Thursday, December 30, 2010

smoky mountain memories...

I couldn't resist posting a picture of a snowy fort as this is where my writing mind and heart have been over the holidays. I've also been missing you readers here, wondering what you've been up to this past month! Hoping there were some good books beneath your tree! If so, I'd love to hear about them:) One of my Kentucky aunts and uncles sent me a HUGE Mark Twain biography full of fascinating pictures. Bye bye, Daniel Boone...

Here are me and my men tucked away at a Smoky Mountain retreat part of December. We even had snow! For the last 30 years my father's family has celebrated Christmas in Tennessee and we were able to go this year and enjoy all the merriment:) The best gift of all was the big guy at left on the sofa. That's my brother, Chris, who flew in from Spain and surprised me by showing up on our doorstep. My mother said it's the first time she's ever seen me speechless:)

This was our wonderful holiday dinner ~ country ham, deep fried turkeys, cornbread stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, macaroni and cheese, strawberry pretzel salad, Red Velvet Cake and much more! Needless to say, I'll need some stays to fit into that 18th-century gown I'm dying to tell you about...

A dear reading friend in Kentucky sent me this angel ornament and it was the first one I hung on our tree. Bless you, Patti! I so appreciate the cards folks sent my way and those of you who kept in touch via email and snail mail, etc. Also, many, many thanks for those of you who took time to post book reviews during your busy holiday! A month is a long break but it was wonderful simply spending time with my family and resting in the Lord's goodness.

I'd love to hear about your holiday and ways the Lord blessed your socks off as my dear friend Julie Lessman often says:) Be as long-winded as you like. A month is a long time for friends to be apart!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

a colonial christmas

Thanksgiving and all that snow are now history! And I'm dreaming of a colonial Christmas like the one in this quaint painting. Only colonials didn't do trees:) Hope your Thanksgiving was full of all the unexpected blessings that HE is so adept at bestowing.

Ours was quite festive with a foot of snow. Wyatt turned 14 and enjoyed the chocolate and coconut cream pies I made. Randy and the boys took a walk in the woods and chopped down a twelve foot Noble Fir for the deck. I scribbled a couple of new scenes for book one of The Ballantyne Legacy and listened to Paul fiddle some holiday tunes. And now I'm packing my bags again...

Soon I'll be winging my way to Kentucky and Tennessee for a family reunion in the Smoky Mountains. So I've decided to take the month of December off here on the blog for family time. The last two years I've had to work over the holidays as I've gotten my galleys for TFD and CML in December. Believe me, hearing word that they'll arrive in January this time is the best Christmas present ever!

I'm already looking forward to coming back in January and hearing what you've been up to! For now, I'd love to know how the weather is in your neck of the woods, if you're decorating, and what's cooking in your kitchen:) Or maybe what's on your Christmas wish list? Mine is rather simple - a bread machine and a soup/bread cookbook...

Christmas began in the heart of God. It is complete only when it reaches the heart of man. ~anon

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Come, Lord Jesus, our guest to be,
And bless these gifts
Bestowed by Thee.
And bless our loved ones everywhere,
And keep them in your loving care.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

writing about writing

I'm writing about writing today over at Keli Gwyn's blog and giving away a craft book. Keli has two unique blogs and I'm guesting for her "Wordsmithing on Wednesdays" feature. Since I rarely write about writing, I'd love to see you there whether you're a writer or not:) So please come over and meet Keli and leave a comment. We'll all be blessed! Keli is also giving away 2 copies of my books so hope to see you there!

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~William Wordsworth

I'm not a very good writer, but I'm an excellent rewriter. ~James Michener

Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.
~Anton Chekov

Giveaway winnter for The Christian Girl's Guide to Style is Margaret C.! Just email your addy to me at lauran@tfon. com and I'll mail that right out!

Monday, November 22, 2010


It's snowing wildly this morning! Actually it began yesterday and made our Sunday very special. We went on a drive and watched cars slide into ditches, kids making snowmen, people putting up holiday lights and everyone (?) enjoying a generous dusting of white.

In my fictional world, I love snow:) I even wrote a snow scene for the epilogue of The Colonel's Lady. I could almost smell the gingerbread baking and the pungent greenery twisted around the stair rail with ribbon and all those bayberry candles melting in tin holders.

