Friday, April 30, 2010

waving goodbye to April

I've decided all work and no blogging makes me a very dull girl. I really miss you all! And I'd be remiss if I didn't post something regarding Kentucky's premier event this weekend - the Kentucky Derby. The photos here sum up what I love about this May event - the big house, all that yummy southern food, fancy hats, fresh flowers, mint juleps in ice cold silver cups, sunny weather (actually rain is forecast), and horses. My mom holds a derby party every year which is far more humble than the affair shown here. I've judged who has the most fetching hat on more than one occasion. It's always a fun, festive event. By the way, those thoroughbred horses live better than I do in those air-conditioned barns and exercise/swimming pools:) Their stables are a sight to behold!

I'm taking a brief break from writing. I so appreciate any prayers or kind thoughts on my behalf. I've entered the stage where writing is work. Since I never equated it with anything other than bliss, this comes as a surprise. God delights in causing us to exercise our faith, I know. This is one such exercise. I can't wait to tell you about upcoming books once the ink is dry. If the project doesn't fly, maybe I can share about that, too. It's all in His hands. What a relief that is!

What I'd like to be reading right now if I had the time:
Ransome's Honor by Kaye Dacus
She Walks in Beauty by Siri Mitchell
Here Burns My Candle by Liz Curtis Higgs

I'd love to know what you've been doing, reading, or writing since we last connected here. Any reading treasures in hand or on order? Any travel plans for summer?

Friday, April 23, 2010

fly away

Isn't this warbler sweet? Our apple and plum trees are blooming right now and the fragrance is so fine it should be bottled. When I wake up early, about 5 o'clock in the morning, I hear birdsong everywhere. In Courting Morrow Little, I use this Scripture, a personal favorite:

Oh that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. ~Psalm 55:6

My work schedule is such that I'm going to have to take a brief break from blogging. Hopefully when I sign back in I'll tell you all the exciting things I've been up to. Till then, here's a poem that speaks spring:

I watched in curiosity
A little bird up in a tree
The tune she sang was loud and clear
And never did she seem to fear

The nest she built was strong and firm
I wonder how she ever learned
So peacefully she flew around
Then softly landed on the ground

She did not fuss or fret or stew
about the work she had to do
But joyfully continued on
And all the while, she sang a song

Oh Lord, if I could learn to be
Content and cheerful and so free
I'd fly away and be at rest
Safe in my Saviour's heavenly nest.

~From My Heart, author unknown

He has put a new song in my mouth - Praise to our God. ~Psalm 40:33

Thursday, April 22, 2010

into the 19th-century

I've been waiting so long to see this movie. Since we live in the woods, this film never made it here on the big screen though I'm sure it was shown in Seattle. But getting my husband to drive 3-1/2 hours to see a romantic movie is not an option, even with popcorn and malted milk balls thrown in:)

My friend Ruth spotlighted this film on her blog. She does the most remarkable reviews of books and movies (and more!) despite having a day job. Kudos to Ruth! The video just came to our tiny town so I rented it. And I'm so glad I did. Doesn't the photo just make your historical-loving heart beat a little faster? Queen Victoria was a remarkable person in her own right. Being fascinated with the history of the British royal family, I've read about her in detail and loved the film of her in her older years, Mrs. Brown. Highly imaginative, perhaps, as we'll never really know if she fell in love with that rascally Scotsman, John Brown, but it made a wonderful movie.

I don't want to tell you too much about The Young Victoria in case you want to see it yourself. But since we're talking about the royals, I will tell you a related story. A few years ago, I was attending a missions conference here in Washington State and heard a story you won't find in the media. The keynote speaker said that shortly before her death, Princess Diana was seated by an evangelist at a banquet. Their talk eventually turned to personal matters and she began to question him about Jesus, the Bible, and spiritual things. This talk led to her accepting Christ as her Savior in the weeks to come, before that tragic car crash along the Seine. I don't remember anything else that was said from the podium that night - just that. And I remember the soloist sang one of my favorite hymns, His Eye is on the Sparrow. I like to think that, if true, a troubled princess had her happy ending, after all - in Him. And I was reminded of that all over again as I watched this moving movie.

