Wednesday, January 18, 2012

My First Manuscript

Debby at the Coliseum in Rome.  Behind me is the Arch of
Constantine with the Roman Forum to the right.

Buon giorno! Debby here! I spent last week in Italy, exploring Rome with side trips to Florence and Assisi.  I thought you might enjoy seeing some of the sights so I’ve added photos of my trip even though they have nothing to do with a first manuscript.  J  Today’s drawing and breakfast bar will include touches of Italy.  Grab a cappuccino or café latte and let’s talk about writing.

Another view of the Arch and Forum.

“You wrote this?” A young woman raised her brow and pointed to one of my novels during a recent book signing.  “You wrote the whole book?”
Debby and Tony at the Basilica of Saint Francis
in Assisi.
“Every page,” I responded, smiling as I remembered back to my pre-novelist days. At that time, the thought of writing a three- to four-hundred page manuscript seemed like a herculean task.
Trevi Fountain in Rome
Up until then, I had concentrated on magazine articles and slice of life vignettes that were short pieces, each not more than a few thousand words. My prose tended to be terse, a no-frills style that worked for magazines but would need to be expanded for longer projects. As much as I enjoyed writing, I wondered if I would have the discipline and perseverance needed to craft a full-length manuscript.
Arch of Constantine.  
After moving to the Atlanta area, I joined Georgia Romance Writers and attended a one-day workshop taught by Nancy Knight, one of the founding members of GRW.  Her program, entitled “Once Begun is Half Done,” provided a solid introduction to story structure along with tips on how to craft a compelling novel.
The Baptistery in Florence.
She discussed character development, and the necessity for the hero and heroine to change and grow during the course of the story.  I’m sure she explained internal and external conflict, but I was more interested in the inciting incidence and how to build the story to an exciting climax.
Many people want to write a book, Nancy explained. A number of folks start a book, but few people actually finish a manuscript.  Plow straight through, she advised, and don’t worry about revisions until the first draft is written.
I made note of everything Nancy said and decided that if I thought of each chapter as a short story, I could put the chapters together and eventually have a book. 
The Coliseum
Write what you know, she also suggested.

Prior to moving to Georgia, my hubby and I had lived at the National Training Center, located at Fort Irwin, California, in the middle of the Mojave Desert.  The small garrison sat at the edge of a huge military training area the size of the state of Rhode Island.

My husband was the senior Armor observer-controller.  He and his team put each visiting unit through a 21-day rotation of battle scenarios that involved air, ground and artillery support.  In addition, a live fire phase included Air Force assets and attack helicopters and provided the most realistic training available in the free world.
St. Peter's Basilica, Rome

The visiting units “fought” against a real opposing force stationed at the NTC.  Using a specially designed laser system, every movement and round fired were tracked and recorded, and at the end of each battle, the observer controllers evaluated the unit’s ability and offered concrete suggestions for improvement. 
St. Peter's Square
Visiting dignitaries within our own government and from allied countries flew into the NTC to observe the specialized training often featured on the evening news.  Bestselling author Tom Clancy was allowed to tour the training area and observed one of my husband’s after-action reviews.  As a token of his appreciation, Clancy sent Tony an autographed, advanced copy of The Cardinal of the Kremlin, and later named a character after him--Lieutenant Colonel Angelo Giusti--in The Bear and the Dragon. If Tom Clancy was writing about the NTC, I decided to do so, as well. Plus, I wanted to chronicle some of our experiences and the unique adventure we had lived in the rugged desert environment.
Michelangelo's Pieta in St Peter's
At Forces Command Headquarters in Atlanta, Tony was the staff officer in charge of training for active component forces in the US.  He worked under a four-star general so I wove a tale about a military hero stationed at Fort McPherson in Atlanta, who accompanies the FORSCOM commander to the NTC. Every afternoon, when the children were at school, I’d head to the small alcove at the top of the stairs I had converted into an office and pound out the story on my trusty electric typewriter.
Roasting chestnuts
Currently, I work from an 18 to 20 page synopsis that provides an outline for my work in progress, but for that first story, I was strictly seat of my pants.  When the middle began to sag, I added a murder and upped the romance as I trudged from page to page.  On good days, the words flowed.  At other times, my progress was as slow as the proverbial watched pot that never boils.
I made a lot of mistakes on that first manuscript, yet despite what I didn't know, I ended up with a 90,000 word manuscript and patted myself on the back, feeling an immense sense of accomplishment.  I had achieved my goal and written my first full-length manuscript.

Rare is the story that doesn't require revision so I made changes and then retyped the 400 pages until I was satisfied I had done my best.  Soon thereafter, I attended my first Moonlight and Magnolias Conference, where Nancy Knight introduced me to her agent. I pitched my story and will never forget the thrill when she requested my full.  I called hubby to tell him the good news, both of us confident my story was on the way to publication.
Honorable Men, the title of that first manuscript, was rejected. I wrote five more manuscripts before I sold NOWHERE TO HIDE to Love Inspired Suspense.
The chains that held Peter captive displayed
in the Church of St. Peter in Chains
Taking an idea from initial concept to a fully developed novel takes perseverance and hard work, mixed with a bit of luck and an innate ability to weave a story.  Now when the words flow and the scenes come together, when my characters surprise me with their heroism, when universal concepts play out upon the written page, I realize—just as I did on that first manuscript long ago—that I love to write and nothing can stop me from pursuing my dream.
Debby throws a coin over her left shoulder into
the Trevi Fountain so she'll come back to Rome.
Have you completed your first manuscript? Are you writing it now?  Share your thoughts, your dreams and what you’ve learned to be entered in the drawing. 

I’m giving away a copy of my latest Love Inspired Suspense, THE CAPTAIN’S MISSION.  In addition, the winner will receive the cookbook, 200 Pasta Dishes, by Maria Ricci, which features many of the delicious recipes I enjoyed in Rome.

The breakfast bar is open and filled with the same selection I had each day in my hotel. Enjoy a cappuccino or café latte (the milk is served warm), hard boiled eggs, sliced salami, prosciutto and cheese, freshly baked rolls and croissants, yogurt and toast.  Mangia, mangia!!! 

Wishing you abundant blessings!

Debby Giusti


  1. Debby, love the pictures! It looks like you had a wonderful time.

    I remember working on my first ms, and my second. Now, I'm editing my third. My number one advice to new writers is to finish that first draft. It's where the writer learns about their characters, their story and a lot about who they are as a writer.


  2. How fun!!!!

    Love the pics!!!

