Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Character in The Dream Bucket: A Young Girl Named Trudy

As The Dream Bucket begins, ten-year-old Trudy appears to think she is entitled to have nice things. Her papa’s little princess, she deserves to live in a stately mansion with fine furnishings in her bedroom and an abundance of beautiful dresses to wear to school.

On page one, she learns that having things cannot make her happy. What good are pretty lamps, curtains, and rugs if Mama and Papa fight in their room next to hers? Not much later she learns how it feels to lose almost everything.

When circumstances strip away material things, Trudy’s sense of entitlement changes to an attitude of thankfulness. She soon learns to recognize her blessings. For example, when she lies down on the floor in a rotten shack, she thanks God she doesn’t have to sleep on the ground.

Please help me convince Kindle Scout to consider The Dream Bucket for publication.

Nominate The Dream Bucket.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Wash Pot

None of the blog entries will spoil the story of The Dream Bucket. I promise.

After the Camerons’ home burned, Zoe, Billy, and Trudy went looking for anything they could glean from the fire that had reaped most of what was theirs. It hurt to go looking around at the old house site.

Between the backyard and the chicken yard, the three-legged cast-iron wash pot stood waiting to be drafted into service to the little family.

With help, they set it up behind their new home. They filled it with water and built a fire underneath it to boil their clothes.

While having fellow writers critique The Dream Bucket, I discovered that not very many people know what a wash pot is. Some friends in the Taylorsville group on Facebook helped me find some pictures to show readers. Here is one of them.

The Dream Bucket is a slice of life the way it was about a century ago. I hope you’ll paint your own mental picture of this life in Mississippi, which was a little bit pioneer and a little bit reconstruction era lingering on.

Your nomination at will help Kindle Scout make a decision to publish it. Please CLICK HERE and select the blue bar underneath the presentation of The Dream Bucket that says “Nominate me.”

Old Mississippi Lifestyle

A Dozen Common Practices in the Good Old Days

1. Rolling hair on corn shucks
2. Drawing water from a well
3. Living in an unpainted house
4. Laundering with a black iron wash pot, galvanized washtub, and washboard
5. Hanging clothes on the line-- maybe bushes or fences if no line was available
6. Ironing with a flat iron made of iron
7. Riding in a mule-drawn wagon
8. Refrigerating food in an icebox containing a big block of ice
9. Robbing honey from a beehive in a tree
10. Cooking biscuits in a wood-heated stove
11. Cracking eggs and dropping then into a separate container just in case they're rotten
12. Tying a milk cow's tail with a string to keep her from hitting you in the face when she swats at horseflies

Life in The Dream Bucket was like this. Please nominate this book at Kindle Scout. CLICK HERE.

The Dream Bucket Featured in Kindle Scout's Reader-Powered Publishing Campaign

11/24/2014 . . .
11 days since Kindle Scout launched The Dream Bucket

19 days until the end of the campaign.

All campaigns last 30 days.

How many nominations does the book need?

Who knows?

All I know is that the more nominations The Dream Bucket receives . . .
the more likely it will receive attention from the Kindle Scout team
so it can be selected for publication.

You have the power to select The Dream Bucket for Kindle Scout to publish.

Thanks for your vote!


Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Dream Bucket

What are your dreams?

What's in your bucket?


10 reasons why I'm excited about KINDLE SCOUT

What’s so exciting about having The Dream Bucket featured for nomination on Kindle Scout?

Amazon’s new publishing program is a stroke of genius.

Kindle Scout began a campaign 10 days ago to feature The Dream Bucket. Readers can go to and nominate it for supported publication.

20 days remaining . . .

Nominate The Dream Bucket today or by December 13, 2014, with a better-than-traditional contract. CLICK HERE.

The ten reasons why I’m excited:

1. The Dream Bucket is “hot.” It has maintained a spot in the Hot and Trending category every day for 10 days.
2. Many dear friends, established authors, cousins, Facebook friends, and some folks I don’t really know have supported the campaign by nominating (voting for) the book , sharing my comments, and “liking” my posts on Facebook.
3. Kindle Scout is providing a built-in platform of readers for my new novel by allowing Amazon customers to select the books to be published. If The Dream Bucket is selected, Amazon will give each person who nominated it a free copy of the book with an invitation (but not requirement) to write a review.
4. The Dream Bucket has a unique cover specifically designed for this project. The picture of the shack evokes curiosity about the mysterious events unfolding in the story.
5. This historical novel with an inspirational theme holds its own along with racy thrillers.
6. Kindle Scout gives me an open professional route to promote the book.
7. Amazon provides broad-marketing access.
8. Submitting to Kindle Scout is an opportunity to promote the book without hiring an agent.
9. Kindle Scout is the beginning of an excellent opportunity. This campaign has started to provide me a chance to share some universal struggles found in the hearts of the characters in the story.
10. presents new books in a clever, interactive way. This is a live website.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

You have the power: 21 more days to vote for THE DREAM BUCKET

You have the power to select a novel for Kindle Scout to publish. Amazon will promote the book and provide a beneficial contract. My novel,The Dream Bucket, is in the list of unpublished works to be considered in a 30-day campaign.