As Madeleine L'Engle said, I leave chronos (real time/clock time) and enter kairos (God's timelessness) when I write. Today is a good writing day with a big fire in the fireplace and white woods outside my windows.

Since it will be crazy busy starting Wednesday, I have to make the most of it. I'll be fixing a 20 pound turkey, cornbread stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, cranberries, deviled eggs, rolls, chocolate cream pie... I don't think the menu varies much across America:) My neighbors, however, shun turkey and always have lasagna! Thanksgiving always means a lot to me since Wyatt was my Thanksgiving baby. And we always put up a Christmas tree on our deck with lots of lights to start the holiday season. In all this snow it will be a beautiful sight!

I'd love to know what you're doing for Thanksgiving this week. Do you have any special traditions? Foods? Is it a quiet day or one filled with traveling, family, and friends?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

cover love

Book covers are like candy to me:) I've just discovered these and wanted to share them here. The artwork always amazes me! Since I'm more a Martha than a Mary, I like her expression here and the bread basket in her hands. And Bathsheba looks like she has something up her sleeve... Love the title "Hidden Affections" as it's somewhat mysterious. And I'm always so happy to see new authors like Elizabeth Camden. What a lovely debut cover! I'm about to read my first Dale Cramer book and know it won't be my last. He's known for his beautiful narrative among other things. And it's wonderful to have Kathleen Morgan back after a writing hiatus! She has many fans and the blurb for this new western is so intriguing. You'll just have to go to Amazon or the Revell book site and peek!

Right now I'm reading Lorna Seilstad's galleys for A Great Catch. Go ahead, eat your heart out:) Washington, A Life by Ron Chernow keeps me up late by the fire these rainy nights. And I've fallen in love with a new devotional-type book called The Sheep of His Hand: Reflections on the Psalms from a 21st Century Shepherd by Suzanne Davenport Tietjen. I've been doing a lot of reading in the CBA and will start Nancy Moser's newest soon.

So...what are you reading this week?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

style with Sherry Kyle and a giveaway!

This book is so bright and appealing I always smile when I see it. And its creator, Sherry Kyle, is just as endearing:) It's a joy to have her here today. I thought you'd like a look at the inspiration behind the pages of this very needed, unique book.

Sherry, tell us about your journey to publication...

When my daughter, Brittany, was in 1st grade, she asked me to help her write a story about how her younger sister became part of our family through adoption. I had taken a children's writing course through the Institute of Children's Literature and knew the basics of crafting a picture book, so I sat down with my daughter and we wrote My Special Someone, complete with illustrations. At that time, a woman in our church who ran an adoption business was also taking a publishing course at the local college. We connected and she offered to publish our little children's story. It is now out of print, but you can see the cover on my website.

What prompted you to write The Christian Girl's Guide to Style?

The Christian Girl's Guide to Style is one of a series of books from Legacy Press. I had purchased a couple of other other Girl's Guides books for my daughters and they loved them. All the books have fun quizzes, crafts, and stories that point 8-12 year old girls toward who they are in Christ. As a writer and mom, I wanted to write a book about a topic that I not only enjoyed talking about, but also saw a need in the children's market - learning to be stylish inside and out!

As we know, girls are bombarded every day with clothes, fashion, and trying to fit in. As I searched my Bible, I came across Colossians 3:12-17: "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the father through him." These verses were the blueprint for my book.

What do you hope is the takeaway value of your book?

Each girl is special and unique with her own personal style. But more importantly, true beauty starts on the inside.

Please tell us about your novel coming out in April, 2011...

Delivered with Love is a contemporary novel about a young woman who discovers an old love letter in the glove compartment of her late mother's VW bug. Claire drives up the coast to the town of the sender and searches for him, only to discover he's not what she imagined. You can watch my book trailer here

Favorite Scripture? Snack food while writing? Best writing advice?

My favorite Scripture is Jeremiah 29:11. "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

I usually need something to drink while I'm at the computer, whether it be coffee, tea, or a Sobe water. If I snack at all, it's usually a piece of dark chocolate. Every once in a while, I like to make a bag of my own trail mix - Honeynut Cheerios, some nuts, pretzels, raisins, and dark chocolate chips.

The best writing advice I can offer is to learn the craft. Go to a writer's conference or take classes. Oh, and don't forget to have fun!

