Student Success

A Bit of Bragging About the Successes of My Students & Developmental Editing Clients

Hello writers and fans of writers! Hopefully this update on the publishing successes of writers I have mentored or currently mentor will inspire you to keep moving forward with your own writing.Humor and craft make this a gem

Chocolate-lovers (I mean both, literally) will love this romantic caper

book coverBride by Chocolate by Alexis Lusonne Montgomery
In the author’s words, “San Francisco’s own Prince Charming,” Sam Sugarman, is out to find a wife, and the woman he chooses is a driven businesswoman whose business is in trouble. CFO Sam uses Bebe’s own magic with chocolate, his strong protective instincts, and his penchant for daring-do to woo Bebe. This novel is a virtual metaphor for a Valentine’s Day read. You will be thrilled, seduced, and in love by the end of the day.

Alexis is a close friend. A long-time former member of my home critique groups, in the ’90s, she pestered me till I agreed to host the groups. Bride by Chocolate was her first writing project and the second of her novels to be published.

Nontraditional heroine lets real women identify

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Mail-Order Brides of the West: Bertha: A Montana Sky Novella (Montana Sky Series) by Debra Holland

Adept at pleasing the sweet historical romance audience with books they can trust and characters they adore, Ms. Holland breaks out with this novella’s heroine, Bertha. Last of the hopefuls at a St. Louis mail-order-bride agency, when the establishment closes, shy, overweight Bertha returns home. Here we see her more at home baking the anise-flavored cookie springerle than enduring the mundane chatter of swains in the courting parlor. Bertha suffers a terrible shyness. When asked by her nemesis to come West to run a boarding house and restaurant, her perfect foil becomes a shy man who is shy for very different reasons (which I’ll let you have the pleasure of discovering). Howie has choice lines such as, “You are sweet and luscious as a peach.” Who wouldn’t love the man! But all is not trouble-free in this rugged mining town. Bertha must find the courage to stand up to her former bully and reach for what she wants.

My dear friend Debra is the New York Times best-selling author of the Montana Sky Series and author of several novels in the Mail-Order Brides of the West Series among others. I am her developmental editor.

Humor and craft make this a gem

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Seducing Susan, A Ladies of the Library Novel

Jackson McKinnett, Black Irish and “rugged to a fault” (writes the author), is one of those heroes who strides larger-than-life onto the page and seduces the reader along with the heroine. He’s so sexy he could make heroine Susan’s brain “delete the morals clause in the librarian code of conduct.” Conduct is very much on the minds of the residents in Montgomery’s small town, and she creates the gossip grapevine as convincingly as Mahler writes a symphony. The humor, too, is high art. McKinnett’s daughter is a “whirlwind masquerading as a five-year-old.” “If she were a real Western girl, she’d make him a hatband.” I won’t ruin it for you but I could go on. Mastery of writing craft shows a lifetime of practice and a deft application of a reader’s favorite romance tropes (always fresh, never cliché). Translation: You will love this debut novel.

The Inquisition a Focus in this Fascinating Work

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Echeverria’s debut novel.

A wonderful new conjurer of history has been published by the Center for Basque Studies, University of Nevada, Reno. Begoña Echeverria, a professor at the Graduate School of Education at UC Riverside, appeared in my University of California courses and began writing a novel that would become The Hammer of Witches.  She subsequently joined my Wednesday night home critique group and perfected the fascinating novel.

In my review of the book on Amazon, I mention that Ms. Echeverria’s debut novel is everything I hoped it would be; I watched her evolve as a writer and dramatist of history over many years and, happily, the published work contains rich characters, inexorable twists of fate, as well as a realistic, detailed tapestry of life in the cruel times of the Basque witch hunts.

the author and a friend

The author (right) with a guest at the book launch party, writer Susan Wakeford Angard.

The author crafted this Seventeenth Century historical drama after extensive research into the trials and tortures that took place in the culture and country of her forebears, which lent the work authenticity. And, through quotations from real documents, she reveals the concerns of the people, the linguistic style, even the syntax of languages of the day. Her first language was  Basque.

The reader cannot help but care about and root for one of the key characters, the priest Father Zabaleta. Doubting himself and his beliefs, his strength diminishing, he yet takes on the Inquisition and its fiery torments. The ingénue lead will wrench your heart as victim and courageous heroine. As Ms. Echeverria’s writing mentor I can only hope we have more from this wonderful writer.

A noted Basque scholar, the author is also a songwriter and a member of a Basque a cappella group, Noka, which has performed internationally and produced a number of albums.

As for Tim….

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Author Tim Twombly writes with humor and depth.

Introducing Tim Twombly, family chiropractor, former artist, phenomenal writer, fine friend, and finally…ta da! published author. Tim attended my novel-writing courses at UCI, stayed a number of years in my advanced Monday night critique group, and now has liberated his muse in the form of a clever, humorous, literary novel called A Bonafide Detective. The novel has become the toast of the library scene in Orange County as Newport, Fullerton, and other libraries shelve this gem and invite the author to speak to their patrons.

