Monday, June 14, 2010

porch ponderings

The sun is finally shining - it's officially summer here! The wind is also blowing the chairs off the deck which makes me long for a calm front porch like this one:) And some sunflowers and a cat, to boot. We do have a black and white kitty called Oreo (formerly Domino). The boys couldn't make up their minds which name they liked best, so of course the edible version won out.

This is the time of year I dream of porch swings and lightning bugs and sweet tea and sunshine. Not deadlines and editing and such. It's wonderful to have a new book out, however. I've been rereading my favorite scenes in Courting Morrow Little on the run. But since this isn't a Morrow post, I won't go there:)

It was a busy, crazy weekend with a bridal shower and two fiddling/violin gigs, a fishing trip for Wyatt and Randy and church activities. Glad every weekend isn't so busy. All I want now is some iced tea with lemon and a good book to read on the porch - um, deck. This is Wyatt's first day home for the summer and the boys have already ridden their bikes to the little general store down the road while I whipped up some chicken salad, faced my laundry pile, critiqued a chapter for dear Lori B., answered email, and am now ready to edit again.

I'm about to snatch a discarded scene from CML to insert in TCL. Sound crazy? Maybe I'm the only writer who does this? I doubt it:) Those deleted scenes, or outtakes, as I think they're called in the movies, come in quite handy. I've decided they have one too many dances/frolics in TCL. But what other options do you have penned up in a fort 24/7?! Best not go there either!

I'm going to show you a little of Morrow's world later on this week with some pictures of the Red River area. And I'll pick our first giveaway winner this Friday.

I have a question for you readers:) One Facebook friend suggested I begin a quarterly newsletter (instead of or in addition to this blog). So I'm wondering which you favor? Blogs or newsletters ? Since you, the reader, are the reason I write, I'd love to know!


  1. I guess I would stick with the blog. I enjoy reading about the process of writing a book but I also look forward to hearing about your day to day life. It seems more personal and inviting then a newsletter. My opinion.

  2. I like blogging, too. Would a newsletter reach a different audience? That would be my first question.

    I sat on my front porch swing while I was at home for lunch. It had just started raining, which cooled it off enough TO sit on the porch!

    Funny you should mention "outtakes." We watched a DVD this weekend - "The List," based on Robert Whitlow's novel, which I loved - and my first comment when it was over was that they'd left my favorite part out, at the end. Interestingly enough, in the "deleted scenes" (which I LOVE to watch), the scene they had at the END was actually MUCH earlier in the book, because what they deleted I recognized instantly as coming from about the mid-point of the novel!

    So, when they make a movie of TFD or CML, I hope you're the producer and can say, "NO! You can't PUT that there!" LOL

  3. It's always so nice hearing about a day in the life of our favorite author(or a weekend). I'd love it if you would stick to the blog, at least a few days a week. But....I think a periodic newsletter (bi-monthly or quarterly)is also a good way to generate and maintain interest, maybe even highlight a favorite blog post or two. I think the two can work hand and hand, though I hesitate to make your life busier.

    That's my two cents...

  4. Definitely blogs, because we get to read them several times a week! It's easy to keep up using Google Reader.

  5. I prefer reading blogs to newsletters. Blogs are much more immediate---and then there's the fact that they're interactive, which newsletters aren't.

  6. Oh, that porch does look inviting! :) Hope you get some good relaxation time in soon! I suppose I should probably get a good amount of work in today, so I can relax more later this week. Not that I can complain! With this data entry job, I work whenever I want, and I can work right from home. How cool is that? ;)

    Anyway, I'm looking forward to hearing more about CML! And as to your question, if it was only one or the other, I definitely prefer the blog! I so enjoy reading your posts, and hearing back from you so often makes me feel like we've been life-long friends! :D But if you did ever have a newsletter, I would definitely want to read that, too!

    Oh, and about the hearing back from you so often...thank you so, so much for always getting back so quickly to my e-mails and comments! You're replies are always so sweet and mean so much to me! :D

    I can't wait to discuss The Frontiersman's Daughter on my blog! (If it doesn't win for some strange/absurd reason, then we'll just have to do two discussions this week!) And I can't wait to post your interview next week, too!

    (For anyone else reading this comment, consider this your invitation to join us for the discussion on Friday and "Vacation Week" on my blog next week! We'd love to have you visit!)

