Sunday, June 28, 2009

under construction

I'm a bit excited as this blog and my website are about to undergo construction:) For some time now I've longed to redecorate my ten year old living room and rearrange the furniture but can't as it's small and the furniture won't fit any other way. And my husband refuses to shuffle the four hanging quilts around:( So guess I'll just have to redo things here in cyberspace. I hope you like the changes when we're done. I'm going to ask if you do! And I'll introduce you to the web designer (it's not me)!

June has almost evaporated and we're facing July which means book 2 is due to my publisher at month's end. Currently I'm doing a read-through of the entire manuscript to check for inconsistencies and holes in the plot, strange weather patterns (like snow in July), and folks whose features fluctuate like a chameleon. If I didn't love writing so much I would absolutely hate this part of the process. But it's sort of like putting a puzzle together and making sure every piece fits. I pray a great deal as I do this and ask for His fingerprints to be all over the work. Little things come to me that I would never detect otherwise. He is so faithful.

Do you ever feel like you're under construction? I think we're always undergoing some sort of change, like it or not. Now that I'm wearing reading glasses I see myself growing older, no pun intended. I don't feel 40-ish but I am. Yesterday, I was thinking of the deeper meaning behind Jesus's occupation. He was much more than just a carpenter but he was a carpenter and that has real significance for our lives as Christians. He's constantly at work on us - we are under construction - and he doesn't make junk, as the saying goes! And I'm eternally grateful.

Hope your weekend included lots of sunshine and a good book. I promise to leave my forwarding address if this blog fails to appear for a day or two. Please check back by and tell me if you like what you see!

No enthusiasm will ever stand the strain that Jesus Christ will put upon His worker, only one thing will, and that is a personal relationship to Himself which has gone through the mill of His spring-cleaning...
-Oswald Chambers

Friday, June 26, 2009

friday's frontier fact

At first glance you may wonder what on earth men in kilts have to do with colonial days, much less the Kentucky frontier. Well, at one time one sixth of the colonial American population were Scots. Ten thousand landed in a single year. And they came in droves to the frontier because they heard land was free there. Some of these sturdy Scotsmen began making whiskey in the mountains of Kentucky and their descendants still carry on the tradition. (Tunis: Frontier Living).

I placed a Scotsman right in the heart of The Frontiersman's Daughter but he didn't come to Kentucky because of free land or whiskey. His calling was a bit more unusual. Since I don't want to spoil the novel for you, I'll just say I think he's a very appealing hero. I fell in love with him sooner than Lael and had a hard time giving him a quirk. He was too perfect, so I made him hate collard greens and the Kentucky heat:) He has a few more faults as well but you'll just have to discover them for yourself when you read the novel. And I hope you will! Only 6 more Friday's till the book is on shelves.

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

last lesson of summer

Paul has his last violin lesson tomorrow until September. I've really been enjoying the 18th-century music he's been playing. Those Minuets by Bach are pretty inspiring writing-wise, though my characters are too busy trying to stay alive to dance much:) Paul likes his fiddle tunes best and high-tailed it to the general store down the road this weekend to earn a little spending money. His best friend saw him and said, "I can't believe you're doing this!" But we all do what we love to do, I guess, whether it's fiddling, writing, cooking, or otherwise. Even if other folks think we're crazy:)

We've finally finished with homeschooling for this school year. Paul woke up this morning and wanted to celebrate by having pizza for breakfast. Luckily we had a pepperoni one in the freezer and he was thrilled. This isn't the norm for us and I stuck to my Starbucks and granola bar. Wyatt finished the rest of the pizza for lunch and then for dinner I made one of those wilted spinach salads with bacon and some green onions out of the garden. If you've never had it, it goes very well with grilled chicken and pasta. Don't forget the watermelon for dessert. Wonderful!

But mostly I've been writing. When I need a break I take a walk or go check the mail. Lots of wonderful books out there right now. James Scott Bell's Revision and Self-Editing showed up in my mailbox today, only I'm so busy writing I don't have time to read!

Book Update: Romantic Times Book Review has given The Frontiersman's Daughter a starred rating and I am thrilled! God is so good! This is my first bonafide book review so thought I'd share it here if anyone is interested in the process. It's certainly proving interesting! Now back to all that writing and revising.