    I finished my first MS. I'm editing my 5th and writing my 6th. Only 2 of those others have been edited [the 1st and 4th].

    But what I really took out of that is...


    I haven't read the most recent spinoffs. Cuz they're not Clancy. They're Clancy withs... And it's just not the same. But through Teeth of the Tiger, I bought them the day they came out.

    Okay - I'm off to bed :D.

    [I have the book, but I'd love the cookbook!!! I'll give the book away if I were to win ;)]

  3. Hi Debby:

    Thanks for all the photos of Italy. They brought back a lot of memories. I was at Aviano for three years and loved Italy.

    I also went to the Army base at Vincenza to shop it the PX and eat at the A&W Rootbeer stand.

    Did you get to Italy in your Army days? Was this your first trip to Italy? Will there be a novel set in Italy? Donna Leon, a mystery writer, did a book that took place, in part, at the Vincenza Army post. If you have not read it, I think you would like it. I think it was titled "Uniform Justice".

    This would be a good time to rent “Three Coins in the Fountain”.


  4. Oh! Thanks so much to all of you who've been praying for FIL. It looks like he'll be able to come home on schedule [leaving late Friday and arriving early evening Saturday local time]. He'll go from the hospital to the airport to the rehab center.

    We'll feel better and like we know more once DH actually gets to see him. Like what if she's just giving the good estimates you know? Like she's saying 1-2 weeks at rehab. But what if what the doc really said was 'It could be 1-2 weeks, it could be 3mos'. Once he can see him, talk to him, get back home, I feel like DH will feel better. Does that make sense?

    Thanks to all of you! Love you all!

  5. Debby, loved the pictures!

    And there's nothing like the feeling when you finish that first manuscript. It doesn't matter if anyone else will ever read it - it's a huge accomplishment.

    I'm with Carol - YOUR HUBBY IS IN A CLANCY BOOK? How cool is that!

    Carol - I'm glad your FIL is doing so well. Even with rehab, just the fact that he's able to fly home is wonderful!

    We got news tonight that my FIL is going into hospice care tomorrow. He fell and broke his hip last week and is not recovering well from his surgery. Please pray for my dear husband's family at this time, and for my FIL's comfort. Also, please pray for direction as we decide when to make the 1200 mile trip to see him. Thank you!

  6. WOW!! That was a treat, in words and pictures! I kept getting sidetracked by the awesome photos, and have to re-read the paragraphs... I've never been to Italy, never even an airport ont he way somewhere else.

    I finished my first ms in 2009 and it's been revised abut a hundred times. I'm on my fourth, wihich is part of a series. Nothing published yet, but I feel like with every book I get better and better.

  7. P.S. And I love the part about your husband being named in a Tom Clancy book! That is awesome! :D

  8. Carol, I do udnerstand and I hope everything is as good as they say!

    Oh, Jan. I'm so sorry. Praying for his peace and comfort, and peace for your family.

  9. Finished my first MS in the summer of 09, I'm plotting out #5 that I'll start soon, if not than in March with the BIAM coming up here!

    I've learned a lot since book #1. I still love book #1's story, but I'll never do anything with it, the voice is wrong for the market and of course the craft is much less than stellar. I read it once a few months ago. Still love it though.

    It's not a lie when people say you get better with every book, but if I didn't have crit partners I'd be advancing much more slowly.

  10. Hi Christina!

    One of our guides in Rome was named Christina. She was a tiny woman who talked fast and knew everything!

    Great writing advice, Christina. Finishing the first draft is important. Often we get hung up on making everything perfect and don't move forward. Revisions come more easily once the first draft is completed. Plus, that sense of accomplishment helps to spur us on.

  11. Hi Carol,
    I read Clancy's earlier novels. He spent a week at the NTC. We attended a small dinner party in his honor, and he had a book signing on post. The rest of the time, he was in the field with the men. You'll find Angelo on page 250. :)

    YAY, Carol! Five completed manuscripts! You rock.

    I'm interested in knowing why you didn't edit stories two and three? Were you excited about moving on with the next idea and didn't want to take the time to revise?

    Any Eureka moments along the way?

    I remember when I finally "got" POV! I had to call a writing friend to share the good news.

  12. Fascinating post & wonderful photos, Debby!! I love "behind the scenes" accounts --- and we got a double dose today via two different media! Thank you!

  13. Debby,

    Love the pictures. Beautiful.

    I'm on my eighth ms and I can't believe how much I've learned since my first. The best advice I received, was to just write. Get the first draft done. And I'm so glad I did. Granted the first draft of my first ms was a cliched mess, but it was a completed cliched mess that could be revised.


    P.S. That's so cool you're husband is in a Clancy book.

  14. Vince,
    Thanks for the tip about Donna Leon's book. I definitely want to read her story. Still processing what we saw and not sure how to fit Italy into a future book. Using the military angle you suggested sounds like a good fit.

    Yes, we spent time in Italy when Tony was stationed in Germany, but that was many years ago. During this trip, I kept reverting back to German when I was in the shops and eateries since I don't know Italian. Our tour bus driver spoke German so at least I could "sprecken" with him. :)

    When my son was stationed in Germany, he traveled to Italy many times and knew a number of people stationed there. One of his friends took him to the Lenox china factory where he bought a complete set of Butler's Pantry at a very reduced rate. He also came home with lots of large serving platters that I covet! :)

    The dollar was stronger when you were in Italy, no doubt, Vince. The rate last week was 1 Euro for $1.33 - $1.37. We didn't have much time to shop, which was fine. We were interested in seeing as much as possible.

    I remember when Burger King opened on our kaserne in Germany. Everyone was there!

    "Three Coins in the Fountain" would be fun to watch! Maybe this weekend.

  15. Carol, sorry I didn't know about your FIL earlier. I'm sending up prayers today. Keep us posted! Also, I did pray for everyone in Seekerville while in Rome. We saw lots of churches and had services in a number of the bigger churches. You were all on my mind, in my heart and covered in prayer throughout the trip.

  16. Debby, Debby, Debby, what a fun trip you had and I love the photos. Such history in Italy.

    And you lived in the Mojave Desert? Kudos that you survived. chuckle.

    That first manuscript is so critical. I was told that its more cathartic than crafted so probably shouldn't ever be published. LOL

    But yours does sound intriguing so I hope you revisit it some day. Now I know where you came up with the plot for Captain's Mission. It was a great suspense.

  17. Carol - great news

    Jan- so praying for you and your family.

  18. Jan, you and your family are in our prayers. Special prayers for your FIL and MIL. A hard time for all of you. Prayers, too, for your decision about when to travel.

