Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Victoria Bylin Talks about Friends, RWA and a Bobble Head Heroine

A big thank you to Mary for inviting me to Seekerville today. We’re sister Fillies at Petticoats & Pistols, and I jumped at the chance to visit this neck of the woods. Let’s celebrate with a book giveaway . . .

Anyone who comments will be in a drawing for a signed copy of The Outlaw’s Return. It’s my February Love Inspired Historical, and one of the dedications is to a dear friend and fellow writer.

Which leads to today’s topics of writers and community . . . What we do is unique. People get it or they don’t. How many of us had the experience of being at a party or social gathering, and having someone say, “What do you do?” When I say I write books for Love Inspired Historicals, this is what usually happens:

The person tips her head.

Her mouth opens. Her mouth closes.

Her eyes widen.

Then she says, “Oh.”

If she’s a reader, it’s, “OH!” but if she’s not, it takes her awhile to process the information. This didn’t happen when I told people I worked in a doctor’s office. They could instantly relate. I was the women behind the counter asking for their insurance card. But a writer? What does being a writer look like?

Yes, that’s my desk. Messy, huh? And yes, I work in my comfiest clothes, usually fleece jammies that have been nicknamed mom’s party pants. The stuffed horse in the second picture is Buck. He was a Christmas gift from my husband and a legacy to my 12 westerns for Harlequin Historical and Love Inspired Historical.

I’m hoping you’re all relating to my description, because there’s nothing better than sharing this journey with people who get it. I’ll never forget my first RWA conference. It was in Denver in 2002. I’d never been to an RWA event in my life, not even a local meeting, but I’d sold my first book, Of Men and Angels, and I wanted to sell more. I’ll never forget the hand of friendship that came from the Harlequin Historical writers. I’d joined the online group, and names and faces on websites suddenly had personalities . . . personalities a lot like mine.

That first RWA conference had another moment I’ll never forget. It was Wednesday night, just after the literacy signing, and someone said to me, “You really should hang out in the bar. You never know who you’ll meet.” Two problems: (1) I’m not much of a drinker; and (2) I was all by my little lonesome.

Undecided, I went to the ladies room where I saw a woman checking make-up in the mirror. We struck up a conversation and I blurted my dilemma. She said, “Come sit with me.” That’s when I saw her badge and my jaw dropped. It’s also how I ended up sitting in the bar with Kat Martin and Jennifer Enderlin from St. Martin’s. Bless Kat’s husband . . . he bought me a Diet Coke and said I could treat them when I’d sold ten books. The Outlaw’s Return is Book #12, so I owe them. I’m sure they don’t remember their kindness, but I’ll never forget it.

When I accepted Mary’s invitation to visit Seekerville, I thought I’d do something craft-oriented. I don’t want to neglect craft, so I’m finishing with some ms polishing tips. You may or may not find them, but if you’re a writer, you’ll get it . . .

1. If you give your character a long name like Elizabeth, use autocorrect to turn “Eliz” into “Elizabeth.” Fewer keystrokes saves wear and tear on your hands.

2. I use “Find All” to count how many times I use “was.” If I see a whole bunch of “was’s,” there’s a good chance that paragraph is “telling” instead of showing.

3. For old school typists who put two spaces after a period, use Find and Replace to reduce it to one. I also search for spaces after a tab. It’s surprising how much nicer a ms looks when the formatting is super clean.

4. If you think you’ve overused a particular word, use “Find All” to get an actual count. In Kansas Courtship ,the heroine lifted her chin every other page. I searched for “chin” and realized I’d written a book that could have been called “The Bobble Head Bride.” That got fixed fast.

5. I’m easily distracted by the Internet, so I use “AutoHide” for the bottom toolbar. If I can’t see that big blue E for Internet Explorer, I’m less likely to click it.

That’s it! Anyone have any conference stories to share? How about computer tips? Leave a comment and you’ll be entered in the drawing for The Outlaw’s Return. Here’s the back cover copy . . .


J.T. Quinn would know Mary Larue's beautiful voice anywhere. He just never expected to hear her singing in a Denver church. The gunslinger comes to town to reunite with the only woman he's ever loved . . . but the actress he left behind two years ago is gone. In her place is a deeply Christian woman with a successful restaurant, the town's respect and a pair of younger siblings in her care. J.T. doubts he'll ever be worthy of Mary again, but he can protect her and her siblings from the threats of a local ne-er-do-well. And with courage and faith, perhaps even an outlaw can find redemption . . . and love.


