Emotional Atmosphere

Today Writing Wranglers and Warriors
welcomes a new blogger,
novelist Noreen Cedeño


  Posted by Noreen Cedeño

Did you ever get the feeling that something was wrong in a room or building or space? Can you sense tension in a room, even when no one is there but you, and you aren’t tense? Do old churches and graveyards have a sense of gravitas? What about Ground Zero in New York or Auschwitz? Can you feel a sense of atmosphere in certain places even if you don’t know the cause? What are we sensing when we sense that something is wrong, and we can’t identify a source?

In places where the history is apparent, such as graveyards, prisons, or battlefields, we have a reason to ascribe a particular emotional atmosphere to the space. Where we know that people died too young, grieved losses, or feared for their lives, we can put ourselves in those historic people’s shoes. We can blame our imagination for the shiver that goes up our spine when walking by the Alamo at night. We can tell ourselves that we are having a sympathetic reaction to the emotions felt by the many who died there. We can remind ourselves that we are walking on blood-soaked ground. Knowing the history of a place allows us to shrug off the emotion associated with the space because we can find a logical explanation for our feelings.

However, where we have no apparent logical explanation for the feelings a space inspires, to what do we attribute those feelings? For instance, I was talking to a high school librarian recently about this sense of atmosphere in spaces, when she said, “I know what you mean. It’s like that creepy stairwell in the 700 building.” She went on to explain what she meant. I went home that day and started to tell my son about my conversation with the librarian at his school, intending to ask him if he ever noticed anything about one of the stairwells in the 700 building on his campus. I never got to finish the story. He interrupted me in the middle and said, “Oh, I’ll bet she means that stairwell in the 700 building. It’s creepy. It’s just like the other stairwell in the building, but the other stairs don’t bother me. Only that one.” What he said matched what the librarian said. I asked if he had discussed the creepy stairs with other students. He said no. It didn’t occur to him that others might have noticed the stairs were creepy too.

I was mentioning the stairs to my sister when she said, “I know what you mean. I drove by a building today that I’d never seen before and it creeped me out. It bothered me so much, that when I got home, I went and looked it up to see what it was. I found out it was built originally to be an asylum for mental health patients over a hundred years ago.”

How did she sense that building was creepy just by driving by? Where she lives, there are lots of old buildings. None of the other ones bothered her. Both the stairwell and the building were unremarkable except for that sense of atmosphere.

I write books and short stories based on the premise that emotional atmosphere can be detected and deciphered to help solve crimes. However, outside of fiction, where I can bend the subject matter to my will, I wonder what’s really creating emotional atmosphere. Human perceptions were honed over millennia to detect danger and warn us of threats before we could consciously put the pieces of data together to understand what we were sensing. When a place triggers an emotional response without any apparent cause (not smells, appearance, sounds, touch, or any other obvious sensory input), some sort of subconscious sensory input must be involved. But what?


N. M. Cedeño writes short stories and novels that are typically set in Texas. Her stories vary from traditional mystery, to science fiction, to paranormal mystery in genre. Her debut novel, All in Her Head, was published in 2014, followed by her second novel, For the Children’s Sake, in 2015. In 2016, For the Children’s Sake was selected as a finalist for the East Texas Writers Guild Book Award in the Mystery/Thriller category. Most recently, she has begun writing the Bad Vibes Removal Services Series which includes short stories and the novel The Walls Can Talk (2017).


One Page

IMGP6507By S. J. Brown

Recently I was reviewing some guidelines from a publisher. They wanted the usual information like my name, contact information, the name of the book I was proposing and the word count. Then I saw it the next requirement was an impossible task, a one page synopsis. I needed to share all the important parts of a 44,000 word book all on one page, all text.

SJBrown1 Goose

To give the publisher a true feel for the book I needed to relay the personalities of the two main characters and a sense of their lives. But there was so much to tell. There are roller skates, a sewing machine, costumes, telephone poles, oh and Betty stepped on a needle that was scary. I couldn’t add photos of the main characters when they were young and innocent, well kind of innocent.

