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Sunday, January 30, 2011


The end is in sight. After staying up until midnight (and even 4 AM on one memorable night), I have finished writing and editing the two books due on Tuesday, February 1st. Now I only need to read through them one final time--and hope I don't discover any major flaws.

As a reward, I get--MORE WORK!

That's right, folks, I have received a two-book contract from Moody Publishers! Moody has contracted with Susan Page Davis, Vickie McDonough, and me for a six book series titled Texas Trails--50 years, four generations, six couples. I am writing the first and fourth books of the series: Lone Star Trail, about the German immigration to Texas in the same year that Texas became a state. A Ranger's Trail jumps forward thirty years to the the "Hoodoo" or Mason County War and the hero is a Texas Ranger. Susan and Vickie take on stagecoaches, Indian captives, a cowboy strike, a school for the blind . . . lots of interesting tidbits of Texas history!

Oh, yes, these are TRADE LENGTH books--my first . . .

I am so excited.

Now, back to work . . .

Saturday, January 22, 2011


Check out the following contest where readers get to vote for their favorite Christian books of 2010:

Did you read any really great Christian books in 2010? Of course you did! Share with everyone which books you think deserve recognition by voting in the Grace Awards, a new, reader-driven award for fiction that satisfies the soul. For all the details visit our website:

Friday, January 21, 2011


Just now I finished editing my story, First Christmas, which will appear in Christmas at Barncastle Inn (see the cover!).

What a week. I stayed up until 4 AM on Thursday morning finishing the rough draft of Knight Music. Since the next step involves revising 70K words before February 1st, I printed out the manuscript for First Christmas and read it, expecting the worst.

And instead I discovered it was actually pretty good. In the story, Waverly Coe, a young unmarried mother, works as a veterinarian’s assistant to Dr. Alec Ross. In addition to his practice, he also serves as animal specialist for the Barncastle Inn. As they involve guests in celebrating the First Christmas, can they see past their circumstances to celebrate their first Christmas together?

What can I say? Relief. I've been suffering through a drought of doubt and discouragement that has lasted, more or less, for four months (ever since I handed in my last manuscript on October 1st.). Yes, I've persevered. I've had a content edit, a copy edit, and two galley proofs. I've submitted a novella proposal and completed the rough drafts of two manuscripts. All the while wondering if the bad writing that plagued my last manuscript would haunt me into my next project. Worrying that Barbour might decide they don't trust me as much as they thought they did. Despairing that I just wasn't good enough to break into longer, trade length books that would pay more.

So I sent out an email to friends, rejoicing that at last I felt the despair had lifted. And my dear, wise friend Karla J. wrote back:

Funny how . . . in the midst of it . . . courage feels exactly like fear. And faith, when you are staying true to what God has called you to do when things aren't going well . . . feels exactly like doubt.

Her comment set me back on my feet. Courage? What courage? I had worried and fretted away many days and wasted valuable time better spent pursuing leads. Faith? What faith? I had doubted I could meet my current commitments, let alone grow in new areas.

And yet. . .and yet. . .I had persevered. In spite of my fear, I wrote and wrote and wrote some more, trusting God to help me get it right, no matter how many tries it might take. And isn't that the essence of courage, acting in spite of fear? There is no courage in the absence of fear.

And believing God had something to say through me, through my mortal words, I wrote and wrote and wrote again. Braving new markets. In spite of my doubts that I will break through, I kept trying, as I have for almost twenty years. Hebrews 11:1--faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen--could have been written about me. Even during these last four difficult months.

Needless to say, I hesitate to say this. It sounds like I'm boasting. But when I am weak, then He is strong.

Whatever your struggles today--You are acting with faith and courage. Be encouraged.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Here are two new book covers - Love's Raid is the third entry in my historical Vermont series, coming out from Heartsong next month. Inspired by the northernmost battle of the Civil War, the St. Alban's Raid, Union vet Daniel Tuttle matches wits with schoolmarm Clara Farley as they hunt for bank robbers in the town of Maple Notch.
And Maple Notch Brides will feature all three Vermont titles--Prodigal Patriot, Bridge to Love and Love's Raid. It is scheduled for a fall release.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

New Year, New Life


Five weeks after coming down with a bad cold, I am feeling well and I can even sing more than an octave, not that I'm in normal voice yet. It felt like forever.

Last Sunday, faced with three weeks to go until I have two books due, and struggling to get any writing done, I reached a drastic decision: I would write longhand instead of on the computer. Online, I get distracted by emails and chat and facebook and games ...

After eight days, I have written 20,000 words, all but 2500 or so longhand (and then typed in). I used up one pen; it finally ran out of ink with five minutes to go in the Jets/Patriots playoff game.

I am now 75% of the way through the rough draft of the second book (I already have a draft of the novella). A major victory!

I also decided to attend a writers retreat in Texas next month, enjoying a well-deserved vacation.

Good health, a handle on work, a promised vacation. . .is it any wonder I'm feeling good?

Sunday, January 9, 2011


I haven't seen much of my grandchildren since before the holidays began, between both my son and daughter in law returning to work, business, and then a prolonged illness.

But after 10 days of antibiotics and with the threat of our first winter storm on the horizon, I invited myself over, together with Chinese takeout for dinner. Oh, I always have such fun.

Isaiah is now four months old. He smiled widely and rewarded Grandma with happy grins as we bounced and rocked and talked. He has turned into a blue eyed, medium brown haired baby, but he's going to be a lady killer, that one.

Jordan will only allow me so much time with her brother before she decides she wants Grandma's attention. So we spent most of the time in our special games. She had me open a special Bingo game I bought in Texas, and made much ado over the pretty cards that came with the game.

In daycare for the first time, she is discovering the need to use the language she's been accumulating for two years. So she kept insisting what sounded like "ill," possibly "bill," and pointing down the hall. Her Mom said "I don't know what she's saying."

I ran through the possible single syllable words rhyming with "ill." (Try it, bill and dill and drill all the way to will. There are a lot.) Shelley's eyes lit up with "bill." "She's saying Belle. She wants her pull up pants that have Belle from Beauty and the Beast on them, but she has to use up her Dora pull ups first."

Jordan confirmed that guess for us when she brought me her glass that had a picture of Tinkerbell on it and insisted, "Bell."

We read, we played peek a boo, she showed me her favorite toys (a baby doll stroller; the trunk compartment in her tricycle).

In fact, Jordan seems to enjoy Grandma time as much as Grandma enjoys Jordan time.

That bingo game? She packed it in her diaper bag, ready for her next adventure.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year!

Wow! For yet a second year the holidays slid past me. Last year I was snowed in (hot dogs and chocolate cookies for Christmas dinner!). This year I was "sicked" in, losing my voice altogether on Christmas day and still sounding worse than a croaking frog three weeks into a bad cold and after one week of antibiotics.

Yet, you know, that's okay. If I have learned anything through these non-traditional Christmases, it's that Christmas is about Christ, the reality of His presence in my life. And that doesn't need fancy food and even good health to celebrate.

But I am glad to be on the mend and look forward to the new year with great anticipation.

Our church has asked us to make a commitment to read through the Bible this year. Right away the second verse in Proverbs grabbed my attention: "for attaining wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of insight; for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair."

Wow, if there's anything I need this year, it's to acquire more discipline.

So join me on this journey of discovery, as I seek for daily nuggets of guidance for practicing discipline!