Monday, February 28, 2011

knitting and kindles

It's snowing here this morning, a wonderful prelude to March. I never mind, even this late. We've had snow as late as May:) There's something about all that white stuff that always puts me in a romantic mood and makes me want to write a snow scene. Since it's late spring in my novel, no sneaking one in this time.

All this winter weather makes me want to sit by the fire and knit:) If I had a beautiful basket like this I'd dive right in. I've been doing a lot of researching and reading instead. Am nearly finished with Tamera Alexander's Within My Heart ~ and counting down till Mine is the Night by Liz Curtis Higg's is released. 15 more days!

We moved my last bookcase into my little library this weekend and guess what? I still have more books than shelves:) My only recourse is to think more seriously about an e-reader. Or stop buying books! I wandered over to Amazon and looked up Kindles only to become bewildered at all the choices. Being somewhat old-fashioned, it's hard for me to make the leap when I love the feel of a book in hand. My missionary brother, however, values his as he can't transport books all over the field and it works very well for travel.

I'd love to know if you own a Kindle or some other device. Any likes or dislikes? If you don't own an e-reader, mind sharing why here? I bet your hesitation mirrors my own. But I'd love for you to change my mind!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

a romantic discussion...

Recently I've been contacted by some bloggers and book clubs who are discussing Courting Morrow Little. So I thought I'd post the discussion questions that I created for the novel here. I sometimes wonder if anyone reads discussion questions? They seem to be a secret if they're not printed in the back of the book itself.

Here's the link if you want to take a peek: Faithful Reader. If nothing else, it's an interesting (I hope) look at what went on inside my head and heart while writing. You'll find question/reader guides for The Frontiersman's Daughter, too.

Amber, over at her savvy Seasons of Humility blog, is hosting a discussion of Courting Morrow Little tomorrow, Friday, February 25. I'm not sure what Amber is cooking up over there but it's sure to be creative:)

I thought it would be fun to honor book clubs, bloggers, and discussion questions by giving away an Amazon gift card ($25.00) in a drawing for those who join in over there or want to leave a comment here. Winner will be announced here next Friday, March 4. Happy reading - and discussing, Amber and friends ~ and all those who've contacted me!

Writing is the supreme solace. ~Maugham

All writing comes by the grace of God. ~Emerson

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

the key

We are able to have as much of God as we want. Christ puts the key to His treasure chest in our hands and invites us to take all that we desire. If someone is allowed into a bank vault, told to help himself to the money, and leaves without one cent, whose fault is it if he remains poor? And whose fault is it that Christians usually have such meagre portions of the free riches of God?

~Alexander Maclaren (1826-1910)

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. ~Matthew 6:21

I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food. ~Job 23:12

Your word I have treasured in my heat, that I may not sin against You. ~Psalm 119:11

Monday, February 21, 2011

why not ask your readers?

Yesterday I was sitting in church listening to the music before the service started and was thinking of my current conundrum in my new series. I've been reading over the manuscript of book one in The Ballantyne Legacy the last few days, trying to get a handle on the spiritual threads in the novel before moving forward and typing THE END. It's far easier to rectify things mid-book than having to rewrite 400 pages when done. Work smarter, not harder, has become my new motto:) Anyway, I'm sitting there shivering in the cold pew when a little light comes on...why not ask your readers? So...

One of my main characters is a young woman of twenty who lives in rural Pennsylvania in 1785. Her autocratic father, a former Quaker, was read out of Quaker meeting years before due to a transgression and has since turned his back on God. He won't allow his daughter to attend church and allows no prayers to be said even at table. There is no Bible in the home. Therefore, this young woman has NO knowledge of spiritual things. Yet she has a hunger and thirst for Him.

Since I was raised in the church it's hard for me to identify with this character on a spiritual level. I know some of you came to Christ later in life. Do you remember what that was like? What drew you to Him? How did you pray - if you did - before you knew Him? What was your understanding of God like? How do you think someone like this character of mine might respond to God given her situation? How would she even know who or what to pray to?

I'd love to know your thoughts...

*The painting above is compliments of Meadow Gist, the artist who made my 18th-century gown. She has a gallery and blog and is busy bringing more amazing historical details to life!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Lady in the Mist

Our winner of Lady in the Mist by Laurie Alice Eakes is...


Happy reading, Amanda! Please confirm your snail mail address at and I'll mail the book and a bookmark out to you:).

Hope you'll join me here next week as I post about my latest "underpinnings" for my 18th-century wardrobe. I'd also love to give away an Amazon gift card and host a discussion about book clubs and discussion questions. Till then...

Bless you all!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

beautiful door

Whenever you are in doubt as to which way to turn, submit your judgment to the Spirit of God, asking Him to shut every door but the right one. Say to Him, "Blessed Spirit, I give to You the entire responsibility of closing every road and stopping every step that is not of God. Let me hear Your voice behind me whenever I 'turn aside to the right or to the left' (Deut.5:32).

In the meantime, continue along the path you have already been traveling. Persist in your calling until you are clearly told to do something else. Just be careful to obey even His smallest nudging or warning. Then after you have prayed the prayer of faith and there are no apparent hindrances, go forward with a confident heart.

