A Ballad for Sallie by Judy Alter Book Review

The story opens with Lizzie Jones along with Ben Boy and July- all of the Hell’s Half Acre brats, as they are called watch the stage coming into Fort Worth around 1885. Lizzie notices Sallie McNutt right away. She’s refined and pretty. She’s on the same stage as Lizzie’s hero, Longhair Jim Courtright, but they are not together.

Miss Sallie is in Fort Worth to take over her uncle’s store and find out who murdered him.

It’s a fun story to read how Lizzie continues to take care of the little girl July along with Ben Boy and later Dicky-Bird, all orphans and who she knows need her help and care because there is no one else. But she finds she has to learn manners and etiquette because that’s what Miss Sallie wants. Lizzie mainly wants to be like Sallie, but her roots draw her back to the acre.

Lizzie and her little menagerie of kids are trying to find the murderer which leads to adventures and dangers Sallie doesn’t want the children to be involved, but Lizzie knows her way around.

Judy Alter has written a tale of a young girl and her struggle with coming from the wrong side of town, learning manners, and cleaning up that is so different from what she has known all her life.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this fast-paced story and recommend A Ballad for Sallie if you like a piece of the old west with a mystery and adventure along the way.

This book is available at Amazon.com here

Serious Writers Never Quit: They Find the Way: Review

Serious Writers Never Quit: They Find the Way

by Bryan Hutchinson

From the beginning, Bryan talks to the reader and assures them they care about their writing and are serious just because they are reading this book.

Right away I felt the uplifting hope I’m a writer and am serious as well. Through my years of writing, I have faltered and stumbled, gave up at one point… well all creatives know that scenario.

But Bryan states that “the Way” is there inside us already. There’s the hope again. And a promise to show us “the Way”. And he does. Throughout the whole book, there is the encouragement and hope, the little nudging and pushes to get the reader, me, to go forward and write no matter what. Get the words down, the thoughts out; save the editing for another time.

Chapter Eight is my favorite, The Way is To Design Your Own Plan. All my life I’ve been “the product of someone else’s version” and I’ve come to resent that. But Bryan has a plan and he shares how to make our own plan. I’m encouraged to keep writing.

I’ll be reading this book over and over for sure.

For the small amount of $2.99 at Amazon, I say go purchase it now and most importantly, read, take it to heart and keep the writing going.

We Are All Enough

I am participating in a writing contest: “You Are Enough”, hosted by Positive Writer. Here is my contribution.

We Are All Enough


When did I start hearing the call to be a writer? I think it was the same as when I discovered my love for horses. It was always there, waiting to be found and experienced.

Writer’s in the Family

My grandpa wrote his memories in little stories, incidents including other family members and his own happenings growing up. None of his writings made it into print except through the good heart of someone who collected these writings and had them typed and bound. The books were distributed among friends and family members. I have my treasured copy that I’m proud to own.

The other “writer” in the family was my mom. She mainly wrote in her little diary’s. She wrote a couple of articles about when churchpeople hurt her feelings. I’m happy to say I have these precious words of my mother safe in my possession. Mama never had anything
published either, but I don’t think she tried or even had the thought.

My brother has a couple of articles published, but he has not pursued this and has been years since  has written anymore.

Then there is me and my calling to write

I always thought I would own horses, train them, show them in shows, barrel race in rodeos. These were my dreams growing up. They are broken dreams now. I had a few horses and did do some training with my own horses and I participated in a horse show or two, but the dream didn’t materialize as I’d envisioned it.

My Writing

My thoughts found themselves on paper on occasion. In junior high an English assignment came out as a Halloween story. My teacher asked me to read it in front of the class. Everyone liked it and needless to say I passed the assignment.

Over the years I wrote here and there, a few poems made their way on the pages. Poetry was not my forte, but it was fun. I much preferred the stories and yearned to write
like Jo March in Little Women.

Even though I read that Halloween story out loud, that was a requirement. For the most part I did not like showing my writing to anyone. I may have shown some to my mom, but that was it.

I never thought anything I wrote would or could be good enough for anyone else to read, let alone like what I wrote. I kept my writing to myself.

It wasn’t until I took a correspondence writing course that some confirmation came my way, that maybe my writing wasn’t so bad, and people would like to read my words.

During this course it was required to interview people and write articles. I was able to do this through my church. The pastor agreed to be interviewed along with various church members. The pieces were typed up and published in our little newsletter. Everyone enjoyed the articles, learning fun facts and family history of our church members.

In the meantime I continued on with the writing course and wrote more
articles. The day the check came in the mail for my first aritcle sold threw me over the moon. I finally shared with others my excitement. My head stayed in the clouds for days after. I was a real writer now. But little glitches came up with this dream too.

From there my writing went to the local paper and writing about the town
bowling leagues and happenings. This was lots of fun because I was a bowler so had firsthand experience.

Next, the venture took me into the local news and covering town counsel meetings and
other town happenings. I interviewed old-timers and people who
entered items in the county fair as well, as part of my newspaper writing.

My journalistic career lasted about eight months. Then the paper was sold and the new owner and editor and myself didn’t see things the same way. On the day that I was going to give notice, they gave me notice. So we parted ways. My writing suffered. I was devastated even more thinking I wasn’t up to the standards these newspaper people thought I should have. I would discover later that it was a good thing to be
out of there. People in the area weren’t that happy with the way the
paper was going.

Are We Good Enough?

Even with a few people, who knew me giving me praise on my writings, it wasn’t enough. I still ached with those niggling thoughts of I’m not good enough, who cares what I write or that I write? To be totally honest those thoughts are always in the back of my mind.

The phrase, “I’m not good enough” is getting to be a cliche. But it is a viable phrase and holds people back from dreams. It holds me back. It’s a continuing fight to push through it and write anyway, share what I write, and keep pursuing the dream.

I believe everyone should share their writings. Find a group, either in your hometown or online. Keep at your craft whether that be writing or any other endeavor. You, me, all of us are good enough, always have been. Can you believe it? Please do and I will too. We
just need to believe in ourselves and go for it.


8 Ways to Enjoy a Walk If You’re a Writer



I combine my walk with being a writer. I like to walk all year round, but spring is a special favorite. The sun warms the earth spreading the smell of pine trees and grasses and gets my mind working or just resting taking in all the beauty of nature.

Ideas Flow

When my mind is at ease ideas flow. So the walks are not only good for the body, it is good for pondering on a story.
Continue reading 8 Ways to Enjoy a Walk If You’re a Writer