Wednesday, February 29, 2012

tea with george

My favorite February memory, now that we're rolling into March, was having tea with George Washington on his birthday at the replica of Mt. Vernon  here in the Pacific Northwest. The George Washington Inn sits on a bluff overlooking the ocean. This beautiful place makes me feel at rest whenever I go there. Surrounding the inn are lavender fields and there's a snowy mountain view from the front porch.
 Here's my dear mom and George, friend and reenactor, Vern Frykholm. I met Vern and his wife, Sandy, on the Philadelphia tour we took last summer. They're history lovers like myself and he did a stellar job as George! The suit he is wearing is a reproduction of  the one worn by Washington at his inauguration. Love that cravat!
 The tea was delightful in every way! Love the blue decorations and the little flags - and the menu!
 On the veranda overlooking the ocean. The sun was shining and there was a double rainbow in the sky that day. Truly a sight to behold!
I was chuckling as I looked back at February and thought of some not-so-memorable things that happened that the cynic in me would love to post about, lest it seem a writer's life is all tea parties and rainbows;) But since the new year rolled around I keep bumping into Scripture that challenges me to dwell on what is  good and praiseworthy. Two verses come to mind often...

Be of good cheer. ~Acts 27:22 (KJV)
In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
~1 Thessalonians 5:18 (God's Word Translation)

Do you have a favorite February memory if you overlook the bumps? Looking forward to something in March? 

Monday, February 27, 2012

He is...

The LORD is my shepherd.
~Psalm 23:1

Not was, not may be, nor will be. "The Lord is my shepherd." 

He is on Sunday, on Monday, and through every day of the week. He is in January, in December, and every month of the year. He is when I'm at home and in China. He is during peace or war, and in times of abundance or poverty.

~J. Hudson Taylor
Missionary to China

Monday, February 20, 2012

knitting, galleys, and whatnot

Wow - so good to be back with you:) A lot can happen in 3 weeks or so ~ or maybe I should say a lot didn't happen ~ when it comes to book covers, anyway!

The galleys are in and I so appreciate your prayers. They were powerful and effective! Strangely, I wasn't weary of this story as I've been in the past during galleys. A good sign, I hope. Maybe it was getting that cover the day before that helped. But honestly, I think it was your prayers:)

So what are galleys? Before publishing, I used to wonder myself. I thought they sounded kind of romantic. Galleys are simply the author's last chance to make significant changes to the story before it is turned into book pages. When the pages arrive by FedEx in a few weeks, only a few tweaks are allowed. If an author makes too many at the pages stage they can be charged for them. So the galleys are a wonderful chance to make the story shine.

This time I worked on ferreting out pet words (glint, shadows, fierce, venomous, pinned, etc.), rechecked maps and distances, reviewed foreign terms, re-watched videos on spinning and weaving, verified trees, shrubs, and flowers. I also consulted a fisheries expert about a tricky river/fisheries issue in Pennsylvania. I read the manuscript over and over (no, not every author does this but compulsive ones do) to make sure it flows. Good writing has a certain rhythm and I can tell when the manuscript has been changed, even if it's one word. Sometimes I change it back! Thankfully this doesn't happen often. My editors, bless them, are always watching word count yet are very respectful of my writing. They ask interesting questions at this stage regarding historical content and the story's timeline, etc. It really is something like a history test. I don't do any other reading or writing during galleys so ended up missing the next book I'm working on very much. But now I'm back to those characters and smiling:)

While working on galleys, I took my mom to a "knit-a-long" a few afternoons. We both ended up learning how to knit. Let me tell you, the first session did not sing. After 2 hours I looked down at my lap and my efforts resembled something the cat had coughed up - a giant hairball! Thank heavens for second chances. It actually clicked the next lesson and the teacher didn't have to unravel everything. I still have a loooong way to go and Roxanna Rowan would laugh at my pathetic attempts but I now feel knitting is downright addicting! So far I'm working on a hat in "misty green" and also a scarf with that wild chunky yarn. Sadly, I don't have a lot of time and this new diversion could well woo me away from writing. Mom is doing great, by the way, and has nearly finished a hat:)

Last but not least, what is up with elusive book covers?!?! I was sure we'd have it by now but no... Some of you master sleuths are still looking. Please don't stop! I'm getting pretty lonely keeping the joy all to myself. I did get a peek at Julie Lessman's latest and it's very well done:) And I know Sarah Sundin's will be beautiful, too, when it appears. We 3 are releasing the same month come September...