Laney4 said...

I don't write books, but my notes could be misinterpreted by others as novels, LOL!
I type for a living. Could be reports, resumes, or books. I like your AutoCorrect suggestion; I use that all the time for certain phrases and long words. I also use shortcut keys like CTRL/A = Select All; CTRL/F = Find; CTRL/C = Copy; and CTRL/V = Paste. These are much faster than moving your mouse all the way up to the drop-down menus (at least for me).
Thanks for providing a lot of great tips!

KC Frantzen said...

Hey Victoria!

A wonderful post indeed. Great info on "was" for example. Will do... Ok - I just found myself typing 2 spaces after a period. ACK!

Thanks for sharing your conference experiences too. It shows that offering a small kindness can and most often does reap large rewards.

SUPER cover by the way! :)

may at maythek9spy dot com

Mary Connealy said...

The conference memory that popped into my head is of the 2005 conference when I was given a contract by Barbour Publishing for my very first book.

We had just started calling ourselves the Seekers and a whole lot of us where there, all these good friends I'd never met before, you know?

So they called my name. Tracie Peterson called my name.

I was so stunned it's all a blur after that for a while, but I have this vague memory of being grabbed from behind and hugged. I think it was Audra and Debby.

Then on my way up...or maybe back...yes, I had to go up front to get my contract...Ruthy jumped out in front of me and hugged me. She's lucky I didn't just stagger right over her. But she's tough, she could have tackled me until she'd finished with her hug.

Then after all the evenings festivities, I went down to the hotel lobby and there they all were, all the Seekers that were at the conference.

We sat down there and I told them about the book I had contracted. Here I was with twenty finished books on my computer and a complete book that had been revised twice at Tracie adn Jim Peterson's request...and they'd bought a book on proposal. Golden Days.
It was long after I'd gotten the contract that I finally looked at the paper Tracie handed me to see I had to go home and WRITE A BOOK.

Terror. Thrills.

I had it done in six weeks and it took me three to get the official contract in the mail telling me the book wasn't due for another year.

Plenty of time to revise!!! :)
The roller coaster ride of being an author.

Amber S. said...

What a great post, Victoria! :)

I'm in kind of the same boat here at college. As soon as I tell people that I'm an English major, the general reaction is either:

a) What do you want to do with that?

b) So you want to be an English teacher?

And then I usually say with some embarrassment that I someday want to be a novelist, and that I might like to work as a publicist or editor for a Christian publishing company.

I know I don't need to be embarrassed, especially if this is want God wants me to do with my life (which only He knows right now!), but it can be hard when people expect you to be a teacher or to do something that's a little more...conventional. ;)

Anyway, I also had a question about your third tip: How do you do that for extra spaces? *Blush* I should know, but I'm kind of confused. I think I started out my WIP with two spaces after a period and then later moved to one, and it would probably be good to know how to change it all to the same formatting. ;) (One space is better, right?)

Thanks again! Like KC, I LOVE your latest cover! I'd appreciate a chance to win your book! :)



Tina Radcliffe said...

I never thought of autohiding my toolbar.

See, this post is already worth it's weight in aol mail!!

Thank you, Victoria1

Renee Ann said...

I always enjoy "meeting" another fun author here at Seekerville! And I love those cowboy heroes you all create. Thanks for sharing your tips and memories. Blessings!

reneeasmith61 [at] yahoo [dot] com

Keli Gwyn said...

Thanks for your tips and for sharing pics of your writing area, Victoria. That horse is cute.

One of my favorite conference memories was attending RWA Nationals in Orlando last year and having my picture taken with five of the Seekers. I'm grinning so broadly in the photo that I look like a dork. They all look great. =D

Camy Tang said...

Welcome to Seekerville, Victoria!!!!! I love all your tips--I do almost all of them! For my last book, I used the Autocorrect function for every major character's name and the writing seemed to go SO much faster!

Julie Hilton Steele said...

The autocorrect tip is gold!

I guess my tip is actually a "not writing" one. I get lost when I write and can find myself looking up two hours later, not having taken a break. Not good for one's hands, back, or neck.

