Saturday, June 20, 2015

THE TRAIL OF TEARS BY GINGER SIMPSON #history #nativeamericans

Greed begets nothing good...
I'm an fan of western historicals, and some of the research I've done for books of that genre bring tears to my eyes.  The TV westerns always portray the native americans as the "bad" guys, but can we not claim the injustices we heaped upon them?

The Trail of Tears is a sad testament of the greed displayed against Native Americans in the 1800s.  In order to achieve land and build states, the Native American tribes were forced to leave the lands they occupied, and moved against their will.  Although those who wanted to stay were allowed to remain and assimilate into society, there is no doubt they were not treated well as white men didn't look favorably upon those with red skin.

Oklahoma, not yet formed was the home of the Choctaw Nation, later named Indian Territory. The government's aim to achieve their personal goal was to relocate Native Americans to the west.  The Indian Removal At of 1830 allowed President Andrew Jackson to enact treaties allowing the removal of all tribes living east of the Mississippi.  For the most part, the removal of the Choctaw was peaceful, but those who resisted were eventually forced to leave if they didn't wish to assimilate into society.
The Creek refused to move, but in good faith, signed a treaty in March 1832 to surrender a large portion of their land as long as the remaining lands were afforded protection.  The US failed to deliver, and in 1837, the military forcibly removed the tribe without benefit of a treaty this time.
The Chickasaw realized they had no other alternative, and and signed a treaty in 1832 to include their protection until their move. The Chickasaws were forced to move earlier than expected as a result of white settlers.  The war department refused to intercede.
A small group of Seminoles signed a relocation treaty, but the majority of the tribe rebuked the agreement.. After resulting in what is known as the Second and Third Seminole Wars, those who survived were paid to move west..
In 1833, the Treaty of New Echota provided two years for the Cherokees in the state of Georgia to move west or face a forced exit.. By the deadline, only a small number of Cherokees had migrated westward and sixteen thousand remained steadfast on their land. As a result, the US sent seven thousand soldiers to enforce the treaty, not even giving the tribe time to gather their belongings.  The escorted march westward became known as the Trail of Tears because four thousand people died along the way.
The thousand-mile march began In the winter of 1838, many Cherokeecovered only with skimpy clothing, most on feet without shoes/moccasins.  Beginning in Red Clay, Tennessee, the tribe crossed Tennessee and Kentucky, never allowed to step foot into any towns or villages because of the fear of disease.  Having to bypass these places added miles to their journey, but when they finally arrived at the Ohio River in Southern Illinois around December 3, 1838, they were subjected to a dollar per person toll to use Berry's Ferry.  The traditional charge was twelve cents per head, and the Indians were not allowed to cross until all others were served.  During their wait, as many of the tribe as possible sought shelter under "Mantle Rock," a  bluff on the Kentucky side of the river.  While huddled together, many died from exposure. Several Cherokee were murdered by locals.
The marchers reached southern Illinois on December 26.  An agent for the detachment wrote, "There is the coldest weather in Illinois I ever experienced anywhere.  The streams are all frozen over...  We are compelled to cut through the ice to get water... It snows here every two or three days...we are now camped in Mississippi swamp 4 miles from the river, and there is no possible chance of crossing the river... We have only traveled sixty-five miles in the last month, including the time spent at this place, which has been about three weeks.  It is unknown when we shall cross the river...."
"I fought through the War Between the States and have seen many men shot, but the Cherokee Removal was the cruelest work I ever knew.".
—- Georgia soldier who participated in the removal
The Trail of Tears
Historical information for the blog was gleaned from Wikipedia, including the map above.  Other photographs have been given attribution.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Why Modern Technology Hates Suspense Writers by Stuart R. West

For my just released book, Ghosts of Gannaway, I did an awful lot of research (emphasis on the “awful”). I uncovered more about the 1930’s and mining than any one person should know. Now, I’m the type of writer who likes to jump right in and let the characters run wild. Once I set them up, they pretty much chart their own course and fate. So the uncustomary preparatory research made me antsy. But thanks to the miracle of “Mr. Google,” the research wasn’t nearly as bad as it could’ve been.

Which made me wonder how writers managed to research during the pre-internet era. Good ol’-fashioned phone calling and pavement pounding, that’s how.