    Thanks for everything!


  7. Laura, I’m with you for a good book out on the porch/deck, though I’d switch out the iced tea for lemonade :) Isn’t reading “out of doors” the best? I love writing in my journal outside too, so much inspiration- one of the best places to write a poem, in my humble opinion. Years ago, I wrote my first poem (if you want to call it that) in my backyard and I incorporated what I was seeing, hearing, etc. into the poem. Outside probably works well when you’re writing an outdoor scene in a book too, huh? Writing or reading- God’s creation makes for a beautiful, inspirational surrounding :)

    That’s so interesting AND exciting that you take deleted scenes and add them to another book. Actually, it’s GENIUS! And we get to reap the benefits :) I didn’t think it was possible, but I’m now even more excited to get my hands on Roxie’s story! I’m also looking forward to getting a better look at Morrow’s world too!

    And, as far as your question... I’m definitely in favor of the BLOG!! Oh Laura, it’s so wonderful to get to talk to you and hear about your life, it’s so much more personal than a newsletter. Now, if you wanted to do a newsletter “in addition to” the blog, I’m all for it ;) But with your blog I feel like we get to know YOU- the author, the beautiful person behind the beautiful stories. I’m sure a blog is time consuming, especially when you comment back to every comment- not many authors do that and I appreciate it SO much, more than you know! And I just LOVE the scriptures and quotes you post too! So, “AYE!” I’m in favor of the blog ;)

    Praying you have a wonderful vacation and that your summer is full of beautiful, sunny, relaxing, iced tea sippin', book reading days :)

    Amanda Stanley

  8. It's about time Summer got around to showing up. :-) One of my dreams is to someday be able to spend sunny summer mornings writing out on the back patio...but I need to get published first. LOL

    And how very interesting that you move "outtakes" from one book to the next...I've never tried that, but it's an intriguing idea. I'll have to sift through my rejects and see what I have.

    I like both blogs and newsletters - and have both a blog and a weekly newsletter. I use the newsletter to announce blog topics & web site updates, share excerpts, and let people know what I'm up to for the week (and where). So the newsletter points people back to the blog for more in-depth info, but summarizes for those who don't have time to read the blog. There's overlap in my subscriber list for blog readers and people in my other social networks (who may or may not be blog readers). So it reaches a different demographic too. It all works together. :-)

  9. Glad it is officially summer there! Would you care for some of our heat? LOL!

    I have a balcony, but I only have some plastic chairs and a table, so I don't go out there very often. Usually it's just too hot for me anyway.

    I love taking books out on my parents' porch to read, or my grandparents' carport. However, I must confess I believe I'm one of the few people from the South who does not care at all for sweet tea.

    I would have to say I prefer a blog to a newsletter. I love coming over here to read your entries. You always have something which I find interesting. It's a pleasure to count you as one of my online buddies.

    Looking forward to reading your posts on Morrow and the Red River area. I'm absolutely over the moon that I won a copy on Carrie's blog. Screamed with joy actually. ;) Even thought of calling my mom to tell her, but then I remembered she was working today, and calling the store to tell her that would have probably not gone over very well.

  10. Do the newsletter if you like, Laura, but please do not give up your blog! That's me being selfish b/c I love your blog so much. If you don't have the time for it, anymore, I totally understand.

    You made me LOL when you asked "What else would they do penned up at a fort 24/7?" My mind had already gone there!

    Love the idea of you recycling your material. There are some ideas or scenes or sentences that are just too good to never use.

  11. I'm too busy concentrating on lowering my blood pressure to discuss the individual merits of blogs and newsletters (I'm at page 203 -- need I say more???)

    I have to keep reminding myself that I TRUST you. But this is getting harder and harder to convince myself of. I've had to put poor Morrow down twice with the resolution that I would just finish the story in my head (safely) my way. Of course that lasted all of three seconds before I was sucked back into the angst vortex. Whimper. I know you promised a happy ending, but I realize now, you didn't say happy for who...or should that be whom? I'm too rattled to figure it out.


    To blog or newsletter...or both. Honestly, it seems blogging is the thing, and any authors I know who do newsletters also blog which is just adding on more work. I also like the interaction in the responses. I've bounced around and discovered other blogs and seen the same 'faces' in other places. Feels more like a community. BUT I know how much work a blog is...maybe you can share or reduce the number of days you blog?