A timer, watch, or phone set to buzz every thirty minutes is a good reminder to get up, stretch, and shake things out. In the long haul, your body will thank you.

No need to put me in the drawing. I already loved the book!

Peace, Julie

Jillian said...

Great post, Victoria! I don't know why, but I always love to see pictures of writers writing space. Loved the horse!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Oh, well, I love this book already, just by the beautiful blurb and great cover.

Victoria, lovely post! And I love the stuffed horse, oh my stars!!!!


And the Kat and Jennifer story? Isn't that just how it is? For a lonely biz, there's a host of really nice people out there.

Thanks for hangin' with us today! I've got Panera's bringing breakfast breads and Danish by...

Nice assortment of warm and cold. Cream cheese. Toppings. Coffee, tea and espresso bar is open!

Christine said...

Yes, I get it! My desk looks very much like yours. I share an apartment with my sister and she definitely DOES NOT get it. She has finally given up riding me about the messy desk area.

I found myself laughing aloud at several of your writing tips. I am guilty of the "was" issue. As I type it, I sometimes hear myself repeating "was, was, was, was" and that makes me go back to edit. Your comments about lifting her chin gave me a chuckle. One of my characters smiled way too much. I realized I didn't need to state it as often as I did.

I have yet to make it to a conference. It is my goal to attend at least one this year. Finances leave me no wiggle room, so I'm getting creative in order to put something aside. Of course it would help if a major conference met in the Northeast!

Thanks for sharing your experience and tips!

Rose said...


Thanks for sharing your conference story and writing tips.

It's nice to know that I'm not alone on using the Internet as a diversion to my writing.

Janet Dean said...

Welcome to Seekerville, Vicky! What a great conference story. Wish I had one like it. :-)

I relate to your bobble head heroine. I seem to overuse a particular reaction with every book I write. Knotted stomach, lump in throat, pounding heart, that lifted chin. :-)

Love your books! The Outlaw's Return was sold out when I got the Feb. books at WalMart.


Loves 2 Read Romance - Laura said...

Thanks for sharing with us Victoria! I love all the tips. What a great conference story. I would love to win your book. The cover is great!


Patsy said...

My favorite key on the computer ---Backspace!!! Am always going back and deleted things. haha. It's funny - I think the harder I hit backspace the quicker it will delete words! It goes as fast as it can! I enjoy reading all the Love Inspired books. They are great. Looking forward to this one.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Vicky, Welcome to Seekerville, How fun to hear your conference story. That is so typical of "our" world and you're right, no one else gets it. smile

Love the tips for auto-correcting the names. I do some of the others, esp that double space after the period. We are such creatures of habit. But sounds like the autocorrecting names will help alot.

Love your cover and blurb. And the horse in your office. I have some coyotes in my back yard that were a result of writing a children's book about a mischievous coyote. So see, I do get it.

Kirsten Arnold said...

Hi Victoria,

What a great post! It is always wonderful to be around people who “get it” when told that I write. That’s one of the greatest things about Seekerville.

Thanks for sharing some great tips, especially the autocorrect for a long character name. That one is a definite keeper. Like you, I use Find All to track down multiple actions and words. I’m an eye person, so I always check how many eyes are roaming, rolling, slitting and sparkling.

I’d also like to thank you for the help you’ve given me without even knowing it. When I decided to write Westerns you were one of the authors I read everything I could get a hold of to learn the trade, so to speak. Thank you much!

The Outlaw’s Return is on my Amazon Wish List, but I’d love to win it here.

Audra Harders said...

Victoria, welcome to Seekerville!

Thanks for sharing your first RWA experience. Denver 2002 was my first (and only) RWA conference. The highlight of that whole event was meeting Missy and Lindi at the FHL meeting. I should've scoped out the bar more and found you, LOL!

Waaaaay too many people for this introvert.

Thanks for the polishing tips. No matter how diligent I am as I write, that pesky "was" worms its way into the ms more than I count. Thank goodness for the Find function.

Love the stuffed horse. And really the whole office. Feels like home to me!

CarolM said...

Amber -

Do a 'find/replace' in word. In the find put two spaces, in the replace put one. Then replace all.

We won't mention how I know how to do this.

I did get a Genesis entry in! Today is going to be spent a. cleaning, b. having lunch with fellow Seeker Friend Andrea, c. trying to finish another Genesis entry and d. having green eggs and ham for dinner [or maybe bacon instead of ham].