Writers are spoiled nowadays with the convenience and luxury of computers and the internet.  When I was in college (back in the ‘80’s, a decade not known for much other than big hair and even bigger shoulder pads), I pounded away on my portable electric typewriter, a then state-of-the-art contraption. Armed with a bottle of white-out at my elbow, it was slow, frustrating going.  I couldn’t imagine writing a novel on a typewriter, wouldn’t have the patience. Just a couple of weeks ago, I found out my daughter had never used a typewriter. To my horror, she didn’t even know how to return the carriage. And I’m really beginning to sound like a grumpy ol’ coot, aren’t I? (“You kids get outta’ my yard!”)

But even with the ease of computers, progress isn’t always a good thing for writers. Especially suspense writers.

Sure, I’m able to research with a few clicks of a button. But since my research over the past several years has included poison, witchcraft, black magic, animal tranquilizers, human sedatives, cults, hate churches, designer guns, lock-picking, serial killers, toxic gases, and other thriller staples, I’m sure I’ve raised a few governmental eyes. Probably on a couple of “To Be Watched” lists. Before the internet, writers could more easily maintain anonymity. A double-edged sword.

And since I like to wallow in suspense and thrillers, the advent of cell phones has made it tough. It’s hard to strand characters in perilous situations when they can just make a call. Characters in my books have the worst phone service providers ever; lots of dropped calls and fading batteries. Like Clark Kent, I miss phone booths. Hitchcock loved ‘em and for good reason. 

Then there’re all the electronic eyes everywhere! Security cameras, traffic cams, satellites looking at who knows what. Pity the poor fictional criminal; it’s next to impossible to pull off a nefarious deed these days without being witnessed.

Don’t even get me going on the state of forensics now. A crook practically has to hermetically seal himself in a plastic bag to pull off a successful murder. I envy the thriller writers of yesteryear, when the bad guys could perpetrate their crime, then boom, off to the Caribbean. 

I can’t keep up with the technological advances. I wrote a thriller a year ago, one I thought was relatively “cutting edge.” But, recently, a writer took me to task for having my anti-hero using a flip phone. “That’s so, like, five years ago,” she said. So I texted her back (painstakingly tap-tap-tapping three times per each letter on my flip-phone), Oh, yeah?

Progress. Bah! (“You kids call that a haircut?”)

What say you, other writers? How about it readers? Has progress helped or hindered what you write and read?

Ghosts of Gannaway, a decades spanning ghost story by Stuart R. West, from Books We Love Publishing is out now at the special sale price of .99! That's a whole lotta research for under a buck!

Click here for Amazon.

Stuart R. West's blog: Twisted Tales From Tornado Alley
Twitter: @StuartRWest


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Something a Little Different by Nancy M Bell

Welcome to my day on the Books We Love Blog! So nice to see you all back. Rather than ramble on about something that is important to me, I thought I would share something a little different this month. I love to write poetry, the way the words sing and how they evoke emotions and even the memory of certain scents. With that in mind, I thought I would post a few poems from my dusty dusty poetry vault. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on my thoughts. LOL


Bittersweet; nibbling at the toes of my subconscious
Memories of long past summer days
Evoked by the essence of green cut hay
A myriad of days
Wrapped up in the rustle of ripening wheat

Shimmering moonlight
Freeing the ghosts locked away in memory
Sending them shouting and galloping once again
Through the now silent dark
Plunging me back into half-forgotten dreams
And half-remembered loves

Sweet moon shadowed innocence of youth.

This poem was inspired by memories of riding with my friends when I was in my late teens and early twenties. I can still see it as clear as day, the blue June sky, the belly deep waving grasses, the smell of hot earth and dry grass sharp on the breeze. My horse strong and smooth between my knees, the lovely smell of clean horse and sweat. His coat silky under my hands, our thoughts as one, horse and rider. As if somehow we could capture a moment and freeze it in time, holding it forever in our hearts and minds.

Yesterday’s Last Day

This is the last day of yesterday
It can be no other way
Every other day will be tomorrow
Where joy will not be borrowed

I am closing the door on sadness
Offering myself forgiveness
No more misty dreaming of the past
I’m seeking a promise that will last

No walking with memory’s guidebook in hand
Revisiting places we played on the strand
With somehow tomorrow drifting away
Until I’m caught forever in the last day of yesterday

So now I’m searching through the clouds for tomorrow
Ignoring the beaconing sighs of yesterday’s sorrow
I’m leaving behind this lonely madness
And closing the door on sadness.

This one was about the angst of letting go of a relationship that has gone up in flames, but somehow I kept sifting the ashes through my fingers until I realized there wasn't really anything to hang on to anymore. I was in my late teens when I wrote this one.

