Sunday, November 28, 2010

a colonial christmas

Thanksgiving and all that snow are now history! And I'm dreaming of a colonial Christmas like the one in this quaint painting. Only colonials didn't do trees:) Hope your Thanksgiving was full of all the unexpected blessings that HE is so adept at bestowing.

Ours was quite festive with a foot of snow. Wyatt turned 14 and enjoyed the chocolate and coconut cream pies I made. Randy and the boys took a walk in the woods and chopped down a twelve foot Noble Fir for the deck. I scribbled a couple of new scenes for book one of The Ballantyne Legacy and listened to Paul fiddle some holiday tunes. And now I'm packing my bags again...

Soon I'll be winging my way to Kentucky and Tennessee for a family reunion in the Smoky Mountains. So I've decided to take the month of December off here on the blog for family time. The last two years I've had to work over the holidays as I've gotten my galleys for TFD and CML in December. Believe me, hearing word that they'll arrive in January this time is the best Christmas present ever!

I'm already looking forward to coming back in January and hearing what you've been up to! For now, I'd love to know how the weather is in your neck of the woods, if you're decorating, and what's cooking in your kitchen:) Or maybe what's on your Christmas wish list? Mine is rather simple - a bread machine and a soup/bread cookbook...

Christmas began in the heart of God. It is complete only when it reaches the heart of man. ~anon

Thursday, November 25, 2010

thanksgiving

Come, Lord Jesus, our guest to be,
And bless these gifts
Bestowed by Thee.
And bless our loved ones everywhere,
And keep them in your loving care.

Amen

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

writing about writing

I'm writing about writing today over at Keli Gwyn's blog and giving away a craft book. Keli has two unique blogs and I'm guesting for her "Wordsmithing on Wednesdays" feature. Since I rarely write about writing, I'd love to see you there whether you're a writer or not:) So please come over and meet Keli and leave a comment. We'll all be blessed! Keli is also giving away 2 copies of my books so hope to see you there!

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~William Wordsworth

I'm not a very good writer, but I'm an excellent rewriter. ~James Michener

Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.
~Anton Chekov

Giveaway winnter for The Christian Girl's Guide to Style is Margaret C.! Just email your addy to me at lauran@tfon. com and I'll mail that right out!

Monday, November 22, 2010

snow!

It's snowing wildly this morning! Actually it began yesterday and made our Sunday very special. We went on a drive and watched cars slide into ditches, kids making snowmen, people putting up holiday lights and everyone (?) enjoying a generous dusting of white.

In my fictional world, I love snow:) I even wrote a snow scene for the epilogue of The Colonel's Lady. I could almost smell the gingerbread baking and the pungent greenery twisted around the stair rail with ribbon and all those bayberry candles melting in tin holders.

As Madeleine L'Engle said, I leave chronos (real time/clock time) and enter kairos (God's timelessness) when I write. Today is a good writing day with a big fire in the fireplace and white woods outside my windows.

Since it will be crazy busy starting Wednesday, I have to make the most of it. I'll be fixing a 20 pound turkey, cornbread stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, cranberries, deviled eggs, rolls, chocolate cream pie... I don't think the menu varies much across America:) My neighbors, however, shun turkey and always have lasagna! Thanksgiving always means a lot to me since Wyatt was my Thanksgiving baby. And we always put up a Christmas tree on our deck with lots of lights to start the holiday season. In all this snow it will be a beautiful sight!

I'd love to know what you're doing for Thanksgiving this week. Do you have any special traditions? Foods? Is it a quiet day or one filled with traveling, family, and friends?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

cover love


Book covers are like candy to me:) I've just discovered these and wanted to share them here. The artwork always amazes me! Since I'm more a Martha than a Mary, I like her expression here and the bread basket in her hands. And Bathsheba looks like she has something up her sleeve... Love the title "Hidden Affections" as it's somewhat mysterious. And I'm always so happy to see new authors like Elizabeth Camden. What a lovely debut cover! I'm about to read my first Dale Cramer book and know it won't be my last. He's known for his beautiful narrative among other things. And it's wonderful to have Kathleen Morgan back after a writing hiatus! She has many fans and the blurb for this new western is so intriguing. You'll just have to go to Amazon or the Revell book site and peek!

Right now I'm reading Lorna Seilstad's galleys for A Great Catch. Go ahead, eat your heart out:) Washington, A Life by Ron Chernow keeps me up late by the fire these rainy nights. And I've fallen in love with a new devotional-type book called The Sheep of His Hand: Reflections on the Psalms from a 21st Century Shepherd by Suzanne Davenport Tietjen. I've been doing a lot of reading in the CBA and will start Nancy Moser's newest soon.

So...what are you reading this week?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

style with Sherry Kyle and a giveaway!

This book is so bright and appealing I always smile when I see it. And its creator, Sherry Kyle, is just as endearing:) It's a joy to have her here today. I thought you'd like a look at the inspiration behind the pages of this very needed, unique book.

Sherry, tell us about your journey to publication...