The beautiful part of writing is that you don't have to get it right the first time, unlike, say a brain surgeon.
-Robert Cormier

Sunday, June 21, 2009

washington cherries and book reviews

This is the time of year we eat lots of cherries at our house - bings and rainiers. I love summer! We have cherry trees but they're small and we have to fight the birds for the little fruit they produce. Our garden is coming along well - peas, spinach, corn, potatoes, chard, carrots, onions, green beans, cucumbers, and lots of tomatoes. Half of the garden is planted in wildflowers and should be a spectacular sight by July. I'm trying to find time for a little taste of summer amidst working on this second book.

I heard from a magazine reviewer last week regarding The Frontiersman's Daughter. She said that she rarely contacts authors of books she reviews but wanted to say some things to me after finishing my book. I was so pleased and touched - but I won't tell you what she said or it might be considered a spoiler. I think the best part of being published is hearing how your writing encourages or ministers to others. Reading is such a subjective experience. Not everyone will like my novel. I'd like to know how other authors manage negative reviews - or how you readers think a writer should manage them?!

The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you got to put up with the rain.
- Dolly Parton

Friday, June 19, 2009

friday's frontier fact

This photo is from one of my favorite historic spots in Kentucky, Fort Boonesborough. I was in this very cabin last fall talking with one of the reenactors. Only the loom I saw was so large it took up half the cabin. After observing the process of how she made a blanket, I was convinced I could never do it! There are many things that come into play while weaving and the loom itself can give you some real headaches. Since I don't have a crafty bone in my body (neither does Lael), suffice it to say I won't be buying one anytime soon. But I sure admire those first settlers for the wonderful, colorful patterns they wove into the cloth.

Daniel Boone was from a long line of male weavers in England. At that time weaving was a professional trade with a boy beginning a 7 year apprenticeship at age 13. Guess Boone liked to hunt more than throw that boat shuttle around and worry about woof and warp.

I loved learning about the dye used back then as it speaks to the settler's ingenuity:
fresh green walnut hulls = brown
twigs of an apple tree = light yellow
onion skins = yellow
indigo = blue
cochineal beetles = scarlet red (most expensive)

When my granny was a young woman she was a weaver for Berea College in Kentucky before she married and had her family. She didn't talk much about it so am not sure if she enjoyed the process though she was a fine seamstress. I'm not sure why the men stopped weaving at Fort Boonesborough and the women took over but I have my theories. I'd love to hear yours!

Only 6 more Fridays till The Frontiersman's Daughter is released. And no, I can't believe it either! Happy Friday!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

post-radio bliss

Glad to be home tonight after a busy day of Vacation Bible School for the boys and the radio interview for me. It went well, thanks to those of you who gave it another thought or prayer! Very different than I thought it would be - the studio had dim lights, comfortable chairs, huge microphones, and lots of computer/electronic equipment. My host was very gracious and it was easy to talk about writing:) The master gardeners in the segment ahead of me became very chatty about their begonias and whatnot so my time was shortened and I was thankful:) A good learning experience!

I was able to talk a bit about how God gifts each of us to do different things and writing is just one of them. This part of the interview flowed the best, maybe because it was the most important thing to emphasize.

Meanwhile, our kitchen plumbing gave way last night and we had an interesting little flood to deal with at bedtime. Never dull here!

Now back to the books!

Ancora imparo (I am still learning). -Michelangelo, at age 87

Monday, June 15, 2009


A friend of mine has invited me to be a guest on the local radio station here this Wednesday. I'll be talking about The Frontiersman's Daughter and would really appreciate your prayers for this new venture. Since it's live radio and lasts about thirty minutes I'm a bit...? I promise to tell you what happens! I appreciate the chance to promote Christian fiction and feel this is a good opportunity. So stay tuned, no pun intended! There's a good reason I'm a writer and not a radio announcer:) Prayers appreciated.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

eating ice cream in a coat in june

I love things in miniature, even books. These tiny desserts are made for a dollhouse, believe it or not, but they do look good enough to eat:) We went out for ice cream Friday night and yes, I was wearing a coat while eating my scoop of peanut butter and chocolate. It was foggy and cold here in the Pacific Northwest though the sun did peek out today.