In a nutshell, Tim’s debut novel sizzles with wit, charm, and the comic adventures of its teen protagonists. Here’s the official description:

It’s 1960. The Russians have nuclear missiles off the coast of Florida. The Sexual Revolution is about to send the world spinning. Intellectuals are predicting the death of God.

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Tim Twombly’s debut novel, a literary page-turner.

All that aside, fifteen-year-old Dewey “Doc” Ruggles has real challenges to deal with. He needs to find a babysitter for his little sister, Snowball, so he’ll have time to solve his hometown’s most chilling cold-case murder. It’s his chance to be a local hero and attract evil’s opposite: true love.

A chance sighting from atop a Catholic church is the break he needs. Knowing what he knows now, there’s no turning back. If he wants to become a bonafide detective, he’ll need to outwit Junior Mentz, the town’s psychotic bully, stop Cuban communists out to assassinate a future US president, and solve the riddle of a mysterious nun who’s out to pull off a con of Biblical proportion.

Then again, maybe he’s imagining the whole thing. Sister Theresa doesn’t think so. The problem is she may not be the best expert on reality. According to a local legend, she may already be dead.

Read more at Tim’s website about this coming-of-age adventure. 

A memoir evolves…
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A memoir by Christine Magnus Moore

Having been in cancer combat for her patients, Christine Magnus Moore, an oncology nurse, fights her own battle with the beast and wins, while learning that the deepest grief and tears can produce the greatest strength and passion.


Lou & Christine Moore at her book launch in May 2015

Here are Christine’s thoughts on her writing journey, from before I met her, to teaching her in my classes, and then to her joining one of my ongoing critique groups: “Write, delete, rewrite, repeat; times five years. This is what the book writing process has been like for me. Plus, learning volumes about the art of what it takes to write a good novel (She used fiction techniques learned in my classes to bring life to her memoir). I am grateful for the challenge that felt like climbing Mt. Everest, for the determination and patience it took, and for the education.”

Two other kinds of writing visions:

Click on the link above. This Amazon page illustrates that Colleen Dempsey, formerly a member of my Tuesday critique group, is continuing to do well with her madcap 80’s series featuring Rachel O’Brien. Toad in the Hole is her fourth in the series. Her website is revamped and very easy to navigate. Colleen also offers t-shirts and jewelry related to her books on or through her website.

Meanwhile, this in yesterday from a former student at one of my seminars at the 2012 San Diego State University writing conference (what a blast we had there, yes?), who is joining my new Tuesday critique group that launches Jan 21; she writes:
“The seminar you gave two years ago was instrumental in helping me sell, not one, but five novels. That’s right. I sold two series, one to Obsidian, an imprint of Penguin, and one to Carina Press. The San Diego Conference just interviewed me and will post a piece about me being a success on their website. Isn’t that a hoot?  Anyhow, thank you, thank you, thank you.” Monique Domovitch, AKA Carol Ann Martin, author of Scorpio Rising, The Sting of Scorpio, Getting Skinny, Getting Rich, Looming Murder, Tapestry of Lies, and next, Weave of Absence.
I enjoyed Monique’s author bio on Amazon (just click on her name). Thank you for the kind words, Monique; however, they do not reflect the tremendous work you had to invest to write and launch these books. 

Here are other publishing successes by my students; hopefully they spur you on in your writing goals:

Wednesday critique group attendee Judith Whitmore’s debut novel made the Amazon Top 100 paid Women’s Fiction releases for 2013. (“Paid” and “Free” are the two monetary categories Amazon tracks for its best-seller lists)

Come Fly w Me Come Fly with Me Link:

Debra Holland’s 8th book (her second series):

 Mail Order Brides Lina
Mail-Order Brides of the West: Lina Link:

Various of Debra’s novels made the NY Times, USA Today, and Amazon best-seller lists in 2013.

Janis Lee Thereault was a member of my former Friday women’s group in the late 90’s/early 2000s (as was Debra Holland).

Newly published author Janis Lee Thereault and best-selling author Linda Howard

New author Janis Lee Thereault and best-selling author Linda Howard pose at a national RWA convention.

Be inspired! Janis never gave up, and look at her now: Janis Lee Thereault The Way You Love Me & “A Helping Hand” in Romancing the Pages T's ad for first book

Janet Simcic, a former Tuesday-grouper, has launched her long-awaited non-fiction:

 The Amer Chick's Guide to Italy An American Chick’s Guide to Italy
You can borrow this book for free on Amazon Prime! I just bought   it for $2.99 for my Kindle.

Brenda Barrie re-issued her second novel in 2013 in Kindle format with a new cover:

The Binding The Binding Link:

My colleague and an attendee at my workshops, Laura Drake, has a new release. I just bought her book and the voice in the opening is impressive:

Nothing Sweeter Nothing Sweeter (Sweet on a Cowboy series) Rita Award winner.

