Tuesday, March 9, 2010

a quiet spot

Sometimes my heart longs for a quiet spot like this - a quintessential 18th-century one. The window behind the chair is so lovely and casts wonderful light upon the ink pot and quill and paper. I like to imagine I would find even more inspiration if I had this little space. Recently I came across another quote that I just love:

The past is another country. They do things differently there. -L.P. Hartley

Speaking of the past, I'm 19,000 words into another story that I love - and it truly is like a foreign country as I've moved off the frontier. Not too far but just far enough that I no longer feel danger from Indians at my door or have to go herbing as there's an apothecary just down the street:) Sixty-nine pages in and I love my characters but need to go back and add depth and detail. I'm always so thankful when another research book drops into my lap that meets the need of the moment. I sense the Lord's presence spurring me on. Since writing is such a solitary pursuit I'm very thankful for the divine intervention:)

Do you have a quiet, inspiring spot? What are you reading - or writing - this week?


  1. I love that quote. I've never really thought of it that way, but it's so true.

    This week, I'm reading a contemporary, Menu for Romance by Kaye Dacus. I enjoyed the first book in the series, and I'm enjoying this one so far too.

    Last week, one of the books I read was "The Duke's Redemption" by Carla Capshaw. I believe you mentioned buying it at Wal Mart a couple of months ago. If you've not read it yet, it's a wonderful book. It was one I couldn't put down. I only wish it had been longer.

    I'm sure the next thing I read will be a historical, I'm thinking maybe Angel's Den by Jamie Carie will be next.

  2. Michelle, Love your reading list! You've made me more anxious than ever to read The Duke's Redemption. It's sitting here in a basket by my feet (love the cover) along with Ransome's Honor by Kaye Dacus. Looks like we have similar reading tastes:) I've heard good reviews of Angel's Den and love that Lewis and Clark time period.

    The one I'm really anxious to read is Louise Gouge's The Captain's Lady as it deals with the Revolutionary War. I'm going to Wal-Mart today so will check. Isn't it wonderful to have such an array of good books to choose from? I just wish I had more time to read.

    Great to hear from you here. I've missed you:)

  3. Oh, I'm sad I'm not just down the road so I could drop by and say "whatcha writing?" lol, but that's probably a good thing, you wouldnt get much done with all that pestering!

    I love little quiet spots...Im happy the weather is warming so I can sit on the little swing on my back porch...feel the sun, watch the girl play, lay on some cushions and read a book...

    speaking of good research books, do you own "Good Wives"? I read it just for fun since I am a bit of a history geek...but its about the lives of women in the colonies from the 1600s-1700s, just what they went through, lifestyles, issues, etc. Even how they weaned babies! Interesting stuff.

    Can you believe I dont have a book going at the moment? I need to get on that ;)

  4. At two things I'm astonished. That you moved off the frontier (what???) and that you've already written 19K words. I can't wait to see just where you've set this new story. What is the new research book?

    Once again I'm reading too many books to name, but one of them is The Help, by Kathryn Stockett. Listening to this one beautifully read by four different readers.

    I suppose my whole house is my quiet place, since I'm alone in it most of the day, most days.

  5. Sometimes I long to slip back into time -- or at least into historical fiction. Life seemed simpler then...though of course it was filled wth the complications of survival. But those complications were, for the most part, simple and pure -- unlike what we face every day in the 21st century. I'm referring to skewed morals and values that have come to be regarded as normal. The word decency doesn't mean the same thing it did 200 hundred years ago.

    So my retreat or quiet spot, is as simple as that picture. It's my bedroom. I always keep it clean and uncluttered. My bible's on my nightstand and I have inpiration words on my walls. 'Joy' is a painting above my bed, 'Grace' is a word art scrolled above the bookcase (the one with my favourite books in it). A wrought iron 'Believe'is on another wall and a sign proclaiming "prayer changes things" is above the door. No matter the chaos in the rest of my house or my life I can always find peace in that room.

  6. Oops forgot to tell you what I'm reading:

    Just finished: "God's Gift" by Dee Henderson -- it's an older book, c1998. Comtemporary romance and an incredible study on how to develop a deep and spiritual relationship between a couple. I love the depth she gives her characters! And her men are definitely 'hunk' material!

    I decided to try and read one book written by each of the seekerville authors since I've started following their crazy blog.

    Since the weekend I've read: "The Substitue Bride" (historical) by Janet Dean, "Killer Headline" (suspense) by Debbie Giusti, and, believe it or not I'm reading "Forever Christmas" (contemporary) by Missy Tippens right now. :-) These are all shorter novels published by Steeple Hill, plus I've been sick, so I'm indulging in lounging around with a good book and a dog snuggled close by...in my lovely peaceful bedroom. And, I just got Julie Lessman's trilogy from the library. I think I'll be busy for a while! Maybe I shouldn't go back to work until I'm really, really, really better. :-)

  7. When I sat at my writing desk in high school (and okay, I still dream about it) I imagined myself in an attic retreat like Jo March. What an amazing place to hide away with your pens and characters.

    I'm reading the third book in Bonnie Leon's Matanuska series, Home at Last. Loving it!

