Sunday, February 26, 2017
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Take a look at this photo and see if you can guess what the blue thing is on the top shelf, next to the shampoo.
Think you got it? It’s one of a pack of…
So why do I keep a bathtub marker in the shower? Because inevitably that’s where I happen to be when some of my best story-related solutions come to me—but if I don’t write them down, I tend to forget them by the time the shower is done.
Thus, a few years ago I bought a pack of bathtub markers, and I keep one in the shower at all times, for when inspiration strikes. That usually looks something like this:
A few tips if you decide to give this a try:
• There has to be one wall in your shower that doesn’t get hit directly with water from the shower head, otherwise it might rinse off as you’re writing it.
• Once your shower’s done, either take a photo of your notes or jot them down, then go ahead and rinse the marker off the shower wall right away. (Not sure but it might stain if you left it there too long.)
• Of course, follow directions on the package to prevent other kinds of staining, such as with grout.
The best part about this little hack is that by writing down your thoughts, you don’t have to focus on remembering them, and thus your brain is free to keep rolling around some more—and keep coming up with other great ideas.
One caveat, when I shared this idea with a friend, she told me about this:
|Sorry the image is so small!|
which looks like it might be an even better solution, I’m not sure. Either way, if you’re a “shower genius”, then I highly recommend you try one method or the other, just to make your life a little easier.
Sunday, February 19, 2017
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
As a writer, one of the hardest things about research is deciding which of the interesting facts you run across will actually end up in your novel. For example, have you ever wondered what it took to have a healthy garden–in the 1700s?
This is from the book, Vegetable Gardening the Colonial Williamsburg Way by Wesley Greene. (In it, the “we” he’s referring to are the modern-day workers of Williamsburg who tend their gardens using 18th century methods.):
The ability or inability to water the garden has been the single most important limiting factor to gardening throughout history, particularly in southern climates. …In 18th-century Williamsburg, water had to be hauled from a well.
We have found, in our small 1/4-acre garden, that with hauling water from the well, filling up the cistern, and using watering cans, the two of us can move 4,000 pounds (about 200 gallons) a day… In 18th-century Williamsburg, the garden was the responsibility of the lady of the house, and she was at the mercy of the weather.
Later, Celeste went out to the garden to see if there were more cucumbers to fill the small barrel Sary was using to make the pickles. The midsummer garden was far ahead of where the garden back home would be. Bush beans grew up a trellis. Cabbage and broccoli flourished, along with squash, parsnips, and greens. Tall stalks of what she’d been told was corn grew along the far end. She filled the basket with cucumbers and then stood, straightened her back, and wiped her brow with her apron as Mr. Edwards marched past to the chicken coop and then stopped. He turned back, saying he needed her to go down to the blacksmith to pick up an order.
Celeste put her hand on the small of her back, not used to the labor she’d been doing. “All right.”
“Take the handcart. It’s behind the chicken coop.”
Celeste followed him, put the basket in the cart, and then pushed it around the coop. As she did, she heard Mr. Edwards talking to the gardener about manure. The garden was one of the best in the village that she’d seen, and Celeste could tell a lot of work went in to it. Every morning Benjamin and his father hauled water from the well to the orchard and garden for several hours. Their hard work paid off. Farmers brought meat, milk and cream, and some produce to the inn, but Mr. Edwards did well with what he grew on his own property.
I can't imagine how well I would fare with having to water a garden by hand for several hours every single day. Considering that I sometimes find it burdensome to turn on a hose and stand there long enough to wet down two measly tomato plants, I’m guessing not to well! But it does make a fun fact to include in a novel.
Wednesday, February 8, 2017
More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.