Best tip I've gotten I got here on Seekerville. I think it was in the comments somewhere from Debby maybe but I don't remember.

When taking your hard copy edits and putting them onto the computer, start at the end of the book and work your way backwards. That way your page numbers on the hard copy are the right ones on the computer.

Love. It.

Gotta go get kids ready.

carol at carolmoncado dot com

Julie Lessman said...

Victoria!!! Welcome to Seekerville and gotta tell you that I loved this blog and especially LOVED the Bobble Head comment -- my first good laugh of the morning, so THANK YOU!!

You've got me sold on AutoCorrect now, something I did not use a lot before, but it drives me up a tree that I type the word "friend" wrong every single time ... It always comes out freind, so I just may AutoCorrect that sucker ...

Oh, man, the overused words -- they kill me every time as well!! I think writers must have one word per book that is the theme "overused word."

In my first book, it was "malaise." Coming from a family where depression was prevalent, I couldn't bring myself to use that word, but "malaise" just kind of softened it up, so I went crazy till my critique partner said she was getting a "malaise" just reading it so many times.

Then in book 2, my husband joked that I used the word “prostrate” so much, he felt inclined to visit a urologist. So, trust me, control F is one of my best friends ... And, yep, just mistyped that "friend" as well. Sigh.

Fun blog, Victoria, and beautiful cover as well as a great premise!!


Andrea Chermak said...

What a great way to start my day! Thank you, Victoria, for coming by and sharing your story. One of my fave conference memories is actually from the other side.

In Dallas in 2007, I met a woman who'd just found out she sold her 1st book. I'd never met her, but I was inspired to buy her a drink and ask her to tell me about it. She gave me the ENTIRE summary, eyes shining like a kid who got a pony for Christmas. We work so hard in our little writing closets, it's wonderful to connect with people on the same path.

PLEASE enter me in the drawing. I have a soft spot outlaws with hearts of gold :)

Pam Hillman said...

The Outlaw's Return sounds like it's right up my alley!

And thanks for those tips.

I like the tip for autocorrect on long names too. Thanks!

Pam Hillman said...

Y'all should have seen Mary the night she got her contract! She looked like a deer caught in the headlights.

Of course I did too!

I was simply STARSTRUCK by Mary!

Linnette R Mullin said...

Oh, Victoria! Sounds intriguing. Count me in the drawing, please!

lr dot mullin at live dot com

I'm thinking it's important on your "Find all" searches to use quotation marks. I've found that if I just type in the word it not only finds all those words but all words that have those letters in them. For example, if I type in "and" WITHOUT QUOTES it will also find stand, candid, land, sand, demand...and all those will be changed if I click "change all."

My advice about writer's conferences is - go! If there's anyway you can afford to attend even a smaller local conference, go. You never know who you'll meet and what opportunities you'll gain from going. Also, there are so many tips to be learned from other writers...things I wouldn't have learned for years if I hadn't attended.

Critique groups are another great tool. You get to see other writing styles in action, you learn to develop a tough skin for when you face editors who WILL tell you to change some things, and you learn when you should say "yes" to changes and when you should say "no." For example, I learned that if you change everything everybody tells you to change, you lose your voice. I also learned that you can't please everybody no matter what you change. It takes being exposed to "criticism" to learn what benefits your writing and what destroys it.

That's my two-bits for the day. :D

Had a cup of coffee. Think I'll have a donut and milk or maybe a cup of tea now.


Cathy Shouse said...


You reminded me that my first out-of-town conference was the great, smaller one, called Spring Fling by Chicago North RWA.

I had gotten a wardrobe makeover and upon arrival, sat down in my eye-catching blouse (actually, it's the one in my blog mug shot--I may have told this story in my Seekerville blog post a few months back. Sorry).

Anyway, I was alone and this unassuming, friendly woman with blonde, shoulder-length hair complimented my blouse and asked to take a photo of me and my blouse for her blog.
It was Barb Vey, and she had to explain that she blogs for Publishers Weekly.

The camera batteries were dead and new ones were back at her room. If I hadn't been so stunned, I would definitely have run and gotten batteries for that camera.

Fast forward a few years and I guest blogged on her site and was able to promote my nonfiction book. You just never know who you'll meet and how nice they can be.