SJBrown2 SistersLittle girls like ice cream, maybe if I took an ice cream break this would flow a little better. I had to remember to mention within the pages there is a race riot, a car crash, a séance, boyfriends, and the police, . Dribbled throughout the book were paper bags filled with mystery. This book is about life, there are airplanes, a hitchhiker, tumbling beer cans, and a circus.

SJBrown3 ElephantAt this point I was half way down the page and there was so much more to tell. This was a bit too long already. How was I ever going to get it all on one page? Maybe if I had a brownie I could figure out how to make this work. Nope, no treats until I am done.
I should have started with the title ”Suburban Sisters.” Did I mention this is a heartwarming tale about two sisters? The girls are good Catholics that attend church. There is a bit of a glitch in their perfect world when stolen money in the collection plate. However I need to let the publisher know that along with the jobs, men in diapers and guns there are touching family moments like Christmas morning, family outings and cute little babies.

SJBrown4 TreesOh crap, I am at the bottom of the page and I’m not done yet, DDELETE, DELETE, DELETE. Maybe a peanut butter cup would help.

The publisher’s guidelines state they respond to submissions in 4-6 months, it may take me that long to get this down to one page. I still need to add details like an ice storm complete with dancing power lines, a truck spewing a chemical fog throughout the neighborhood, fire, oh and a dog that shows up for Thanksgiving dinner. Now this blog is getting to long.

SJBrown5 TurkeyI haven’t even mentioned the girl’s parents yet. So much happens in the 12 years the book covers. Now I needed to DELETE, DELETE, DELETE and DELETE some more. I shortened a sentence here and omitted an event there but I need to add in details about when the girl’s world shatters. So I deleted some more. Two days later it was finished and I celebrated with some chocolate chip cookies.
In closing I will ask how do you tackle a seemingly impossible task. How do you reward yourself when you accomplished your goal?
Thanks for stopping by.

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Team Work

IMGP6507By S. J. Brown

 Like many writers I am a bit of a loner.  I can easily spend large blocks of time alone and be quite content.  I also find that being part of a team can be very rewarding.

SJBrown 1 Geese

I was recently part of a team of a few dozen people that gathered together on a gloomy Saturday morning.   Together we planted 200 trees.  I’m not talking little sprouts, but three or four foot tall trees.  I have had the privilege of working with this team for over a year now. It is a real thrill when I drive past one of the locations we have planted and see the trees thriving.

SJBrown 2 Trees

When I am out in the field photographing wildlife I am also part of a team.  My husband Jay is the other team member.  He is an excellent spotter.  He can tell what kind of bird is flying over head by the shape of its wings, or the size of its tail.   He does all the driving and watches my back, so I don’t get surprised by an angry bear or any critter.

SJBrown 3 Jay

I am also part of a team of volunteers that does littler clean up in the area.  It always amazes me how rude people can be.  They toss all kinds of things out their car windows without ever giving it a second thought.

SJBrown 4 Sparrow

Recently I became part of yet another team, Team Sisters.  “Team Sisters” is the name we gave the launch team for my next book, “Sisters”.  This team is made up of writers, interested readers, friends, and a few family members.  Since this book is a memoir written by two sisters most of the team is female.  There are a few brave men that have volunteered to be part of the team.  Since my last blog the team  members have assembled and we are ready to get down to work.

SJBRown 5 Sisters

As part of a team I can accomplish so much more than I can on my own.  Alone I would not be able to plant hundreds of trees, pick up bags full of trash or photograph nearly as many critters.  Team Sisters will be helping to add a little insight into the finishing touches for the book my sister and I collaborated on.

SJBrown 6 Butterflies

I have been part of teams that didn’t work out very well.  Sometime we need to try out a few teams before we find a good fit.  Have you joined a team and how did that work out for you?