    I'm also trying to make time for "A Study in Scarlet" the first appearance of Sherlock Holmes for my book club this Saturday.

    Good work on your next book! That's awesome! Can't wait:)

  8. Does an imaginary quiet spot count? After the kids leave for school, I step into my office & pretend I'm sitting on Lake Superior's shore, laptop in hand. Somehow, it's so much easier creating imaginary lives when I'm at the lake.

  9. Moved off the frontier and there is an apothecary next door? Someone's living the town life! Can't wait to find out who!

    I love the picture of the peaceful little writing desk. I need a space like that where I can be turned off from technology for a little while.

    I am reading The Marriage Masquerade by Erica Vetsch. It's been a very pleasant escape for me the past couple of days.

  10. No, Heather, I'm not surprised that you don't have a book going! You have a gallery showing going instead:) The books can wait! I'm so excited for you!

    And it's so ironic that you mentioned Ulrich's book - her other one is the research book I mentioned in this post - "The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812"! She was a midwife and healer who attended 816 births in 27 years in her area of Maine (back cover blurb). I haven't dived in yet but hope to any minute. But I think yours sounds even better!

    I love your description of your porch swing, etc. I am very partial to porches and swings:) A deck just doesn't do it, sadly. Must be the southerner in me.

    Bless you for the book idea, Heather! Ulrich won the Pulitzer for her work so this is first rate research material!

  11. Lori, You may have the Ulrich books but if you don't, hasten thee to Amazon and load up:) I just realized in my reply to Heather I left out the real title (lol, it's been a long day of fiddling). Here 'tis: A Midwife's Tale. Wish I'd had this when writing Lael's story as I might have made her a midwife instead of herbalist. I actually had a very beloved deleted scene in which she and Ian delivered twins. But I digress...

    As for me moving off the frontier, it is temporary, I assure you:) This manuscript is a little like a runaway train. It's just flying and I have to apply the brakes as I have other writing stuff to attend to. I really like this stage of writing - finishing up one book and beginning another as editing the finished one doesn't require a lot of creative energy. I much prefer the joy ride of the first draft - whoo! I don't really want to apply the brakes!

    I covet your quiet house! And your wonderful new desk area. I hope folks stop by for a look. You really have an inspiring space!

  12. Oh Lori, I've heard The Help is great. Audio must be especially nice. I saw it at Costco today.

  13. Kav, I really hope you're feeling better soon. Am glad you have some books to see you through!

    Your bedrooom sounds like an oasis of calm. Love how you've described the inspiring words that surround you. I can just see them on the walls. Beautiful.

    I couldn't agree more on the need for decency today. TV and internet have polluted our minds and culture in profound ways and I don't think we'll recover till Christ comes. Wouldn't our ancestors be appalled? I often think of Daniel Boone coming back to Kentucky today. Mercy!

    Love perusing your reading list. I saw some of these Love Inspired novels today. But sadly, The Captain's Wife was missing. Julie writes such beautiful big historicals that should occupy you happily for awhile. Don't you dare go back to work till you're sick of reading and no longer physically sick:) Praying you feel better soon!

  14. Kristen, You're so blessed to belong to a book club! I can tell from your comment that you really enjoy it. Our church started one but then the leader wintered elsewhere and it's kind of fizzled. Here's hoping it starts back up.

    I think Bonnie Leon's books, at least the series you're reading, deals with Indians and Alaska. If so, I've heard that is a great series. She has a new one coming out and the cover is so charming as is the title - Touch the Clouds (I think but I'm hopeless at remembering sometimes). The only reason I'm familiar is that she writes for my pub.

    An attic space, Little Women style, sounds so nice!

  15. Brenda, I've never considered imagining myself somewhere else to create a quiet space but that is a wonderful idea. And I especially see why you said Lake Superior. It's so beautiful and big it's like another world. Am wondering if your WIP has a water setting. There's something so tranquil about the water.

    Thinking of you and hoping your reading and writing bring you many happy, peaceful hours this week.

  16. Amen, Mary. "Turned off technology" should be a daily requirement! I like to think we'll each have our perfect, quiet spot someday - if not here, heaven.

    I'm so anxious to begin your Virginia book you sent me!! I have an endorsement to do first and then will dive in. I think I just like collecting books and talking about them as much as reading. Sometimes it takes forever for me to get around to them.

    Am glad you're escaping with a good book. Erica is a new author for me. I read an interview of her on Keli Gwyn's great site not long ago. Keli asks the best questions of writers and debut authors. Thanks for sharing here - I love hearing what you all have in hand, so to speak. As iron sharpens iron...

    Bless you today!

  17. Aw, thanks so much about the gallery, Laura :) I appreciate it! I am excited...usually with things like these, I'm just glad to have the things done and out of my house, lol. Perhaps it feels the same when you finish a book? Like "Get this done, I need to move on to something different!"
    I do highly recommend that book. The Midwife's Tale sounds great too! My own particular favorite research book is a gorgeous book about Early Wooden dolls from a museum there in Washington...it is invaluable as a painting inspiration.