I'd love to win the book.

cathy underscore shouse at yahoo dot com

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Had to come back and say this:

The reason your blurb touched me was because of the siblings...

So often today you hear young guys or not-so-young guys refer to someone else's kids as "baggage"...

"She's a nice girl, but she's got baggage. A boy and a girl."

I love guys (and girls) that realize life isn't perfect and they embrace children just because they're there.

And I needed more coffee.

Melanie Dickerson said...

I get some strange reactions when people find out I'm a writer. Sometimes they look at me with an angry sneer, as if they think I'm bragging! (Ha! If they only knew.) A lot of people just, apparently, don't know what to say, so they don't say anything! It's awkward.

Then again, I have had a few people treat me like a celebrity. And since I'm not a celebrity AT ALL, that's awkward too.

No wonder I like to stay at home and communicate with my cyber friends! LOL

Seriously, I've made so many friends as a writer. I love it. And I've loved going to the ACFW conference. That's been a lot of fun, and usually very emotional and spiritual too. It's a great feeling to be around people who understand you and don't treat you like you're weird!

And your office doesn't look that messy compared to mine, Victoria!

Mary Connealy said...

When I tell people I'm a writer they get really vague looks on their faces, like they're desperately trying to process that info.

But if I show them a BOOK, it clicks.

this happened twice on my recent travels. Two ladies I'd met in the airport. I always carry a few copies of my books with me and give them away.

I call that a random act of kindness, the people I give them to probably think I'm trying to lighten the weight of my computer case.

Anyway, just sort of pleasant chatting in the airport adn then on the plane, then i PRODUCED the book and their eyes focused and they brightened up. Like...oh when you said you're an author, you meant of BOOKS.

Anyway, nice ladies and it's an interesting conversation starter.

Whitney said...

Great tips and I hope I get to use them! Unfortunately, I have never been to a writer’s conference, but I would love to. They don’t have them around here. Actually, there’s nothing around here that pertains to writing (except maybe the library), which also makes it hard to find a critique partner. Any tips on that?

Victoria, you’ll never believe that I was looking at your book online yesterday, and yes, the cover made me click on the image to read more about it. :p

Please enter me for a chance to win a copy of your book:



Susan Anne Mason said...


Thanks for the tips! I've never been to a big conference yet, but hope to go to one this year.

I've been to a smaller conference and, especially the first time, was amazed to find so many people like me! It was eye-opening.

sbmason at sympatico dot ca

Lorna Faith said...

Thanks for you tips...I use some of them, but I'll need to try the "Find All" to see how many of the same words show up all the time!
My one and only conference was with Destiny Image...which was great:) But would love to come to a RWA or something similar! Would love to meet the authors that I love to those on Seekerville and their guest you Victoria:)

...I would love to be entered for a chance to win your book ...I love Historical romance!


Kav said...

Love the tip #2 (was). I find I show and then tell what I've shown already. LOL. So that's a great way to catch that.

And the AutoCorrecting the double spacing after a sentence. I do that all the time. I just can't stop myself because the other way seems so wrong!

Alas I don't have any conference experiences to share but I'm happily living vicariously from everyone else's.

Vince said...

Hi Victoria:

I must say that your “Kansas Courtship” has one of the best opening chapters I’ve ever read. Aspiring writers really would benefit form reading this book.

As for a computer tip: I like to use the ‘Header’ feature to put reminders. These show up very well in the “Page Layout View”. Right now I have this:

Five Sense, Rewards-per-Page, Emotions.

This is in 20 pt bold. Anything could be put up there such as:

Use Find All.

I want to be reminded on every page to include these things in my writing. I found this very helpful.

BTW: is the first chapter of “The Outlaw’s Return” as dramatic as “Kansas Courtship”?

Also, will you be taking part in a continuity series this year? (I hope.)


vmres (at) swbell (dot) net

PatriciaW said...

Great tips, Victoria. If you make sure every character's name starts with a different letter of the alphabet, you can get that down to a single capital letter when typing. Then use Find/Replace looking for a blank before and after the letter.
I also use Landy's shortcut keys.

No conference experiences yet, but I'm still hopeful!

Jan Drexler said...

Wonderful tips - I'm sure I'll be using all of these suggestions in the days to come.

