Friday, February 26, 2010

faith and fiction on fire

Today I'm a guest at Pepper Basham's wonderful blog, Faith and Fiction on Fire, and will be giving away a signed copy of Courting Morrow Little upon its release in June. So if you'd like to be in the running, please pop over and comment. Pepper is a gifted writer herself and has one of the best blogs out there. She's been spotlighting authors recently, asking Liz Curtis Higgs and Kaye Dacus and others the very interesting question of what makes a good kiss come alive in the pages of a book. So hope to see you there! Happy Friday:)

The link is being stubborn so...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

celebrating covers...and friends

I think the next best thing to seeing your own book cover for the first time is seeing that of a friend. In this case, three friends! I've been waiting and wondering when they'd be posted and today was the day. So I thought I'd share them with you. One of the best parts of the writing journey is making writing friends. And showcasing Revell's amazing art team.

I met Sarah at ACFW in Denver last year and we attended a workshop together. She's a pharmacist and author - interesting combo! When I met her I told her she looks just like Sissy Spacek (an actress). She said she's heard that before:) Her passion is WWII. She knows a great deal about bombers and soldiers and rations and things I don't. And she's getting great reviews. Her first novel, A Distant Melody, debuts March 1. She lives in California and is a busy wife and mom.

Lorna called me yesterday to chat and start making plans for a retreat we'll both be attending in October. I snagged her as a roomie right away as she's so much fun. I met her in Denver, too. I've heard through the grapevine that she writes very witty, highly entertaining books. She's a former English teacher and lives in Iowa which is the setting for her lake series. Making Waves debuts September 1st and I can't wait!

Last but not least is Julie Lessman. Her cover girl reminds me of Julie herself. Sassy and chic, but sweet! Plus she has a huge gift for making friends. She reached out to me, a newbie, and has been such an encouragement. Publishing can be a bewildering, lonesome place at times and Julie has been there for me. This will be her fourth novel for Revell and it's releasing this fall. I call her the Queen of Romance and her other covers (and the pages in between) are just as captivating:)

At the risk of gushing, I'll let these authors and their covers speak for themselves!

Happy reading:)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

sweet strings

Some days are so memorable you simply want to repeat them:) This weekend was among them. Throw in a little fiddle music, a lot of sunshine, an amazing view, a good book, ice cream, my Mom, lunch out, and you have all the makings of a fine day. I call these times green pastures and still waters and always think of Psalm 23. And true to Scripture, I come away feeling like He's 'restored my soul.'

Paul had a fiddling gig an hour away at Sequim Bay and this is the view from the old hall they were playing in. Lots of Irish and Scottish jigs and reels and then Paul played the old Civil War tune, The Girl I Left Behind Me, and Britches Full of Stitches. I must admit I had trouble keeping my mind on the music:) Everything was so golden and blue and green and beautiful all around us.

I could almost forgive rainy Washington everything today! I did do a little writing, a little research, and a lot of dreaming. And guess what? There's a fiddler in my fourth book:)

Have you had any green pastures and still waters experiences lately?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Are you carrying a heavy load? Lately so many of my friends have asked for prayer as they wrestle with hard things - illness, upheaval, moving, migraines, divorce, injury, rejection, discontent, waiting, etc. Life is so unpredictable! You're doing well one day and down the next.

Last fall I landed in the E.R. for the first time ever with a stomach ailment. Numerous tests and many, many dollars later, I was discharged without a diagnosis. My little Oriental nurse said to me at one point, "Stress?" I'd just had a book deadline and simply said, "Good stress." She smiled and shook her head and replied, "Still stress." I was wishing I had one of Lael's remedies - some ginseng or sassafras tea or something:)

Sometimes I feel like I'm just waiting for something else to slow me down and upset my carefully-made plans. I don't like emergency rooms! Yet I'm finding they're all a part of God's plan. Recently I've been reading some Andrew Murray (love those Scotsmen!). He wrote the following, probably from a few white knuckle experiences of his own:

In time of trouble say,
First, He brought me here. It is by His will I am in this place: in that will I rest.
Next, He will keep me in His love and give me grace in this trial to behave as His child.
Then He will make the trial a blessing, teaching me the lessons He means for me to learn, and working in me the grace He intends for me.
Last, in His good time, He can bring me out again, how and when only He knows.
Say, I am here:
By God's appointment,
In God's keeping,
Under his training,
For His time.