    Hey, if you're leaving the eastern frontier...you should stop by Indian Territory ;) lots of fun around here!

  18. Laura, I have a secondary character in Kindred who is a midwife, so I read the Ulrich book years ago. And a little about Martha Ballard's life in other places. Very good book. Mine was a library copy so I don't have it handy now. I think there were all of three births shown in some detail in Kindred. :) An interesting thing to write about, never having experienced it myself!

  19. Heather, Actually I do feel that way once I've done all I can possibly do with a book. It's then the publics to make of what they will! So we really do have similar thoughts there.

    I will have to check out the early wooden dolls book. If it's anything like your beautiful paintings I know I will love it. There's just something about looking at beautiful art or things of the past that feeds your spirit.

    And I would LOVE to visit your Indian territory in future! That is one state I have never been to - and it's so rich in history!

  20. Lori, I thought you were probably familiar with the Ulrich books! Midwifing and birth scenes sure liven up novels considerably. I had to tone down one in a future book but I so loved the nursing angle. You don't always need first-hand experience but natural childbirth and nursing the boys gave me plenty of writing fodder. I have so much respect for those women of history who couldn't run to Wal-Mart and buy formula! Mercy! Or ask for an epidural:)

  21. Pity you couldn't find Louise Gouge's book at Wal Mart. Maybe they'll have it next week. I have it, but I ordered it directly from the publisher. I ordered her earlier book Love Thine Enemy from CBD last week. Maybe it'll be here tomorrow. It was in Indianapolis the last time I checked, shouldn't take too long to get from Indy to Lexington, but with my luck it'll go through Cincinnati first.

    Yes, I am a fellow Kentuckian ;) I guess that's why I loved TFD so much, I could picture it so clearly. I actually checked it out from the library, and liked it so well I bought it as a Christmas present for my mom. She enjoyed it as well.

    My grandfather has often said Daniel Boone would not recognize the country now, and I think he's right.

    The book you mentioned about the midwife in Maine was also made int a PBS special. I've not watched it, but I do remember one of my professors mentioning it to me once.

    I have now finished Menu for Romance, but I ended up going on to the next book in the series, A Case for Love. I wasn't ready to leave those characters yet, lol. So looks like Angel's Den will be after that.

  22. Michelle,
    I'm so thrilled you are a fellow Kentuckian! Thanks for telling me. The fact that you are still in Ky while I am stuck here is a huge lament for me:( Am trying to be content where I am (while making plans to move:). My family is in the Lexington, Berea, and northern Kentucky area if you don't know already. I lived in Lexington most of my life but also Mammoth Cave and Bowling Green. But Berea is where my heart is and forms the basis for my books.

    I'm so glad you thought enough of TFD to gift your mom that way. That really is the highest compliment an author can receive - when someone cares enough about a book to pass it on. Thanks so much for that. My Kentucky readers mean so much to me.

    I think I will order off CBD like you if I can't find it this month. I like to think it's sold out for Louise's sake. The cover is so well done. Since you mention it, I dug out my copy of Love Thine Enemy and just blew the dust off. Yet another one in my stack.

    Also, you might be interested in Ruth Axtell Morren's Hearts in the Highlands if you haven't read that one. My bloggy friend here, Mary, sent me this one recently and I was thrilled. Nothing like a book in the mail. She also introduced me to PaperbackSwap and I so want to join but at the moment feel like I'm going to implode if I do one more thing. I do plan on joining, although I use most of the books I read for giveaways.

    Also, thanks for the tip on the PBS special. I will check our library and see if they have or can order. Oh my, one thought leads to endless others. If any of you haven't watched the videos of Colonial House, Texas Ranch House, or others, I urge you to check those out. Many libraries have them and I think they're PBS also. If you love history you'll find them fascinating. At least I did!

    Bless you, Michelle!

  23. I love the way light comes through the window in the late afternoon. This photo looks like a perfect place to be! Laura, the Lord is truly blessing you and the work of your hands! It is so wonderful to see evidence of these things in different people! blessings,Kathleen

  24. Kathleen, Your gracious words always shine through - bless you! I'm thinking you must have some big windows with wonderful light in your house to do your beautiful embroidery, etc. I used to cross-stitch and enjoy it so much but my eyes aren't so good anymore. That's why I enjoy coming over to your blogs and seeing what's inspiring you in Texas. I pray this is a great creative week for you in every way!

  25. Laura, I've gotten better feedback about childbirth than any other topic I've asked about on my writing forum. Those threads are always long ones. All a writer needs to do is say, "Here's how my scene needs to go: A happens, then B, then C complication sets in. Okay, moms (and midwives and pediatricians), who has a birthing story like that?" It never fails to bring out all sorts of wonderful (and sometimes horrific) details. :)

  26. Yes, Lori, that is living proof that many heads or "threads" are better than one:) Plus instead of one measly little perspective you get many to choose from for your book! Writing forums have always intrigued me and I have a writing friend in Virginia who is big into the loops and finds them so helpful. I must admit I tried to log into an ACFW one awhile back and just got dazed and confused. But I'm not computer-savvy so gave up. Someday I'll look into that more closely. Sounds like a wonderful resource.