Anyway, I'm so very grateful for your prayers and encouragement since I took a brief hiatus! And I'd love to know what you've been doing the past 3 weeks - and if you knit!?!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Tis a Writer's life for me! - Chapter endings!

Cross and Cutlass: Tis a Writer's life for me! - Chapter endings!: I love writing chapter endings! Yes, I know I'm weird. Most writers have great difficulty closing out a chapter with something exciting and...

Wise words from MaryLu! I'll resume regular posting on Monday with news on the galleys for Love's Reckoning and that elusive book cover and hope to see you then!

Have a blessed weekend!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

a Scottish Psalm

In Love's Reckoning, I make use of Scottish Scripture and have been using a Scottish Bible loaned to me by my pastor's wife. This beloved book is a family heirloom over 150 years old. The Psalms therein are written in meter/rhyme which make for the most wonderful reading.

I've always been smitten with lambs and shepherds and the imagery used in the 23rd Psalm. If you take a look at the lamb here you'll understand why:) No doubt this particular Psalm is one of the most beloved in any language.

The Lord's my shepherd, I'll not want. 
He makes me down to lie:
In pastures green: He leadeth me
the quiet waters by.

My soul He doth restore again;
and me to walk doth make
Within the paths of righteousness,
ev'n for His own name's sake.

Yea, though I walk in death's dark vale,
Yet will I fear none ill:
For thou art with me; and thy rod
and staff me comfort still.

My table Thou hast furnished
in presence of my foes;
My head Thou dost with oil annoint,
and my cup overflows.

Goodness and mercy all my life
shall surely follow me:
And in God's house for evermore
My dwelling-place shall be.

23rd Psalm of David in metre,
Church of Scotland Hymnary

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Valentine's Day celebration!

Please join in for a Valentine's celebration with giveaways of chocolate and good books by Julie Klassen, Kelly Long, Susan Craft, Julie Lessman, moi, and more! We'd love to see you at Carrie's blog any day this week ~ or every day!

Happy heart day to you and yours!

Friday, February 10, 2012

cover love...

Just wanted to celebrate these new covers with author friends Jamie and Anne! They'll release this year and they're quite stunning! More covers to come...
Happy Friday!

Monday, February 6, 2012

still looking:)

My brother sent me this little photo montage today. Fun to see the books lined up beside each other and note the differences/similarities and how cover art changes over time. I'm sure each of you have favorite covers, mine and others. I just wanted to encourage you to keep looking for that elusive Love's Reckoning! I sure am!  And by the way, Chris listed the release date above just to tease, I think;) The book actually won't release till August/September. 
Be back soon!

Friday, February 3, 2012

He giveth quietness. (Job 34:29)

"He giveth quietness" - quietness even in the midst of losing our inner strength and comforts. Sometimes he removes these because we make too much of them. We are tempted to look at our joys, pleasures, passions, or our dreams, with too much self-satisfaction. Then through His gracious love He withdraws them, leading us to distinguish between them and Himself. He draws near and whispers the assurance of His presence, bringing an infinite calm to keep our hearts and minds. "He giveth quietness."

~Streams in the Desert 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

lael goes dutch

I want to thank Marian and my Dutch publisher for bringing The Frontiersman's Daughter to readers in the Netherlands as of this month. Love Lael's new cover! I think she looks more European and hope/pray readers enjoy the story. I'm thankful readers there have a heart for American history and inspirational fiction.

Here's the contact info for Dutch readers if they would like to order online:

From the publisher:

From the following websites:

Een welgemeende dank aan de Nederlandse lezers van mijn boek!