Capturing Beauty by Brenda S. Anderson -- Photographer Haven Carlysle is a changed man. He returns to Duluth to capture the North Shore's beauty ... and to recapture the love of his son. But that means making amends with his ex-girlfriend too. Enter Callie Beaumont. All her life, Callie has longed to work outdoors soaking up God-breathed beauty, and the opportunity is finally on the horizon. But being the liaison between the handsome photographer and his son has thrown her dreams, and her heart, into chaos. Can Haven capture her heart when she won't let him capture her image? And will his poor choices cost Callie her dream job and him the love of his son? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)
The Lawman's Secret Son by Lorraine Beatty -- Suddenly a Father Police officer Seth Montgomery knows all about order—but his world is thrown into chaos when he learns he has a five-year-old son. With little Jack suddenly in his care, Seth turns to neighbor Carrie Fletcher for help. Given her checkered past, Carrie prefers to keep to herself, but there's no denying she cares for the boy—and her feelings for charming Seth are rapidly developing, too. When someone from Carrie's past shows up threatening to jeopardize the life she's worked so hard to build, Carrie will have to fight for her future with the new family she's found...or risk losing everything. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])
Maybe It's You by Candace Calvert -- Micah Prescott's goal is to improve the Hope hospital image, but his role as a volunteer crisis responder is closer to his heart. The selfless work helps fill a void in his life left by family tragedy. So does a tentative new relationship with the compassionate, beautiful, and elusive ER nurse, Sloane Ferrell. Then a string of brutal crimes makes headlines, summons responders . . . and exposes disturbing details of Sloane's past. Can hope spring from crisis? (Contemporary Romance from Tyndale House)
A Second Chance by Alexis Goring -- Newly single food critic and newspaper reporter Traci Hightower is done with dating. After the man of her dreams left her at the altar on their wedding day and ran off with her “best friend,” Traci resigned herself to being a bachelorette for life. Marc Roberts is a political reporter who is known as Mr. Nice Guy, the one who always finishes last. But his widowed sister Gina Braxton appreciates his compassion and kindness, since she's raising her two kids alone. With God's guidance and the help of Gina's matchmaking skills honed by her career as a bestselling romance novelist, Traci and Marc find hope for their broken hearts. (Contemporary Romance from Forget Me Not Romances)
The Amish Wanderer by Laura V. Hilton -- After her daed, the bishop, is admitted to a mental hospital after hurting their small Amish community, Bethany Weiss is ready to get away from Jamesport, MO—and away from God. Silas Beiler, dogged by a rough childhood and a family who blames him for each new disaster, is hitchhiking toward Pennsylvania in hopes of stability. He sleeps in barns where he can and works for food when possible. When Bethany spies a man asleep in the hayloft, she first fears the return of an unwelcome suitor. But when it is Silas who turns and speaks, the memories flood back: a happy summer six years ago, full of lemonade, long walks, and budding courtship. Can their old love overcome both this new pain and the hurt and rejection of their past? (Contemporary Romance from Whitaker House)
Avalanche by Gayla K. Hiss -- Set in the North Cascades National Park of Washington State, Avalanche is the inspirational story of one man set on revenge and the woman who risks everything to help him find the fugitive who killed his partner. (Contemporary Romance from Mountain Brook Ink)
The Doctor's Texas Baby by Deb Kastner -- When Carolina Mason shows up in Haven, Texas, after a three-year absence, no one is more surprised than town veterinarian Wyatt Harrow. Especially when he sees Carolina's two-year-old son, Matty. Their son. How could she have kept his child a secret? Carolina doesn't deny the boy is his. She thought she was doing what was best for everyone when she left, but she realizes she was wrong. Though Wyatt is eager to make up for lost time with Matty, Carolina's not so sure that extends to her. Can these former sweethearts navigate their complicated past to make a family for their son? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])
Spring Raine by Delia Latham -- A last-minute decision sends a young woman to a seaside community and lodging at Paradise Pines...where life takes a whole new path. (Contemporary Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])
Finding Joy by Melanie D. Snitker -- A horrific accident changed everything for Parker Wilson. He returns to his family's ranch, the scars on his face a daily reminder of all he's lost, yet his mom still insists he needs to stop hiding and live his life again. The beautiful new employee she hires is the last thing he needs, and he'll do whatever it takes to make the girl quit and regain the peace and quiet he prefers. Only deep desperation could force Chelsea Blake to work on a cattle ranch. But if she's going to avoid her parents' judgment when they arrive in three weeks, she must turn the temporary job into a permanent one. Between dodging mud, feeding longhorn cattle, and dealing with a handsome boss who keeps giving her the cold shoulder, staying gainfully employed is proving to be a challenge. Chelsea may not be cut out for ranch life, but her determination to succeed is stronger than Parker's efforts at forcing her to leave. Surprisingly alike, will the two set aside their disapproval to find immeasurable joy? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)
Home at Last by Deborah Raney -- All her life, Shayla Michaels, owner of the Coffee's On bakery, has felt as if she straddled two worlds. Her mother's white family labeled her African American father with names Shayla didn't repeat in polite--well, in any company. Her father's family disapproved as well, though they eventually embraced Shayla as their own. After the death of her mother, and her brother Jerry's incarceration, life has left Shayla's father bitter, her niece, Portia, an orphan, and Shayla responsible for them all. She knows God loves them all, but why couldn't people accept each other for what was on the inside? For their hearts? Everything changes one icy morning when Portia runs into the street and Link Whitman nearly hits her with his pickup. Soon he is falling in love with Shayla. Can they overcome society's view of their differences and find true love? (General Fiction from Abingdon Press)