Please leave a comment for Sherry and enter to win a copy of this wonderful book. Winner announced Wednesday, November 24th:) This book would also make a great Christmas gift, birthday gift, or anytime gift. Thanks so much, Sherry!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

somewhere it's spring...

It's springtime in my novel - the first book of The Ballantyne Legacy. Somehow that helps as I move into winter with all its raining, blowing, and cold. I do love sitting by the fire and writing. I hope you'll like this next story. It's certainly full of interesting twists and turns. And a hero I'm dying for you to meet:)

Thanks to Heather here, I've discovered a new historical site. It's The Country Diary of a New England living history reenactor, and a love story. Heather always finds the most delightful places on the web despite being so busy with her family and her art. I wanted to tell those of you with history-loving hearts like mine.

Isn't this dress and hat lovely? And the way her hair is done up like that, with those curls spiraling down the back. So feminine and romantic! Speaking of spring, I'm always wondering if heaven will have seasons ~ and which ones...

Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting, and autumn a mosaic of them all.
~Stanley Horowitz

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

once upon a time...

Once upon a time there was a Kentucky girl who fell in love with her dark-haired hero in Washington State...

Thus begins my own story:) Only I want to hear yours! Thanks to Sylvia, a dear reading friend and blog buddy who suggested this post, I guess I'll go first. This photo looks so old to me though it's only been sixteen or so sweet years. Randy is a little grayer and heavier and I'm... Well, nuff said!

He really is my hero. And only God could have brought us together because it's such an unlikely match. But He knows our hearts and where He wants us, including who he wants us to end up with. And sometimes His best plan is for us to stay solo. I nearly did.

I was fresh out of college and waitressing at Lake Crescent Lodge in Washington State one summer. Randy was working across the lake at Log Cabin Resort in the boat house (sounds like a Lorna Seilstad novel!) but strangely, we never crossed paths. I finished my stint at Lake Crescent and thought I might need to stay a little longer before returning to Kentucky. So I applied for a job at the local rural school. Lo and behold, I met Randy who hadn't graduated yet. He was a little young and not nearly as tall as I liked, but there was a genuineness and humility about him that I loved. Since I worked with elementary students as a teaching assistant, he would stand with me on the playground during recess duty and talk to me. And soon it didn't matter that he was sorta short and rural and had been to Kentucky only once. For two years we simply stood and talked on the playground. No kidding! It was the longest, strangest courtship that wasn't a courtship I've ever experienced.

And then he graduated and I decided to return to Kentucky. Only I decided I really liked Washington and wanted to get a post-graduate degree first. So I left his vicinity for 7 years. No phone calls. No letters. Nada. Zip. Nothing. I'd convinced myself that he was too young. Too unworldy. Too short. Not educated enough. He didn't even like to read!

But God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7.

At the end of that seven year silence something strange happened. I decided it was past time to return to Kentucky. And he, at this very same time, contacted an old friend of mine, got my address, and wrote me a letter. A love letter. His first and only. He wanted to marry me, you see. So there you have the rest of our story:)

I'd love to hear about your romance ~ or that of your parents or grandparents. Or visit author friend, Shannon Vannatter's wonderful blog where she highlights true love stories of authors and writers! I'm so thankful God is the author of romance, whether in real life or in books:).

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sunday, October 31, 2010


Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey. ~Pat Conroy

I spent the last few days in Monterey, at a retreat hosted by Janet Grant, and Books&Such Literary Agency. Amazing Monterey ~ surely one of God's best gifts. Lots of sunshine, great cuisine, creative conversation, and beautiful scenery.

Since I'm a foodie, thought I'd post a few pictures of the desserts I was always too full to finish. Besides, they're so beautiful, you almost hate to eat them! I'm afraid my waistline will never be the same again:) But it was oh so fun while it lasted!

One of my favorite times was lunch on the patio overlooking Monterey Bay with writing friends and fellow bookies. We were treated to some amazing speakers and industry professionals offering their talents and expertise. I learned how to "work smarter, not harder" and was able to discover how I can carve out more writing time and avoid the pitfalls of publishing.

Are you free to be the communicator God made you to be? Is your heart becoming lighter or heavier? Take time to feast on His word instead of others' words ~ or even your own.

I fell in love with the history while there. Over a hundred years ago, on the very site of our hotel, a wealthy Californian by the name of Hugh Tevis (doesn't that just sound heroic?!) built a lovely mansion as a wedding present for his bride-to-be. They married and then he died on their honeymoon! They never lived in the house and it was sold, then torn down and turned into cannery row... I feel another novel coming on!