When my daughter, Brittany, was in 1st grade, she asked me to help her write a story about how her younger sister became part of our family through adoption. I had taken a children's writing course through the Institute of Children's Literature and knew the basics of crafting a picture book, so I sat down with my daughter and we wrote My Special Someone, complete with illustrations. At that time, a woman in our church who ran an adoption business was also taking a publishing course at the local college. We connected and she offered to publish our little children's story. It is now out of print, but you can see the cover on my website.

What prompted you to write The Christian Girl's Guide to Style?

The Christian Girl's Guide to Style is one of a series of books from Legacy Press. I had purchased a couple of other other Girl's Guides books for my daughters and they loved them. All the books have fun quizzes, crafts, and stories that point 8-12 year old girls toward who they are in Christ. As a writer and mom, I wanted to write a book about a topic that I not only enjoyed talking about, but also saw a need in the children's market - learning to be stylish inside and out!

As we know, girls are bombarded every day with clothes, fashion, and trying to fit in. As I searched my Bible, I came across Colossians 3:12-17: "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the father through him." These verses were the blueprint for my book.

What do you hope is the takeaway value of your book?

Each girl is special and unique with her own personal style. But more importantly, true beauty starts on the inside.

Please tell us about your novel coming out in April, 2011...

Delivered with Love is a contemporary novel about a young woman who discovers an old love letter in the glove compartment of her late mother's VW bug. Claire drives up the coast to the town of the sender and searches for him, only to discover he's not what she imagined. You can watch my book trailer here

Favorite Scripture? Snack food while writing? Best writing advice?

My favorite Scripture is Jeremiah 29:11. "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

I usually need something to drink while I'm at the computer, whether it be coffee, tea, or a Sobe water. If I snack at all, it's usually a piece of dark chocolate. Every once in a while, I like to make a bag of my own trail mix - Honeynut Cheerios, some nuts, pretzels, raisins, and dark chocolate chips.

The best writing advice I can offer is to learn the craft. Go to a writer's conference or take classes. Oh, and don't forget to have fun!

Please leave a comment for Sherry and enter to win a copy of this wonderful book. Winner announced Wednesday, November 24th:) This book would also make a great Christmas gift, birthday gift, or anytime gift. Thanks so much, Sherry!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

somewhere it's spring...

It's springtime in my novel - the first book of The Ballantyne Legacy. Somehow that helps as I move into winter with all its raining, blowing, and cold. I do love sitting by the fire and writing. I hope you'll like this next story. It's certainly full of interesting twists and turns. And a hero I'm dying for you to meet:)

Thanks to Heather here, I've discovered a new historical site. It's The Country Diary of a New England living history reenactor, and a love story. Heather always finds the most delightful places on the web despite being so busy with her family and her art. I wanted to tell those of you with history-loving hearts like mine.

Isn't this dress and hat lovely? And the way her hair is done up like that, with those curls spiraling down the back. So feminine and romantic! Speaking of spring, I'm always wondering if heaven will have seasons ~ and which ones...


Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting, and autumn a mosaic of them all.
~Stanley Horowitz

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

once upon a time...

Once upon a time there was a Kentucky girl who fell in love with her dark-haired hero in Washington State...

Thus begins my own story:) Only I want to hear yours! Thanks to Sylvia, a dear reading friend and blog buddy who suggested this post, I guess I'll go first. This photo looks so old to me though it's only been sixteen or so sweet years. Randy is a little grayer and heavier and I'm... Well, nuff said!

He really is my hero. And only God could have brought us together because it's such an unlikely match. But He knows our hearts and where He wants us, including who he wants us to end up with. And sometimes His best plan is for us to stay solo. I nearly did.

I was fresh out of college and waitressing at Lake Crescent Lodge in Washington State one summer. Randy was working across the lake at Log Cabin Resort in the boat house (sounds like a Lorna Seilstad novel!) but strangely, we never crossed paths. I finished my stint at Lake Crescent and thought I might need to stay a little longer before returning to Kentucky. So I applied for a job at the local rural school. Lo and behold, I met Randy who hadn't graduated yet. He was a little young and not nearly as tall as I liked, but there was a genuineness and humility about him that I loved. Since I worked with elementary students as a teaching assistant, he would stand with me on the playground during recess duty and talk to me. And soon it didn't matter that he was sorta short and rural and had been to Kentucky only once. For two years we simply stood and talked on the playground. No kidding! It was the longest, strangest courtship that wasn't a courtship I've ever experienced.

And then he graduated and I decided to return to Kentucky. Only I decided I really liked Washington and wanted to get a post-graduate degree first. So I left his vicinity for 7 years. No phone calls. No letters. Nada. Zip. Nothing. I'd convinced myself that he was too young. Too unworldy. Too short. Not educated enough. He didn't even like to read!

But God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7.

At the end of that seven year silence something strange happened. I decided it was past time to return to Kentucky. And he, at this very same time, contacted an old friend of mine, got my address, and wrote me a letter. A love letter. His first and only. He wanted to marry me, you see. So there you have the rest of our story:)

I'd love to hear about your romance ~ or that of your parents or grandparents. Or visit author friend, Shannon Vannatter's wonderful blog where she highlights true love stories of authors and writers! I'm so thankful God is the author of romance, whether in real life or in books:).

Wednesday, November 3, 2010