Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The new site -- it's a work in process

Here's a peek at the new combination website and blog:

There are things I haven't figured out yet. And a little tweaking to do as I learn new stuff and play and experiment.

But that's where I'll be posting and featuring guests from now on. If you follow me here, you'll want to change your link to the new site.

Oh, and please leave a comment so I know you found me okay! And so I know the comment section works.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

My new website/blog will be revealed very soon now

Hi everyone,

We're going to be moving this site over the next week or so. Stay tuned for an announcement and the link when the site is ready for your viewing pleasure.

Meanwhile, please visit some of the bloggers doing the A to Z April Challenge when you have time. To see the linky list of 1,871 bloggers participating, visit the official A to Z blog.

See you at the new site soon.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Colorado Gold Contest is now open for submissions

The Colorado Gold Contest for unpublished writers opened for submissions on April 1st. This is an outstanding competition with professional literary agents and editors as the final judges.

You can find all the rules for submission, deadline, and the names of the final judges at the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers website contest page.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Making it Real ... by Sara Sue Hoklotubbe

I didn’t grow up wanting to be a writer. Instead, I had lofty goals of being a lawyer or a politician, or someone who could change the world. It wasn’t until I got married in midlife, moved to Maui and couldn’t get a job, that the idea of writing came out of nowhere. My husband encouraged me to pursue writing and that’s all I needed. I took a writing course to remind me of all those things I’d learned years earlier in college, and when the instructor told me my name would look good on the front of a book, there was no turning back.

I decided to write the kind of books I like to read – fiction, yet real enough that the characters walk right off the page and into the reader’s life. I had always loved reading Tony Hillerman books. He was a master at weaving a mystery into Navajo culture, and when I closed the book I always felt like I’d learned something. If he could do that for the Navajo, why couldn’t I do something similar for my people – the Cherokee?

The concept was in place. My protagonist would be an amateur sleuth, a mixed-blood Cherokee, a thirty-something, single woman who was savvy and smart. All I had to do now was create believable characters and stories. There would be no generic Indians, no bare-back riding braves in breech cloths stealing blonde, blue-eyed girls. I would stick with current-day life in the Cherokee Nation where I grew up.

But how would I make it real? The first advice beginning writers get is to write what they know and that’s what I did. If I didn’t know it, I relied on research and personal interviews.

Before I ran off to paradise and became a writer, I spent twenty-one years as a banker. While I never had to stare down the barrel of a bank robber’s gun, one of my coworkers wasn’t so lucky. One morning she entered her branch without a security officer and ended up on the floor, bound with telephone cords, not sure if she was going to live or die. I used her story and the fear in her eyes to recreate a believable bank robbery in Deception on All Accounts. I relied not only on what I knew, but what I learned from my friend.

In The American Café, childhood memories of my aunt’s café in a small rural town brought my setting to life. All I had to do was add the murder plot which turned out to be much easier because of the comfortable surroundings I’d created.

Sinking Suspicions features a Cherokee man, a World War II veteran who was stationed on Maui with the Fourth Marine Division and fought in some of the bloodiest battles in the Pacific. Writing about Maui was easy; writing about the war took a lot of research. I spent hours in the local library reading history books and old newspapers, but my best information came from more than a dozen old-timers who were more than happy to share their personal experiences about what it was like to live on Maui during the war.

My philosophy of writing what I know and dedication to research paid off for me when I submitted my first manuscript. In a letter from the University of Arizona Press, the acquiring editor said she liked my writing because it didn’t have any mythical, stereotypical Indians that are so prevalent in books and movies today. My characters, she said, were real.

As a fiction writer, most of the scenes come straight from my imagination, but I always strive to make them real. I have received letters from readers all over the country thanking me for touching their lives with my stories. I guess I didn’t need to be a lawyer or a politician to make a difference, after all. I like being a writer much better.


Sara Sue Hoklotubbe is the author of the award-winning Sadie Walela Mystery Series set in the Cherokee Nation where she grew up. She is the winner of the WILLA Literary Award for Original Softcover Fiction, the New Mexico-Arizona Book Award for Best Mystery, and the Mystery of the Year Award given by Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers.

Sara’s latest release, Sinking Suspicions, (University of Arizona Press, 2014) debuted at the 2014 National Book Festival in Washington, D.C. where she was one of nine fiction authors invited to speak.

Sara and her husband live in southwestern Colorado. You may contact her through her website or on Facebook.