Connect with S. J. Brown on Facebook and be one of the first to see what she has been up and view her Sunday Shares.

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S. J. Browns coloring books feature sketches based on her photographs.

CBCover Acover

Cover 3-26-23Back Cover 4-24-2013Close up and Close Encounters is available on Amazon  at


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Cover All the Birds I See Cover


The Old Man and the Fish





Posted by MK Waller

A couple of months ago, I wrote that I’d planned to write about Ernest Hemingway but decided against it. I changed my mind because I wanted to be erudite but that night just didn’t have it in me.

The truth is, I never have erudite in me. I am not an erudite person. If people read my master’s thesis, they might think I’m erudite, and maybe I was, a little, when I wrote it in 1985–I used a lot of semicolons–but overall, I am just not erudite. And I’m too tired to pretend I am.

English: Hemingway posing for a dust jacket ph...
English: Hemingway posing for a dust jacket photo by Lloyd Arnold for the first edition of “For Whom the Bell Tolls”, at the Sun Valley Lodge, Idaho, late 1939. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Public domain.

So I’m going to write a little bit about Hemingway, but in a non-analytical, non-literary, non-scholarly, generally shallow way.

My working vocabulary has never been large, so I used thesaurus.com to find both synonyms and antonyms for erudite. I didn’t approve of the antonyms, so I put a few touches of my own on some synonyms, as one knows if one read the preceding paragraph.

(Using one in place of you and I smacks of scholarship, but it’s the only thing in this post that will smack of it.)

The antonyms I objected to are uneducated, ignorant, and uncultured. They don’t necessarily apply. I have a couple of degrees and I know a few things about Hemingway. As to culture, I make no claims, except to say I like opera, at least the old-fashioned ones with melodies, and I am never tempted to laugh when the soprano starts to sing.

Anyway, I was reminded of Hemingway today while reading The Art of X-Ray Reading: How the Secrets of 25 Great Works of Literature Will Improve Your Writing. In a chapter devoted to Hemingway, author Roy Peter Clark, says, “Writers of my generation–the baby boomers–grew up being told that Ernest Hemingway was a great writer. We read his books, such as The Old Man and the Sea, as early as junior high, and our first inklings of authorial style came from the legendary writer’s pellucid prose.”

After quoting part of a review by Ford Madox Ford and then the opening paragraph of A Farewell to Arms, he continues:

I can say that as a young reader and writer I did not get Hemingway at all. My negativity may have been nothing more than a 1960s rebellion against the sensibilities of our parents. . . . 

While some would claim that the passage above [from A Farewell to Arms] is strong, clear, lean, direct and pure, all I could see was dry, repetitious, undecorated, and dull, a movie star without makeup.

Well. I liked The Art of X-Ray Reading–I enjoy reading literary criticism and analysis, so maybe I’m a little cultured. But when I reached that passage, I absolutely fell in love with it. Because I didn’t get Hemingway at all either.

No, I lie. I didn’t like Hemingway. I’m a baby boomer, too, but my distaste for his books had nothing to do with the generation gap.

I didn’t like him because of all the fishing.

American author Ernest Hemingway with Pauline,...
American author Ernest Hemingway with Pauline, Gregory, John, and Patrick Hemingway and four marlins on the dock in Bimini, 20 July 1935. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In my junior American literature class, we read “Big Two-Hearted River.” I’m sure it was a truncated version. But it seemed interminable. Nick, the main character, goes out into the forest to fish. He walks, sees a grasshopper attached to his sock, takes a nap, wakes up sore, sets up his tent, eats (pork and beans, spaghetti, and canned apricots), drinks coffee, kills a mosquito, and goes to sleep, all methodically, every move described in detail. But most of what Nick does is fish. Fish, fish, fish.

