Friday, May 25, 2012

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

Hope you're having a great holiday weekend.

Have you discovered FaithWriters blog yet? It's encouraging and informative. Today I've joined them to discuss what shoes have to do with rejection. Hop on over and and join the discussion.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Who Loves Books?

Me! Me, I do!!

Since I can remember, I love books. I love the feel of them. I love the smell of them. I love their weight in my hands.

I love the worlds I've explored in books. I love to read about people whose lives are totally different than mine. I love to read about people with issues and ideas different than mine.

I love to read historical fiction and travel through time to experience events I've learned about in history class. I love to read books that deal with day-to-day life at a time before electricity was invented and a time before the Revolutionary War and a time before Columbus sailed the ocean blue and a time when Bible characters walked the earth.

I love to read books that let me sample different careers like fashion, banking, being an astronaut, working in a funeral parlor, being a teacher, running a bait shop, being a maid, and owning a publishing empire.

And because of my love of books, I love to write books. I dream of readers joining me on a journey with my characters and learning about the character -- and perhaps learning something about themselves.

What about you? What do you love about books?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Writing a Novel = Journey of Discovery

“Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.”
~E.L. Doctorow

They say writing a novel is a journey of discovery, and that’s been true for me.

As I work through a plot and explore a theme, I have to refine my opinions and beliefs. It’s an interesting process, and in the end I always seem to grow a bit with each book I write.

At this point I’ve written nearly five books. The process always changes me, but I never imagined how writing my wip (work in progress) would affect me. I’m discovering more than I ever imagined.

My character Margaret travels through time. She doesn’t know when she’ll travel or even why turns up at a certain time and place. In a moment of introspection she thinks about her journeys: Surely her time travels changed something, like ripples in a pond. How might she change the future by living in the past? By being the tiny pebble tossed into the distant waters of a past time?

I’ve never had to research for a novel like I’m researching for this wip I’m tentatively calling The Journeys of Margaret Caruso. I’m more fortunate than most authors because I have the blessing of being assisted by two genealogists who have shared some amazing information. What’s even more amazing is that they are distant relatives whom I have never met.

This past weekend I realized that Margaret’s journeys are a personal map of my spiritual heritage. I’m finding commonality with people I had never heard of before—people who lived on another continent over three hundred years ago.

I’m on the edge of a discovery. I’ve had an insight into my journey of writing Margaret’s story that has stunned me. Writing this novel means something to me, something more than tapping out an amusing tale. The exciting part is that I’m not even 100% sure what that something is.

But don’t worry. One day I’ll share this epiphany with you. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Sometimes writing = jogging through jello

I'm struggling with the novel I'm writing. That's okay. It's happened before, and I've survived.

I think this is part of my writing process. When it happens, my solution is to keep writing--even if it's only 250 words in a day. Just keep pushing forward. And then as if by magic, something clicks, and my fingers fly over the keyboard.

I think I figured out my dilemma about writing this book--my time travel historical novel--while I was on my walk last night. When I zap my character into a different time and place I have to come up with an entire new cast of characters and storyline that will mesh with the overall plot.

Duh. No wonder I'm struggling. Understanding that, I already feel better.  Last night I wrote the scene where my character enters the home where she'll be living in 1845.

A thin woman stood over a washbasin, wiping simple ivory crockery clean with a dishrag. Nance O’Hare looked up, brushed a wisp of auburn hair off her forehead, and smiled. “Ah, alannah—my child. Take yourself down the hill and check on your sister Noreen. I expected her here by now. I’m worried about her.” A frown creased her lovely face. “She’s not feeling well, carrying this babe. If she needs a rest, bring little Bridget here for the afternoon.”

Yes, I jogged through jello to create that simple scene, but now the character of Nance is firming up in my mind. She's a gentle mother who doesn't think anything is impossible. And now the next several chapters will come into focus. 

I'm glad I'm not a quitter. I believe it's always better to persevere. It's better to try and know for sure than to quit and never know what could have been.

How do you keep yourself motivated when you run into a snag?

Isn't that photo lovely? I found it here.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Have you found Pinterest yet?

I joined Pinterest a few months ago. It's a new social networking site that's more visual than text.

I really like it. The trouble is that you can get lost paging through Pinterest -- but I say that in a good way. The material you choose to view can be very specific to what interests you. Decorating? No problem. Pinterest has pictures for every kind of decorating you can imagine. Fashion. Food. Art. Design. Fitness. Pets. Kids. Holidays. Humor. Books. Just about anything that might interest you. You select the type of board you're interested in or select a friend who pins interesting items, and you're set for hours of happy browsing.

It's like a big, beautiful magazine with all the articles I'm interested in. But lately I've found another great way to use Pinterest: Books!

Authors I know are creating boards for the books they're writing. It's wonderful! You can see how they invision their characters, what kind of house their character lives in, what flowers are blooming in the book, what interests the character.

I liked this idea so much that I've started a Pinterest board for my WIP (work in progress). It's not finished yet, but then neither is my novel. But soon . . .

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Inspired by Nature

The photo on the left is a few of the branches on the shrub alongside my lounge chair where I work outside in the warmer months. It's called a burning bush, and in the autumn the leaves turn a beautiful shade of scarlet.