  19. Virginia, four completed manuscripts is a huge accomplishment. Sending up a big cheer for your writing success.

    So tell us about your series. Can each story stand alone? Or should they be read in order?

    Have you pitched yet?

    Any conference goals for 2012?

  20. I always enjoy hearing about authors' first manuscripts. Each journey is different, yet much the same. Mine included--although my first did see publication.

    Love, love, love the pics of places I'd love to go! Looks like you had an excellent trip!

  21. What a trip, Debby. Not only through your adventure as a budding novelist and terrific pictures of Italy, but also through the rigors of military training! I'm so glad you "write what you know" because I doubt anyone could write it better : )

    Beautiful, beautiful pics! Thank you for sharing.

    OMG, I remember typing my first book - well actually half of my first book, I stopped at 428 pages to reassess my direction -- on an electric typewriter. I cringe at the thought that you RETYPED it with all your revisions and corrections.

    Ahhhh, we've come a long way baby with the onset of computers : )

    Great post and now on to the delicacies at the buffet table. Thanks for the spread, Deb!

  22. Debby -

    Manuscript #2 is the sequel to MS#1. Until it sells, there's not really much point in polishing #2. But it's there and almost ready to go :).

    Manuscript #3 was an attempt at an RS. It is in the bottom of the virtual filing cabinet behind the real arsenic.

    My eureka moment came here on Seekerville one day when Missy said something about comedy after reading a post on my blog. Romantic comedy/dramedy just... fits. It feels comfortable. You know?

    Off to the doc this morning. Would rather be sleeping... ;)

  23. Carol, so relieved to hear about FIL. Special prayers continue your way.

    Prayers all over you too, Jan. Being that far away just adds extra burden to your mind. I pray you can make the trip sooner than later.

  24. Love the pictures Debby! Looks like you had a great time.

    I just finished my second manuscript. The first is being considered by yet another editor and a proposal for the second has been sent out.

    Many many years ago I took a writing course and started a children's book. I sent a proposal out on the partial. It's actually the first time I tried to have my work published. It came back with a form rejection letter. I never finished the book.

    That was before I found support groups on the internet. I put the manuscript away and believed I didn't have what it took to be a writer.

    Back than I never would have believed a day would come when I'd have two manuscripts finished and actually be in communications with editors considering my work.

  25. JAN -- I'm so sorry to hear about your FIL's fall. Praying for the family's decision-making guidance.

    Also... is your Woman's World on the stands THIS week or NEXT week? What will be the date on the cover? I don't go to Walmart every week and don't want to miss it!

  26. Debby, I loved reading about your first manuscript. And seeing the pictures of your trip to Italy. I'd love to get there someday. Is Trevi Fountain the place where the motor scooter scene in Roman Holiday takes place? It looks familiar. :)

    I am close to finishing my first manuscript. I was blessed to receive some good instruction to help me craft the story of my heart.

    I've learned a lot about how I write. In the beginning, I tried to polish each scene before moving onto the next one. I got nowhere fast. Then I did NaNo last November (first time). I wrote out an informal synopsis ahead of time. During the month, I learned the beauty of getting the story on paper. I loved learning about my characters as I wrote them onto the page. :)

    I've had to back track and do some research, but my goal is to write, "The End" by the end of this month.

    My hubby was active duty too. I loved reading about some of your adventures. I've driven past the base in the Mohave many times. Thanks for sharing your story, Debby!

  27. Bella Debby! (Imagine that I'm saying that in an Italian accent.) Those photos are wonderful! You must have had a wonderful trip! Everything looks delightfully old and full of history. Except you, of course! You look bella!!! :-)

    My first manuscript was more of an autobiographical account of the first six months of my mission trip to Ukraine, and it was not destined to get me published, and I realized that pretty quickly, thankfully, before I sent it to more than a handful of people! It still may get published some day. But I doubt it. LOL!

    But that first book was the hardest in many ways. There were so many things that had to come together, and I had to keep up with them all, and I thought it was really complicated and difficult. Maybe my plots since then have been simpler. But writing a book is always hard work. Especially the first one!

    That is really exciting that your hubby is in a Tom Clancy book! He must have really made an impression on Mr. Clancy!

  28. What a fabulous story on perseverance! And how amazing that your husband is in a book!

    I liked what Christina said about finishing that first manuscript. If you've done it once, you know you can do it again - and that's a wonderful sense of accomplishment.

  29. My REAL first manuscript was a book I wrote when I was about 14. I typed it on an electronic typewriter. Then I wrote another book when I was about 17. I let my friends read them. Now I can just imagine how terrible they were! Before writing my other "first" novel, I waited for about 15 more years for my genius to percolate. LOL!

  30. Carol-my mil had a stroke in 06. At least she was in town when it happened. They ended up life-flighting her to the Mayo clinic in MI. She was only 56. She's had several since, but is still very functional for the most part. Each time is scary. 2011 was the first year we didn't visit the hospital with her since 2006.

    It sounds like your fil is doing good if they are letting him fly that far so soon. Prayers for a safe trip for him.

    Jan-sorry to hear about your fil. We haven't had to do that yet as our parents are pretty young. I pray it'll be a long while before we do.

  31. Debby,

    How neat that you prayed for Seekerville (I'm sure you included us stalkers, too *g*) while in Italy. That is so cool. Of course, I think it's neat that you pray for Seekerville no matter what country you're in.


  32. When I hear stories about people writing their first manuscripts on typewriters, it reminds me of how great it was to have a typewriter in college. I had bought a used Selectric from the school system, and it was absolutely was so easy to type on and the words just flowed.

    I'm sure I'd hate to work on that dinosaur now! I even dislike using the ten year old keyboard on my husband's computer :)

    Thanks for all the prayers for my FIL, everyone. We haven't received an update yet today. He's ready to go Home - we just wish it was easier.

  33. Beautiful pictures. It's a family tradition at my parents house to roast chestnuts.

    Okay, first msc. I was 16 and it was a YA.

  34. Carol & Jan, I'll be praying for your FIL and the rest of your families.

    Debby, those pictures are fantastic. I clicked on one and it let me see the slide show. If I were there, I'd just walk, take pictures and eat. What an amazing trip!

    I'm still piecing my first draft together. Trying to see how to fit all I have written so far together. I fell like the story is a quilt. I have all of these (story) pieces that I love but I still have to make them work together and get to from a whole. My goal is to get it contest ready this year.