Memories from a Honeymoon
May 1977

I remember green English fields and coal fires
Rain and Jubilee banners
Pigeons in Trafalgar Square
Walking through Hyde Park in the sun
Feeling the presence of ghosts from the past

And then Paris, City of flowers and bridges
Notre Dame rising from the stones
As if it has always been there
Inside the candles shining in the dark

I remember a pink rosebush in a park
Near the Eiffel Tower and more pigeons
Walking on the Champs Elysie in the rain
Sitting a little café with a café au lait
That cost a buck a cup
Crepes with strawberry jam from a street vendor

Zurich’s mountains and lake
A white swan in the river at dawn
And a hotel that was closed
Red roofs and cobble streets
Alpine flowers on the slopes and sweet mountain air

Amsterdam, city of canals
Dam Square and more pigeons
The Red Light District and a hungry alley cat
Walking along the Prinsengrache and Damrack
McDonald’s at last
Shopping the bustling streets
Wheels of cheese and fish markets
French fries with mayonnaise
And more rain

And over it all the glow of everlasting love.

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Memories of our honeymoon. Europe on a shoe string. Hard to believe it was 38 years ago.


We are linked by love
You and I
You have been my steadfast friend
My anchor in the stormy seas
My safe rock on which to stand
And survey my uncertainties

The sharer of my secrets
The keeper of the wings of my spirit
You have given so much
And asked so little
Touchstone of my soul
Transcending even the distance of death.

This is a tribute to my first horse, Brandy. He kept me sane through my teenage and early twenties. I wrote this right after he died. His name was Brandy, Brandance Kaine.


You were bred to win
And born to race
While still a colt you left
Your rolling Meadow fields

Destined to show that dreams
Can still come true
The essence of power and beauty
Running for love of it
Running for yourself
Honestly and truly

The sun was your spotlight
You were the ruler
The world your minions
Like your daddy’s name a Bold Ruler
And like your momma’s truly Something Royal

And now each time we see a flaming chestnut
The world looks again hoping that it’s you
Knowing that it never will be again.

This is appropriate seeing as American Pharaoh won the Triple Crown. I wrote this after Secretariat won in 1973. The first horse since 1948 when Citation won.

Winter Morning

Snow silvered branches spread against the pearl velvet of the sky
Bare trunks a dark slash against the white-blue snow
The frosty filigreed branches glow with illumination
The pale light gathered and thrown upwards by the fields they guard
The Goddess is holding her breath
There is no colour on this palette
Only shades of silver pewter
The pale blue-white of snow and shadow
And the stark black wounds of the trees
Stitching the earth to the sky.

This is just a small vignette of a winter morning that enchanted me.

Okay, only one more. I promise!

Just Shy of Eighty-Two

You were just one day shy
Of eighty-two years old
The day you went missing
Really, just one hour shy

The night closed in
And you drifted away from us
You left the face we knew on your pillow
Taking the part that was You
Where we couldn’t follow

You chose to leave in solitude
Sending your lover to catch a bus
Alone, your great bear heart settled into rest
Your great bear spirit free from its cage

Where I sat in the dark car outside a Tim Horton’s
Stopping briefly in my mad rush to reach you
I knew I was too late
Even before my cell phone split the silence
As we passed the Barrie Racetrack

You are still here in the blood of your children
And your children’s children
In your daughter’s eyes you are a hero
The hero has just gone on a new quest
There is an empty place at our banquet table

Mom and Dad 1956


This was written when my dad died in 2008. No matter how old we get, we will always be our parent's children.

Well, I hope I haven't bored you all to death! Looking forward to hearing your thoughts and comments. Until next month!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Casting Your Characters - Gemini with Janet Lane Walters #Astrology #BooksWeLove

This cover is for The Gemini Sagittarius Connection due to be released soon. She is a single mother Gemini with twin sons who has no desire for another husband. Her nursing career brings her face to face with a Sagittarius doctor who believes he had the perfect marriage. His wife's death has left him as one of the hospital's most eligible bachelors.

I am currently working on a second book this time with a Gemini hero and doctor who has given up the practice of medicine to become a writer. His love interest returns to town after eleven years. She is a Cancer Pediatric Nurse Practitioner who he hurt in the past/

We've all heard that Gemini is the sign of the twins and that these people have trouble making up their minds. Not really true. Here are some tips if you want to give your character a Gemini Sun, Rising Sign or Moon.

Gemini sun and this is the inner nature of the character. Geminis are ruled by Mercury, This means communication. Geminis are sympathetic, affectionate. Home and children mean a lot to them. One of the problems they have is being easily influenced by people who are kind to them. Geminis are intuitive and are good investigators. They can act quickly in an emergency. Another problem is that they can be changeable. They are also inquisitive and love diversity.

