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!

soul food

A man can no more take in a supply of grace for the future than he can eat enough for the next six months, or take sufficient air into his lungs at one time to sustain life for a week. We must draw upon God's boundless store of grace from day to day as we need it. ~D.L. Moody

Nothing can be more healthful to the soul of the believer than feeding upon the Word, and digesting it by frequent meditation. ~C.H. Spurgeon

Care to share a favorite quote with me and others here?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

a most amazing time

Just got home and wanted to put up a quick post from ACFW Indy. The conference was truly an amazing event and I was so thrilled to meet so many of you for the first time! It's always a joy being with author friends. I also met my wonderful editor for the first time (she's the one in the back). I'll post more about it later this week but thought I'd spotlight one photo today.

See any authors here who are familiar/beloved by you? This was taken after a Revell book signing at the Hyatt on Saturday. Yes, Julie Lessman is just as FUN (and petite) as she looks! I won't even begin to talk about how much I love Lorna Seilstad! And that Ann Gabhart - well, we Kentucky girls like to get together and gab:) I was thrilled to meet Jill Eileen Smith and Lynette Eason and Ann Shorey for the first time. Dan Walsh was a double winner of the Carol Award for The Unfinished Gift. So thrilled for him!

Janna Ryan and associates do a wonderful job of hosting the conference bookstore every year and I thought you might enjoy this new offering by Mary Beth Chapman. My editor and publisher are so proud of this book and it's already on the NY Times bestseller list. I have one copy that I'd love to gift you with. If you'd like a chance to read Choosing to See, just leave a comment here. I'll announce the winner next Monday.

For now, I have to run Wyatt to the orthodontist as he gets his braces off today, then it's back to work on an endorsement for a new historical author you're going to love, not to mention my edits on The Colonel's Lady, etc. Praying you all are having a good week. I've missed you and can't wait to here from you here!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

old, beautiful words

O Master, show me this morning how to yield myself up to Thee completely, and then how to ask of Thee things great enough to be worthy of a King's giving. Make me equal in my requests to Thy infinite eagerness to give. Touch with Thy Pierced Hand the hidden springs that will cause every part of my being to fly wide open to Thee, my Lord and my God!

~Springs in the Valley

Friday, September 10, 2010

Making Waves winner...

The winner of Making Waves by Lorna Seilstad is...

Katie M.!

Congrats, Katie! If you'll send me your addy at, I'll mail that right out. Bless you!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


I'm getting ready to leave for Indianapolis to attend the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) conference next week. I hadn't planned to go this time, though I enjoyed myself so much last time in Denver as you can probably tell from these photos:) After dropping out of brownies in elementary school (I'm not a groupie), I wasn't sure the conference was my cup of tea. But an editor friend of mine suggested strongly that I attend ~ and I'm so thankful she did. I didn't know a soul, went with an open mind and heart, and was amazed at all that God was doing through Christian writers. It was wonderful to be a part of that 500 or so who were there.

Everything was a bit of a blur and I still don't remember how I met Colleen, who is my roomie this year. She's from Ohio and writes speculative fiction ~ and homeschools four kids! Here we are attending the banquet on the last night of conference. The chocolate mousse above was just as good as it looks:)

Since The Frontiersman's Daughter had just come out, I had to pose with the next best thing to Ian Justus ~ Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary Agency. Only I had to stand in line to do it:) Men in kilts are quite popular, so it seems. And he was very gracious about the whole thing.

This year is particularly exciting because TFD is a finalist for the Carol Award, formerly the Book of the Year Award. I don't talk much about contests and awards as that's not my style, but to show my appreciation for the nomination I'll mention it here. With 8 finalists in the long historical category, I haven't been scribbling my acceptance speech! I'm just happy to see the book of my heart on the list. I think Lael would be pleased though she wouldn't like any fuss:) The way they introduce the finalists is quite clever. They quote the first line from each book. Some are quite memorable. I'm guessing you don't remember mine but bless you if you do!

Have you ever been to a writers conference? Ever care to go? What would you most look forward to? Least? I'll laugh if you say the food, which is high priority for this Kentucky girl:) Food, friendships, workshops... It's all pretty wonderful!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

cover news

Here are two upcoming historical covers I thought were particularly interesting and eye-catching. I'm a big fan of Siri Mitchell. My favorite book of hers so far is Love's Pursuit. I think her upcoming cover is beautiful - love that dress! Love the title, too, as it sounds quite romantic. I've not heard of Karl Bacon and need to find out more about him. My guess is he's new to the CBA. His cover appeals to me, perhaps because it's so different than the typical CBA cover, if there is such a thing.