  35. Hi Debby! I gotta run (I'm touring a nuclear power plant today, which I REALLY don't want to work into a story someday!) so I'll be brief.

    I finished my first full-length novel last year, and am now editing it for a second draft. I love editing as I write, but I realized that was hindering me too much, so I forced myself to move forward. I was surprised when the manuscript finished up so quickly! So that's my advice: keep moving forward, and edit later.

    I'll drop by later to read the other comments!

  36. I'm just here for the food. And kissing my low-carb diet arrivederci!

    Deb, what a great story not only of your first manuscript, but how God put Nancy in your path and her words on your heart. I bet there were lots of folks who heard and didn't follow through, but you did.

    Military romance: What's not to love????? Can't wait to read The Captain's Mission!

    Cafe latte for me, please, and Americanize it with caramel, grazia!

    Italy. Does Rome, New York count? Because I've been there. Greece, too. New York, that is.

    And Warsaw. It's just up Route 19 from Allegany County. :)

    My travels may be limited but I love living vicariously through you , my friend!

    And she was really throwing that coin into the fountain for me, I think, because during Jeopardy last week NO ONE GOT the reference to the fountain at Trevi correct except me.

    I was pretty proud of myself. Of course it was the only answer I knew, but I got to feed a baby, so that was okay.

    Thanks for the coin, Deb! ;)

  37. Debby,

    I loved this posting...and the pictures, too. Thanks for sharing :)

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  38. Wow, the pics are lovely. My mom and sisters went to Rome this past summer, but I didnt' have the money. Sounds like a trip of a lifetime.

    I completed my first ms back in 1998! But I haven't written consistently since then until the last couple of years.

  39. I've been staring at these pictures awhile now. My coffee has turned cold! Beautiful!

    There's nothing like saying, "It's done!" Except after revising saying, "It's done!" :)

  40. Sorry I had to be away for a couple hours this morning...

    I brought biscotti for everyone to enjoy along with a second cup of cappuccino. Enjoy!

  41. How fun, Debby! I feel like I've been on vacation just looking at the pictures!

    Thank you for praying for all of us in Rome. That may be as close to Italy as I ever get!

    My first manuscript (shudders) was a bunch a scenes linked together. Really bad - I knew NOTHING about writing except from other romances I'd read. So now, after finishing my 7th ms, I've come a long way, baby!! LOL.


  42. Melissa, so proud of you working on your 6th manuscript. Everyone in Seekerville is prolific! YAY!!!

    I love my first story, too, but like you, I know it will never be published. It was for me to write, to capture the desert life, to keep what we lived and experienced alive.

    When you re-read your manuscript, did you recognize your voice in that first work? I noticed my voice was already established...guess it's that natural part of who we are and how we express ourselves that came across even in my initial attempt to craft a story.

  43. Debby, oh my gosh. Looking at your photos I had to keep telling myself over and over Thou shalt not covet, thou shalt not covet LOL.
    I love Rome. I set my first and completed MS there, and my second one I'm halfway through is set there too. The next one is going to have to be in another time period and place though, because Ancient Rome is a tough sell I'm finding out/hearing repeatedly.
    There's not a feeling quite like typing the end. ACFW even has a badge for it that I slapped on my blog. The Break Into Fiction book I won on seekerville arrived yesterday and this was in the introduction. "Good books aren't written. Good books are rewritten."
    SO TRUE.
    Since you asked about dreams, my all-time bucket list leader is to have my picture taken in the Colosseum holding the published copy of Chasing the Lion.
    Now, back to chanting "thou shalt not covet."

  44. Waving to Academic Freelancing. Your profile mentions the UK. We'd love to learn more about what you do and how you found Seekerville. Glad you did! You're now part of our extended family. :)

  45. Debby, thanks to you and Vince I can't get the song "Three Coins in a Fountain" out of my head!

    I'll have to watch the movie, I guess.

    I've never been to Rome, but I did spend a couple days in Nice, and a couple more in Genoa. The Mediterranean is gorgeous...

  46. Debby, WOW loved the pics, thanks for sharing them. you moved from california to Ga what a change. I hope you like it here now. found your words about writing interesting. I am a reader and have read your books so wanted to comment hoping to win another.
    enjoyed the wonderful treats as always.
    Paula O

  47. Kirsten, you are amazing. Didn't you mention in an earlier post that you've only been writing for a couple years? You definitely have Mary Connealy genes. Which I also covet. I'm the tortoise instead of the hare. :) Right now, I'm still in jet lag mode and having trouble sticking my head out of my shell! :)

  48. Aghh! Those breakfast choices make me ravenous!

    I've been to Assisi and it's one of the most beautiful places in the world. So green and peaceful up on that hill.

    Thanks for the encouragement--yes, finishing that first draft is such a thrill (who likes to think of all the revisions that come after that? Agh!).

  49. Vince and Kirsten...

    Vince, remember when you told us that mock naval battles were held in the Coliseum? I believe you mentioned it in response to something Kirsten had said about the navy.

    Our tour guide shared the same information. According to her, the area had first been a man-made lake. The Roman architects kept the water pipes/ducts in place when they built the Coliseum so they could flood the lower section of the arena for the naval reenactments. Amazing!

  50. Hi Sandra,

    Loved what you said about the first manuscript being "more cathartic than crafted." That was certainly true in my case.

    Show of many first manuscripts involved something we wanted to capture on paper or perhaps rail against or make a statement about rather than a story that needed to be told?

  51. Lizzie, love your star! Congrats on selling your first manuscript. You evidently knew far more than I did at the beginning of my writing journey! :)

    Tell us about your books.

  52. Hi Debby!

    The books are part of a series, but they each have their own series, if that makes sense. There are half-written sequels to each one, but only four completed.
    I was just learning about different publishing lines and didn't know 120K word women's fiction, doesn't have the same chance of being published as a 75K historical inspired. :) So, the first series is set in the South and is very long. Second series is historical and follows the girls in one family. Third series is set in Colorado, modern day.
    The odd one out is a YA fantasy series I wrote for my girls.
    The first book has been at Avalon for 7 months now but I don't think it will ever see the light of day! Like Melissa, I still love my 'first born baby' but it's probably not where it needs to be.
    Second (full) and (partial) third books are with Melissa Endlich, waiting for her to peek at them. :)
    Fourth is a finalist in the Emily but no requests yet...

    Oh, conferences! How I would love to go to something! But too many little people who need me at home right now. :)

    And, I'm hoping to get published without EVER pitching a manuscript. I still hold out hope that it's possible. :)

  53. I couldn't resist a follow up post after seeing you guys talk about holding the naval battles in the Colosseum. There is so much rich history on that ground.

