for the cutest name ever) i will feature recipes and stories to go along with them.  I am keeping Writerly Wednesday with tips, interviews and other thing pertaining to writing. And Friday is the 52-week MFRWauthor writing challenge.  For now, I am only doing these three days a week with an occasional spotlight or guest appearance. If you would like to follow my books, see teasers, have games and other fun stuff join my facebook group Cat’s Romance-Aholics.

Blogging can be time-consuming. I was spending hours a day on the blog, emails etc and not getting any writing. I have learned much over the years. I chose WordPress as a website and to combine my blog into one place.

Should you blog? I think that is a personal decision. You can have a website with no blog, but I think people like to get to know an author. It makes reading books more enjoyable when you see bits and pieces of the person that wrote the book. I think it’s a good way to make friends.

Blogging takes a lot of work trying to decide what to post, finding photos or songs and trying to make it interesting. So if you read blogs take a moment to comment. We love to know what you think!

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What do you like seeing on blogs? what do you not like? I’d love to know!


Munchie Monday~~ Beans #southernfood #comfortfood #writerslife

I’ve decided to try to get back to blogging this year. I’m going to start out with three days. Monday Munchies, Writerly Wednesday and the MFRW52week blog challenge on Friday. Soon I may incorporate a teaser day as well. Until then you can get updates on my writing progress, teasers, games, character inspirations and even help me name characters and settings in my Facebook group–Cat’s Romance Aholics.

Since it’s been so cold and what is better on a cold day than soup or stew this month I am going to share some soup or stew recipes. Also being a southern girl, beans are on that list. Having a ham bone left from Christmas I thought a nice pot of beans is due.

A cute random bone song that popped into my brain while writing this…

Yesterday I made beans. I always save my ham bone from Christmas and Easter for a batch. (it freezes well) My mom and Grandmother always did and it’s something I followed over the years.  One Easter my husband’s girls were all here and the oldest was helping clean the kitchen. She asked where did he want to toss the bone outside or in the trash. He told her we don’t throw that away. SHe was shocked and curious about why so he sent her to me.  I explained cooking it in beans or soup.  I asked how her mom made beans and she said with water.( wrinkles nose) Even if I don’t have a bone I don’t use just water. Today I will share both my recipes of beans since I don’t always use meat either.

Beans with a ham bone or ham hocks

I don’t have exact measurements as this is more a method than a recipe.

1 pound of beans ( you can use more if you have a large family) ( rinse pic out the trash and bad beans)

2-4 ham hocks or ham bone a smoked turkey leg or thigh is great too.

garlic, chopped onion, salt, pepper, water and my new favorite ingredient…better than Bullion I used one tablespoon of vegetable in this pot of beans. (You can use onion powder or minced onion if you have non-onion eaters in the family) and garlic powder.

Bring beans to a boil, boil ten minutes turn off cover let sit 2-4 hours or overnight. pick any beans off the top. Drain off the water, this helps give you less gas.

Return beans to pot or put in crock pot. Add all the above seasonings and ham bone, or whichever meat you choose. You can use chopped ham if you don’t want to mess with the bones.  cover with water I make sure my bones are covered or almost.  This is where you taste the water and check the seasoning it should taste close to what you expect your beans to taste but a bit stronger.   In an hour check again and add more seasoning if desired. In crock pot cook for two hours on high then check if nearly done turn to low or you can cook all day on low. I’m not that patient.  If stove top bring back to a boil simmer for a couple of hours checking to make sure all the liquid doesn’t absorb or cookout.  I like my beans bit firm but if you like your soft cook to desired consistency About an hour before time to serve, take out meat let cool, pull off bone add some back if desired. cook about thirty more minutes then turn off and let sit for 20 minutes or so covered.  Now make a pot of cornbread and enjoy!

If you want a vegetarian Bean version this is how I make my beans on a more regular basis and it’s almost as tasty as the meat version. My dad had doubts but I won him over.

1 pound of beans

2 cans of vegetable broth or a large box.

2 stalks of Celery, half an onion rough chopped,  minced onion or onion powder, garlic or garlic powder better than bullion 2 TBS

This is also very budget friendly.

Rinse and pick over your beans. cover with water, bring to a boil -boil 10 to 20 minutes. turn off cover and let sit 2-4 hours or overnight. Once softened drain water. return to pot or crockpot, cover and add broth. if it doesn’t cover with a couple of inches to spare add a can of water you need plenty to begin cooking.  add the 2 TBS of better than bullion and other seasonings.  and veggies. ( i wrap the veggies in cheesecloth and tie for easy removal (unless you like a veggie in your, in that case, chop them finely and add) You can add salt and pepper too. Stir well taste the water. if it has a strong veggie taste and just slightly salty your good to go. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer about 2 hours checking occasionally so the water doesn’t boil out or over absorb. ( burned beans are nasty).  I like my beans firmer, if you like yours softer cook longer still watching that your liquid doesn’t boil out. this is a good time to check your seasoning.  I like to let mine sit covered about 20 minutes or so before serving. This is a good time to make a pot of cornbread!

Every Sunday we went to my grandmas when I was you our Sunday dinner was Beans, cornbread a green fried or mashed potatoes, Fried chicken or pork chops. and chocolate cake. WHere the meat and potato may vary we knew the beans were always there!  Now I’m hungry!

Do you like beans and cornbread? How do you make yours? Do you save those ham bones or smoked turkey wings or legs?

And Always~~if you can dream it you can do it!

How can you say you love one kiddo more than another? #MRWauthor

                                                                                                                                                               Week 1 – MFRW 2018 52-week Blog Challenge Participants #MFRWAuthor

Hi Ya’ll! Its a new Year and we are back with a new MFRW 52-week Blog Challenge. Welcome to week one. Our topic is our Favorite Book we have written and why. This is like saying why you love one of your  kiddos more than the other. I love all the stories i have written so far, even if they sit in the  unfinished folders, or ready to self-edit folders.
Since the only book, I have published is my children’s book Luke’s Dragon, I am going to go with why I loved writing that. (Notice I did not say he was my favorite–I refuse to choose that way LOL)
I wrote Luke’s Dragon for a children’s charity anthology. I did not get paid for it, though we could also publish the book on our own. At the time I was with a publishing house and they wanted to publish it so I agreed. I have now gotten my rights back and Luke is Indie.  I based Luke’s Dragon loosely on a time when a tornado had come through our town leaving a lot of the children afraid of storms. I named it after my Nephew Luke ( with his family’s permission of course).  He is also my cover Model.
The story is a fantasy with dragons, and wizards, and lots of fun, though it also has a lesson objective of why not to be afraid of the storms (i hope). The book is for children 8-13 though I got mostly adults liking it.  I have also been told some younger ones have enjoyed listening to it being read, though it’s not a picture book. I am considering giving it a facelift with a few pictures one of these days and revisiting Dreamland as well. Luke’s brothers and sister all want their story too. I had loads f fun writing this book since I could be a kid and let loose with my imagination. Writing children’s books are lots of fun. They are faster to write and don’t have to be so fact-based or require the research for items like a regular book.
If you’re looking for a book for your child or grandchild’s new Kindle, Luke’s Dragon is only $1.99. . Goodreads for more reviews
Let’s go see what books the other authors chose as their favorites and why.


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