I have some news about the cover for The Colonel's Lady ~ I actually saw the comp, or design for it recently. And I'm happy to report we have the blue dress we were hankering for:) Overall, it's so very different than TFD and CML that it looks like it's from a different author! The designer is different this time. I love it and can't wait to post here. Best not say more and hand you a spoiler. Since it's still undergoing changes, I can't give you a peek quite yet. I will say that it's along the same lines as Siri's cover here and looks more like an actual photograph. Since The Colonel's Lady is a very different sort of book than my first two, it seems to fit.

There are so many good books out there - and so many great covers. I finished watching North & South this weekend and was completely overwhelmed by the acting and story line. My old favorite The Last of the Mohicans is now bumped to second place. I should have Elizabeth Gaskell's novel by week's end. I'm looking forward to it as she actually gets into her hero's head, something most female British writers of that period didn't do. On a lighter note, I'm on page 109 of Making Waves and it's just as delightful and funny as Lorna is:)

I'd love to know what you're reading right now or looking forward to reading. I learn so much from you all. After all, I wouldn't have fallen in love with North & South if it weren't for you, and now I'm forever in your debt!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

making waves end of summer giveaway!

I've been waiting for this moment for months:) Last year at the ACFW conference, I met Lorna Seilstad, fellow Revell author, and we've been fast friends ever since. I've been counting down till the release of her debut, Making Waves, wanting to gift one of you with a copy to celebrate. We share the same editor who called Lorna's work "fresh" - a hallmark of good fiction. I have a feeling her debut novel is as funny and warm and winsome as she is. I've been checking my mailbox daily awaiting my copy!

*Tell us about the inspiration for Making Waves.

I've lived in Iowa my whole life and Lake Manawa is about a ten minute drive from my house. Since my dad lived there as a child, I'd heard stories about the resort's heyday, but I had no idea what a fascinating place it was until I began to research it. After I did, I had to write a story set there. I wanted to bring the area back to life.

*How much are you like your main character, Marguerite? How did you choose that particular name?

Marguerite is witty, adventurous, and doesn't let anything stop her. I wouldn't say we had a lot in common. I've never been a risk-taker, but I appreciate that quality in others. My husband is one, and I know he thrives on change. I chose the name from an old U.S. census. It seemed to fit the character I had in mind, but my, was it a long name to type hundreds of times!

*What makes a historical setting more appealing to you than a contemporary one?

I love history. When most kids were going to baseball games on Sunday afternoons, I was going to antique auctions with my parents. My parents also took us to every place with historical significance within a day's journey of our home. There's something so amazing about holding something in your hands that's a hundred years old and imagining who else the object has touched. Time may change the way we dress or what we do - but people don't. We still want the same things. We want to be loved. We want to matter. We want our children to be happy. We still struggle with pride, anger, and lack of faith. I love bringing the past back to life and making it relevant today.

*What do you like most and least about being a published author?

What I like most is telling the stories and connecting with readers. I love that God has given me this opportunity. What I like least is the hurry up and wait side of publishing. There are deadlines you have to speed up to make, and then, there's usually a nice long wait to see what the editor says. That part's hard.

*What are some of your hobbies, interests? Tell us a little-known fact about yourself that readers may not know.

My birthday is on Halloween, so I'm a spook baby. It has its good point and its bad point. On one hand, my husband can never forget my birthday; on the other, I've spent most of my life trick-or-treating or taking my kids trick-or-treating.

Even though Making Waves has a lot of sailing in it, readers might be surprised to know that I've never sailed before even though I'd love to. I read "Sailing for Dummies" and several other sailing books when writing Making Waves. I also had help from a sailing writing friend to make sure I got the information correct.

In college, I was once stopped for armed robbery. Apparently, the getaway car used in a bank robbery matched my enormous '73 Dodge Polara. As I traveled through Kansas on my way home from college for Christmas, the highway patrol pulled me over and approached with their guns drawn. They let me go, but were surprised there were two cars like mine still on the road.

Thanks so much, Lorna, for taking time to be a part of my blog. May God bless your writing endeavors and your readers as they read your book!

A copy of Making Waves will go to one reader here, announced next Friday, September 10th. I've rolled the names over from the other book drawings to this one. But please feel free to leave a comment for Lorna. Bless you all!