The Wordsmith's Page

Writing and Editing for You

Published Books

This photograph by Siala (Pixabay Free Images) illustrates how very little has changed in the life 

of the dedicated writer.  First, we have the keyboard and screen (or paper). Then, we have 

inspirational photographs and a journal for recording story ideas. Of course, we have our 

reference books (or Google account). And, then, we have faded roses to add a touch of beauty 

in this very dog-eat-dog business.

This page gives a very brief overview of my four published books. It does not touch on my unpublished favorite book, Living on a Wing and a Prayer. You may ask, "If it is your favorite book, why didn't you publish it?" Goodness knows, I tried! But that was in the day before self-publishing came on the scene. If a major publisher wouldn't pick it up, you were out of luck. Today, we are more fortunate. If we put a good book together, we have a way to get it out there, before the readers, both in print format and online. Here is my effort, to date:

Novel, Historical Fiction

Trade Paperback

268 print pages

ISBN 1-4241-2740-8

Fiercely competitive colleagues—Kristen, Elena, Frank, Bier, and Don—have worked together for 15 years, yet they hardly know each other and probably trust each other less. Together for a conference in Los Angeles, they aren’t prepared for the disastrous event of 9/11 that is about to shake their self-reliance to the core. For the first time, they must depend on each other as they set out on a long and tiring drive home to their families nearly 3,000 miles away, in Virginia. Along the way, they wrestle with old demons and new ones as, little by little, they grow in ways they never imagined they ever could or would and develop a newfound respect for each other.


The loner, curmudgeon, and reformed alcoholic—Frank—learns that he will be his parents’ caregiver as soon as he can get back East to meet their train. The feminist—Kristen—is routed from the security of her tenured professorship and thrust into an unexpected and unwanted leadership role within her community. The Vietnamese refugee—Diana, who joins the trip in Albuquerque—finds herself in danger of losing her husband and having to start her life all over—yet again. The young assistant professor—Elena—must decide how to balance her personal and professional lives. The old guard—Bier and Don—have their challenges, as well; both are desperately needed at home—now!


With each passing mile, the travelers also discover America. They take in the scenery, which at every point and in its own way, is both breathtaking and awe-inspiring. They learn about the origins and histories of the towns they pass. Most of all, they learn about the people who settled and now inhabit the land, their reasons for going there and their reasons for staying. By the time they reach home, their experiences have given them a newfound appreciation of the land that is home to them all.


...loved the last part of chapter nine when Frank takes Kristen to dinner, 'hers' 'his' made me smile. I am so eager to know how they get on, mustn't be tempted to peek further up. I am really lovin' travelling along with them, I feel like I am there, the arid desert, the interesting towns. I can picture the scene with them dancing. (Jean G.)

Novelette, Historical Fiction


43 print pages


Little did the Bradleys and the Andersens expect

a pleasant day's outing to reunite a father and son

too long separated, not by their differences, but by their similarities.


Trade Paperback


126 print pages

ISBN  978-1-60862-186-6

The little girl dipped her fingers

into the tempera paint

and smeared them

onto the sheet of newsprint,

forming broad arcs.

A smile crept across her face.


She dipped her fingers

  into another color

and spread it

 into still more arcs.

 Her smile grew broader.


Again and again

she dipped her fingers

into the colors

of tempera paint

 and smeared arcs…


…until she had painted

 a rainbow.


Available in Kindle format

70 print pages

ASIN: B006M4X1G8

The Old Lighthouse

Light from the old lighthouse

shone like a beacon upon the sea,

guiding ships through foggy nights

through which eyes could not see.


An old sea captain lived in the lighthouse

and stood high in the dome,

manning the bridge by day and night,

even though heaven was his home.


Once upon a time, more than 100 years nigh,

the old sea captain had sailed tall ships

through the channels, around the world,

maneuvering them through swells and dips.


Until that fateful night when no light did shine

and he drove his ship into the rocks

and smashed it into pieces along the shore.

Never from his thoughts could that night he block.


The scenes of his crew drowning in the waves

still haunt his thoughts and bind him to the sea.

Ever since that night, he has been a ghost,

determined to watch for ships the light to see.

© 2011, Virginia Tolles