~F.B. Meyer

Monday, February 14, 2011

dear diary

Do you keep a diary or journal? Have you ever? Recently my mom uncovered a big box of my old diaries she'd found in my granny's attic. They've been gathering dust beneath those old rafters for a very long time. The other day I decided to take a peek and revisit them. I was amazed at how much I talked about writing...

April 20, 1971
Got a diary for my birthday! I LOVE to write!

December 12, 1975
Writing poems. Teacher says I have a remarkable writing style. Remarkably good or remarkably bad? I'd like to publish a book someday. But will God let it happen?

November 8, 1980
Working on another novel. College keeps getting in the way.

July 26, 1986
Characters and coversations keep running round my head. All I want to do is write. Not eat. Not sleep. Not work. Just write, write, write!

Seems like when I wasn't writing about writing I made detailed lists of all that we ate back then. Here's a sample from one of my granny's every day suppers at the height of summer when the garden was in - roast pork, fried crookneck squash, okra, green beans with potatoes, coleslaw, kale, tomatoes, pickled beets, deviled eggs, cornbread. This is one meal, folks. Can you tell we're in Kentucky? And I haven't even gotten to dessert:)

On a more serious note, I always discover a trove of historical treasure by reading old diaries and letters which is of benefit to my books. Though the spelling is irregular and the handwriting a challenge, it's worth every minute. Here are a few of my favorites:

George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John and Abigail Adams
Martha Ballard (18th-century New England midwife)
Michael Shiner (19th-century slave who rescued his wife and children from slave traders in Virginia)
William Bulkeley (18th-century Welshman who writes of everything from the weather to his daughter marrying a pirate - I'm still trying to get my hands on this one)
Lucy Maud Montgomery (author of Ann of Green Gables and other novels)

I'd love to hear about any journaling historical figures I've overlooked. I'm sure there are plenty so please name away:)

*Please leave a comment for Lady in the Mist giveaway on Friday!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

happy valentine's day...almost!

I wanted to wish you all a happy heart day and hope it truly is one! Today I'm over at our dear friend Renee's blog answering some romantic questions and hope you'll join us. She's giving away some books and I'd love to talk with you there...

Also, author friend Jamie Carie has a very romantic trailer for you here that I hope you'll enjoy. I've often wanted to do one for my books and seeing this has just about convinced me:)

Here's some romantic prose from a novel that I heard Richard Armitage (aka John Thornton) quote recently. When I picked myself up off the floor, I wrote it down:

At home by the fire, whenever I look up, there you will be. And whenever you look up, there I shall be. ~Gabriel Oak, Far From the Madding Crowd

What are you doing this Valentine's Day? If you tell me, I'll tell you:)
Just hop on over to Renee's and join us. Also, please check in for my next post as I'll be giving away a new copy of Lady in the Mist by Laurie Alice Eakes. Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

our focus

I have a wonderful and terrible truth for you. We become like the object of our focus. If our focus is our needs, we become more needy. If our focus is on the harm others have done to us, we become harmful and angry people. If our focus is on material things, we become grasping and greedy. And, praise God, if our focus is on Christ, we become more and more like Him.
~Beth Moore

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith...
Hebrews 12:2

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

dress, shoes, stays...oh my!

I thought I'd take you along on my 18th-century adventure as I get dressed for the book launch of The Colonel's Lady in August. My gown is hanging in my closet and now I need a few "accessories" to look the part. Since I'm watching my shillings, so to speak, I'm shopping for one item a month and will post about each one when I find it. It's kind of like a treasure hunt. No running to Nordstrom or JC Penney, that's for sure!

It's long been a dream of mine to own a reproduction 18th-century gown. I found one last October for a reasonable price made by a colonial artist. The gown divinely dropped into my lap, or so it seemed:) One of those little delight my heart moments from above. I've been thanking Him ever since! If you ever want a hands-on history lesson, try dressing as your heroine!

Here at right is my first accessory. What one earth? you may be thinking! It just arrived and I'm loving it. I tried it on right away and it fit:) Any guesses as to what it is? No, it's not a purse... You can't see it in this picture but the fabric is pink and white striped and very feminine looking and feeling.

Next up is a shift and then stays. The stays have to be special made by a stays maker just like long ago. Then there are the garters, stockings, and shoes. Interestingly enough, I don't have to worry about underwear. Colonial ladies didn't wear any:)

Here is my dear friend, Mary, and her husband, Adam, before a recent Twelfth Night ball. They live in New Hampshire in a very old, very beautiful house. They're antique dealers and 18th-century reenactors. It's been so fun to follow them on their adventures as they live a very full life, doing historical presentations for The Mayflower Society and other historic venues.

I've purchased two items from Mary's offerings page on her website - take a peek! You might see something that warms your historical heart:)

Their next historical presentation is February 24th at the Berwick Academy in South Berwick, Maine and is titled "Dressing a Colonial Lady." I'd give anything to be there!

Fortunately, Mary has kindly given of her time and expertise to help me dress for my own event. I couldn't do it without her!

If you could pick a century, which time period appeals to you most as far as women's dress? I think you know my preference!