    When the great fire of AD 64 happened, that Caesar Nero blamed on the Christians, over half of Rome's "downtown" was wiped out. Nero seized it for the imperial treasury and built a ridiculous palace known as the Golden House complete with that lake. Well the money to build it had to come from somewhere, so he taxed the people to the extreme. After his forced suicide (no shocker there) Rome found out that a bad leader is sometimes better than no leader and a bloody civil war ensued known as the year of the four Emperors in AD 69. Vespasian emerged the victor and one of the first things he did was commission the Flavian Amphitheater (now known as the Colosseum). He had the lake drained and though it took ten years and he died before it was finished, he took the symbol of imperial/governmental excess and gave it back to the people, who loved him for it.
    There's a lesson there for those in Washington. I'm just saying!

    One last note about the staged naval battles. The ships for them had to be built inside the Colosseum and what was left of them broken down afterward. That still blows my mind.

  54. Debby,

    I don't think I've ever heard that about the Colisium being used for mock naval battles and naval reenactments. I should have paid closer attention in my Ancient Navies class. :o) But seriously, I love learning things like that.

    Yep, this May will be two years that I've been writing. But I don't know if that's amazing, Debby, or just smacks of someone with no life. :o) But thanks!


  55. Debby,thanks for the virtual tour. More importantly, your post was a relief to me. Most of my writing has been in non-fiction so making that transition is hard to fathom.

    I did sign up for my first writing workshop after tons of prodding. I have several editing projects for the new year but need to concentrate on my own aspirations. The focus will be on the internal and external obstacles that keep us from writing and how to get over them!

    No need to put me in the drawing. I have your book on my kindle and suffer from a wheat allergy!

    Peace and thanks, Julie

  56. Great, WONDERFUL pictures! Makes me so jealous. I want to GO somewhere now! LOL


  57. Hi Audra,

    So you used a typewriter for your first manuscript too! Actually it wasn't that long ago. We had a computer, but I was much more comfortable with my electric portable. Plus, the computer was in hubby's office, and I wanted my own space.

    No Internet though. I remember needing to check the spelling for My Lai. When I opened the newspaper and saw an article looking back at the My Lai Massacre, I took it as confirmation I was on the right track. :)

  58. Carol, so Missy gets credit for heading you in the right direction! :)

  59. Yay, Jamie! So glad you moved beyond that first rejection.

    Early on, an agent rejected me. I didn't write for the next six months! Silly me!

    That's why we need the support of Seekerville. By sharing some of our false assumptions about writing, we can shrug off the rejections (just a short pity party allowed) and keep moving forward.

  60. Glynna, thanks for mentioning Jan's work in Woman's World.

    Jan, give us a heads up when it hits the stands.

  61. Thanks Glynna and Debby - I'll be sure to let you know when my story is in Woman's World. It's supposed to be the issue on sale the week of Jan. 26 - which is next week! I'll let you as soon as it hits the check out stands. :)

  62. Debby! Rome??

    Aren't you the world traveler. ;-)

    LOVED the pictures, thank you so much for sharing!

    I have written 4 1/2 MS's now. 1 1/2 and of those were my first stories, historical. Now I've found my voice, style and love in contemporary women's.

    So many changes along the way and so much learned and so much farther still to go! But I'm more than willing. :)

  63. Hi Jeanne,
    The Trevi Fountain was probably featured in Roman Holiday, although I haven't seen the movie in years. Vince might know!

    But the fountain is one of the big tourist spots. Actually, the area is quite small and was very crowded when we were there. The square must be jammed with folks in the height of tourist season.

    Did you drive through Barstow, CA? Fort Irwin is another 36 miles into the desert. We used to shop in Victorville, CA. Roy Rogers and Dale Evans had a museum there, which has since burned down. Their ranch was in Apple Valley, about 45 minutes from Barstow. Dale spoke at a luncheon for the Christian Women on post and was a delightful lady.

    Glad NaNo helped you move forward with your manuscript. Beginnings always take so long. We want to get them right, and they need to hook the reader and provide enough information to introduce the story. It's easy to get bogged down on those first few chapters. That's why I like typing my first draft on my AlphaSmart. It allows me to keep moving forward.

  64. Bella, Melanie! I hear your accent! :) Love the cadence of the Italian language.

    You're right. Writing is hard work, but I didn't know the rules with my first manuscript so I broke them all and just had fun. :)

  65. Melanie, aren't you glad you have a written account of what you experienced in the Ukraine, even if the story will never be published?

  66. Hi Sherri!
    Writing a full-length manuscript is a huge undertaking and kudos to all of those who have done so. As you mentioned, once you've written one book, you know you can do it again...and again...and again...

  67. Melanie, another electric typewriter story!!! :) Age 14 and 17! Good for you.

    No doubt, you were a child prodigy born to write!

  68. Christina, you are not a stalker, my dear!!! And everyone who visits the blog is part of the extended family and is covered in prayer.

    Hugs and love!

  69. Jan...

    Another electric typewriter story. Loved my typewriter but didn't like having to make corrections. Wite Out or what was that chalk tape we used back then?

    Remember carbon paper? Yuck!

    Glad your FIL will get Hospice care. Those folks are saints. It's ministry instead of a job. Hugs and prayers.

  70. Tina, a YA? Dust it off and send it out. You know the YA market is hot! :)

    Bet your story was a romance...

  71. Debby, thank you for sharing your pictures from your trip to Italy. They brought back wonderful memories! By the clothes you're wearing, the weather must've been cold.

    I had no idea Tom Clancy named a character after your husband! Nice to have a signed copy of his book! Convenient that you live with someone who knows if the details of your military stories are correct. :-)

    I'm delighted you wrote that first manuscript and never gave up. Your stories bless me and all your readers!

    Thanks for the cappuccino!

    Hugs, Janet

  72. Hi Donna,
    Yes, I ate my way through Italy.

    I didn't realize how much the Italians love pizza. Every other shop seemed to be a Trattoria that sold pizza and sandwiches.

    So I'm bringing pizza for with artichokes and olives and zucchini and eggplant and all sorts of yummy veggies.

    Gelato for dessert.

    Love your mention of a story quilt.

    One of the hardest things to learn is to cut what's not needed. The prose I like best is often what I have to delete from the story.

  73. Oh my gosh, Stephanie, a nuclear power plant. What great research! Tell us more about your story idea.

    Yes, yes, yes, keep moving forward. Be a Mary Connealy and write 2,000 words a day!