In the meantime I'm spending most of my waking hours in 18th-century Kentucke. Today Randy said he knows I'm in another world as he has to tell me things 2-3-4 times before I come back to the present. Poor guy! But writing is like that, or should be, if you're immersed in a good book. Here's a quick update on the work in progress:

Original word count: 149,000
Current word count: 108,000
Working title: Red River Daughter
Current scene under edit: a wedding

This week from Amazon:
Ransome's Honor by Kaye Dacus

"...all things are possible with God." Mark 10:27

Thursday, June 11, 2009

friday's frontier fact

Would you like some
bear meat, wild turkey, deer or buffalo? Maybe some fresh green corn, hominy soaked in lye water, or Johnnycake? Sometimes settlers ate panther which is said to taste like veal or rattlesnake. I suppose if you drank enough of the beverage of the day, whiskey-and-water, you'd be able to stomach some of the above. According to one source, everyone on the 18th-century frontier "drank whiskey-and-water as an ordinary beverage. It was also drunk without water and was a constant source of trouble when it relaxed the inhibitions of people who had all too few of them to start with." (Tunis, Frontier Living).

If this wasn't enough, perhaps you'd like a little pewter poisoning with your plate? This malady wasn't uncommon and led to a host of physical complaints, even madness. Life in the 18th-century was never dull - dangerous and deadly, but not dull!

May you have a safe, palatable, lead-free weekend:) Happy Friday!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

the proverbs 31 plan

Here are two boys that look a bit like mine. They love being in the woods or down at the creek. And they're mischievous:) Wyatt is 12 and Paul is 9. Where has time gone!?

We've been homeschooling for eight years as our school choices are so limited here. Recently my editor asked how homeschooling was going and I had to admit it's taken a bit of a hit. I'm not as creative as I used to be and the boys do a lot of their book work alone with me supervising from my laptop across the room. Paul didn't read till last year (he was almost nine) which caused me some concern. But I didn't make him do any bookwork till he was seven! He just wasn't ready. Wyatt learned to read and do everything else very early. Just a difference in children. The books that worked wonderfully well for Wyatt I had to toss for Paul. If you're having trouble getting your child to read, please consider implementing, "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Lessons" which is not a gimmicky method. It works! Paul was reading around lesson 80 and now consumes all kinds of books like popcorn though his favorite are Archie comic books:)

I also wanted to share what I call the Proverbs 31 Plan which I borrowed from another homeschooling mom. Since there are 31 days of the month, usually, and there are 31 chapters of Proverbs, Wyatt reads a chapter a day and picks out a couple of verses he really likes and writes them down in a notebook. We then talk about them and discuss what they mean for today. It's a wonderful way to bring the Bible to life (like it needs any help!?) but it does seem to reach my pre-teen son. Try a unique translation like The Message.

Here are some favorites:

Listening to gossip is like eating cheap candy; do you really want junk like that in your belly? Proverbs 18:8

Don't wear yourself out trying to get rich; restrain yourself! Riches disappear in the blink of an eye; wealth sprouts wings and flies off into the wild blue yonder. Proverbs 23:4-5

A person without self-control is like a house with its doors and windows knocked out. Proverbs 25:28

Now we're off to town and violin lesson, lunch at Wendy's, errands and groceries. Sunny here and expected to be 80! I've been writing round the clock, or so it seems, and it will be nice to have a break. Happy Wednesday!

Monday, June 8, 2009

colonial kiss

Is there anything harder to write than a love scene? I doubt it - but they are so delightful when done:) There's a romantic scene in The Frontiersman's Daughter (one of many) that took a very long time to get just right. I think it's my favorite scene in the book! Lael has three romantic entanglements which rarely happens in fiction, so I'm told. But it seems to have worked. Sure makes life interesting for her, not to mention her admirers. And, I hope, any readers!

I like this photograph because the woman is wearing quintessential 18th-century clothing. Check out her beautiful hat! Did you know corsets or stays weren't uncomfortable as we've been told? Even little girls wore them. (Actually, my source for this is a man and contradicts everything I've read thus far). Shoes were often excruciating, even life-threatening, on the other hand.

When he was just a young man, my great-grandfather in Kentucky rubbed a blister on his heel with a too-tight boot and had to have his leg amputated due to blood poisoning. His sisters went out to the barn and put pillows over their ears while the surgery, sans anaesthesia, was in progress. I don't think there was much for pain back then in rural areas except liquor. By the way, he went on to marry the belle of Berea, Louise Duncan, who chose my one-legged great-grandpa over the handsome, young mayor of that tiny town a hundred years ago. Truth really is stranger than fiction!

Why is romance so appealing? Do you have any favorite romantic movies or books?

Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same. -Emily Bronte

Love is the thing that enables a woman to sing while she mops up the floor after her husband has walked across it in his barn boots. -The Hoosier Farmer

He felt now that he was not simply close to her, but that he did not know where he ended and she began. -Tolstoy

Forget love - I'd rather fall in chocolate! -Sandra J. Dykes

Sunday, June 7, 2009

book bliss

I found these "classy chic" totes in downtown Port Angeles, Washington this week and thought what clever book bags they would make! Just perfect for toting that paperback to the beach. I even have a book to suggest should you need help:) Anyway, I'll be giving these away come August in another drawing. They're small and sweet and waterproof- but not tacky! A little bit of summer fun. So please watch for a giveaway.

Speaking of books, I indulged in a little book madness this weekend at Amazon:
1. Sanctuary by Molly Noble Bull (award winner)
2. The Describer's Dictionary: A Treasury of Terms and Literary Quotations for Readers and Writers
3. Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell
4. Revision and Self-Editing by James Scott Bell
5. Enduring Love by Bonnie Leon (fellow Baker Books author)
6. Love's Pursuit by Siri Mitchell (fellow Baker Books author)

The trouble is I don't have time to read any of these right now and wonder if I ever will again! My "to-read" stack is tremendous. But then again, I hope yours is, too!

Friday, June 5, 2009

friday's frontier fact

This Sunday is Boone Day - a Kentucky tradition since 1897. It commemorates June 7, 1769 when Daniel Boone looked out across the Cumberland Gap into the land that was to become Kentucky. The photo above is one of my favorite places just outside of Berea, Kentucky. I grew up knowing it as Big Hill or The Pinnacle. Actually there are two lookouts or pinnacles here and this is the view. I love the hike up to it and yes, it's in The Frontiersman's Daughter. Boone's footprints, so to speak, are all over this beautiful place.

The Kentucky Historical Society is hosting a picnic on Sunday and here is the mouth-watering menu:

Spinach Salad, Country Ham and Biscuits, Cheese Grits, Fried Chicken, Hash Brown Casserole, Marinated Asparagus, Seasonal Fruit Tray, Strawberry Shortcake, Iced Tea and Lemonade.

I'm a proud member of the Kentucky Historical Society but can't attend the festivities so I urge you to go in my place, eat enough for 2, and soak up some history! Only 56 more days till The Frontiersman's Daughter is on shelves.

Have a memorable weekend!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

the plot thickens...

I'm still deep in the Red River woods, circa late 18th-century Kentucke (yes, correct spelling for that time period, or should I say incorrect spelling?) and trying to polish the story to a high gloss. Meanwhile, I took a long walk today in the 85 degree heat and must have had some sort of a serendipitous brain melt as the plot puzzle I've been trying to figure out for book 3 finally came together:) Only I can't get back to book 3 because I need to finish book 2.

When I finished The Frontiersman's Daughter and asked the Lord's blessing on the book and any readers, I thought I had my readers figured out. This is women's fiction, or so it seemed, and I couldn't imagine it appealing to anyone else. Well, something strange has begun happening. Teenage girls are starting to tell me they can't wait to read my book! I even heard from one today via email asking if she could review my book. Certainly, I said. But I was kind of stunned. But then I thought that maybe there's a reason the novel opens with Lael being 13. Granted, she matures rapidly and is soon 18 and keeps climbing...

So I'm glad for any teen readers! My husband told me he is going to read it as soon as my box of books is delivered. I told him it is women's fiction (and teen? young adult?) so not to put it on par with Hemmings Motor News or Muscle Cars. Besides, he's not a book reader. I doubt he'll get past the first few chapters, much less read to page 416! But he just might surprise me. People tell him he looks just like the man on my book cover. I think he likes that!

So the life of a writer is never dull. Surprising, but not dull. Better get back to meeting that deadline...

You can't get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me. -Lewis

Monday, June 1, 2009

sol duc falls

I just wanted to post a pic of where Randy and the boys went hiking this weekend. They crossed this bridge and actually saw a bird's nest in the cleft of the rock where the spray is the heaviest and watched a mother bird flying in and out to feed her babies. Sol Duc Falls is thunderous so I wouldn't think it would be a good nesting place. But those birds sure have a beautiful view:)

I was home alone and loving it though it did get a little too quiet by 5:00 pm when my tired but happy hikers trooped in. They hope to go to the natural hot springs in the Elwha River Valley next which isn't too far from our house. If you want an amazing vacation, pack your bags and head to Olympic National Park. I live here and still can't believe it! Of course it's a far cry from KY but...

Happy June 1st!