Thursday, July 30, 2009

I had a radio interview with this morning and the host, Dianne Burnett, made it so easy as she's so gracious:) I could get used to that type of thing! I was able to talk about my brother and granny as being so inspirational to me, and a lot about Kentucky and the history there.

So many interesting things happening this week! Ever notice how times can be stressful and then you get these unexpected joy breaks? I'm having a wonderful week after some not so wonderful weeks. Here are the bright spots - temps topped 103 degrees here yesterday, shattering all records ever kept! I handed in manuscript #2 to my editor three days ahead of deadline! Am hearing from readers which is a joy! Have a little time to breathe and can go into the garden and pick peas and raspberries. Anxious to get back to book 3 - now I can!

If any readers would like to be a part of my book giveaway this Saturday morning, please leave a comment here with your name or email me at I love you readers! Where would authors be without them?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

a box of books

It was a sizzling 97 degrees here in the Pacific Northwest yesterday and we're headed for a record-breaking 101 today which shatters the recorded high in 1907! Add several cartons of books to that and it's just BLISS!

The Frontiersman's Daughter is officially on shelves and in stock at and other places. I'm beginning to hear from readers which must be the most delightful part of being an author. Our pastor bought the book at a Barnes & Noble in Seattle last week and began reading it on the ferry. When he called to tell me he was doing so I wanted to say, "I'm thrilled you bought it but I don't expect you to read it're a man...and...uh...I didn't write it for men." And then I heard from a woman who is a non-believer, typically reads Stephen King, didn't appreciate the spiritual message but loved the book. And then I heard from another man who told me how much he liked the spiritual theme. And now I'm hearing that teen girls are interested which never appeared on my radar when I wrote the book. So I'm scratching my head...

Our former pastor preached a sermon years ago and I only remember the title, "You Can't Put God In A Box." I think I'm guilty of doing that here. If God gifts us with talents and abilities, He will use them as He chooses to reach whomever He chooses however He chooses. I just have to get out of the way. And pack up my finite little ideas of how things should happen. The End.

I have a lot to learn! And I'm so thankful for you readers! From my heart to yours, that's the essence of The Frontiersman's Daughter.

Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God. 2 Corinthians 3:5

Monday, July 27, 2009

sand sculpting

We were able to see the sand sculptures in Port Angeles Sunday. The weather was sunny and the water was calm and it was fun looking at all that creativity! The sculptures will stand another week and then kids from town come knock them down. I always hate that part!

Busy week here with a book launch on Saturday at the Joyce Daze Wild Blackberry Festival:) Before that I have a deadline for book 2 and some other writing-related things to take care of. Wyatt is away at camp so it sure is quiet with just Paul, Randy, and myself. I'm missing my pre-teen and dreaming of the toffee cake I'm going to make for his homecoming. He's about 6 hours away in southern Washington where it's a lot hotter than here. No air-conditioned tents, either! But he loves it. Paul was supposed to go to fiddle camp but that got bumped due to all this book business:) Next year, hopefully.

Hope there is some sun and sand in your future! Or at least a copy of a good book! I have one I can recommend:) Stay tuned for that first book giveaway this Saturday, August 1st! Happy Monday.

If you would tell me the heart of a man, tell me not what he reads but what he re-reads. -Francois Mauriac

Friday, July 24, 2009

friday's almost forgotten frontier fact

This picture is entitled, "Dreaming of a hunt." These frontier hunters, trappers, and scouts were such an interesting sort. They were rugged men who had a healthy respect for the wilderness and the dangers within but weren't afraid of much. Solitude was second nature though they sometimes took Indian wives. They weren't at home penned up in a cabin or fort. Farming was almost women's work to them. Some hated the Indians and some, like Boone, found them tolerable, even admirable. A great many of them were multi-lingual. I have one of these fluent, wandering, fearless men in book 2, Red River Daughter. And that, dear reader, is my short but sweet frontier fact.

I'm reading the most amazing book. Love's Pursuit by Siri Mitchell, a fellow Baker Books author. It's been a long time since I've read anything I've liked so much, other than James Thom. When I need a break from my book, I pick up hers. Nothing like writing a good book or reading one!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

the book is on shelves!

My dear aunt Janelle in Ohio emailed this morning to tell me some of my Kentucky aunts just bought my book and have read it or are reading it:) That is wonderful news! I wasn't sure when it would be in bookstores but my publisher tends to place their books a bit ahead of the release date. Better early than late! If Barnes & Noble wasn't 1 1/2 hours away I'd run over there and take a picture. I do know that our local bookseller, Port Book and News, on First Street in Port Angeles will have the book next week.