    Okay, I'm suffering Morrow withdrawal -- I have to go. NOW.

  12. I agree with Mary Bailey, I would sign up if you did a newsletter, but so much prefer your blog. It just seems more personal and I love returning to see the reply to my comments. I know that takes a great deal of your time and it greatly appreciated!

  13. Oh please keep the blog! I much prefer them to newsletters. I think perhaps a newsletter would be a nice concise way to let people know what you've been up to if they dont like to keep up with blogs, but I find newsletters a little I dunno....formal maybe. Like getting that mass email a friend sent instead of a letter written just to you :)I think blogs are a much better venue, especially if you're trying to form a relationship with your reader that keeps them interested in your projects.

    Anyhow....don't they have iced tea in washington? ;) start a tea revolution! Dump in some orange slices too and make tea punch. That's how we do it up fancy here in the OK ;)

    My Morrow shipped out today!! She's on her way to me. cant wait to meet her!~

  14. Looks like you need some R&R Laura. I usually soak in the bath tub (with bubbles of course)...I just made some new Goatmilk soap for Billy and it smells like the Ocean Breeze..that is all he will use now and I wonder if he will notice that I have been using his soap and why this bar is going down more :)
    I just haven't found a way to read when in the tub so I lay in the guest room at night with the lamp on and one to wake up with a light in their eyes :)

  15. Oh..forgot to mention..I prefer the blog too :)

  16. Oh, don't give up the blog!!! Love it! :)

  17. Page 232. My heart is on the mend by my nerves are frayed.

    You write wondorously, Laura. It makes me want to read slow and fast at the same time. Slow because I want to savor the experience, but fast because I want to know what happens.

  18. Lisa, You've summed up very neatly what I've felt for some time which is the reason this blog isn't only about writing. Since it's for you, the reader, I try to share personal things, too. Newsletters are neat but one-sided. I've seen authors turn the comments feature off on their blogs but oh my! Maybe it's my southern roots, but that would be like shutting the door in someone's face to me! Thanks so much for your comments. They are always so sensible!

  19. Regina, OH MY - a movie! Can you imagine! I think of Deb Raney and Francine Rivers whose novels turned into movies! What fun that would be:) I wouldn't know which of my 2 would work best on screen. Probably Morrow's story as it has more action.

    You've just demonstrated one of the reasons I like blogging so much - hearing about movies and novels (Robt Whitlow) unknown to me. I learn something from each one of you every time you comment!

    And I didn't doubt for a minute you had a porch swing:) My folks do, too, in Berea. Sigh. I have one but it comes with a stand - and that doesn't count! Enjoy that heat for me - it's sunny here for the 2nd day in a row and I think I might die of happiness. Only Heather here told me to finish my next book first:)

  20. Carla, I can tell you're a web designer/computer whiz! The newsletter idea you've just given is a great one - esp. including a favorite blog post or two. One of the best newsletters I've ever seen is Julie Lessman's. So professional and beautiful - she works hard with her artist husband to create a stellar design, etc. They are always a treat for the eyes. Plus she has such an engaging personality that comes through. Thanks for your 2 cents - it's very appreciated!

  21. Barbara, So good to hear from you! Thanks for the Google Reader tip. Not everyone knows about that and it's a big plus. I really appreciate using the Google feature to alert me to anything posted about my books. Many things would slip by me otherwise. It's how I found out that my first book was going into large print. Even before my pub told me. The internet is an amazing place! Thanks so much for taking time to be a reader here:)

  22. Kaye, Well said from someone who has one of the best blogs out there! The interactive feature is so important to me. I think it must boil down to how people-oriented you are. I really feel writing is for my readers and I want to get to know them on a personal level. I'm amazed at how well you handle juggling books and your blog and also teaching, etc. I'm watching and taking notes!

  23. Regina,
    Forgot to mention your very good point - a newsletter does reach a different audience, I think. Many people don't read blogs but will take time for a newsletter.

  24. Amber,
    Thanks so much - it's the friendship that blogging provides that keeps us blogging:) Plus I'm amazed at how small the CBA blogging world is - so often we run across each other on other blogs, etc. It's a great support system. Before I was an author I didn't know about blog tours for books. I can certainly see why publishers use them though there is some debate as to their effectiveness.