~from Humility

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

texas roads

What if you'd written the book of your heart, finaled in the 2009 Genesis contest, was on the verge of publication with two publishers, and decided not to pursue that path, after all? Amazing, huh? Then you must meet Cathy Bryant. When I first heard Cathy's story and learned of her book, Texas Roads, I was very intrigued. Her novel is now available as an e-book and she's busy writing another.

Today I'm Cathy's guest over at her Word Vessel blog. But this isn't about me, it's really about Cathy. I was so moved by her blog post on 12/21/2009 entitled Writing for Him (Novel Update) that I contacted her and told her so. She has a wonderful ministry that really is all about Him and promoting His truth through Christian fiction. She interviews authors and has book giveaways nearly every day.

If you have a few minutes, please stop by and meet Cathy and read her inspiring story. It's what good novels are made of!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

book of my heart

I love this old book with the little locked heart on the cover. I've often referred to The Frontiersman's Daughter as the book of my heart. I think it always will be, though I am very fond of Courting Morrow Little. A book simply must have HEART.

The last few days I've been reading through the pages for CML which is just a loose leaf copy of the book before it goes to print. It really is a joy to sit in silence with those book pages (only 362 as opposed to TFD's 412!) and see how it reads, though I envy those of you who come to a book fresh.

By this stage I've been over the book so many times it has the feel of stale bread:) I'm not complaining, mind you! I still have those favorite sentences and scenes that I race to get to and then savor once I'm there. And I hope you'll do the same. There's no such thing as the dreaded sagging middle - not in this book, anyway! Though there are always spots a perfectionist sees that might have been better. I wonder if artists feel this way? Do they stand back from a painting and see things they wish they'd changed? I know musicians do this. When Paul fiddles onstage he sometimes wishes things had sounded a bit differently.

I didn't do an acknowledgements page this time but do like my dedication. After the title page and publishing credits the dedication is simply "a few sparse words dropped into those preliminary white pages, poetic in their brevity." One of the best parts of writing a book is deciding who to dedicate the book to. Before I was published I used to dream most about book covers and dedications. Do you remember (without looking!) who I dedicated The Frontiersman's Daughter to?

If you were to write a book who would you dedicate it to?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

a most beautiful love letter

A week before the Battle of Bull Run, Sullivan Ballou, a Major in the 2nd Rhode Island Volunteers, wrote home to his wife in Smithfield.


July 14, 1861 Camp Clark, Washington DC

Dear Sarah:

The indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days - perhaps tomorrow. And lest I should not be able to write you again I feel impelled to write a few lines that may fall under your eye when I am no more.

I have no misgivings about, or lack of confidence in the cause in which I am now engaged, and my courage does not halt or falter. I know how American Civilization now leans upon the triumph of the government and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood and suffering of the Revolution. And I am willing - perfectly willing - to lay down all my joys in this life, to help maintain this government, and to pay that debt.

Sarah, my love for you is deathless, it seems to bind me with mighty cables that nothing but omnipotence can break; and yet my love of Country comes over me like a strong wind and bears me irresistibly with all those chains to the battlefield.

The memory of all the blissful moments I have enjoyed with you come crowding over me, and I feel most deeply grateful to God and you, that I have enjoyed them for so long. And how hard it is for me to give them up and burn to ashes the hopes and future years, when, God willing, we might still have lived and loved together, and see our boys grown up to honorable manhood around us.

If I do not return, my dear Sarah, never forget how much I love you, nor that when my last breath escapes me on the battle field, it will whisper your name...

Forgive my many faults, and the many pains I have caused you. How thoughtless, how foolish I have sometimes been!