On Tuesday I received my first official book review by a Louisville native and author who is a descendant of a frontiersman. She wrote a very in-depth review which was, when printed out, 4 pages long:) I would post the link here but her review is so comprehensive and goes into such detail, I'd rather you read the novel! But it will be on my new website when it's up and running. If anyone would like to post a review on Amazon or, please do!

Meanwhile, summer goes on. Foggy and 50 degrees here this morning. My favorite event of the year begins tomorrow - the sand sculpture contest in downtown Port Angeles. Sand sculptors from around the world (even Kentucky!) are here creating massive sand castles and other mind-boggling things. I will try to post a pic as the boys and I are going to walk the beach and admire everything tomorrow. Hope this fog goes away and the wind stays calm for these artists. They are armed to the teeth with all sorts of interesting tools and spray bottles to make the sand behave.

Oh, and I can't forget Friday's fact! Please stay tuned...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


My publisher was gracious enough to gift some individuals and ministries with my book before next week's release. So a few people are reading it, including my mother-in-law:) For someone who has kept writing a secret for so long, it's a bit of a shock handing out your heart in public, so to speak. I asked that copies be sent to the Berea public library in Kentucky as well as the Port Angeles branch here. I love libraries! I've heard that is shipping the book this week and Amazon will follow next week. They also have a Kindle edition. Then it will be in bookstores nationwide around August 1st. Thank you for those who have bought The Frontiersman's Daughter or who plan to. Your support means so much!

Next week, Saturday, August 1, I'll be drawing a name for a complimentary copy of the book and posting the winner's name here that day. It's not too late to put your name in the hat. Just leave a comment here.

In the meantime, Wyatt is getting ready to go to camp next week and Paul is helping decorate a float for our little town's Joyce Daze Wild Blackberry Festival on August 1st. Expected to be 92 degrees soon! The natives are restless but this Kentucky girl is loving it! Record-breaking temps here while I've heard Kentucky is cooling down. Would love a trip home but no time for that just yet.

Hope your Tuesday is sunny and full of blessings!

My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped: therefore my heart exults, and with my song I shall thank Him. Psalm 28:6

Sunday, July 19, 2009

books and beaches

Lately I've been dreaming of the beach and a stack of books. Maybe some of you are there now. A few of my Kentucky relatives are at Myrtle Beach this week and I sure wish I could have tagged along. But this is my busy season. No sitting on the porch sipping sweet tea for me! But if I was there I'd take a bag of books - probably Thom's Sign Talker . Right now I'm in editing overdrive and he's a writer I just can't edit. Usually when I pick up a book my internal editor switches on:( Not a pleasant reading experience. But I don't do this with James Thom. There's a reason his books are still on the bestseller lists 20 years later. He's that good.

I'm nearly finished with book 2 and am so thankful. This last read-through is a pleasure. Kind of like cooking a huge Christmas dinner and then finally sitting down and enjoying it:) I've not found many things to change at this stage. Of course my editor may think otherwise. The book is due next week. Glory! Then it's back to book 3.

And now I'm thinking of book 4. Here are some women's names that I like for the female leads:

(a bit odd, I know)

My mind is drawing a blank. There were a lot of Charitys, Felicitys, Faiths, and such running around back then but I'm not too fond of those. I love the name Lael. In Red River Daughter my lead is Morrow. One of Billy Graham's granddaughters is named Morrow. Old-fashioned names are usually very pretty. Any ideas for these 18th-century characters? I'd love to hear them:)

I wake up every morning at nine and grab for the morning paper. Then I look at the obituary page. If my name is not on it, I get up. -Benjamin Franklin

A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and those who were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered. Carve your name on hearts, not on marble. -Charles Spurgeon

Thursday, July 16, 2009

friday's frontier fact

This picture brings up a favorite topic of mine - babies. Sadly, the frontier was hard on children, hence this Friday's fact. If you were a woman living in the 18th-century, you usually had at least 8 children. One woman I've been reading about gave birth to 24 children and only 2 lived. Can you imagine? Cradles were rarely empty. The healthiest places to live were rural farms. Towns and cities bred diseases. I was amazed to read that only 3 mothers in 100 died as a result of childbirth. This was better than I expected.

Because so many babies died, there was often some delay in naming infants as this touching letter attests to: "But how long we shall be allowed to keep him," wrote a colonial couple announcing the birth of their son, "is unknown to us."

This crib looks quite uncomfortable and tippy! I prefer the low cradles I've seen in frontier forts and cabins. This one is also pretty elaborate for the time period. Children must have brightened up the lives of those early settlers considerably. I have several in Red River Daughter. They add spice to the book:)

Only 2 more Fridays till The Frontiersman's Daughter is on shelves! What a countdown the past 1 1/2 years has been:) I've learned so much and have much still to learn. Can't wait to turn in book 2 and return to book 3. Then who knows what's next?! I'm already praying about book 4 which is really book 9! Maybe I'll recycle some of those old novels someday.