If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisty, the most profitable explanation is that I was made for another world. -C.S. Lewis

Monday, April 19, 2010

stuck in the 18th-century (and loving it)

As you can see, I'm still fixated on colonial folks and their dress. I would give anything to get trussed up in some stays and petticoats just to see how it felt:) I did have a hoop skirt and Civil War era gown years ago and let me tell you, those hoops required some serious management. They were like wearing hula hoops attached with netting and had a mind of their own, especially in a stiff wind. But women, by then, had graduated to bloomers or pantalets, unlike their colonial sisters. So if the wind blew you'd see a bunch of lace and linen. Not nearly as provocative a view:)

This picture is from Mount Vernon, George and Martha's home in Virginia. Sadly, I've never been there though I lived mere hours away in Kentucky. I have been reading voraciously about Monticello recently, home of Thomas Jefferson, but have never been there either. This weekend I finished Ann Rinaldi's novel about Jefferson and his family - Wolf by the Ears and it simply stoked my longing to go. Rinaldi became interested in historical fiction doing historical reenactments, mostly colonial ones, with her son.

I don't know that I could work up the courage to get into colonial garb before a bunch of people, even in such lovely duds as these. I am a tad on the self-conscious side. One author I know wears 19th-century dresses to her books signings which I find quite clever. I do, however, have a terrible hankering to go traveling to some historic sites. And I don't mean in Washington State:) This place isn't historic, for heavens sake! It's only been a state for a hundred years or so!

Some of my favorite historic sites are Kentucky's Fort Boonesboro, Whitehall and Ashland (Cassius and Henry Clay's homes, respectively), the home where Daniel Boone died in Missouri, Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts, and the Mark Twain historic site in Missouri. I'll probably think of half a dozen more when I sign off here.

I'd love to know what historic sites you've visited and what you liked about them. Since I can't travel right now I can live vicariously through your comments. Thanks for that!

Friday, April 16, 2010

full sail

Earlier this week one of my favorite readers in Kentucky sent me a copy of Streams in the Desert, which is her favorite devotional book. Bless you, Patti! I think her timing was inspired as today's reading is so amazingly relevant to the need I have for today. So I thought I'd share it with you in case you have the need, too.

By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. ~Hebrews 11:8

Abraham "did not know where he was going" - it simply was enough for him to know he went with God. He did not lean as much on the promises as he did on the Promiser. And he did not look at the difficulties of his circumstances but looked to His King - the eternal, limitless, invisible, wise, and only God - who had reached down from His throne to direct his path and who would certainly prove Himself.

O glorious faith! Your works and possibilities are these: contentment to set sail with the orders still sealed, due to unwavering confidence in the wisdom of the Lord High Admiral; and a willingness to get up, leave everything, and follow Christ.

In no way is it enough to set our cheerfully with God on any venture of faith. You must also be willing to take your ideas of what the journey will be like and tear them into tiny pieces, for nothing on the itinerary will happen as you expect.

Your Guide will not keep to any beaten path. He will lead you through ways you would never have dreamed your eyes would see. He knows no fear, and He expects you to fear nothing while He is with you.

~Streams in the Desert by L. B. Cowman

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

meet phillis - and ann!

Whenever I become lost in a book I feel the urge to tell you. This is one of them. Ann Rinaldi is one of my favorite authors. She takes real historical figures and fleshes them out on paper. Her writing is so remarkable. Never a wasted word! She packs so much punch in every spare sentence. Poignant, rich, beautiful. She writes for young adults but there is enough depth for adults. I was truly sad to come to the last page.