San Marcos River above Fentress, Texas. © MK Waller

My grandfather took me fishing a couple of times, and I liked the way he did it. In the evening, he set out trotlines across the river, and early the next morning he went out again to run the lines. Looking back, I see it as inhumane, and I wouldn’t do it today. I think trotlines are illegal now, so he wouldn’t do it either.

But the thing is–my grandfather didn’t stand out in the middle of the river, baiting his hook with grasshoppers, and hoping to catch one fish at a time. He used Crystal White Soap and caught lots of fish all at once. Fishing wasn’t so much a sport as an art or what might now be called a practice: he was meticulous, every movement deliberate, as methodical as Nick. But not nearly so boring.

Regarding the story, it might have helped if I’d known that after serving in World War I, Nick is trying to adapt to life at home, where no one understands what he’s experienced. But I was a sixteen-year-old girl, so it probably wouldn’t have, not really.

Years later, I took a graduate seminar in the novels of Hemingway and Faulkner. It’s amazing what a little education can do. Close textual analysis under the direction of a formidable scholar and professor (and a thoroughly delightful man) forged in me a sincere appreciation for the novels.

Excluding The Old Man and the Sea.

I expressed my negative feelings (quietly) to a classmate. She asked if this was the first time I read the book. I said yes.

“That’s the problem,” she said. “If you’d read it in seventh grade, you’d love it.”

Sure. Old man, boy, boat, sea, alone, forty days and forty nights, catch, sharks, dreaming of lions.

Nothing but fish, fish, fish.

And that’s my shallow, non-erudite dissertation on Hemingway.


(Does anyone out there appreciate how difficult it is to compose a blog post with fifteen pounds of cat lying across your forearm, elbow to wrist, whence he has access to keys that can wipe out everything? If Hemingway had used a computer, with all those six-toed cats, he’d never have published a thing.)

American Author Ernest Hemingway with sons Pat...
American Author Ernest Hemingway with sons Patrick (left) and Gregory (right) with kittens in Finca Vigia, Cuba. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


My memory of “Big Two-Hearted River” was helped along by Sparknotes.

MK Waller–who used to be,
and still is, Kathy Waller–
has published stories
in Austin Mystery Writers’
Murder on Wheels (Wildside, 2015)
and on
Her story “I’ll Be a Sunbeam” will appear
in Kaye George’s anthology DAY OF THE DARK,
to be released by Wildside Press
on July 21, 2017,
exactly a month before the
August 2017 solar eclipse.
She blogs at Telling the Truth, Mainly.


This post (c) Doris McCraw


All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them. Walt Disney

It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are. e. e. cummings

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear. Mark Twain

Faced with what is right, to leave it undone shows a lack of courage. Confucius

These are some quotes on courage, at least some of my favorites. We as humans are asked to be courageous many times in our lives. Sometimes it is a major event, but many times it is in our day-to-day activities we find and show the most courage.

The writer, painter, politician and philosopher all show courage when they offer their ideas, their work to the world. Whether we agree or not, compassion for their effort is the least we can do. Offering suggestions, support, and strength for their creation seems the honorable route.



In my novel “Josie’s Dream” which releases on Tuesday January 17, 2017, my main character Josephine Forrester, is following her dream of being a doctor in a small town in Eastern Colorado.  Yes, in the 1870’s when this story takes place, women were doctors, many who attending medical school. It took courage to follow your dream, you passion then as well as now. In many ways, the above quotes played a part in the writing of this story. The eleven authors who contributed to this series all showed courage in telling their story.


So whenever you wonder if you should try, take heart and follow your dream with courage. Regardless of the outcome, you will have traveled another step on the journey of your life.