  74. Ruthy, you will see the world. Mark my words! :)


  75. Hi Karen, sharing is easy on Seekerville, right?


  76. Connie,
    You needed Seekerville to get back into writing mode! Glad you're part of the family. :)

  77. Sherri- I was told after I finished that first manuscript that I could officially call myself an author. Made me feel real good.

    Debby-I kind of liked the stalker status. *g* Anyway, I'm not sure you'll know how much it means to be prayed for, so, THANK YOU!

  78. Hi Jessica!

    Was it Dorothy Parker who said she hated to write but loved having written? Can't we all relate?

    As Melanie mentioned, writing is hard work, but the sense of accomplishment at the end of the story makes the struggle worthwhile.

  79. You know, Debby, I AM really glad I wrote that book, just to get it all out and to have a record of all that crazy stuff that happened in Ukraine! I fictionalized it a little, but not much!

  80. What fabulous photos of your tour of Italy, Debby!

    And, WOW--Tom Clancy named a character for your hubby??? What fun! I have to agree with Carol, though. The original Clancy books were my favorites. I just never got into the spinoffs. Although my hubby, who's really into techo-novels, has read many of them.

    Praying for your FIL, Jan. A broken hip is a scary, scary thing for older folks.

  81. Debby, those pictures make me want to go watch Roman Holiday! They are so pretty!

    Your quotes from Nancy Knight about plowing on through and ignoring revisions until after 'the end' are a very timely reminder to me right now.

    My first ms is in the works. Like the girl mentioned at the book signing, I feel awestruck, reading these comments about 3, 5, 10, etc. manuscripts. Wow.

  82. stories. Great!

    Julia Cameron, in her book, THE ARTIST'S WAY, says we need to protect our first baby steps into writing. If we send our work out too early or allow others to critique it too stridently, we can hinder our own creativity. Perhaps that's why those first books rarely get published. We’re still at the baby steps stage and need to mature in our craft before we’re ready to face rejection.

  83. Nancy,

    My advice, follow your heart. Sounds as if you were born with a love for Ancient Rome. Just because it isn't an easy sell, doesn't mean your stories won't sell. Carla Capshaw succeeded. You can to.

    At dinner, after visiting the ruins, I brought up the books I had read in my youth, such as The Robe and The Silver Chalice. In those days, there seemed to be so many set in that time period.

    Have you thought of using a contemporary story with ties to Ancient Rome? Like a Raiders of the Lost Ark? You pitch it as a contemporary novel, but you get to incorporate elements of Ancient Rome into the story.

  84. Good books are it! Thanks, Nancy.

    Also love your title: Chasing the Lion.

  85. LOL, Jan! Blame Vince for subliminally implanting the song in your head. Besides, I only threw one coin. :)

    Our guide said the Italians toss one coin. The movie enhanced their tradition.

  86. Hi Paula,
    We love readers in Seekerville!!! You're the reason we write.

    Georgia is great, and it's been our home for a number of years. Guess I'm a Southerner at heart!

    Love those grits! :)

  87. Heather, glad you liked Assisi too. The peace was palpable. I'd love to spend more time there.

    IMHO, rewrites are better than a blank page. :)

  88. It is possible, Virginia!

    Sounds like you're doing everything right. Which genre is your favorite? Or are you pushing on all doors to see which one opens first?

  89. Nancy, you could give tours! Bravo!

    My guide mentioned that after Nero's death they wanted to destroy everything that was associated with him. She talked about the vastness of his palace and the opulence.

    She also said the "stage" floor of the Coliseum was made of wood and covered with sand to absorb the blood and the stench from the blood. The word for sand is arena, or something close to that, which is where we get the word arena.

    The Coliseum could seat around 75,000 people and hold over 100,000 counting those standing. Because of the many entrances and walkways, the entire structure could be filled in 20 minutes.

  90. I'm smiling, Kirsten! You have a very exciting life and have been involved with so many fascinating projects with your job.

    Can't wait until your books are in print!

  91. I have completed my first MS and am working on MS 2. Well, was, am, will be... I struggle with the whole working on the next one when I'm trying to send out proposals and queries on the first one and look into the self-publishing industry all at once. Very overwhelming! Advice?

    Mmm... We LOVE pasta in our house! What a wonderful bonus to your book! Would love to be included in the drawing.

  92. Julie, my advice...don't be hard on yourself with the first book. Just write it and enjoy the process. You're already a writer.

  93. Hi Beth! Thanks for visiting Seekerville today. Try some gelato! It's guaranteed to brighten your day! :)

  94. Wonderful, Casey. What made you switch to women's fiction, and did you know immediately that you had found your home in that genre?

  95. Melanie, that's exactly how I feel about Honorable Men.

  96. Yay, Natalie! You're working to make your dream come true! Fantastic. Keep writing and don't give up!

    Be sure to let us know when you type THE END!!! We'll celebrate with you!


  97. You're in the drawing, Linnette!

    Good for you to send out your manuscript. I agree, it is hard to juggle various tasks at the same time. Keep us posted.

  98. Thanks, Debby!
    I love my title too. I'd like it even better on a spine :-p
    I tried a contemporary and gave up after 20K words but I'll have to think more on your idea. I do love Rome and it's history.
    Yay for you and your guide. The Latin word for sand is harena and they used so much of it it had to be imported from Egypt like grain. I hope she talked about the beast shows and animal hunts. Northern Africa's fauna were impacted severely by all the animals, especially the great cats, captured and sent to Rome. It's estimated two-thirds died in transit, and the toll on the area's animal population never recovered. So sad. And I can't even get started on the tragedy that gladiator life was. But it did make for a gripping, compelling MS with Chasing the Lion. I wrote it and there are still parts that are hard for me to read. :-/
    The games were free, but there were tickets distributed for them and each had the entrance marked the ticket bearer was to enter.
    Oh that's so cool you were actually there. Thank you SO MUCH for posting the pictures.

  99. Thanks, Debby!
    I love my title too. I'd like it even better on a spine :-p
    I tried a contemporary and gave up after 20K words but I'll have to think more on your idea. I do love Rome and it's history.
    Yay for you and your guide. The Latin word for sand is harena and they used so much of it it had to be imported from Egypt like grain. I hope she talked about the beast shows and animal hunts. Northern Africa's fauna were impacted severely by all the animals, especially the great cats, captured and sent to Rome. It's estimated two-thirds died in transit, and the toll on the area's animal population never recovered. So sad. And I can't even get started on the tragedy that gladiator life was. But it did make for a gripping, compelling MS with Chasing the Lion. I wrote it and there are still parts that are hard for me to read. :-/
    The games were free, but there were tickets distributed for them and each had the entrance marked the ticket bearer was to enter.
    Oh that's so cool you were actually there. Thank you SO MUCH for posting the pictures.