But, O Sarah, if the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they love, I shall always be with you, in the brightest day and in the darkest night...always, always. And when the soft breeze fans your cheek, it shall be my breath, or the cool air your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by.

Sarah do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait for me, for we shall meet again...


Sullivan Ballou was killed a week later at the 1st Battle of Bull Run.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

meet martha

Sometimes a book falls into my lap and I feel it's God's gift to me. This is one of them. It's straight out of the 18th-century and filled with historical tidbits that whisk me away. Ever think of George Washington's wife as anything but the mother of our country - old, dowdy, and gray? Well, look again!

When I saw this book, the first thing that struck me was the cover. Here is a lovely woman in a sumptuous dress looking decidedly unMartha-like. How did they do that?! To achieve it, the LSU forensics team took a later portrait of Martha Washington, age-regressed it 25 years via computer, then gave the image to an artist who painted this portrait. The painting is now at Mount Vernon, the Washington's Virginia estate. Small wonder George rode up to this young widow's house, introduced himself, and "the attraction was mutual, powerful, and immediate."

At almost 6 feet 4 inches and a hero of the French and Indian war, George was no slouch himself. Suffice it to say that theirs was one of the most enduring love stories of the 18th-century. Both Martha and George were devout Christians who fashioned their lives around their faith.

What historical figures intrigue you the most? Which time period are you drawn to?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

boys and books

Here are my boys. Wyatt is on the left and my little fiddler, Paul, has put down his violin and is into that milkshake on the right. After writing about them earlier this week I thought I'd show you a picture. They are the delight of my heart. Yep, better than a book any day:)

But speaking of books... My TBR stack is toppling. I really need some bookshelves but baskets suffice for now. Here's a peek into my mailbox this week:

Finishing Becca by Ann Rinaldi
Affectionately Yours, George Washington (letters)
The Duke's Redemption by Carla Capshaw
Costume Close-Up by Linda Baumgarten

I've never read a Love Inspired historical before and found The Duke's Redemption at Wal-Mart today. The price is certainly right and the cover is quite romantic. Plus it's set in my favorite century - the 18th.

What are you reading right now? Fiction? Non-fiction? A bit of both? I'd love to know!

Monday, February 1, 2010

real life

Happy February! I must confess I'm never sad to see January go as it is my least favorite month. Now that we're creeping toward spring I feel a lightness in my spirit and maybe you do, too. Our Wal-Mart is even stocking early spring flowers! Besides books, flowers are my other passion. But lately it's just books, books, books.

Some of you may be wondering if I'm still married and have children, if we still homeschool, and if we're as heavy into the violin/fiddle as we used to be, etc:-). All that seems to have taken a backseat to the book biz lately, at least on this blog. So I thought I'd take a couple of minutes to catch you up. I really do have a real life vs. a writing life. Here's proof...

This weekend both my boys, bless them, decided to come down with stomach flu. So I had to switch hats fast and play nurse. And I'm not a good nurse! Anybody else wonder why stomach bugs always bite in the middle of the night? Believe me, I wanted to fly away to my imaginary world more than ever. But they're much better today. Other than that, things are humming along. I'm down to only homeschooling my 10 year old, Paul, as he's my fiddler and that's a big part of our day. Wyatt (13) has survived 5 months of public school/7th grade after being at home for his elementary years. His only complaint is the homework. Homeschoolers just don't have homework, at least not in our house!

We're pretty excited as my mom is flying in from Kentucky this weekend and will be with us 2 weeks. We get to stuff her with salmon and Starbucks and make her rainproof. She hasn't seen my boys for a whole year - the longest separation ever.

On the publishing front, I'm expecting a big shipment of bookmarks and postcards for Courting Morrow Little soon. If you'd like either, please send me your snail mail address (I have many of yours already) and I'll be happy to mail them out to you this spring. You can leave a comment here or at Since I love bookmarks, I can never have too many. And my publisher makes the most beautiful bookmarks!

Are you sorry to see January go? Anything fun happening in February for you? Or beyond?