For those interested in the novel/series, check out Amazon’s “Grandma’s Wedding Quilts”. http://amzn.to/2iVfF1h  

Angela Raines is the pen name for Doris McCraw. Doris also writes haiku posted at – http://fivesevenfivepage.blogspot.com  Check out her other work and like her Amazon author page:  http://amzn.to/1I0YoeL






How to Tell if Your Slip is Showing!



propic11_1_1This post by L.Leander, Author of Fearless Fiction

If you are a woman many of you have run into a problem with your slip showing below your hemline. Not only does it look unprofessional, when someone brings it to your attention

sundress-336590_640you are embarrassed. I’ve actually seen a woman standing near me whose half-slip fell right down to her feet. And then there’s the woman returning from the bathroom with her slip and skirt tucked into her pantyhose. Although it’s hard not to laugh you take pity on her and quickly tell her the problem (hey, it could have happened to you!).

Why am I writing a blog post about how to tell if your slip is showing? I am speaking of how it relates to writing. Your writing can slip if you are not careful. Slips of the tongue can make a sentence mean something entirely different than what you intended. Slips with characters names can throw your reader into confusion.

adult-18598_640Slips in the plot of the book can cause a reader to put the book down because he or she doesn’t like your writing style. If your location shifts and the reader has to make his way through the murky waters to find out what you mean, oops, another slip!

How to avoid your slip showing? Edit, edit, edit. Be sure you have read your book many times to catch problems. Have a group of proofreaders you trust give the book a read andtypewriter-801921_640 tell you of anything they catch and be open to changing it. It’ll only make the book better.

Since none of us want our slips to show, it’s only logical we pay very close attention to the plot, the protagonist, the location, and the overall feel of the book. Believe me, you’ll feel a lot better if your slip isn’t showing and you’ll gain readers because they like the professionalism and tune of the writing.

Make sure your slips fit!


My Books can be found on Amazon.com

Inzared, Queen of the Elephant Riders

Inzared, The Fortune Teller

13 Extreme Tips to Marketing an E-book

13 Extreme Tips to Publishing an E-book

Videos for both of the Inzared books can be found on You Tube

You can also find me here:

Amazon Author Page










Keeping Austin, and the Universe, Weird






posted by Kathy Waller


When I met him at a Saturday morning writing practice group at Austin’s Mother’s Cafe, I thought David Davis was a great writer of the impromptu essay.

David Davis at 2015 Fantastic Fest. © MKW
David Davis at 2015 Fantastic Fest. © MKW

Give David ten minutes and he’ll create a masterpiece of eccentricity complete with–I don’t know how he does it–beginning, middle, and end. Thousand Island dressing, Monica Lewinsky, elephants that jump through burning hoops–his topics range from the ridiculous to the sublime and back again. When he reads his compositions aloud, people at nearby tables suspend forks and coffee cups in midair and stare at the group sitting at the table in the corner, shrieking with laughter.

Eighteen years later, David still amuses audiences, but he’s doing it in new ways.

Now David accompanies words with action. He makes short-short sci-fi videos and flings them out to the universe. And the universe answers.

rosewell street light img_1697His “Invisible Men Invade Earth” was screened at both the Boomtown Film & Music Festival (Beaumont, Texas) and Roswell, New Mexico’s CosmicCon in 2012. “Invisible Men” was a big hit thanks to the totally unscripted appearance of cats William and Ernest.

(The bagged-up books were leaning against the wall preparatory to being donated to the public library’s Recycled Reads bookstore. The flash drive William is batting around later turned up under the refrigerator.)

Last year, “Alike and Different” and “Reverse Effects” were screened in the Austin Fantastic Fest’s Shorts With Legs DSCN1273category.  According to Fantastic Fest’s website, Shorts with Leg were “the strangest and most compelling eccentric short films we’ve seen all year, from polished excursions into existential surrealism to enthusiastic reveries of outsider art madness.”

The iDigital Times called David’s videos “perhaps the strangest shorts in this very strange collection.”

(“Alike and Different” also aired at the Conway, Arkansas Film Festival. If the pink spaceship resembles a vegetable steamer, there’s a reason for that. I won’t go into it here.)



David’s latest venture is Alien Resort, “a favorite vacation spot known throughout the universe.” Cartoons appear on Facebook  (under Travel/Leisure) and on the Alien Resort blog.