Baggage Claim by Cathe Swanson -- When Ben Taylor, widower and single dad, gets caught up in a dangerous insurance fraud network, he has to learn to take a stand for right - and make a leap of faith: can he trust his nanny - who isn't quite what she appears to be - and his newly-discovered biological father to hide and protect his four young children? (General Fiction, Independently Published)
The Viscount's Proposal by Melanie Dickerson -- Leorah Langdon has no patience for Regency society's shallow hypocrisy and unnecessary rules, especially for women. She's determined to defy convention by marrying for grand passion instead of settling for a loveless union like her parents--or wedding a stuffy, pompous gentleman like Edward, the Viscount Withinghall. But when a chance meeting in the countryside leads to Leorah and Withinghall being discovered in his overturned carriage--alone and after dark--the ensuing gossip may force them together.Withinghall has his reasons for clinging to propriety and he certainly has no time for a reckless hoyden like Miss Langdon. But soon the two discover that Withinghall's coach "accident" was no such thing: the vehicle was sabotaged. Strong-willed Leorah and duty-driven Withinghall will have to work together if they have any hope of saving her reputation, his political career--and his life. (Historical Romance from Waterfall Press)
The Reluctant Guardian by Susanne Dietze -- When Gemma Lyfeld inadvertently interrupts a dangerous smuggling operation in her English village, she's rescued by a mysterious Scottish spy. Now with criminals after her and her hopes for an expected marriage proposal recently dashed, she will make her society debut in London. But not without the man tasked with protecting her... Covert government agent Tavin Knox must keep Gemma safe from the criminals who think she can identify them—a mission he never wanted. But as he escorts her and her rascally nephews around London, the lovely English lass proves braver than he ever imagined. Suddenly, the spy who works alone has one Season to become the family man he never dreamed he'd be. (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])
Shine like the Dawn by Carrie Turansky -- In a quiet corner of northern Edwardian England, Margaret Lounsbury diligently works in her grandmother's millinery shop, making hats and caring for her young sister. Several years earlier, a terrible event reshaped their family, shattering an idyllic life and their future prospects. An even which...might not have been an accident. When Nathaniel Harcourt returns from his time in the Royal Navy and inherits his father's vast estate, Morningside Manor, he also assumes partial control of his father's engineering company and the duty of repaying an old debt to the Lounsbury family. But years of separation between Nate and Maggie have taken a toll and Maggie struggles to trust her old friend. Will the search for the truth about her parents' death draw the two friends closer or leave them both with broken hearts? (Historical Romance from Waterbrook Multnomah)
The Bounty Hunter's Baby by Erica Vetsch -- Bounty hunter Thomas Beaufort has no problem handling outlaws, but when he's left with a criminal's baby to care for, he's in over his head. And the only person he can think of to ask for help is Esther Jensen, the woman whose heart he broke when he left town. But can he convince her to put aside the past until he tracks down the baby's outlaw father? Esther is ready to run Thomas off her Texas ranch--until she spies the abandoned newborn in his arms. Soon, working together to care for the precious babe stirs old hopes of a family. With trouble heading to their door, they could overcome it together--if she'll entrust her wary heart to this sweet, second-chance family... (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])
Raging Storm by Vannetta Chapman -- When a massive solar flare wiped out all modern technology across the globe, the small town of Abney, Texas, was thrown into chaos. Shelby Sparks and her diabetic teenage son, Carter, have found refuge, but Shelby knows Carter can't survive without insulin--and Shelby will risk her life traveling to Austin to make sure he gets it. Shelby's best friend and high school sweetheart, Max Berkman, won't let her make the journey alone. Together, they reach the capital--only to discover that Austin has turned into an urban nightmare on the brink of anarchy. Now the only thing more uncertain than finding what they need is the hope of making it out of the city alive. (Thriller/Suspense from Harvest House Publishers)
Time Search by Danele J. Rotharmel -- While the TEMCO staff searches for clues to unravel the mystery of his real name, their enemy is lurking in the shadows searching for his targets--it's anyone's guess whose search will be completed first! (Speculative/Time Travel Fiction from Prism Book Group)
Long Time Gone by Mary Connealy -- Rancher Justin Boden is normally an unshakable and rugged man, but with his brother, Cole, shot and in mortal danger, even a tough man faces doubts. And it doesn't help that Angie DuPree, the assistant to the doctor trying to save Cole, is as distracting a woman as Justin ever laid eyes on. With her and the doc's timely skills, Cole looks to be on the mend, and Justin and the rest of the Bodens can turn their attention back to the dangers facing them. It's clear now that everything that's occurred is part of a much bigger plot that could date back to a decades-old secret. Can they uncover all the pieces before danger closes in on them, or is the threat to the ranch even bigger than any of the Bodens could imagine? (Western Romance from Bethany House [Baker])
Sunday, February 5, 2017
Wednesday, February 1, 2017
After spending this Christmas in Louisiana, we flew home to Pennsylvania via Southwest Airlines on New Year’s Eve, where we witnessed a really fun tradition. During the flight, attendants passed out pens and notecards and asked passengers to write down one thing they learned in 2016 and one thing they hoped for in 2017. Then they collected the cards and taped them along the overhead luggage bins, to read as we passed by. Interesting!
I’d spent most of the flight working on My Daughter's Legacy (Cousins of the Dove), which is third in a trilogy about multiple generations of a Huguenot family. That’s why, when we were de-boarding, I had to stop and snap a pic of this card when I saw it…
Whoever wrote it, I wish I could tell them to check out the Cousins of the Dove series. Anyone who loves ancestry this much would enjoy it, I feel sure!