One of the things I do (in my spare time (?) is review books on my blog. I'm surprised how many books make it to publication with those repeated phrases you've mentioned (like "tilted her chin"). If they show up so often that I notice them in my reading, I know it's repetitive. It's one of those many things I try to watch for in my own writing.

I'd love to have a conference story to share. Maybe by next year :)

And don't enter me in the drawing - The Outlaw's Return is in my "to be read" pile...

Mary Connealy said...

I did that autocorrect thing for Cowboy Christmas. My villain's name was Leveque.

I set the autocorrect so I could type leq (that's a Q, it's hard to see for me) and the word Leveque would pop up.

Very easy.

Mary Connealy said...

I use thet find and replace thing for double spaces, too.

Even though I am in the habit of NOT double spacing, I run the find and replace anyway because there are spaces here and there, including between two words, that need to be fixed.

I usually run it TWICE when I'm doing it (it takes only seconds) because often there are a few THREE space problems and the find/replace reduces them once but they need to be reduced again.

Jordan said...

I loved this post - such great tips!
I can definitely relate to them, and I laughed out loud at the "Bobble Head Bride" story. LOL!

This books looks great, too.


Pam Hillman said...

Like Vince, I popped over to Amazon, and looked at Vicky's books. When I saw that the first chapter of Kansas Courtship was available for free, I read it!

Wow! Great opening. Love those characters.

Vicky, you just made yourself a sale!

I've got to find out what happens between Zeb and Nora. I also want to find out about the twins and the little girl.

Debby Giusti said...

We all get "it" here in Seekerville, and that's what makes this such a great place to hang out.

I too have had the blank stares from folks when I say I'm a writer. Also, the pregnant pause... I always wonder what they're thinking. A writer? Weird, man, really weird! LOL!

Carol, yes, I offered the writing tip you mentioned about making corrections to a manuscript. It's saved me endless hours of searching for where to insert a correction.

And, Mary, I still remember you standing up when they called your name at ACFW. That visual is forever burned into my memory. Fantastic moment in Seekerville history!

Note to all Seekerville blog friends--at every conference our blog community gathers in the evening to rehash the day. You'll usually find us in the bar, drinking Diet Coke or iced tea or water or wine. The important thing is that we're together. So whether it's RWA or ACFW, join us one and all.

Vicki said...

Yikes, I am so sorry to be so late! I've been working on something brand new, and thought today was March 1st! So, so, sorry... so let's get caught up!

Vicki said...

Hi Laney4! I picked up on the autocorrect stuff when I did medical transcription for an ophthalmologist. It made all the difference in the world re: speed.

KC, Glad you like the cover! So do I!

Hi Mary! Better late than never, right? LOL! You know you're loving a project when you can't remember what day it is. The dentist called re: an appt, and I thought, "SEEKERVILLE!"

Debby Giusti said...

I'm partial to shrugged, which is used a multitude of times in each of my books, even though I try to weed it out.

Lately tingle has become a problem, as in her neck tingled.

Her neck tingled as she shrugged. He shrugged, causing her neck to tingle. She tingled, he shrugged and they lived happily ever after. :)

Vicki said...

Hi Amber S, To get rid of the 2 spaces after a period, you just use "Find & Replace." Search for two spaces by hitting the space bar twice. You won't see them in the box, but they're there. Replace with one hit of the space bar. I use this alot!

Tina, Rene Ann, Camy & Keli! Thanks for the hello!

Julie, Amen to remembering to stretch! Not only does it help the body, it helps our creativity.

Vicki said...

Hi Jillian, My office is a total mess! The rest of the house is a little better, but not when I'm on deadline :)

Howdy, Ruth! Breakfast from Panera's sounds good!

Hi Christine, Hi Janet, That bobble-head heroine taught me a lot. Smiling is definitely something I overdo. So are furrowed brows.

Howdy, Rose! The internet stuff is such a mixed blessing. I love the friendship, but it's easy to spend too much time gabbing.

Hi Loves2ReadRomance, Good luck in the drawing!

Vicki said...

Hi Patsy, I use the delete key ALL THE TIME. Write. Delete. Write. Delete. It's just the way my mind works. It's not efficient, but the books get written.

Howdy, Sandra! Coyotes have the most amazing howl. Kinda scary, but beautiful too. I'm in awe of authors who can do children's books. It's a special talent.