In December, one of his cartoons made it into the Austin American-Statesman. Humor columnist John Kelso wrote, “If keeping it weird is an Austin prerequisite, then David Davis’ Christmas card has to be the grand champ in this year’s Funny Christmas Card Contest.”

© David Davis
© David Davis

You’ve got two aliens with green faces, chatting up the holiday season. No manger, no reindeer and no stinkin’ elves. Just men from the Planet Zarcon or, perhaps, Manor. Who knows?

“On Earth, he goes by the name Santa Claus,” one alien says. “How much of that night does he spend on each planet?” the other alien asks.

The alien on the left is a Photoshopped version of Davis, a South Austin writer and videographer who created the card and is into all things spacey.


For the record, keeping it weird is Austin’s national pastime. And John Kelso is one of the pastime’s most popular and dedicated cheerleaders.

What’s next for David? In July, “Alike and Different” goes to the Fort Worth Indie Film Showcase. Alien Resort continues to attract visitors. And David Davis keeps on keeping on as “The Eccentric Director Behind The Weirdest Festival Entries In Austin.”

And, as far as we know, everywhere else in the universe.



MOW cover - amazon pix

Kathy Waller blogs at Kathy Waller: Telling the Truth, Mainly and at Austin Mystery Writers. Her short stories appear at Mysterical-E and in Austin Mystery Writers’ crime fiction anthology, Murder on Wheels (Wildside, 2015). AKA Mrs. David Davis, she gets to go to a lot of film festivals.





“JUST” is just a crutch


stephen-buehler-headshot-2-red-backgroundI’ve completed my last draft of DETECTIVE RULES. It’s now being read by a beta reader. After that I’ll make changes, get it proofread then it’s off to the publisher who has shown interest. This blog isn’t about what I’ll do in the interim, but what I did during that last draft.man on crutches

I search for my crutch words. Words that I constantly use without thinking. Words that make my writing mundane, ordinary and repetitive. The words that can be eliminated. Using them that many times is just ridiculous. When I read the manuscript to myself, even out loud, I don’t hear it. My mind skims over those words.

After some contemplation I’ve discovered one reason I use words like, just, very, little, probably, seem, like, almost, – it’s that I use them as modifiers.  I’m subconsciously afraid to commit to a statement. For example, “I’m a little bit mad.” In that sentence I used, “little” and “bit” as modifiers as if I won’t let the character be truly mad. I’m sure it has something to do with my real life. I don’t like to admit to someone that I’m mad for fear it will make the other person not like me or the situation uncomfortable.    words image

“Was” and “were” are two other words I look for. Of course we all know “was” is a passive verb and not demonstrative. (I so wanted to use “very” in that last sentence.) I try to replace the “to be” verbs with active verbs that give each sentence more punch.

The cool thing about finding and replacing crutch words is that 80% of the time, the replacing or eliminating of such words makes the sentence better. The other 20% of the time, the sentence is about the same, except that now you’ve eliminated a tedious word.

In DETECTIVE RULES I had new crutch words to search and destroy; guilt, (he did feel guilty about what happened to his clients,) breeze, (for some reason I thought the description of the environment was improved if there was a breeze happening), down (as in down town, down the hall, run down, feeling down,). Those words seemed important to this particular story and they were, but not nearly as much as I did use them.

scratched out words

Will I try not to use my crutch words on the next manuscript? I’ll try a little bit. But for me, it’s better to put down on paper all that flows out and do the eliminating at a later time. That’s just the way I am.

Do you have any crutch words? If yes, when do you eliminate them?