    I think it's great you can work from home! That's the best kind of job. One of the reasons I like mine so much:)

  25. Amanda, I'll take some lemonade, thank you! I actually blend that with ice tea so it's half and half. Oh, and I must say I've discovered Perrier sparkling water with cranberry juice and a twist of lime:) Try that sometime! But I digress...

    Your comments sum up why I keep blogging. Thanks so much. I have to have that personal connection with you all. When I'm away from the blog I miss my readers! Somedays it is hard to think of something fresh and interesting but life is never dull so something comes up pretty quick.

    And YES, reading or writing outdoors is one of my favorite things to do. In fact, I was sitting out under our big alder trees 2 summers ago when I wrote Captain Jack out of TFD. There I sat like a fool with tears streaming down, killing off one of my favorite characters ever:) Well, not killing, of course, but writing him out of the book... Sigh. It feels the same.

    So glad you keep a journal. I have, too, since the age of 10 or so. I'd do anything to convince you to start a blog:)

  26. Jamie, You speak from experience and it sounds like doing both work very well for you and your readers. I can always tell someone who is savvy about these things by the way they articulate - and you've got it, girl! Your blog(s) are very well done. I'm sure your newsletters are the same.

    I am such a dinosaur re: computers that it took me so long to figure out a basic blog and then, when that didn't work, I had a web-designer combine my blog and website here. It still lacks what I really need but for now it works. Thanks for the good ideas here, Jamie, as I'm filing them away for future:)

  27. I love your blog, too, so definitely keep it.

    But, I also wonder how many people you miss by just keeping a blog. Personally, I keep the number of blogs I read to a minimum so that my day isn't spent reading & not writing. There are several authors from whom I receive only their quarterly newsletter & that's perfectly wonderful with me. It keeps me aware of their past, current, & upcoming projects, but I don't want to read them everyday. I'd never be done reading.

    If I asked my friends how many read blogs regularly, I think the percentage would be tiny, but most would be open to receiving a periodic newsletter. I know if I didn't write, I probably wouldn't even read blogs regularly. By staying with only a blog, you're greatly limiting your market. And sending out a quarterly newsletter will introduce new readers to your blog.

    Just my one-cent worth. :)

  28. Michelle,
    I laughed out loud to think of you screaming with JOY! I couldn't believe it when Carrie emailed to tell me she'd drawn your name. I thought, "What? MY Michelle! My KENTUCKY Michelle!?" I guess your days of looking at Walmart are over:) And since Carrie lives in VA you should see that book ASAP.

    I must confess sweet tea is often too sweet for me. I prefer the lemon over the sugar. Sun tea is what I miss most.

    Let me know when you get that book!

  29. Mary, So glad you still enjoy my blog. You are one of my longterm readers! I don't think I'll stop blogging anytime soon. With so many blogs out there, it is hard to not play blog tag all day. I've had to limit my blog reading severely and pray about usage of my time. I love your blog, too, as it's so diverse and a blend of so many things in your life. Thank you for that!

    Love your term "recycled" scenes. And you're so right - those scenes are beloved and can be tweaked and reused:) Sometimes leftovers taste best! I HATE deleting scenes and try to save every one.

    Bless you for commenting, Mary. Enjoy that SC sun!

  30. Kav,
    I laughed out loud more than once at your comments - in fact I had to go back and read them again and again just for the sheer enjoyment:) And then I raced to my copy of CML and looked up the pages you were on to settle my own blood pressure:) If you're enjoying Morrow's story, I'm so thrilled. And you will get that happy ending, I promise. I couldn't pull another Captain Jack, could I!?

  31. Casey, I appreciate hearing from you! I'm going to call you the Blogging Queen:) If anyone hasn't visited Casey's blogs (she has a new group one), they are missing out! If you keep reading, I'll keep writing here. Thanks for the encouragement!

  32. YAY Heather! You're going to get that book after all:) Amazon is still being stubborn with that July date. Please let me know when you get it - today maybe!

    Oh, your OK tea with oranges sounds so nice! I will try that. I think I like the artistic look of tea in a big, cold glass pitcher with lots of ice and slices of oranges. It just says summer to me.