  100. Debby, I've heard that the historical will probably sell first (if it does!) because there's a good amrket for it right now, but like I said when Amanda Cabot was here, it was SO much harder to write a historical. It was fun, super fun, but the time spent researching was tremendous. I couldn't just make it up, I had to know for sure... Fun story, hard writing.

    So, it was easiest to write the contemporaries and just fell in love with the characters!
    The most fun was the YA, since I got to be a little immature and snarky and scared, and the heroine still rocks, because she's 16. But there are drawbacks there... It's nice to think like an adult sometimes.

  101. Loved the photos Debby. First manuscript is completed and off at a contest....well actually not first manuscript, but recent manuscript.

    Jodie Wolfe

  102. I'm sorry to be so slow checkign in today.


    The pictures are so beautiful they make my heart ache, Debby. Thank you so much for including them.

    Good for you for sticking to writing through five books. Have you ever tired to get those older books published? Even if they aren't as well done as your current books....because you've gotten better, the stories are still there and you could use those ideas and start from scratch with the writing.

  103. I have a copy of Chasing the Lion... Nancy sent it to me :D.

    Sandi Rog has books set in ancient Rome. I've read both and will be reviewing the second one shortly. It was a much harder read with the realities for Christians in that era. Still an excellent book but more... gut wrenching in places.

    And in other news...

    FIL has regained most of his sight!!! WOOHOO!!!!

  104. JAN, I'm praying for you. I'm so sorry to hear about your FIL. Praying for wisdom, too.

    DEBBIE: I taught in Victorville, once upon a time, a long time ago. I would drive up I-15 to I-70 to visit family in Denver. Then, when I met my husband, who was stationed in Las Vegas, I'd drive up to visit him. So yes, I know that stretch of freeway pretty well. :)

    Hadn't heard about the Roy Rogers museum. So sorry to hear it burned down.

    I've decided to write my whole story. Then, I'm going to go back and make it sparkle. :) Beginning and all.

  105. Carol,
    That's great news! My current WIP features a blind heroine and I spent an hour in a blindfold at my house and was SO GLAD when my time was up. Praying for continued improvement.

    Yahshua's Bridge was great but a difficult read. I can't wait to read your review of it. Sandi Rog was kind enough to do an interview on my blog for it and wow, I'm glad I'm not the only one willing to put the honest depths of despair and suffering on the page for non-literary fiction. Sandi did an amazing job.

  106. Ciao Debby! Looks like you had a great time on vacation - thanks for sharing the photos :)

  107. Sorry to disappoint you, Debby, but I DO NOT want to write a story involving a nuclear power plant! Mainly because anything industrial bores me, and I've been dealing with this particular power plant for eight months!

    Basically, the community I cover news for suffered tons of flooding along the Missouri River this summer, and a nuclear power plant lies about 10 miles from town along the river. The plant was never in any danger, thanks to NUMEROUS safety measures in place, but certain other media (ahem, drive-by journalists!) kept blowing any news release out of proportion. Since the flooding is gone, the nuclear station invited local media to tour the outside of the facility (in 14-degree weather) to assure everyone everything is safe.

    Anyway, I've written WAY too many news articles about this station, so I don't want to even THINK about it in fiction! :)

    BTW, your photos of Italy are a wonderful reprieve from looking at flood-ravaged lands!

  108. Stephanie, that is so funny! (My dad is a nuclear engineer and he's head of the safety at Siemens' nuclear facility near us.)

  109. OOOOH Debby - what a fabulous tale! First off, you just visited one of my favorite places in the world, Fabulous Firenze! We only had four days there - need at least a month.

    Interesting aside - our amazing illustrator for May's book has a strong connection there too. It's all good!

    AND - wow - Clancy named a character after hubby! WAWZAH! That is just a neat fact to know and tell!

    I like how you grew from Pantster to outliner. Your passed along advice about trudging on until the story is complete is a good one. I get lost in revisions. Current WIP is 1/3 done but nicely revised. Sigh. Onward and upward - I'm excited to find out what happens myself! :)

    Thank you for sharing some of the glories of your trip. Beautiful model in them too. Who is she?!

  110. Hi Debby:

    I’ve been to Germany many times over the years. The first time I went, 1964, we were getting 4 marks to the dollar. At the time 2 marks would buy the huge (I think it was 2 liters) mug of beer at the Oktoberfest. It was impossible to drink more than $2 in beer.

    When I was at my first Oktoberfest, 1965, the Germans would not let me pay for my beer. I was alone and I sat at their big table. The Germans at the table bought every beer for me. They would not let me buy them any beers in return but when I left I gave four of them the brand new Kennedy half dollar. They loved JFK. That was a big hit. I just wish I had one for everyone at the table.

    I went to the K9 school at Wiesbaden that the Germans used for their Army. We had two of the same instructors that taught the German soldiers. One day George was showing us a scrapbook of graduating classes from the K9 school, airman and their dogs, (Canadians also went to the school with us). Each page he turned back was the class from the year before. At one point the uniforms changed to German. The troops and the dogs looked exactly alike. I got a big kick out of that. The instructors didn’t even lose their jobs!


  111. Hi Debby:

    For Rome lovers: see the movie “Gladiator”. It includes computer generated graphics of what Rome looked like before it was destroyed. It is fantastic. I bought the movie just to see those scenes. Wonderful!

    Did you know that the Colosseum is named for the Colossus statue of Nero that was near the site? That’s why it is not spelled ‘Coliseum’ like the Los Angeles Coliseum. There was an artificial lake on the site as well as Nero’s Golden Palace. When Nero died they tore it down. Vespasian started the Colosseum but his son had to finish it. The Romans loved sporting events and there were many wooden viewing stands that collapsed over the years. Many law suits! The navy had canvass sails above to provide shade. The navy barracks have been found near the area.

    It is so great to travel. Oh, I should have mentioned that Donna Leon taught college classes on writing at my Air Base in Aviano but she did not arrive until after I left. I wish I could have had one of her classes.


  112. Hi Debby:

    You can hear “Three Coins in the Fountain” and see lots of fountain scenes from Rome at YouTube:

    This is a beautiful flm clip.