Kirsten, I am truly touched. Thank you for your kind words. I'm honored to have been an encouragement to you.

Vicki said...

Hello to Audra & Carol M! Glad the post was helpful!

Hello Julie, LOL to prostrate. That's hilarious! It's also a word I'd have to put in "autocorrect" to avoid embarrassing typos :)

Hi Andrea, What a lovely story and what a pleasure to share in someone's first sale. This is a solitary profession . . . except when it isn't :) I love connecting with fellow writers.

Hello Pam! I had to smile at Mary being a deer in the headlights. Yep. That's what it's like . . . Pure shock!

Vicki said...

Hi Linette, I learned something! It never dawned on my to use quotation marks to prevent those accident hits. Will do from now on!

Cathy, Love the story about Barbara Vey! I like the blouse too!

Hi Melanie, I'd be a lonelier gal without my cyberfriends. I love it when we *do* meet in person and just hug and talk, talk, talk.

Hello Whitney, My future daughter-in-law is named Whitney. It's a beautiful name. Good luck in the drawing!

Victoria Bylin said...

Hi Susan, One of these days I'll make it to a smaller conference. I've been mostly to the huge ones, but there's one coming up in KY I'd love to attend.

Hi Lorna & Kav, Good luck in the drawing!!!!

Hi Vince, Thank you so much for the praise for Kansas Courtship. That first chapter was a challenge, because it had to fit with the first two books. I loved working on the continuity, in part because Renee Ryan and Val Hansen were just awesome. Would I do it again? Yes, with the right story.

The opening for Outlaw's Return is dramatic in its own way. The tornado that hits is emotional, but it's still powerful.

Victoria Bylin said...

Hi Patricia W, Interesting suggestion re: character names. I'm careful to use different letters, so that idea would work really well. Thanks!

Hi Jan, I hope you enjoy "Outlaw." I'm super aware of repetition because of my first editor. Nothing dilutes a story like the same phrases, over and over and over and over . . . and over! See what I mean?

Hi Jordan! Good luck in the drawing! No bobble-heads, I hope!

Hi Debby, Seekerville is wonderful place to visit. Writers get it!

Jackie S. said...

What a fun post! I learned a lot from it as well as from Seeker comments! Would love to read your book, V.

Victoria Bylin said...

Hi Jackie S! Good luck in the drawing. Today was fun. I learned some tricks myself.

Carol J. Garvin said...

Hi, Victoria. Although I have Scrivener, I use MS Word for most of my writing because of all the editing features. I haven't tried the autocorrect idea, however, so thanks for the hint.

I'd love to get to a variety of conferences, but that's not in the budget quite yet. I'm fortunate to live near where the big Surrey Int'l Writers' Conference takes place every year in Canada, and I've been attending it since 2004. That's where I finally discovered, even without a published novel to my credit, I was still a *real* writer and could stop being embarrassed when others asked what I do. Mind you, if they could see my desk they'd have to know I'm a creative person. A messy desk means a creative mind, doesn't it?

Faye Rhys said...

Those were awesome tips!
Thanks so much.
I will most certainly try those!

Mary Connealy said...

My hero tends to 'square his shoulders' a lot.

I'm fighting it, though.

Tanya Hanson said...

Hi Vicki, fun post. My favorite hint is having Auto Save save every minute. I've lived through too many near-disasters otherwise LOL.

I love your writing space. ooxoxxx

Tina Radcliffe said...

Okay, Victoria, I have a little more time now that I am home from work.

So I can tell you what I really think.

That desk of yours is way too clean. You would be immediately rejected from membership in the PTBAS Club.

(PROUD TO BE A SLOB!). You're going to have to try harder!

Tina Radcliffe said...

Laney4, I use some of those for writing posts in Blogger.

I especially use CTRL Z.

That is like a go back to the way it was before you messed with it. My very favorite.

EC Spurlock said...

Thank you, thank you for the AHA moment, Victoria! I had never thought of using "find all" to track down all my problem words. You may have the Bobble-Head Bride, but my ms are very windy with all the sighing going on! Thanks for being with us today!

Victoria Bylin said...

Hi Carol, I'm with on that messy desk philosophy. I clean the office top to bottom when I finish a ms, but things get spread all over the place when I'm in the middle of something. Conferences are great for validation, but they're definitely expensive.