    You said something interesting about the mass feel of newsletters. Whenever I get a group email I always feel a little let down, knowing it's more impersonal. Anyway, thanks so much for reading. I enjoy your blog so very much, too:)

  33. Nancy, I'm going to have to come over and see that Ocean Breeze soap - sounds like summer to me! Goatsmilk is good for your skin, I know. You sound busy and happy there. Speaking of blogs, you have some great ones! I'll be right over:)

  34. Ruth, Oh, I love when you pop in! It's this blog biz that brought us together:) All of us, really! And you know how much I like yours. Thanks for the thumbs up, dear friend!

  35. Kav, Your second comment settled my nerves a bit:) You are such a voracious reader, not to mention a librarian (and writer!), that if you find merit in my book at all, I'm truly blessed. Thanks so much for keeping me posted on your reading experience. LOVE THAT!!!!

  36. Kav, I forgot to reply to your blog vs newsletter comments as I was so excited by all the book talk:) You have some valid points. I think the group blog you do with Regina and Brenda and the other Inkspys is such a good idea - a great infusion of many minds/ideas and you don't get weary of it. Dee Gist blogs once a week, on Mondays, I think because of her writing schedule. Anyway, hope today has you arriving at that happily ever after:)

  37. Brenda, Your 1 cent is worth considerably more to me:) Like you, I think blogs and newsletters serve a very different demographic (as Jamie so succinctly said) and a wise writer taps into both. I love newsletters, too, especially Julie Lessman and Siri Mitchell as they do cover reveals and upcoming projects, etc. And you mentioned something I have to be wary of all the time - using time wisely. It's such a gift and I want to honor it as such. How easily it is to just read blogs all day and not get work done! A great temptation, indeed. Thanks so much for you input here. And congrats again on finishing that WIP!

  38. I like your blog. (But maybe I'm just afraid of the unknown.) I love to see what's going on in your life more then 4x a year. You have such great things to write about, and I look forward to reading your blog. That's my two cents.

  39. I will certainly let you know when I receive Morrow. I'm quite glad that Ransomme's Crossing came today. I should have it finished by the time I get Morrow.

    My grandmother used to make sun tea all the time. I have tried it, but I don't care for the taste of tea. I guess it doesn't get hot enough there for you to make it. I seem to remember Mamaw always made it in July or August.

  40. Kristen,
    Thanks so much for stopping in and keeping in touch that way. I keep hoping we will run into each other at some book event as we are only a few hours apart - someday hopefully! Happy blogging to you, history girl:)

  41. Page 272. I'm in complete fuzzified bliss. As a result I am in a puddlefied state which makes it hard to keep my glasses perched on my nose and therefore difficult for me to read. :-)

    Okay, seriously...I'm at the point where I'm too close to the finish so I start slowing down, savoring every scene (rereading some she says, blushing furiously). Sometimes I just stop reading and daydream, picking up the story and creating my own thread just to avoid the inevitable angst that I am sure is creeping up on poor unsuspecting me.

    Yes...I've been told I take my book reading to a rather unusual extreme. Bookworm just doesn't cover it. hear that? Morrow's calling for me. She wants me to turn the page...back so she can revisit the...well...all I can say is, I don't blame her one little bit!

    You done good with this book, Laura. Real good.

  42. I'm so glad you were able to resurrect a scene. I've not had occasion to do that yet, though I certainly have a lot of them!

    I vote blog, too. I don't care much for newsletters, though I do get a few. But I'm far more likely to read a short blog every few days, or even daily, than a more involved newsletter.

  43. Kav, All right - you had me racing to page 272 to see just where you are, only by now you are probably nearly done as it's 7:22 Washington time and likely you're at work and not reading at all! You've gotten to the part where a certain person has gone missing...
    LOVE your updates:) They always give me a much needed smile and chuckle. You have the BEST funny bone!!

    I wonder if my books would be considered "edgy"? This one, in particular. Enough to make you blush, anyway! Am not sure what the edgy criteria is though I know Julie Lessman is the Queen there with her historicals:)

    Anyway, hoping you like the ending when you get there. Am thinking of you and so thankful for you!

  44. Lori, Me, too. I think we're both bloggers at heart. It would be fun to do a newsletter but I'm not savvy about that so would have to hire it out. When I need a writing break it's a relief to work on a new blog post or visit other blogs. BTW, I just won 2 books over on Kaye's blog. Since I've never won anything in my life:), I'm shocked and thrilled! I didn't even realized I had entered... Now I can do that giveaway and spotlight of her I've wanted to do!