As I write this on Tuesday morning, my heart aches for all those impacted by the massacre in Las Vegas. How can we be so cruel to others? I’ve had to turn off the TV. I can’t fix what’s wrong with this country. All I can do is pray. I hope you will join me in that powerful action.

But as we know from other experiences, tragedy happens and then somehow life goes on, changed in indescribable ways, but still goes on.

So, I turn your attention to my fabulous trip to Decatur, Texas last Saturday afternoon. Bob kindly went with me, moving his Saturday work to Sunday. I don’t know if you’re aware, but books, even paper-backs, are heavy. Maneuvering the two bags, the pole, and banner is much easier when Bob does it all. 😊


The Decatur Public Library put on the Same Page Book Festival, and it was the first event of this kind they’d done. Maybe because I knew that going in, my expectations weren’t high, but boy was I surprised. They were organized and had things planned to the T. Lots of staff and volunteers to make sure things went off as planned.

Charlotte Canion gave an opening presentation at 1 pm. She’d written a memoir, YOU HAVE TO LAUGH TO KEEP FROM CRYING, about caring for her aging parents. She did make us laugh through our tears. She is a gifted presenter.

Then we moved to two breakout sessions. One was with Alan Bourgeois with Texas Authors, an organization all Texas authors should belong to. 🙂 You can see him in the background of the picture above.

IMG_6163 Alan Barecka

The other session included Alan Berecka, a poet, and Weina Randel, winner of the RWA Rita Award for her work of historical fiction about young girl in China who became the Emporer. Yes, I mean the Emporer, not the Emperess. The third person in the session was me! We read parts of our works and I gotta tell you I found these two authors a bit intimidating. I write genre fiction. He’s an award winning narrative poet—very good stuff I might add, and she a Rita Award winner for historical fiction.  However, several folks told me they really enjoyed my reading from ACT OF TRUST, Book 2 in the Second Chances Series. I was grateful to hear that.

Next, we sold books. And did I sell books! Let me tell you, more than at any other book event I’ve ever attended. Two people actually bought the whole set—all six books!


Big thanks to Sharon Walker

and Susan Anderson


You made my month, not just my day.

Then we had another breakout session. I was with the same two people as above, and we talked about the publishing experience. Other authors did readings in a separate area: Mike Hawron, Beth Honeycutt, and Tweed Scott.

The last presentation was given by Julia Heaberlin, author of BLACKEYED SUSANS, a thriller scheduled to be made into a movie. Her latest book is PAPER GHOSTS. She talked about the forensic side of a crime and the importance of research.IMG_6165

And then we sold more books and packed up to head home.

I want to thank Alan Bourgeois with Texas Authors for making me aware of this event. Huge thanks to Patricia Peters and her staff and volunteers at the Decatur Public Library for putting on such a super fun event. Denice Herrera, Jacquie and Sharon were especially helpful.

I liked that it was more than a book sale, and that readers and writers got to hear from some really interesting folks, including moi! 😊IMG_6173

This shows my new banner, which I designed!

When was the last time you went to a book signing? How far is too far to drive to one? Have you ever bought an author’s entire set of books? Love to hear from you and let’s keep Las Vegas in our thoughts and prayers.

Newsletter ,  @Marsharwest

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7 responses to “Same Page Book Festival”

  1. That sounds like an amazing place to be! How I wish our writers group could put on something even half that size. How many authors were there? I’d like to have speakers for the readers too and workshops for authors. Everything under one roof. What a lot of planning had to go into it. I’m wondering if Bob was your good luck charm??? What a day! We’ve tried a few book signings but not with good results.I am praying for Vegas and all those who have endured the devastation from natural disasters. So much turmoil all at the same time.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey, JQ. Not sure Bob will want to hear he’s my good luck charm. LOL It’s only the second time he went with me to one of these things. One was when I was still in my wheel chair. Now that I think of it, he also went one time to Lewisville, which is forever far from us through awrul traffic. On neither of those did I sell but maybe one book. So we can probably let him off the hook, but it’s sure easier with him along.
    I can’t say enough good things for the library. It was a really good event.
    There were approximately. 12-15 authors and not all of them got to or wanted to speak. I felt lucky to be one of the speakers. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂


  3. This is Bob, the good luck charm(er). I am also Marsha’s “DH” for her books which I explain as the “deceased husband” since all of her books are about a heroine over 40 and usually after the heroine’s husband has recently died and the widow heroine is adjusting to the complications of dating again. I am happy to support Marsha at these book events relatively nearby, but my main contribution last Saturday was bringing Sudan Anderson to the library to buy a set of 6 books. Susan and I worked together over 30 years ago and I ran into her at the Dairy Queen in Decatur while I was having a hot fudge sunday during a break from my duties supporting Marsha at the book event! The things we spouses do for our writer mates!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, DH. You did more than super bringing in Susan. Though I’m a little miffed that I haven’t had ice cream in a long time and I think you’ve had it twice in that time. Of course, now that doesn’t fit well in to my new eating plan. Thanks so very much for supporting me in this and everything I’ve ever attempted. You’re the best. And “thanks for stopping by. ” 🙂


  4. Wow, Marsha, what a great day! It sounds like a lot of fun, too. My husband gave me a lift to my last book-signing, too. And he likes ice-cream. Wish our two DHs could get together 🙂 Thanks for the super write-up!

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RomCon2015 Part 2

In order to not post a super long blog post, I divided up my RomCon15 experience into two parts. Last Thursday you got part 1, which took us through Friday evening. Today we’re picking up with Saturday morning.

I was free until the Readers Luncheon at 11 and used the time to reconnect with a former principal of mine. Janet Walker-Snyder’s first year as principal at Bruce Shulkey Elementary School in Fort Worth ISD was my first year as assistant principal at the same school. I learned so much from her in the three years we worked together before I moved on to be a principal at Riverside Applied Learning Center. She ultimately moved out of state. We’ve only kept up with each other on Facebook, and last year I just didn’t make the connection she lived so close to Denver. A cliché, but in this case it’s certainly better late than never.

We ate breakfast at a unique little place that mostly hires people with disabilities. Fresh, fresh, yummy food. We caught up with each other’s families and cussed and discussed public education. Oh, if we could make all the decisions. LOL
She took me back to the hotel and it was on to the Readers Luncheon. FullSizeRender(42)The readers and authors bought tickets for the authors’ baskets and the Breast Cancer Fundraiser baskets that anyone could contribute too. Authors got to stand up and say our name, what we wrote, and what we brought in our basket. We had 30 seconds. I know many of you don’t believe I was able to pull that off, but I did. 🙂

I used one of my new bags and each had my three books, two $10 dollar Amazon gift cards, and lots of chocolate. My basket for breast cancer had the same thing. I believe I heard that RomCon raised several thousand dollars for breast cancer research from this event.
FullSizeRender(27)The keynote speaker for the luncheon was Jodi Thomas. She was funny and inspirational. She’s standing next to me in pic.
FullSizeRender(48)One of the fun things for me was that I bought an ad in the program when RomCon ran a special. I was so pleased with how it turned out.
FullSizeRender(26)The last thing I did was the book sale (Give-away in my case) on Saturday evening. I gave away 27 books–nine of each of my titles. That way I didn’t have to mess with Colorado taxes. Most everyone who took a book promised to post a review on Amazon, Goodreads, or B & N. If half of them do that, it will be worth the investment. If they like the book and buy another one or two, that would be great. Better still, will be if they tell their friends about the book and encourage them to buy one. We’ll see how this works out. 🙂
Sunday morning, we packed and headed to the airport for our flight to Fort Worth.
FullSizeRender(41)All in all a successful trip. It definitely would’ve been better if poor Jerrie hadn’t gotten sick. You can do everything you should and still sometime altitude sickness will get you.
CA Szarek


Misty Dietz

As I said last week, I’m playing catch-up. I would have run this part of the RomCon post last week, but as I mentioned last week, I have a new PR company and we had some issues with getting the new blog up and going. But it’s working well now.
After many, many hours, my old blogs wouldn’t transfer, so over the next several months I’ll reformat those and send them to Cheryl Letsch of Y & R PR. We won’t get all of them, but they contain important events from the last 3 years of my life. I have the original word docs for all of them, but I’ll have to upload pics. The amount of time it will take prohibits doing them all, but there are probably ten-fifteen I definitely want to reclaim. I’ll let you know when they’re up again.
Also, I will have a newsletter, so be sure to sign up for that.
Tomorrow I’ll have a post up on my Sisters of Suspense blog. Don’t miss that either.
So have you suffered from altitude sickness? How do you treat it or avoid it? What kind of large conferences have you attended?
Book Update: I’ve now heard from all three Beta Readers, and am incorporating some of their suggested changes. I’ve printed the first half and am reading it. After I complete making those changes I’ll print another copy, so Bob can look at it. Then I’ll send it to my new the paid editor, who incidentally I met at RomCon. J
Love to hear from you.

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Location! Location! Location!

Check out the new blog Sisters of Suspense. I’m honored to belong to this great family.

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