Rising Sign- the face shown to the world. Ambition often rules. They are curious and given to investigations and experiments. With this sign rising they are capable of two pursuits at the same time, even to having two careers and the drive to succeed in both. They can be idealistic, perceptive and imaginative. A love of pleasure can set them on a tangent. They can be restless and high strung. They are great talkers.

Moon -- The emotional nature. This side of a Gemini shows an agreeable, warm-hearted persom except they are reserved about personal and domestic matters. They gain pleasure from books. With a Gemini Moon, the character would dislike quarreling and warefare. They are also changeable. A real problem can be caused by being drawn into embarrassing or difficult situations.  

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

You Had to be There - A Summer Memory by Roseanne Dowell

Summer is a magical time in the life of a child and it was no less for me. I’ve always loved summer, especially in the fifties when I was young and carefree. It was a time of happiness and
contentment.  Secure in the love of my family, I enjoyed the summer days and nights.  We spent the days riding bikes, playing kick the can, hide and seek, baseball, and tag.  It’s so clear in my mind, it could have been yesterday instead of fifty plus years ago. 
My memories go back to warm summer days in Cleveland, Ohio.  Days spent waiting anxiously for my father to come home from work.  At the first sign of nice weather, my mother brought out the picnic basket. Every day in the nice weather, she packed it and had it ready to go.
While Dad washed up, we packed the car and before you knew it, we were on our way to our special place, Lagoon, named for the small lake nearby, Actually more like a pond.. The name sounded spooky, probably because in 1954 the movie Creature From the Black Lagoon was so popular. Not that I ever saw it, I didn't and still don’t care to. Spooky movies and I don’t get along.
We jumped out of the car and immediately begin gathering kindling while Mom and Dad brought the picnic basket and cooler to the table. No charcoal for us, wood was free and plentiful. After picking up the smaller twigs, we ran towards the woods looking for larger branches to use for firewood and. long skinny sticks for roasting marshmallows after dinner. Mom crumpled up old newspaper and started the fire and let Dad relax. She added the larger wood as the fire started smoldering.
My brothers, sisters, and I bickered and competed to see who could break the larger dead branches we had gathered. Holding the branch with one hand, we  jumped on it. Naturally, my brothers, being older and bigger, won. My sisters and I broke the smaller ones.  We held each end and cracked them across our knees. Even now I can hear the snap as the brittle branches splintered. Mom and Dad laughed at our antics unless we got too rough. Once the fire settled down to hot coals, my parents cooked, and we played.
Not far from our table and near the bridle path stood an old tree  with a crooked branch big enough to sit on . We called it our horse tree.  My sisters and I climbed the tree and watched the world while my brothers played baseball.  Sometimes we made up stories about the people who drove by. Riders often came down the path next to us, and we jumped down from our loft, talked to them, and petted the horses. That was before my fear of horses.
 Three or four of us could fit on that thick old limb, and we thought we were so high up that no one could see us At least we thought they couldn't. Far up to a child is a lot different than to an adult. . We often sat up there until dinnertime.  After dinner, we usually went for a walk by the lake with our parents or our brothers. We weren't allowed to go alone until we got older
On Wednesdays and weekends,my aunt, uncle, and cousins came on the picnic with us. We had some great baseball games  with ten kids and four adults. We played out in the dusty old field, screaming “go to third, or run home” and shouting “catch it, throw it home” jumping up and down as our team scored a run or someone in the field caught the ball.  Being the second youngest of six kids I didn't hit the ball very far, but the adults made allowances for us younger kids. They let the ball roll past them if we managed to hit it. But there was fierce competition between us kids and even my brothers didn't give us a break. After the game, our parents relaxed or played horseshoes.
While they visited with each other, we were allowed to go almost anywhere as long as the older boys were with us.  One of my favorite memories is going for walks up a long hill. At the end of the road, an old house stood surrounded by trees and covered in ivy. Dirty windows stared at us from their ivy-covered facade. An overgrown yard hid the sidewalk. The house looked spooky, probably abandoned, but we didn't know that then.
My brothers told us a witch lived there so we couldn't get too close. We slowed down the closer we got to the house. A little more than halfway up, one of my brothers yelled, "she's coming" or "there she is." We raced back down the hill like our lives depended on it. At the bottom, we stopped out of breath and laughed, thinking we outran her.
No matter how scared we were, we  begged to go back. I think we hoped to see her one day. Of course, neither my sisters or I ever saw her. Thinking back, I'm sure no one lived there, but even as a child I had a wild imaginatIon. Not that I was the only one, my sisters and cousin imagined the same thing. 
When we got a little older, my sisters, our cousin, and I were allowed to wander by off by ourselves. We even conjured up enough courage to go up the hill alone. Not that we ever made it all the way up. It never failed one or the other of us  thought we saw someone moving in the window or our brothers sneaked up out of the woods and scared the daylights out of us. As usual we ran like the devil was chasing us. After we caught our breaths, we took after the boys, never quite quick enough to catch them. 
I miss those days.  Many of the people are gone now, but the memory remains of that simpler time. A time when all we had to worry about was doing our chores, picnics, gathering sticks for kindling, playing and pretending. It was a time when fun, imaginations, and love abounded, and summer days were magical.
We went back to Lagoon several years ago for a family reunion. The tree still stands, but the witch's house, alas, was gone. We told our children and grandchildren these tales. They listened politely, smiling and nodding, but they didn't find the humor or magic in the story as we did. 
I guess you had to be there