Posthumously the family of Scott Allen released his first novel Salvation Beach. Scott and his writing are deeply missed by his mentor, colleagues, and family. To read more, go to

Kim Bacellia released her third youth novel:

No More Goddesses No More Goddesses Link:

A former member of my long-running Wednesday critique group, Begona Echeverria, saw her first novel The Hammer of Witches into print with a university press in 2014.

Former Monday critique group attendee Herb Williams-Dalgart’s historical The French Girl’s War is an award quarter-finalist and is available in digital and print formats.

For short story fans, two of my current Wednesday group students released their work:

Heavenly Pain Heavenly Pain by Wally Runnels Link:
 Moviola Moviola (Welcome to Hollyweird series) by Dennis Copelan Link:
 The Actor The Actor (Welcome to Hollyweird series) by Dennis Copelan
It’s probably obvious by the titles: Dennis writes Hollywood noir and Wally writes horror.

And this:  Not my student but my daughter, Stacee Nelson, a real estate financier, has a chapter in the motivational best-seller Universal Wish by Greg Reid. Visit Stacee on Facebook:

Hopefully all this good news is inspiring you in your writing!

Ylanta by Nellie VinI can’t close this brag list without mentioning an artist/photographer who provided the artwork for the cover of my mini-novella, “Cora Lee,” released in early 2014. “Cora Lee,” about a homeless woman’s struggle to keep her family alive in Depression-era Virginia, made #6 on Amazon’s best-seller list for short fiction. Having been a photographer with a darkroom (in a former life), and being sensitive to the nuances in the work of Imogen Cunningham, Ansel Adams, Margaret Bourke-White, and others with a fine eye, I fell in love with Nellie’s work. She has a sensitive vision and is deeply creative. I urge any who are self-publishing or buying art for display to seek out Nellie’s work. She’s amazing. And also search for her photos on Google Images, which has a larger collection.  Fostering your success as a writer.

Fiction available at Amazon: Cora Lee: A Short Story; Mail-Order Mate, Emerald Fortune, Romancing the Pages; “Atlas Shrugged Again,” an ironic romance set in space.  Coming in 2054: The BestSeller Secrets Series: Point of View; Story, Plot, & Character Arc; Dynamic Dialogue; Sizzling Synopsis, and more.

Check Out Louella’s Published Students’  Other Credits:

Cameron Harvey The Evidence Room to be released by Minotaur Books.

Judith Braun Whitmore Come Fly With Me; All Time Favorites: Recipes from Family and Friends; & Romeo and Juliet graphic novella adaptation.

Dennis Copelan “Moviola” (short story in a series called Welcome to Hollyweird);  The Greatest Stories Never Sold

Dreaming of Laughing HawkLinda Katmarian Dreaming of Laughing Hawk

Candice Davis AKA C.R. Byron (forthcoming short story collection)

Mary G Myers Blooming in the Garden of Expectations (memoir)

Kim Baccellia The Earrings of Ixtumea; Crossed Out. New: No More GNo More Goddessesoddesses

DeAnna Cameron The Belly Dancer, Dancing at the Chance, and others

Sonia Singh Goddess for Hire, Bollywood Confidential, and other novels

Frances Amati “Hearthound” in Romancing the Pages

Kimberly Keilbach Global Warming is Good for Business

Marcia Sargent Wing Wife, Night Monsters, and others

Kathryn Fitzmaurice The Year the Swallows Came Early, A Diamond in the Desert

Brenda Barrie The Binding, The Rabbi’s Husband

Shirin Taber Muslims Next Door, Aysha

Kathy Pratt Let Them Eat Cake; Cornflower Blue; Medicinal Remedies

Jeff Phillips Houdini, The Man from Beyond, a graphic novel, UrFrenz, a feature film, 2010

Ruth Yunker Me, Myself and Paris and others

Don Napolitano Divorce: Why Me? Why Not?; Submarine Commander Jodi Bennington, and others

New York Times best-selling author Debra Holland: Grief and Grieving, the Essential Guide; Wild Montana Sky (series), and other novels

Roxanne Rustand Murder at Granite Falls and 32 other novels

David Collins Shanghaied, a memoir

Janet Simcic The Man at the Caffe Farnese and other novels; The American Chick’s Guide to Italy;

Alexis Lusonne Montgomery Bride by Chocolate and other novels. Ladies of the Library series launched in 2015.
“Princess Pumpkin” and “Canine Casanova” in Romancing the Pages, and more.

Alexis Montgomery AKA Lexie Lusonne Princess Petalpenny and other stories

Wally Runnels “Heavenly Pain”;The In-Ko-Pah Spirit (novella)

Debra Dawn Thomas Wrap Me in Scarlet  1174979_10151618013906234_91650579_n[1]

Get in Touch:

If you have interest in writing classes, consultations about your project, or developmental editing, send a separate email via the Contact Me link at right, indicating your interest.



One response to “Student Success

  1. My book came out in 1998 but you helped that happen!


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