The whole experience was like eating one dessert after another. Many thanks to Janet Grant and her staff for providing us with one blessing after another while there. And many thanks to Randy and the boys for holding the fort down for my final book trip of the year:)

Have you been to Monterey or a place where you fell in love with God's creation and saw his hand in every corner?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

on the road again...

Five pairs of shoes. Check. Reading glasses. Check. Breath mints. Check. Purse. Check. Hand sanitizer. Check. Pen and paper. Check. Good book. Check. Credit card. Check. Lip gloss. Check. Empty water bottle. Check. Twelve copies of Courting Morrow Little for book exchange. Check! I think I'm the only person in the world who doesn't own a cell phone so no forgetting that:)

I'm not very fond of traveling, especially by air. Give me an old-fashioned train any day. But I try to make the best of it. Last trip I prayed (and I'm not making this up!), asking the Lord if he would please place me at the very back of the plane by the bathroom, aisle seat, as I always forget to ask for seat assignments in advance. And my bladder never behaves on planes!

When I got to the gate and boarded I found myself all the way to the back of the plane, aisle seat - no kidding! Not only that, before I could wonder who I was next to, a woman my age sat down fresh off the mission field in Indonesia. I have a thing for missionaries. My brother is one:) And this one really needed to talk! Suffice it to say, we skipped the small stuff and got down to real stuff on that nonstop 5 hour flight. She was a delightful traveling companion and I'm still thanking the Lord for that particular seat assignment! So who's to say what will happen between here and Monterey?

I'll be at a retreat this week, bless Books&Such Literary Agency. And in my absence I'd love to hear how the Lord is surprising you, delighting you, blessing you! So please comment and I'll be back with you soon...

For You meet him with the blessings of good things. ~Psalm 21:3

May the Lord watch between me and thee when we are absent one from another. ~Genesis 31:49

giveaway winner...

Our giveaway winner for A Tailor-Made Bride by Karen Witemeyer is...

Katie M!

If you'll send an email to with your snail mail addy, I'll mail the book out:) If you've already read this title, I'll be happy to substitute another I have on hand. Bless you all and happy reading!

A house without books is like a room without windows. ~anon.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

you are what you read

If you were to ask me for writing advice, I'd have to say first and foremost that you should...

The next piece of advice I would give is...
read writers/authors who write better than you do.

Why? Because you are what you read. If you want to improve as a writer, spend the bulk of your time reading stellar writing. In any given genre, there are those authors that stand out. Sometimes bestseller lists are a key but don't be fooled.

The unique thing about reading writers who write better than you is that the books that impact you will often be different than the ones that impact me. Don't confine yourself to the CBA. There are many incredible books outside the CBA that are clean and amazingly well done.

The danger in reading higher level writing is that after awhile you'll not be content with anything less. Your reading basket will be thinned - your TBR pile will not topple. You'll begin many a book only to set it aside.

I truly believe that you are what you read. A friend in Canadian publishing and I were recently discussing this. She'd written her honors thesis on how the fiction read by L.M. Montgomery (Ann of Green Gables, The Blue Castle, etc.) in her formative years influenced her own fiction so profoundly later on.

Now that I have the gift of hindsight (a nice way of saying I'm getting older:), I have a few years of reading to look back on and can name the books that have most influenced me. Here's just a sampling...

~Christy by Catherine Marshall

~Redeeming Love and Mark of the Lion Series by Francine Rivers

~The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery

~Follow the River, Long Knife, From Sea to Shining Sea by James Alexander Thom

~Song of Years by Bess Streeter Aldrich

~Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

~every book by Victoria Holt aka Philippa Carr and Jean Plaidy

~every historical epic by Allan Eckert

If you're a younger writer, you're forming your list this very minute:) If you've logged a few miles like me, you'll have a shelf of best loved books on hand that stand head and shoulders above all the rest.

What's the best piece of writing advice you've ever received?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

the exquisite 18th-century...

I must admit I've been dreaming of having a book launch in period dress and thought I'd hold a little contest to see which 18th-century gown you like best. So...which do you think is heart-stoppingly romantic and true to the period? If you were a colonial belle shopping in 18th-century Williamsburg or Philadelphia, at which shop window would you linger?