In Hang a Thousand Trees with Ribbons, she tells
the story of America's first black poetess, Phillis
Wheatley. Taken from the west coast of Africa by
slavers as a young child, she was sold to a wealthy
colonial family who soon saw that she was gifted.
Rather than keep her as a slave, they began to treat her as a family member and educated her. She was schooled in Greek and Latin, studied the classics, and fell in love with the written word.

During the Revolutionary War, she wrote a poem about George Washington and was invited to headquarters to meet with him. She was so remarkable in her lifetime and helped paved the way for the eventual emancipation of her people. I felt a kinship with Phillis because she was a writer and wonder if her author did too. It's the best book Ann Rinaldi has ever written in my opinion.

Reading about Phillis reminded me of an interview question I was once asked which I'll now ask you: If you could have dinner with three authors or historical figures who would you invite and why?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

busy as a bee

I love these bees and all that lovely-smelling lavender! If you're ever inclined to visit here, we have a lavender festival in July and you can wander around in purple fields and just get dizzy from the fragrance. They even make lavender candy though I've never tried any.

Anyway, I'm busy as a bee here with one book about to release and another due. I should have those bookmarks and bookcards for Courting Morrow Little soon but think I'll wait till June to send them out. So if you're wondering where yours are I haven't forgotten you. I've just learned a thing or two since the release of TFD. That's what this writing biz is all about - learning what works and what doesn't and adjusting. I look back at all the uninterrupted time I had before TFD came out. I was so antsy for something to happen. Well, things are happening now and no two days are alike:)

Recently I finished up two endorsements for upcoming historical fiction releases, one an Amish-type novel and another that takes place in the roaring 20's. Both soon to be in your hands:) I also handed in discussion questions for CML and am working on a timeline for The Colonel's Lady. In the meantime I'm contemplating another book project. Prayers appreciated as I seek God's direction for the story of His heart and mine. Lots of ideas spinning around in this head of mine. Lately I don't want to sleep!

Soon the reviews for Courting Morrow Little will start rolling in from those who received advanced reader copies of the book. This is always such a bittersweet time for an author. I can't quite describe what it's like to get a five star review or a not so good one. It really is kind of like someone complimenting your child - or criticizing them:) Books really are your babies! I know authors who never read reveiws of their work and others who read every one.

What is your take on book reviews? How should an author handle them? How would you handle them as an author?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

beautiful blogs

Heartfelt thanks to Casey for giving me such a thoughtful award on the day my blog turned two, unbeknownst to her! So now I get to share the joy and follow the rules:) I'm supposed to pass the award on to 15 other bloggers who inspire me: Lori , Carla, Linda, Ruth, Heather, Kristen, Britt,
Edna, Mary, Keli, Lisa... I know I have more to go but there are so many great blogs out there it isn't possible to name them all. There are some, like my buddies over on Inkspirational Messages that I can't link to from blogger but are found in the margin here. And as I write this I'm thinking of Carrie and Laurie Pace and Arlene and Suzanne and a bunch of others who inspire me on a regular basis. And then there are those like Adge and Michelle who don't blog but I wish they did! Oh my, and then there's Myrna:) I promise to continue the list later on this week:)

In keeping with the blog award, I'm supposed to list 7 things about myself. So here goes:

1. I'd rather be a concert violinist than a novelist (but there must be a very good reason the Lord made me the latter).
2. I LOVE Bible studies (currently doing one called Seeking Him).
3. I rarely watch t.v. or movies (would rather be reading/writing).
4. Favorite foods are garlic cheese grits, pasta, chocolate, and Costco's risotto.
5. I try to walk 3 miles a day.
6. If I could be a character in a novel it would be Jane Eyre or Christy. (And you thought I'd say Lael!?).
7. I have many fears which I have to confess and give to the Lord on an ongoing basis.

I'd love to hear 7 things about you. Or even one or two! I love my readers and am thankful to count you among them!

Friday, April 2, 2010