Sinking Suspicions has been named a finalist for two awards: The 2014 Foreword IndieFab Book of the Year and the 2015 Oklahoma Book Awards (winners will be announced on Saturday, April 11. Keep your fingers crossed). The book was also chosen as the March Book of the Month by Native America Calling, a nationwide live radio show broadcast from Albuquerque. The March 25 interview is available now for listening at

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Jake's Gift: The Story of a Cat Who Wouldn't Quit by Pam Wolf

Who doesn't love a cat story?

Here's a new one that will charm your socks off.

I first wrote about Jake the Cat back on August 10, 2010, in "Local Blog Catapults Jake to Stardom."

Local Cat Rescue volunteer  and my friend Pam Wolf had met a cat, Jake, that prompted her to write a blog post called "Jake's Story" on March 29, 2010. That post caught the attention of a researcher from Animal Planet.

Pam followed up on August 8, 2010, with a post called "Jake is a T.V. Star (on Animal Planet, of course)."

Then I grabbed the story (and not long after that, my husband and I adopted Katie Cat from a local shelter--you can see how easily I was drawn into cat world).

Now there's a book about Jake. Jake's Gift is a heartwarming tale of the cat who kept getting rejected for adoption but eventually discovered his true calling as a therapy cat. He's a gorgeous creature, don't you think?

The book is being used as a fundraiser by the Fort Collins Cat Rescue & Spay/Neuter Clinic, and the author has pledged that a portion of her income from sales will be donated back to Cat Rescue as well.

You remember Pam from a few weeks ago, right? She wrote a guest post for called "Why I Write About Animals" She likes other creatures besides just cats.

This book and Pam's dedication to her calling is another great example of chasing the dream and wrestling it to ground. Persistence pays off, and I congratulate Pam...and Jake...for their accomplishments.

If you would like to purchase a copy of Jake's Gift: The Story of a Cat Who Wouldn't Quit, you may do so at the publisher's site, Tulip Tree Publishing, or boogie on over to

My Cameos in the NCW Conference video

If you're willing to give up 7.5 minutes of your valuable time, here's the whole video created for the 2015 Northern Colorado Writers Conference by the conference creative team. I have two cameo appearances in this film that might give you chuckle. Or not...

Monday, March 30, 2015

A Little of This and a Little of That


One of the best blog posts for writers I read this week was on Anne R. Allen's Blog. The post is called The 10 Commandments of Highly Productive Professional Writers. In addition to the "you must write and you must write a  lot" lessons, there are so many links to follow that one could easily spend a whole day with Anne's post and the excellent places she sends us to be educated, inspired, and motivated.


It has been along time since I missed the Northern Colorado Writers Conference, but I had to give it up this year. As a result, I missed the Friday and Saturday workshops and networking opportunities, as well as the Friday night dinner and the annual creative team's video entertainment. I had two cameo appearances in that video, darn it.

Anyway, I'm hoping that video is eventually posted on the NCW website or You Tube so I can share it here. I look pretty funny behind bars...


Now that my foot and knee problem schedule is all changed, I considered jumping into the 2015 A to Z Blog Challenge at the last minute. And then I reconsidered. I had already opted out, so why not do something different this year.

And that might be Camp NaNoWriMo.

I have two more days to decide.


Of course, there's also the new website/blog going live in April. We'll be migrating the posts from this blog to the new site sometime the week of April 6th. Hopefully that will go without a hitch. Still, I might need a little time for tweaking, adding lists and bio and other stuff.

What the heck. For April and May I have all the time I need to do all those things.


And read. Lots of time to read. I just ordered two more books I didn't need because I had an old gift card to use up. My choices were Mosquitoland, a YA novel by David Arnold and Tides of Maritinia, a sci fi novel by Warren Hammond.

I'm an addict. How else can I explain buying more books when I have hundreds of unread novels and nonfiction books already?


And watch movies. This week I saw Gone Girl and This is Where I Leave You. Spent almost three hours today watching The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. I'm into the new season of House of Cards. And on and on....


And write blog posts. And play on social media. And watch my dear husband do all my chores and serve my meals with good humor while I sit here and take full advantage of the doctor's orders to keep my foot off the floor, preferably elevated on pillows.

It may sound a little boring if your life is super fast-paced these days, but sometimes we want to slow down and can't seem to make it happen. I think I received a gift in an odd and temporarily painful way. There are parts of this "slowdown" I'm enjoying a lot.