The gown at right is "colonial pink" chintz with large cabbage roses, braided trim, and a train. The aqua gold gown at left is silk taffeta. I love the antique French lace at the sleeves and on the hat. Both gowns should be worn with chemise, stays/corset, etc. This aqua gown is a robe anglaise versus the other style of the day, a la polonaise, which is achieved by hooking silk ribbons onto cocardes at the back waist which results in a very feminine derriere:)

Remember Lael's gown from Briar Hill? At the moment I can't recall which style she wore for Christmas at the Bliss cabin when Ian gave her the pearls (or tried to, poor man). I had Morrow making many of these gowns in Aunt Etta's shop in Elfreth's Alley before she returned to Kentucky. As for Roxanna in The Colonel's Lady, she's straight from Virginia and has a few of these dresses packed in her trunk. The one she's wearing on the cover, soon to be revealed any day now when I get the green light, is similar but shockingly different:) How's that for a tease?

I'd love to hear your impressions, likes, dislikes, etc. Do you prefer the fashions of today over those of yesterday?

In honor of all the great comments lately, I'd love to give away a new copy of Tailor-Made Bride by Karen Witemeyer as it deals with a 19th-century seamstress. If you've already read this historical, I'll be glad to substitute another title I have on hand.

Bless you all!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


The chill, shivery October morning came; not the October morning of the country, with soft, silvery mists, clearing off before the sunbeams that bring out all the gorgeous beauty of colouring, but the October morning of Milton, whose silver mists were heavy fogs, and where the sun could only show long dusky streets when he did break through and shine...
North & South by Elizabeth Gaskell, Chapter 31

Story openings are so important. Chapter openings are just as important, as are chapter endings. It's a fine art to get them right, to lead the reader along and make them anxious to turn that page. The words should even have the right rhythm no matter where they fall. Here are a few of my favorite novel openings...

There was no possibility of taking a walk that day. ~Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

If it had not rained on a certain May morning, Valancy Stirling's whole life would have been entirely different. ~The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery

A single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. ~Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Davina McKie dropped to her shoulders on the grassy hillock, letting her shawl slip past her shoulders despite the sharp chill in the air. ~Grace In Thine Eyes by Liz Curtis Higgs

Here's one novel opening I know you haven't read...

This was madness. Roxanna Rowan leaned against the slick cave wall and felt an icy trickle drip down the back of her neck as she bent her head. ~The Colonel's Lady by Laura Frantz

Chances are you're reading a novel or writing one. I'd so love to hear your own novel opening, the one you've written or the one you're reading. Or post a favorite from a best loved book like the ones I've mentioned here. You can even make us guess as to which it is:) I can't get enough of all this book talk! Can you tell?

Happy Tuesday.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

what else could i do?

When I was a girl, about eight or so, I fell in love with those little historical biographies of Dolly Madison and Martha Washington and Pocahontas and Clara Barton, etc. Though that old Kentucky library is long gone, I can still recall standing by that particular shelf near the window and gazing at all those delicious books. I had my favorites and Jennie Lind was one of them. So when I read this in my devotional book recently, I was cast back to the past in a very meaningful way.

I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord. ~Philippians 3:8

The Swedish Nightingale, Jennie Lind, won great success as an operatic singer, and money poured into her purse. Yet she left the stage while she was singing her best, and never returned to it. She must have missed the money, the fame, and the applause of thousands, but she was content to live in privacy.

Once an English friend found her sitting on the steps of a bathing machine on the sea sands with a Bible on her knee, looking into the glory of a sunset. They talked, and the conversation drew near to the inevitable question: "Oh, Madame Goldschmidt, how is it that you came to abandon the stage at the very height of your success?"

"When every day," was the quiet answer, "it made me think less of this (laying a finger on the Bible) and nothing at all of that (pointing to the sunset), what else could I do?" ~Springs in the Valley

This devotional was so touching I highlighted it to read again and again. Although few of us will ever be in a position like Jenny Lind with her overwhelming success, it's good to remember WHO we serve and why we must keep Him at the forefront of our lives and ministry, no matter what it is He's called us to do.

Do you remember reading those little historical bios, too? Did you have a favorite? I think our love of history starts very early:) Better yet, what do Jenny Lind's timeless words mean to you today?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

compelling characters

So you write a synopsis (or not). Do some research. Scribble snatches of dialogue and plot points. You're ready to meet your characters. You know just when they come on the page and why. Writing is so easy, right?