#  #  #

Stephen Buehler’s short fiction has been published in numerous on-line publications including, Akashic Books. Not My Day appeared in the Last Exit to Murder anthology and A Job’s a Job in Believe Me or Not An Unreliable Anthology.  He is expanding his novella, The Mindreading Murders about a magician into a novel and shopping around his mystery/comedy P.I. novel, Detective Rules. On top of all that he is a script consultant, magician and dog owner.  http://www.stephenbuehler.com



Gayle_Cheyenne bookstoreBy Gayle M. Irwin

A few weeks ago several exciting opportunities cropped up, like the greening grass I see popping through the front and back yards at my house. And just like those little sprigs bring a smile to my face and hope to my heart, these early May endeavors have brought me joy. Each involves a collaboration (maybe more than one), and each also brings new audience potential for my books.

On Thursday evening, May 5th, I’ll be part of the newly-formed Casper Art Walk. I’ll be reading from and selling my books alongside another Casper, Wyoming author, Casey Day Rislov. National Children’s Book Week takes place May 2 to 8, 2016 – Casey is a children’s author, and she and I have shared booksigning events in the past. Her delightful stories emphasize a lesson, such as love and self-confidence; my inspirational dog stories for children also weave important topics and character traits, such as courage, friendship, and self-confidence. She and I will help children (or adults) who come see us at Art 321 that evening create their own books. I’m looking forward to this collaborative event; it will be the first time either Casey or I have been part of the Casper Art Walk.

On Saturday, May 7th, I’ll drive to the Lander-Riverton area of Wyoming (about 3 hours from Casper) to share the stage several times that day with fellow Writing Wranglers & Warriors blogger Darrah Perez. Darrah, as many of you have come to know, is a poet and memoir-writer, among so many other creative, artistic endeavors. She and I will read from and sell our books at the Fremont County Library in Lander in the morning, and that night we will be featured at a pet rescue fundraiser; we are also hoping to get a booksigning/reading gig at a local bookstore that afternoon. A full day to say the least (and exciting)!

Then, on Monday evening, May 9th, I’ll be the featured speaker at a women’s club in another community, Worland, Wyoming (my new car is going to put on the miles this weekend!). I spoke at a similar event two years ago in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and greatly enjoyed the experience. I’m grateful for this opportunity, which came my way thanks to a friend in Casper who used to live in Worland and recommended me to this women’s group.

Gayle speaking

So many things fell into place to create these wonderful opportunities, and none would be as exciting without the collaboration and friendship of so many great ladies! Friends, writers, artists, librarians, pet rescuers…. Each and every one is part of these special engagements, and I am truly thankful – and excited!

IMG_4394We writers tend to be a solitary lot, but many times we grow through relationships with others. Like buds on a tree or flowers in the garden, we flourish in the sunlight and warmth of connections and collaborations – we reach new readers, we enjoy new experiences, and we stretch ourselves professionally and emotionally. Discovering new soils through connecting with different souls, we find greater joy and fulfillment, excitement and opportunity.

Have you collaborated with other authors or artists in order to grow your platform and in your craft? How did things work out? I look forward to seeing familiar and new faces in the crowds of these May events – maybe even you if you’re in Wyoming in early May!


Gayle & Mary outsideGayle M. Irwin is writer, author and speaker. She is the author of several inspiring dog books for children and adults, including Sage’s Big Adventure, Walking in Trust: Lessons Learned with My Blind Dog, Cody’s Cabin: Life in a Pine Forest, and two dog devotion books: Devotions for Dog Lovers: Paws-ing for Time with God and Devotions for Dog Lovers 2: Sage Advice. She is also a contributing writer to five editions of Chicken Soup for the Soul. She’s also authored a guidebook for owners of blind dogs, available on Kindle. She has a passion for pets and volunteers for and donates a percentage of her writing revenues to several animal welfare organizations. Her speaking engagements include presentations for children and adults about the lessons people can learn from pets. Visit her website at www.gaylemirwin.com.

SageBigAdventureFront-small   Sage Finds Friends_front cover  Cody Cabin_New Book CoverImage  Dog Devotion Book_Cover_Final   Dog Devotions 2 Book Cover Sage Advice Cover   Blind Dog Ebook Cover_updatedMay2014