In the spring there are clusters of these beautiful little pale green blossoms. When I see them, and they're so tiny and perfect, I think of little fairy flowers.

This makes me happy because while I'm writing one book, I'm marinating the next one in my busy little brain -- and my next book will feature house fairies. I can imagine them picking these small clusters of flowers in their tiny fairy hands.

But alas, I'm still finishing my time travel novel, so now I'll get back to work.

Do you also see a nature scene and let your imagination fly too?

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Just released: Wildflowers from Winter by Katie Ganshert

I love to tell friends about new novels. Wildflowers from Winter, Katie Ganshert's debut novel is fresh off the presses and has just released today! Read on to find out how you could be in the drawing for a copy of this book.

Isn't the cover art gorgeous? Here's what the book's about:

A young architect at a prestigious Chicago firm, Bethany Quinn has built a life far removed from her trailer park teen years. Until an interruption from her estranged mother reveals that tragedy has struck in her hometown and a reluctant Bethany is called back to rural Iowa. Determined to pay her respects while avoiding any emotional entanglements, she vows not to stay long. But the unexpected inheritance of farmland and a startling turn of events in Chicago forces Bethany to come up with a new plan. 
Katie has graciously agreed to visit by blog and chat a bit. 

What would you like to tell us about Wildflowers from Winter?I like to call it Co Ro Wo Fi. I’m declaring it an official genre. Contemporary Romance Women’s Fiction. Wildflowers from Winter is definitely a mingling of the two. In a nutshell, it’s a coming-home love story set in small town Iowa about the bonds of friendship and God’s ability to bring beauty from the barren seasons in our lives. 

What’s your favorite season and why?
Summer! I’m sure some of it has to do with being a kid and a teacher and forever associating summer with freedom. But I also love it because I hate wearing shoes and socks and makeup, and I love playing squirt guns with my sun and sitting on the porch swing out back, reading a good book while he hunts for bugs. You just can’t do that sort of thing in the winter.

Which compliment related to your writing has meant the most and why?

Ooo, that’s tough! So far I’ve been very fortunate to receive a lot of encouraging reviews and feedback, all of which mean the world to me. I love hearing that readers couldn’t put my book down or stayed up all night to read it. That always makes me smile.

But if I had to pick the one that has meant the most, it would have to be this: Overall, my favorite element of the book was the glory it brought to the Author of creation.

It reminded me why I’m doing this. Not for my glory. But for His. I’m humbled that God would choose to use little old me and my little old story to draw hearts nearer to Him.

Katie, what's your favorite chore?
I feel like this question should be an oxymoron. Is there such a thing as a favorite chore? Okay, if I had to pick one, it would be cleaning our kitchen. There is something so satisfying about having a clean, crumb-less kitchen. And also because it’s the only time I get to watch TV. We have a very small kitchen TV and I like watching reruns of favorite shows while I sweep and sanitize.

How can readers find your book on the Internet?
Very easily! They can check out the Wildflowers from Winter page on my website, which has links to various online retailers and a lot of fun extra bonus features for those who enjoy the story. For those looking for a quick link, you can find Wildflowers on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or

Katie has kindly agreed to give a copy of Wildflowers from Winter to one of my readers. Leave a comment for Katie, and I'll draw a winner over the weekend. 

Congratulations, Heather Kopp! You won a copy of Wildflowers from Winter.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Dreaming, Creating, Writing

I've loved Madeline L'Engle since I've been a little girl. Actually, I first loved her novel, A Wrinkle in Time. Now I love her non-fiction. She speaks to me as a dear, old friend whose wise counsel is calming.

This year A Wrinkle in Time is celebrating it's 50th anniversary. I may have read it as a new release. (!) The cover is familiar to me, and I still remember how I was transformed to another world while reading it -- bliss.

These days I'm enjoying her non-fiction book, Walking on Water, Reflections on Faith and Art. 

Today's reading discussed dreaming, creating, and writing. "In the creative act we can experience the same freedom we know in dreams. This happens as I write a story. I am bound by neither time nor space. . . When we are writing or painting, or composing, we are, during the time of creativity, freed from normal restrictions, and are opened to a wider world, where colours are brighter, sounds clearer, and people more wondrously complex than we normally realize."

I totally get what she's saying. Sometimes while writing, the fictional world becomes more real to me than actual reality. Once I was writing a winter scene, and when I looked out my window at a white flowerbed, I actually saw it as snow on the ground. Of course in the blink of an eye the snow disappeared, and summer's white flowers came into focus.

Madeline's book has a place of honor on my bookshelf. Perhaps I've started reading it again  because I'm also writing a time travel novel. Her book gives me courage to create something otherworldly, and I like that.

What about you? Does the creative act free you to enter into a new dimension? And also, did you read A Wrinkle in Time as a child too?

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Denver Writing Examiner

Have you heard of It's an online magazine that caters with stories having both a local slant and national coverage.

A few years ago I was accepted as one of their correspondants, the Denver Writing Examiner. I am proud of the many articles I published. Unfortunately, life got busy, and I let it fall by the wayside -- that is until this week. 

I've revived my column!

I'd appreciate it if you'd take a look and perhaps subscribe to my page. It's got a lot of good articles and advice on writing. Also, I publish writing news and information in general. If you have any story ideas or know of any writing news that should be put out there, please contact me and let me know.