NEVER! Or so our beloved John Thornton shouted during that riveting balcony scene in North & South:) And I'm inclined to say the same. Writing is full of surprises, twists, and turns, or should be. And you have to fall in love with your characters or your readers most assuredly won't either.

I've been working on The Colonel's Lady in the mornings and The Ballantyne Legacy in the afternoons. Still don't have a title for that first book and wish you could help me:) It's kind of like having a baby and then not knowing what to call it ~ a colonial custom. Often parents back then waited several months or more to name an infant for fear it wouldn't live. I don't like having a nameless book any more than having a nameless baby. But the right title hasn't come to me yet. However, new characters are clamoring to be noticed and I'm a bit intrigued and amazed by who's appearing. They simply aren't in the script/synopsis:)

So far we have...

*a John Thornton type hero

*two feuding sisters

*a horse named Half-Penny

*Philadelphia Quakers

*a plantation, a few sheep, a meddling housekeeper, a devoted dog...

This post by one of my favorite authors, Susan Meissner, is so helpful and thought-provoking. It helped me change my new heroine's liabilities into possibilities, even assets.

Currently I'm in the middle of Elizabeth Gaskell's North & South which is filled with memorable characters that leap off the page and make a lasting impression.

What memorable characters are center stage in your own writing or the book you have in hand?

Monday, October 4, 2010

happy monday

It's early Monday morning and I'm looking out my window and see yellow leaves's fall! Somehow October snuck up on me. And I can't let another minute pass without extending a HUGE thanks to all the bloggers and readers out there who included The Frontiersman's Daughter in the INSPY Awards shortlist. This means so much as it comes from the hearts and heads of bloggers themselves. I could say more but invite you to click on the link where they explain the INSPYs far more eloquently than I can here. So thank you, dear blogging friends, wherever you are! I'm so thankful and thrilled you liked Lael's journey.

I also wanted to highlight another blogging friend, Julia, who is hosting a special bunch of blogging guests this week during which they talk about blogging as a ministry. Come meet Lisa Buffaloe and others as they talk about why they blog. They just might surprise and encourage you!

Lots of excitement for me this weekend as my computer crashed and I have to spend the next couple of days transitioning to a new system. I'm going to leave comments off for today's post as I won't be online to answer them. Hopefully I'll be back with you soon. Prayers appreciated that all my book files are intact:)

Thought I'd share what I read in this morning's devotional that so convicted and encouraged me...

I am a man of prayer. ~Psalm 109:4

All to often we are in a "holy" hurry in our devotional time. How much actual time do we spend in quiet devotion on a daily basis? Can it be easily measured in minutes? Can you think of even one person of great spiritual stature who did not spend much of his or her time in prayer? It has been said that no great work of literature or science has ever been produced by someone who did not love solitude. It is also a fundamental principle of faith that no tremendous growth in holiness has ever been achieved by anyone who has not taken the time frequently, and for long periods, to be alone with God. ~Streams in the Desert

Happy Monday!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

double giveaway day!

Today I'm up the street at The Writers Alley doing an interview and giving away two copies of my books. I'd love to see you there! More than anything, I'd love for you to meet Pepper and Casey and their contributors and enjoy what is one of the best writing blogs on the web! You may see some folks you know. And I guarantee you'll want to come back:) Bless you all.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

miscellaneous musings

So many things can happen in a week:) Thought I'd share a few highlights with you here. I'm still knee-deep in red ink on revisions for The Colonel's Lady. Seems like I have edit fever now. My laptop is dying by slow degrees so will have to give myself an early Christmas gift and go shopping soon. Meanwhile, prayers appreciated as I meet this October deadline. You just don't know how much your encouragement and support mean to me. You are the reason I write, don't ya know:)

Yesterday I was sent the final cover for The Colonel's Lady. When it popped into my inbox I think I squealed (and I'm so NOT a squealer:). Mostly I was anxious to see how much the cover had changed from the first comp the art team sent me last month. Hmmm...! It's amazing to see how much a cover can alter during production. When I lined the two comps up side by side, Randy and the boys liked this second one much better. I'll show you as soon as I can.