Two more books on order:
The Ransom of Mercy Carter by Caroline Cooney
Indian Captive: The Story of Mary Jemison by Lois Lenski

Happy Friday!

"No Force Can Resist Death": Reflections on Child and Infant Mortality in American History: Jack Larkin

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

tacos with a twist

This will probably make some of you log right off my blog but I have to tell you, this recipe is soooo good:) It was a beautiful 70' day here and perfect for grilling. Here 'tis:

2 Tablespoons lime juice
1 Tablespoon canola oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 fresh jalapeno chile, seeded and minced
1 pound firm white fish (halibut, cod, etc.) cut into finger-length pieces
8 corn tortillas, warmed on the grill

1/2 cup lowfat mayo (I hate lowfat; we use full-strength here)
1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 1/2 cups shredded cabbage

Combine first 5 ingredients and add fish. Refrigerate 30 minutes, turning once. Remove fish and discard marinade. Fire up grill/high heat. Place fish directly over heat, grill till firm, about 10 minutes, turning once. Combine mayo, lime juice, and cabbage. To serve, place 3 tablespoons slaw mixture on warm corn tortilla and top with one piece of fish.

Even picky Paul liked this dinner. Of course I tempted him with a raspberry cream cake for dessert. Looking over everything, Randy said, "Does this mean you're finished with your book?" Almost. I'm getting ready to come in for a landing with book 2 and finish editing. So now I can put on my apron again:)

Speaking of food, did you know you can copy a book cover onto rice paper so that it's edible and then place it on the top of a cake? These are the strange things you learn upon publication. I'm not sure how Lael and Ian will look with all that buttercream frosting but I'm about to find out. I promise to post a picture once this happens August 8th at the backyard garden book event.

The Frontiersman's Daughter is almost on shelves!

I will give You thanks forever because You have done it. Psalm 52:9

Monday, July 13, 2009

paul and spongebob turn 10

Birthdays are big at our house. You get to eat what you want. Watch more cartoons than usual. Skip violin practice. Consume lots of cake. Make your brother do all your chores. Paul and Spongebob just turned 10 and we had a fun time celebrating. We were going to go to the beach but it turned into a foggy 58 degree day. So we just stayed home and shared this little Spongebob cake:)

This is a busy month in every way. I'm going to be drawing a name for my first official book giveaway on August 1st so if you'd like to put your name in the hat, please leave a comment here or email me at For those of you who've already contacted me in the past, thank you! I'm going to be holding some other giveaways in August so if I have your name you have a good chance of winning at least one prize:) I'm also going to be asking readers for names of heroines/protagonists for book 4 in the near future, among other things!

My webmaster is expecting baby #6 so my new blog/website has been understandably bumped till August. But in a few weeks you should see some cabins and mountains and Kentuckyish kinds of things on here. Can't wait!

For those near enough to come, I'll be behind a book table at two events:

*Joyce Daze Blackberry Festival/Joyce, Washington on Saturday, August 1st from 10-4

*Backyard Garden Book Signing in Port Angeles, WA on Saturday, August 8 from 1-4, 2314 South Lincoln

Just look for a table spread with a Log Cabin quilt, a blonde woman with a bit of a drawl, and lots of books:)

Friday, July 10, 2009

friday's frontier fact

As I look out on my vegetable and flower garden in full bloom I think of those Kentucky settlers who had the same after they settled themselves and the land. Ever heard of blue marigolds? They were a favorite old flower. Also cockscomb and phlox and roses. Herbs were always treasured. Thyme tea could take away a headache. Ginseng root was chewed to revive oneself. The list goes on and on.

In The Frontiersman's Daughter Lael's garden is the woods. You'll find she keeps quite busy tending it:) One thing she doesn't like is snakes. "A man hoeing a small patch in the spring often killed a dozen rattlesnakes or copperheads in a morning." (Frontier Living; Tunis).

This bit of reading says so much about those first settlers, "The preferred yard around a cabin was bare ground. Weeds and grass were cut away. Snakes were easier to spot and children were safer. Women tied switches together to make rough brooms called besoms with which to sweep the ground and scoured away chicken piles and other stains with kettles of hot water splashed on the dirt. A swept yard sparkled and when flowers and shrubs were planted at the edges became a thing of beauty and order in the threatening wilderness." (Boone; Robert Morgan).