  113. Fantastic pictures, Debby! I wish I could tour Italy again. Sigh.

    Great story about your first manuscript. Funny how our first ones seem so good, but maybe they aren't. But if they're finished then they're a success! Mine first completed mss certainly spurred me on.

    Conferences can really be helpful, especially when you're a new writer. Well, any writer, new and old, can benefit a lot.

  114. DEBBY!!! I am SO late to the party, but WOW, what a post, girl -- LOVE the pix and LOVE the topic!!

    About fell out of my chair over two things, though. First, that Tom Clancy named a character after your hubby -- DOUBLE WOW!!! And second, that you wrote six books before you sold one. NO FREAKIN' WAY!!! I've read your work, darlin', and I find that SO hard to believe, seriously. Of course, if you had edited that first book over 60 times like I did A Passion Most Pure, you might have sold it!! ;)

    Your pix make me want to go to Italy, you little brat, but that won't happen till I go to Ireland first!


  115. Hello, Debby! I love reading your posts; you radiate such an abundant warmth.

    I am still working on my first full-length MS. It is a daunting task to write 70,000-90,000 words! It's so encouraging to see people who have done it.

    I would love to be able to browse book stores and see my books (as well as the books of dear people I know and love) lining the shelves!
    I would love to be successful enough at writing to do it full time. And maybe get a made-for-tv movie on Hallmark channel. ; )


  116. Nancy, I'm in awe of all you know about Ancient Rome. Our guide did mention the wild and exotic animals that were brought into the Coliseum. She also talked about the plays that were performed. Those condemned to die had to learn the lines, and when their character died in the tragedy, they were killed in a very real death scene.

    Nancy, did the gladiators live in the small rooms below the wooden stage floor? The guide mentioned areas where the gladiators waited to go into the arena (thanks for the actual spelling of harena). Was that where they stayed even when the games weren't taking place?

  117. Virginia,

    Sounds as if you're comfortable with each genre. But did I notice a bit of excitement when you mentioned the YA? You know YA is so big now. Congrats on the Emily final!

    You've really done a lot so far. Congrats. Let us know what happens with all your submissions, okay?

  118. Yay, Jodie! Fingers crossed for your contest submission.

  119. Hi Mary,

    I've dusted off a couple of the older manuscripts, but they're never quite right. However, I do use what I learned along the way in the stories I now write. Nothing is ever wasted.

  120. Carol, so glad about your FIL's vision. Such good news.

  121. Jeanne,

    How fun to learn you worked in Victorville. The high desert! :) Your husband must have been stationed at Nellis.

    Yes, yes, yes, write your story start to finish and then worry about revisions.

  122. Stephanie,

    I thought you were writing the next China Syndrome! :)

    Sorry about the flooding in your area.

  123. Hi KC!

    Florence is gorgeous. And it has David. :)

    Lucky you to be there for 4 days!

  124. Thank you Debby. I see Vince knows his Ancient Roman history too. No, the holding areas below the arena floor were like jail. The gladiators would wait there until their turn to fight and they wouldn't arm them until their fight.

    Gladiators lived in ludi (plural of ludis) which was basically a training barracks and were housed usually in pairs in small cells the size of most people's hall closet. I use lived loosely. They had a one in three chance of dying every time they entered the arena and they were trained like circus animals on steady diets of brutality. Ripley Scott's film Vince mentioned Gladiator does a decent job of depicting this. It's actually pretty cool because Professor Kathleen Coleman, the technical adviser on that movie and one of the premier gladiator historians also helped me with my research for Chasing the Lion. I went with that all they can say is no, and then she didn't, and was so helpful and generous. She's for sure going in the acknowledgement page =)

  125. Vince,
    Great info. Thanks for the spelling correction for Colosseum. :) The guide mentioned the sail coverings over the stands. Amazing!

    I need to watch "Gladiator" again. The movie with Russell Crow, right?

    Sounds like the German's loved you, Vince! We lived in Bavaria, and the people were wonderful. The fests in the small towns were always fun!

    Have you thought of using your K9 experience in a book?

  126. Waving to Cara and Julie! I'll go to Ireland with you, Jules!

  127. Hi Whitney!
    You'll have your first manuscript completed before you know it! Just keep writing and don't get discouraged.

  128. Woohoooo! Italy sounds AMAZING!!! Thanks so much for sharing about your first manuscript. What a story and too cool that Clancy put your hubs in his book!
    I hope you had an amazing time in Italy.
    My first manuscript was fun. I was SO clueless. Like you, when things got boring I decided to throw in a secret agent. LOL But I edited and edited and learned and learned and now that first story is getting published. We'll see what happens to these other manuscripts sitting on my hard drive. LOL

  129. Debby, what wonderful photos!! I'm so jealous of your trip. But I'm also glad to have you home. We missed you!

  130. Nancy,
    Thanks for the info about where the Gladiators lived. Hard to comprehend such inhuman treatment of people. Our guide mentioned mothers taking their young children to the Colosseum so they grew up accepting such brutality as a normal part of life.

    How exciting to work with the technical expert for the movie! Way to go, Nancy!

  131. Jessica, you sold your first manuscript!!! Oh my gosh! That's wonderful.

    Yes, Italy was fun to visit. So much to see and do!

  132. I missed you, too, Missy. And everyone in Seekerville! Like Dorothy said in the Wizard of Oz, "There's no place like home." :)

  133. Debby, I love the pics of Italy and I'm very jealous.

    I've read Bear and the Dragon, but I don't think I knew you when I read it.

    Please do not include me in the drawing for your book as I have an e-copy. However, I'm up for pasta. We eat a lot of it here. Also, my wife is into Pinterest, so she's trying a lot of new things.

  134. Oh my Debby! The pictures are beautiful! I'd love to go to Italy some day.

    Awesome that your husband's name is in one of Tomm Clancy's book. What an honor.

    I'm a newbie and just really starting my first manuscript. I have a lot of plots lined out but it's been hard for me to lock onto THE story. God finally settled it into my heart and I'm plugging away, slowly...

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.


  135. Looking at the beautiful photographs I am quite envious. Thank you for sharing today.

  136. Hi Debbie,
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and your beautiful pictures.
    I have actually finished my first manuscript and belong to a crit group trying to polish is up.
    There's always so much to learn it seems like. Not just the writing, but editing, then who to contact or what contest to enter.
    I enjoyed your post today. Thanks again!
    Jackie Layton

  137. These are wonderful pictures Debby.
    Thank you!


  138. Debby,
    What wonderful pictures! I'm sure you have a lovely time. Thanks for sharing about your journey to your first publication.