I'm currently on page 123 of our beloved North & South. Sigh. After watching it several times (but not back to back) during a lull in writing back in August, I decided I'd best graduate to the novel itself. I must admit this particular descriptive passage made me smile...

Now, in Mr. Thornton's face the straight brows fell over the clear, deep-set earnest eyes, which, without being unpleasantly sharp, seemed intent enough to penetrate into the very heart and core of what he was looking at. The lines in the face were few but firm, as if they were carved in marble, and lay principally about the lips, which were slightly compressed over a set of teeth so faultless and beautiful as to give the effect of sudden sunlight when the rare bright smile, coming in an instant and shining out of the eyes, changed the whole look from the severed and resolved expression of a man ready to do and dare everything, to the keen honest enjoyment of the moment...Margaret liked this smile; it was the first thing she had admired in this new friend of her father's...and it seemed to explain the attraction they evidently felt toward each other.
~North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell, page 52-53

If you want a few minutes bliss, sit back and listen to a reading of this...
North & South

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

blogs that bless

Thought I'd devote today's blog post to blogging itself, or blogs that bless us. Can you believe there are 400 million "active" English language blogs right now? Or so current estimates say. Many bloggers begin a blog with great intentions and then abandon them. I've considered that a time or two in my 2-1/2 years of blogging when work has been overwhelming or readers weren't reading.

Now what, you may be wondering, has this picture to do with blogging? Plenty:) In Indy at the conference, Julie Lessman got a bunch of us girls together for lunch at a Mexican restaurant. I happened to have the pleasure of sitting beside Wendy Paine Miller ~ the sunny, smiling blonde to my right here. I was struck by the freshness of her presence and all that she is doing online and in real life. When I came home I hopped over to her blog. Wow! If you want a blessed respite that's fresh, inspirational, real, and full of HIM, then stop by and say hi. You'll be blessed!

So many of you blog and bless me and others, also. If you don't blog, you certainly bless me with your comments. Sometimes I'm amazed by all the great blogs that I'm missing. And when I need to know, I go to you, my readers:) So...

Which blogs do you return to again and again? What brings you back? If you can name even one or two you think might bless the rest of us, please comment!

Monday, September 27, 2010

the valley of revisions

It's quite a hike coming down from the Eagle's Nest restaurant in Indianapolis at Revell's author appreciation dinner to the valley of revisions. But here I am:) I think the most surprising thing about being an author is the rewriting aspect of all that writing. And the fact that no two people will view a manuscript quite the same (and one of them is your editor:).

Since writing has always been an intensely personal endeavor for me, the publishing/revisions process is a bit of a wild ride. But I'm so thankful I have an editor who cares enough to put her heart into my work and challenges me as an author. This writing valley I'd anticipated for revisions isn't really a valley at all. It's actually quite a lovely place to be, just like the photo here suggests. After creating a few new scenes, snipping old ones, tweaking everything just a bit, I believe that you, the reader, will enjoy The Colonel's Lady even more.

In Indy, I was in an elevator with a bestselling historical author and overheard her say she always sends her finished manuscripts to a freelance editor prior to submitting them to her publishing house. Others have myriad critique partners. Some do both. It seems the hope to have a near perfect manuscript afflicts us all. We authors, anyway:)

So I'm currently revising TCL and am truly loving every minute of getting lost in the story again. You'll have a better book in the end and I'll know I've given it my very best. It always helps to remember I'm not alone in this ~

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8

If you're a writer, do you enjoy rewriting/revising your work? If you're a non-writer, do you think you'd find rewriting enjoyable?

I'm so pleased to give away Choosing to See to one of you readers. This time the winner is:


Praying that this book blesses you and draws you closer to Him.

See you Wednesday!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

highlights of Indy...

The pin I received for finaling in the Carol.

Me and Ms. Kentucky (Regina!)
Books&Such Chinese Dinner ~ fun!
Brenda ~ one of my fav reading friends!
The 4 musketeers of historical fiction!
Ann Shorey, Moi, Lorna Seilstad, Ann Gabhart
Me and Lael ~ signing bliss!
The irrepressible Julie Lessman, Lorna, Jill Eileen Smith and moi!
My amazing editor, Andrea
The Hyatt and Skywalk to the mall...

Due to popular demand, thought I'd better post these pics:) If you have an Indy memory you'd like to share, I'd love to hear it here. I learned so much and hated for the fun to end!