Roseanne's books can be found at Amazon

Taking over the police chief’s job in her hometown should have been easy for Callie Johnson. At least that's what she thought. After working in a big city, small town crime would be a breeze. What a surprise when she arrives to find her grandmother, the judge, accused of murder. As if that wasn't enough she’s attacked while walking to her car. Between criminal investigations, her nutty family’s antics and her Aunt Beatrice Lulu's matchmaking, Callie definitely has her work cut out for her. Will her grandmother be exonerated? Can Callie ward off her aunt’s unsuitable suitors? What other surprises were in store for her? More importantly, can she find the person who attacked her?

Monday, June 15, 2015

I just don't get some people by Michelle Lee

I have been encouraged by many of the BWL authors to share a little bit about myself - rather than just my thoughts on covers and images.  So here is another of those posts  ...

As I am sure you have figured out already, based on past posts of mine, I am a nature lover.  What you might not know is that, although I have issues with how some zoos operate, I support the zoo concept.

There is a quote that I strongly believe in.  It goes ...

"In the end we will conserve only what we love; 
we will love only what we understand; 
and we will understand only what we are taught." 
(Baba Dioum, 1968)

For many people, zoos are the only way they will ever have exposure to some animals, and to the need for conservation.  Zoos also provide a repository of genetic material for animals that are quickly going extinct in the wild.

So it was with a heavy heart that I read an article where a wolf at the Menominee Park Zoo was put down because of the actions of people - any of which had they stopped and actually thought about things along the way, could have prevented the situation.

What do I mean by that?

A gate to a restricted area was left open.  Had the employee made sure to do what they were supposed to, the area would have been secured.  It might seem a small oversight, but when you have wild animals under your care - animals that depend on your for their safety and health, as well as depend on you to keep unauthorized people away, then that small oversight is a big deal.

A parent, who wanted a picture of the wolves in the exhibit CHOSE to go into a clearly marked restricted area.  Not only that, the parent CHOSE to take their young child with them.  Now as a parent myself, I remember when my daughter was young and constantly into things. Some place like, oh gee, a zoo meant I needed to keep an eye on her to make sure she didn't wander off, attempt to pull a feather from a peacock, climb up the rail and lean into the elephant exhibit, etc.  So the parent made a bad error in judgement and placed the desire to get a picture, from an area they knew they were not allowed in to, to override their duty to their child.

As a result - while the parent was getting their picture of a beautiful wolf - their child was attempting to have its own encounter.  Now many small children don't view dogs as a threat - and in fact view them as playful and a friend.  This is natural. As we all know, wolves are the ancestral line for the modern dog - so to a small child, they can appear to be one and the same.  So it should come as no surprise that the child attempted to pet and/or play with the wolf through the less rigorously controlled fencing.  Zoo enclosures are regulated strictly by AZA to protect patrons.  Zoo keeper areas are a little more relaxed because they are behind gates, and the relationship necessitates some access to the animals by the keepers.  So in this situation, the child was able to get close enough to the WILD WOLF that it, feeling threatened, nipped at the child.

As a result - there was a potential for rabies.

Now here is where things get a little rocky.  Rabies vaccines have not been "proven" completely effective for wolves - because to prove the effectiveness you have to kill the animal and dissect the brain after first giving the vaccine and then introducing the rabies virus.  For a species we are trying to increase numbers of - killing off the required amount to prove the effectiveness of the vaccine is unnecessary.  Those in the zoo who are in danger of being bitten have all had the necessary vaccine themselves.