Only 4 more Fridays till the book is on shelves! Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

time for a new title

Next week one of my favorite parts of publishing happens all over again with the titling of book 2. My tentative title is Red River Daughter as you probably know and are weary of right now! It's always interesting to see what the Revell team comes up with. I must admit I didn't mind giving up Dogwood Winter to get The Frontiersman's Daughter. This title fits the book so much better. Along with the cover art, the title has to make the book "pop" (in industry lingo), so that a reader will want to pick it up. There are some wonderful titles/covers out there. And then there are some that, well, aren't so wonderful.

I had to chuckle as I recently found there are many "daughter" books on shelves right now - The Preacher's Daughter, The Tsarina's Daughter, The Apothecary's Daughter, The Doctor's Daughter, The Sea King's Daughter, The Mortician's Daughter, and even, Somebody Else's Daughter. No joke!

Meanwhile, my deadline is approaching, I have guests coming for dinner Saturday night, Paul turns 10, Wyatt has a big youth group outing, etc. Summer rolls on though I wish I could slow it down a bit. I've discovered a wonderful place for working - my bedroom! So peaceful and quiet. I just shut the door and put my laptop on my bed and edit, edit, edit.

Do you have a favorite or most memorable title?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

building forts and book reviews

Here's my son, Paul, peeking out of the fort he built this weekend. Looks like he's in the Amazon with all that vivid green. He had a ball sawing wood and hammering nails and driving the lawn tractor to get there. Nothing is square or very sturdy but he doesn't care! I think I need to learn to be like Paul. Just enjoy the journey and try your best (and leave the rest to Him).

I'm busy with book 2 and will be till deadline. Actually I've been busy with book 2 for almost 2 years and am missing book 3. I'm learning to write a bit faster and keep my internal editor on a leash. On breaks this weekend I picked up my copy of The Frontiersman's Daughter and read my favorite chapters. Then today I found Randy reading it! He said as if surprised, "I really like it!" But what else is an author's husband supposed to say?! He's not a reader but so far he's on page 36 out of 412. We'll see how far he gets:)

On the publishing front, I really like this recent review of The Frontiersman's Daughter by Christian Book Distributors. Their fiction editor writes: "I loved the characters in this debut novel! No person was simply one-dimensional; no enemy only evil; no hero only good. Devout and flawed, strong and foolish, principled and stubborn, these settlers and renegades move against the sweeping backdrop of America's beginnings and bring frontier history to life. The fascinating details of everyday living made me appreciate the hardships and dangers better than any textbook account of the events!"

I still have so far to go. A writer never stops learning and improving their craft. I'm still an apprentice after 41 years of writing and reading hard. In heaven I think I'll still be writing, only getting it right the first time!

Don't quit. It's very easy to quit during the first ten years. -Andre Dubus

Friday, July 3, 2009

a day to celebrate!

Friday's frontier fact has been bumped! Just a few minutes ago the FedEx man came down our long dusty driveway and delivered an overnight package of THE FRONTIERSMAN'S DAUGHTER ! It was totally unexpected and very thrilling! When you've waited so many years for this to happen the first thing you do is sit down and have a good cry:) But not in front of the FedEx man. I then took several pictures of the book and wanted to share one with you here. That mysterious glow reflecting off the cover is likely my face! I'm not sure why it's like that. But you get the picture! There's not enough words (for once) to convey how I feel so will sign off here.

I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart.
Psalm 9:1

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

happy july 1st

I'd love to have this statue in my garden. I do have a stone rabbit peeking out behind some roses but this boy is far more clever. And I love the way he doesn't move or eat or break things! He simply reads:) My boys wouldn't like him at all!

It's a hot day here in the Pacific Northwest. About 82 degrees. We're having halibut on the grill for supper with some spinach and new potatoes from the garden. But what I really want is ice cream!

Today I reached a milestone on book 2 - Red River Daughter. Maybe I should call it Red River Diet as it's fallen from 149,000 words to 107,000! In case you care what writers do when they edit... I printed out another hard copy of the book and read through the manuscript as quickly as I could (it still took 6 intense days), making corrections/edits as I did so. There's nothing like holding the book in hand and marking it up with blue pen! So much better than fooling around on a laptop! I catch so much more with a hard copy. But next I'll transfer all those changes onto the e-file of the manuscript and then I'll print out another hard copy and start reading again. I really like the process of polishing a book but being a perfectionist makes editing a bit eternal. And then off it goes to my editor July 31st!

I just realized today that in exactly one month, The Frontiersman's Daughter, is officially released! I'm going to head to the nearest Barnes & Noble and celebrate (unfortunately it's 1 1/2 hours away)!

What makes you readers buy a book? I'd love to know.
Happy July 1st!