Something’s Fishy With This Story

TBasslogo One of the absolute most fun things about my job as a novelist is when I go out to research for a new book. When the idea came for A Reason to Stay, I knew I needed to have two very different people fall in love and struggle to stay married. So I coupled an ambitious news anchor in Houston with a tournament bass fisherman from Lake Conroe. My own men fish in a few tournaments, and I’m fascinated by the whole thing.

After realizing I knew so little about that world, I knew I’d have to attend the big TEXAS BASS CLASSIC. Fortunately, the championship tournament was held at Lake Fork, Texas where we lease a spot for our motorhome and often go.

When I placed the call, the organizers of the event were so very gracious and surprised me with a media pass. On the day of the tournament, I arrived and parked. As instructed, I called the number given and within minutes a black town car showed up and drove me to the big media tent.

Over the next hours, I enjoyed a free concert, ate some of the best BBQ anywhere, watched the boats come in and the weigh-ins, I got access to backstage and watched media interviews and had access to the contestants. I talked with bass pros Mike Iaconelli, Cody Meyer, Gary Yamamoto, and their wives. Oh . . . this whole experience was a novelist’s dream! Thank you Steve Patnode and the Toyota Bass Classic!

So much of what I discovered that day ended up in A REASON TO STAY which releases next Tuesday. In fact, the opening chapter is all set at the Texas Bass Classic where Faith meets Geary and the romantic sparks start flying.

Here are some fun photos, and a video that really show the magic of this big tournament. I hope you enjoy a sneak peek into my research . . . and I hope you’ll buy a copy of the novel. 


Inside the media tent


Free concert before the weigh-ins


This BBQ truck is featured in the novel


Coming in for the weigh-in


Media interviews behind the stage


The finalists all hoping their fish will give them the big win!


How a Book Cover is Made!

284432_ReasontoStayGilbert_SliderImages2 The publishing industry fascinates me! Since signing my first contract in 2011, I’ve watched with wide-eyed awe what happens when I turn a manuscript in to my editor and my talented team creates a novel that ends up on retail bookshelves and eventually in the hands of my readers.

I’m particularly intrigued with the cover creation process. I’ve never released a book in the Texas Gold collection that is not followed by numerous emails telling me how much readers are attracted to those covers. I get it . . . because I open the emails with my new covers and often get a bit teary-eyed. There’s nothing like seeing ideas (characters, setting etc.) that spawned in my head show up in a form that suddenly makes my story real for the first time.

Oh . . . and then when the Fed Ex guy shows up at the door with my author copies. I wish I could bottle those emotions and offer them up so everyone could share that experience!  Can’t do that — but I can share a few photos that show the cover design process (thanks to Cheryl Van Andel at Baker/Revell for capturing and providing these images.)

This is the image the team started with....found on an internet site.  They ordered the dress and hired a model and went about trying to replicate the look.

This is the image the team started with….found on an internet site. They ordered the dress and hired a model and went about trying to replicate the look.

Shot #1

Shot #1

Shot #2

Shot #2

Alternative look...plain green?

Alternative look…plain green?

Here's the shot I provided to my team of Lake Conroe in Texas (the setting of the opening scene in book)

Here’s the shot I provided to my team of Lake Conroe in Texas (the setting of the opening scene in book)



Isn’t the final cover gorgeous?  I love the bass boat drifting across the lake. (Secret: my own man fishes for bass at Lake Fork where we keep our motorhome. We spend a lot of time there on weekends!)

Next post I’ll share about my research and provide photos of the big Texas Bass Classic tournament, which is featured in the book. What? You thought I just sat behind a computer?  *winks*

A Reason To Stay releases next week . . . order your copy NOW!  Click HERE!



Last week, I watched the Disney movie BAMBI with my grandson for a second time. When we viewed the movie initially, my little Peanut was extremely worried about the “humans in the forest” and what happened to Bambi’s mother.

This time, he giggled out loud at the “twitterpating” scene. He’s a little older now and understands the concept of romance. In fact, he wanted to watch that scene over and over and then turned and asked if me and Papa were twitterpated. I assured him we were!

Isn’t it fascinating how fascinated we all are by the concept of falling in love?

My upcoming release A REASON TO STAY explores how a couple’s relationship can get knicked by life and how differences and misunderstandings can threaten a marriage. Any couple married very long can attest to how “becoming one” is not all that easy. Somehow the early twitterpated feeling wears off and then the real work begins.

This story is a testament to the value of choosing to stay through those difficulties.

Purchase your copy here:


Tiffany Girl Release

BREAKING NEWS! My friend, bestselling author DEEANNE GIST just alerted me that she’s marking the release of her new book TIFFANY GIRL (ordering my copy now, btw) by giving away a plush bathrobe, designer bubblebath, and cool reading caddy for the bathtub. ($100 value)

Bubbles-Rafflecopter-Image I SO WANT THAT READING CADDY!!!!!

You too?  Order your’s by clicking HERE.


How does a modern woman find her way in 893 New York City?  By breaking every rule!



Party Time!

RT1 Next week I’ll be packing up and moving into the Hyatt Regency for a week of FUN!  The party of the year for readers, authors, publishing industry folks, librarians and book sellers is coming to town and I can’t wait!

On Tuesday, Deeanne Gist and I will join Kathryn Falk (the owner of RT) and together we’ll host a bus load of readers on a tour out to Southfork Ranch, the filming location for the popular television series DALLAS. I thought it’d be fun to give y’all a preview:

100_2155 This is the iconic entrance to the Southfork Ranch. Do you remember seeing J.R. Ewing drive through that gate?

100_2156 This is the ranch house. I thought it was so strange that all the Ewings lived in that single house, especially given that they all seemed to hate one another. Besides, they were rich and could afford to build multiple houses, couldn’t they?

100_2133 This is Jock and Ellie Ewing’s bedroom.

100_2132 And, this is Bobby Ewing’s bedroom. Remember when he was run over and killed, then appeared alive in the shower at the beginning of the next season?  (that dream sequence was highly criticized!)

100_2151 The most famous scene was when J.R. was shot. So fun to see the actual prop used.

RT Conference Shareable graphic_pdf_001 Excited to join fellow Baker Publishing Group authors for a hosted Chocolate Festival for our readers. Hope to see you there!

RT2 On Saturday, nearly 750 authors will be signing books!  The event is open to the public, whether or not you attend the entire convention, so I hope you’ll plan to spend the day with us!

During the RT Booklover’s Convention, I’ll be tweeting and posting photos on Instagram and Facebook, so be watching!  That way, even if you can’t travel to Dallas, you can still be part of the big party!

(P.S. – Take a peek over at my CONTEST tab for a chance to win a complimentary one year digital subscription to RT Book Review magazine!)