Hi Faye, Good luck in the book drawing! I've learned stuff today!

Victoria Bylin said...

Hello Tanya, my fellow Filly sister at Petticoats & Pistols! I hadn't thought about Autosave. Mine's set for every 10 minutes. I hear you on near disasters!

Hi Tina! Well, I cleaned it up a little for the photo ...right now I'm looking at a stained coffee cup, chewed gum in a wrapper, three pairs of glasses, the camera, old mail, a business card, X-number of multicolored post-its, EZ Start Duck Tape, a stuffed rabbit, a pink pen and my health insurance card. And a timer!

Victoria Bylin said...

Hi EC! I'm afraid to count the number of times my heroine sighs! It could be in the hundreds in that first draft.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Okay,that's better. We'll give your application a chance. But your background check better not prove to have an Windex in it!~

CarolM said...

Tina -

Control Z [over and over and over] is my favorite thing ever.


Tina Radcliffe said...

LOL, yep. Carol. I love it.

Tina Pinson said...

Hello Victoria,

Welcome to the Ville. I try to use those shortcuts, I never thought to type the name shorter and come back and change it with find and replace though.

Changing from two spaces to one between sentences was a learning experience that's for sure.

I still have to think about that sometimes.

One of things I always have to check is my question marks. I guess I love them, cause I've been known to put them at the end of every sentence.

I can't help it, my character's are super inquisitive types.


Anyway, thanks for more ideas on making editting easier.



Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh -- where were you when I was typing "Jessamine" in an 80,000 word manuscript? What a great tip for longer names.

I'm enjoying what I consider the "Swan's Nest stories." Just wonder if Fancy Girl will make any more appearances :-)


Victoria Bylin said...

Hi Tina! Windex? What's Windex (wink)!

Hi Carol, "Undo" is the best feature ever! I use it constantly, only instead of Ctrl-Z I use the mouse and the custom menu bar. Thanks for the keyboard tip!

Hello Tina Pinson! Glad the ideas were helpful! A lot of questions in my mss usually show where I'm still hashing out the ideas, or where my characters are hashing out the ideas!

Victoria Bylin said...

Hi Anonymous! In a perfect world, Fancy Girl would get her own book. I'm picturing a buff German Shepherd for her hero, a dog owned by the town sheriff? Or maybe a low-life stray wanders into town and ... LOL! I think I'll pitch this to my editor as a sequel!

Ausjenny said...

Im so late and dont enter me I have this book already.
love the stuffed horse. Now if I was at a party and met you I would be oh wow how exciting.
Oh the 2 spaces after a full stop is sure hard to break. its like Your Sincerely no long has a capital for Sincerely.
a few other things have changed since I first learnt to type. the spaces I am getting use to. (our main issue is the american spelling)
I cant wait to read your latest book and I will soon I promise! I have several I have to read.

Walt Mussell said...

I hope I'm not too late for the drawing.

My conferece stories deal with the fact that I'm often thought of unforgettable. it has nothing to do with my personality, just the fact that I'm a guy.


Cindy W. said...

Wonderful posting. I love receiveing little tips like the ones you shared. You had me laughing out loud with your comment about naming your book The Bobble Head Bride. Over use of phrases is one of bad habits. Once again, thanks for the quick tips and the chance to win a copy of The Outlaws Return. I love the cover by the way :)

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.


DaisyTea said...

Ha ha! Thanks for sharing! I am still giggling over your Bobble Head Bride comment! Good tips!

I'd love to be entered in the drawing for your book! Thanks!


Rita Monette, Writer said...

Wonderful post, Victoria. And thanks for those tips. I am an old school typist who uses two spaces after a sentence, even after I know better.

Your book cover is awesome!

Melinda Elmore said...


Love this post,but of course I love your books better. I love the Auto Correct, never knew it until now. Always learning something new

Have a great day!!!!

Walk in harmony,

Cheryl Wyatt said...

Hilarious Bobble Head post title! Love it. Love your books and the historical covers are so great.


Victoria Bylin said...


Hi Andrea, If you'll email me at, I'll get a book in the mail to you.

Linda Cacaci said...

Great post! I found a lot of people just don't get it. I am a writer and when I say that some people understand and others think it is an easy thing to write! Reality check! It is hard work! I would love to win a copy of the book.
Linda Cacaci
LinCaca3 at aol dot com