So with potential exposure, even thought the wolf had had the vaccine, without the 'proven effectiveness' of the vaccine - there were only three possibilities.

1.  Wait and see - which is not a good option, since there is no cure for rabies- just a preventative.  So had the wolf had rabies, and infected the child, the child would have died.

2. Kill the wolf, dissect the brain - and then if it showed positive, give the child the rabies vaccine series of shots.  If this is done quick enough, the child survives.

3. Just go ahead and give the child the series of shots.

The parents were given the choice of what they wanted done.

What did they chose?  Option 2.

Now I understand the rabies vaccines are not comfortable.  In fact, they hurt.  And we are not talking just one injection, but a series of them.  Having worked in animal rehab myself, I have enough friends who have had the vaccines to know they are not pleasant.

That said - because of the zoo employee messing up, because of the parent choosing to go into a restricted area and then further compounding the situation by NOT WATCHING THEIR CHILD, the wolf was put down.  The wolf did not attack viciously.  It didn't charge or aggressively come after the child.  A stranger was in its 'safe place' attempting to touch it, and the animal simply reacted.

I know, had it been me, and I was the parent who acted foolishly, I would have opted for my child to have the vaccine and more than likely, would have gotten my own set - not because of any fear of the disease, but to suffer as my child was.  I know that I would not have opted to kill an innocent creature for my own stupidity.

So what about you?  Any thoughts on this situation?

~ Michelle

If you are interested in a more lighthearted post about animals ... check out

Sunday, June 14, 2015

A Paean to Tidiness by Sheila Claydon

I've been thinking about the heroines in my books and discovered a very surprising thing. All of them are tidy. They have the odd moment of single mum Kerry in Double Fault when she's trying to juggle childcare with setting up a new business, or Ellie in Cabin Fever when she's too busy thinking about charismatic Drew Pennington-Smith to bother to pick up her clothes, but despite these falls from grace, they are still tidy. Why? The answer is simple. Every one of my heroines is a strong, successful woman who is holding down a busy job while trying to cope with the messiness of her emotions. In Saving Katy Gray I even dedicate a whole chapter of the book to Katy's attempts to introduce some order into her elderly patient's life. Nor is it wasted when the hero visits.

So is life too short to peel a grape? Is a tidy house really a sign of a wasted life, or as the modern update says, the sign of a broken computer? Even Einstein got in on the act with his sarcastic - “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”

There are many, many more and we've probably all heard most of them, laughed at them, identified with them, and even quoted some of them. Why? Because it's good to have an excuse when we're so pressured that we can't keep up with the demands of daily life. We all prefer to think of ourselves as interesting so if the accepted norm is that we can't be interesting and organised and tidy, then we'll celebrate messiness and chaos.

A great many of the people who are the successes of modern society don't buy this however. (Einstein excepted!)

Bill Gates, Richard Branson. Donald Trump, the late Steve Jobs, Angelina Jolie. Jerry Seinfield, Fashion designer Roksanda Ilincic and many, many others, all are or were notoriously tidy. To them, organisation, 'to do' lists, tidy desks are a means to an end. Without them they wouldn't have the time to be creative or, more importantly, put their creative ideas into action. 

Indeed, when I worked in the corporate world I learned very quickly that the most successful managers were, almost without exception, those with tidy desks and clean shoes! Think about it.  If someone has time to polish their shoes before work, then they are probably meticulous in every area of their lives...not a bad character trait if you want to succeed.

I prefer this quote:  'If you can organize your kitchen, you can organize your life.' Ditto your desk. That doesn't mean that you can't let things get untidy. Far from it. What it does mean though, is that you have to clean up afterwards, just like my heroines. 

If you've never faced pile of washing up from the night before at the start of a new day and not experienced a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach then maybe you're the exception. As far as I'm concerned though, a new day is a day full of infinite possibilities, it's the day when I might just have the idea that will become a best seller, so if I have to start it by sorting out my messy from the day before, well that just ain't going to happen. I'll probably have lost the will to live before I'm halfway through. In future then I'm going to live by my new mantra:

Organize your life around your dreams - and watch them come true.

All Sheila's books and her organised and tidy heroines can be found on Amazon at

She's also on Facebook at or visit her website at

Titillating preview by J.C. Kavanagh

WINNER Best Young Adult Book 2016, The Twisted Climb I've been prepping for Autumn book signings and excited to meet new and...