21 more days . . .

THE DREAM BUCKET at Kindle Scout

Three weeks from now, Amazon will tally your nominations for The Dream Bucket. I'll receive an email to tell me whether it has been selected for publication.
If you haven't voted yet, please nominate (vote for) The Dream Bucket in Kindle Scout today or before December 13, 2014. Thanks to all of you who have voted. You are keeping the book in the "Hot and Trending" list.

Several friends have asked me if it is possible to vote twice. No . . . just once for The Dream Bucket. If it is one of the books selected and you voted for it, you'll receive a free Kindle copy.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Dream Bucket, a Tender Romance

Until a few decades ago, a woman had no right to know specific details about her husband’s finances. The man handled the money, but what was a woman to do if she lost him?

The Dream Bucket . . . courage, self-discovery, grief, healing family pain, survival – a tender romance with threads of humor and mystery . . .
In the spring of 1909, Zoe Cameron shares a prosperous life with William and their two children – twelve-year-old Billy Jack and ten-year-old Trudy. Two days after William refuses to tell Zoe where he stashes his fortune, he dies in a fire that destroys their Southern mansion.

For more information about THE DREAM BUCKET, please visit Kindle Scout. If you'd like to see this story published in the Scout program, nominate it by clicking on the blue bar.


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

What The Dream Bucket is About

The summer of 1909 presents overwhelming challenges for the Camerons and the Bentons, two neighboring farm families in Mississippi. A farm bucket—the dream bucket—brings a glorious solution to all the problems that have made their lives difficult.

Ten-year-old Trudy Cameron overhears her parents, Zoe and William, fighting about money. Zoe wants to know where William hides his unlimited supply of twenty-dollar gold pieces. Instead of sharing this essential information, he slaps Zoe.

Two days later William dies in a fire that destroys their mansion. Trudy, whose father has indulged her and whose mother has been cold toward her, has nothing to rely on. Zoe lacks experience with the dairy and farming operations. The three survivors move into a rat-infested shack with a roof as leaky as a colander. They milk cows, harvest produce, and tend cornfields.

This is the beginning of The Dream Bucket, which has been selected by to be featured in a campaign for thirty days. Amazon wants to know how many people will want to read this story. I'm asking you to go to, find the picture of the shack and vote for (nominate) The Dream Bucket.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Jacob MacGregor, Transcendent Hero

Have you watched a television series or read a series of novels with one character serving as a common thread in many stories? No matter what happens, this one heroic person is always an important part of the action.

Jacob MacGregor is such a character in the Covington Chronicles. He first appears in Secret Promise as a self-absorbed young man, but he grows into an admirable person. In The Courtship of Miss Loretta Larson, he steps into the background but remains important to the story by being a supportive friend to Loretta. In The Dream Bucket, he is a true friend of the young widow Zoe.

The epitome of greatness, Jake makes the best choices in the situations that present themselves.

Please help publish The Dream Bucket by going to and nominating (voting for) it.

Monday, November 17, 2014


Elvin Trutledge in THE DREAM BUCKET is one of the favorite characters of the authors who critique my writing. He's the kind of villain people love to hate. So is Johnson Daniels in THE COURTSHIP OF MISS LORETTA LARSON.

First, let me say that I researched these names and couldn't find that they belonged to anyone. If they do, please accept my apology. I do not wish in any way to cast aspersions on anybody.

Behind every character in a novel is a background not always revealed to the readers. Backstory can get in the way of the progress of the plot. It's fun though to show some of this back story in a blog so the readers can know more about what is going on or where the writer came up with the idea.

Elvin Trutledge in the summer of 1909 could have taken over the entire book if I'd allowed him. The inspiration for him comes from a great song, "Paradise" sung by John Prine. I'm sharing a link to it:

Thanks again for all the nominations (votes) for THE DREAM BUCKET to be published by Kindle Scout.

Names of Characters in THE DREAM BUCKET

On November 17, 2014, with 26 days remaining in the Kindle Scout Campaign, I want to share some information with you about naming characters in THE DREAM BUCKET. A friend asked me on Facebook why I chose the name Cameron. The answer was for no reason except it's simply a pretty name with a study old Southern sound. I've had some great friends with that name, but not with the characters of the Camerons in my novel.

Most of the other names in the book have no special significance. Some of them appear in SECRET PROMISE and THE COURTSHIP OF MISS LORETTA LARSON, but you don't have to read those books before you read THE DREAM BUCKET, which is involved right now in the campaign.. The campaign must end before THE DREAM BUCKET can be published. Thanks for voting.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

A Dream in My Bucket

In August 2011, The Dream Bucket placed second in the book proposal category at the Texas Christian Writers Conference. I had written the entire book back then, but for the last four years I've revised the manuscript over and over. With the helpful advice of an agent/editor, a writer/editor, and three critique groups in Texas and Louisiana, along with useful information gleaned from books about writing, I've worked to make The Dream Bucket enjoyable to read.

After writing and self-editing The Dream Bucket for five years, having started it in 2010, I considered it finished. In the meantime, I had written two books that preceded it in a series.

At that point, a friend sent me a note on Facebook about the Kindle Scout program. The rewards are generous, and the requirements were doable. I'm really excited about this publishing opportunity.

First an author submits a novel with a a catchy title and a one-liner that introduces it. The author must also provide a short autobiography, a brief synopsis, and the answers to three of the questions from the list, and a cover suitable for a Kindle book. Supplying all the items listed above, I submitted it. The next day, Kindle Scout informed me that it would be placed online for readers to vote on.

Unlike the usual Kindle programs, which allow the writers total freedom to publish whatever they choose, Kindle Scout is a "reader-powered" publishing system designed for books not previously published. Readers have the privilege of deciding which books will be considered for publication.

At this time, I'm at the mercy of readers and friends, who are nominating The Dream Bucket. The campaign will be completed on December 13, 2014. Nominate (Vote for) The Dream Bucket here: THE DREAM BUCKET at Kindle Scout

Remember the calaboose?

In the town of Taylorsville, Mississippi, a flimsy tin shack squatted on the main street across from a row of stores back in the fifties. The proud citizens of our town pretended it wasn't there. Even now, it feels like taboo to reminisce about it. Some of our kin and the family members of our friends--the men our parents called "sots" in hushed tones--spent time in the local jail.

Did you ever quake in fear, horror, and embarrassment on Saturday afternoon in Taylorsville when a drunken acquaintance would stagger down the sidewalk? Everyone south of Center Ridge and east of the Y in the Mize road went to town on Saturday. Everybody saw. People knew but were kind enough not to mention what happened on Saturday afernoon.

I'm not sure about the chronological order of the images recorded in the mind of my childhood. I just remember the drunken man yelled loud enough to be heard a block away, looked through the crowds of men milling around for some enemy so he could settle a feud with his fist, tripped on a crack in the sidewalk, fell, received a blow from an officer's bill club, was dragged across the street, and transported to the calaboose. He stayed there until he sobered up.

Who knows when Taylorsville had its first jail? I wanted to look inside, but no self-respecting female would have walked within twenty feet of it. When it was empty, some of my friends played pranks in the calaboose.

The imaginary town of Taylorsburg, which vaguely resembles our beloved Taylorsville, contained a similar jail when the twentieth century began. It was also constructed of flimsy tin.

In the year 1908, Zoe Cameron, a prim lady in THE DREAM BUCKET, enters the village calaboose. Discover why she goes there and what happens when she opens the door and steps inside. I want you to read this part near the end of the book.

Please help me convince Kindle Scout that THE DREAM BUCKET is worthy of a contract. Go to Kindle Scout and nominate (vote for) THE DREAM BUCKET.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Announcement about The Dream Bucket

28 more days remaining in the Dream Bucket campaign . . . still listed as "Hot"

Thanks, friends!
I'm grateful to you who went to
or yesterday, wrote your own reviews, pasted or wrote original requests for others to vote, sent e-mails to your friends, let me know you voted, and just gave me all kinds of encouragement.You helped me start this campaign with momentum to get THE DREAM BUCKET published by the Kindle Scout program.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Three Questions about THE DREAM BUCKET

Kindle Scout requires each participant to answer three questions. Here are the ones I chose with the answers. I could have written volumes about these, but Kindle Scout reined me in by allowing only 300 characters.

Q. Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp?
A. In the early 1900’s farmers had the treasures that mattered most—a sense of humor, love for one another, respect for the land, and reliance on the Lord to see them through any situation. I hope, though, that readers grasp the joy of this story so much that this message becomes secondary.

Q. Where did the idea for this book come from?
A. When I was 17, our home burned to the ground. My father went inside the burning house and pulled out some valuables. He moved into a house he kept for sharecroppers. I moved into an apartment in town. My mother alternated between the two residences. This loss inspired THE DREAM BUCKET.

Q. This book is part of a series, tell us about your series.
A. THE DREAM BUCKET, an independent, complete story, shares some characters and locations with SECRET PROMISE and THE COURTSHIP OF MISS LORETTA LARSON. These three books, known as THE COVINGTON CHRONICLES, show life in and around a Mississippi village in the early 1900’s.


The Dream Bucket by MARY LOU CHEATHAM: Two Families, Many Dreams

November 14-December 13, 2014
Vote to have this book published.


Ten-year-old Trudy loves Papa more than anybody else until she hears him slap Zoe, her mother. She is so angry at him she wishes he’d die. When he accidentally sets fire to the family mansion and dies in the fire, she is not prepared for the shock. William has cautioned Zoe not to pry into his financial arrangements. She wants to know where he keeps his money in case his life should end. How will she survive as a widow? The family has nowhere to call home except a sharecropper’s shack.

Historical Romance
Go here to vote.

Please go to
If Kindle Scout publishes this book, you will receive a free copy to read on your Kindle or computer.