Candied Ginger and a Novel?

It occurred to me as I was making my new favorite snack candied ginger that the process is a lot like writing a novel.

A book idea is one big knot with a lot of possible roads to take to writing ‘The End.’

Ginger has a palm (at least I think it does) and fingers all in different lengths and thicknesses. There are even knuckles which makes peeling ginger tricky.

A character is like one of those fingers. There are stubborn spots like the ginger’s knuckles that fight against discovery. It takes effort to peel it and find the true spice which brings the heroine or hero to life.

Once you get your ginger peeled it has to be boiled in sugar water (stevia for me) until it’s just right. It takes patience to wait, the ginger spice aroma floats through the kitchen and you just want to be at the end of the process and snacking.

With the book, as the author I almost always know the ending way before I get to it. I want to rush through with my story so I can get it to my readers. But I can’t. I must use patience or the end result will be unreadable.

Once the process of boiling the ginger and coating it with sugar or in my case Trim Healthy Mama gentle sweet (stevia and erythritol), then baking it in the oven you get this delight.

If this makes you hungry search Pinterest for some recipes. I can’t give you mine because it’s copyrighted. I hope you try making this because ginger is good for you and candied ginger is as satisfying as a good book.

As for books? These are the process of taking my time and discovering the character’s story.

Love Finds an Outlaw

It’s the book birthday for Love Finds an Outlaw!

Can a pistol-packing spinster and an adventure-loving reporter find love amidst the mishaps and trials of the Sana Fe railroad’s ill-fated inaugural excursion?

Mary Outlaw has a ticket to ride the Santa Fe train on a sight-seeing excursion from Topeka, Kansas to Pueblo, Colorado.  She intends to live life unrestrained on this trip because it may be her only chance unless she can convince her father to let her choose her own husband. A future of cooking and babies is not the life she wants.

News reporter, Wyatt Cross bought the last ticket for the excursion, hoping one of the 84 women (he knows because he checked before buying his ticket for this scenic tour) would be someone he could love and who would share his sense of adventure. This is a last-ditch effort to keep his father happy and to preserve his inheritance. While waiting to board, he notices a tall, beautiful woman, Mary. The speed her hands move while she speaks fascinates him. Hope sparks inside of him. Maybe the trip will turn out to be more than a scenic ride up the mountain.

Amazon Link



Barnes and Noble

*This story originally appeared in the Rails to Love Collection titled Outlaw on the Pueblo Excursion.

Fall Reading

There is something about the shorter days and cooler air that has me grabbing research books, my kindle and my kindle fire. Yes, I am one of those reader/authors.

I love to read but I’ve discovered it’s hard to keep my books in one place. There’s the physical of course but what about ebooks. I use my kindle fire for my business/research books. My kindle gets my fiction love and sometimes my ipad and iphone kindle apps get called into action as well for research books.

This is my spot in the winter. As close as I can possibly get to the woodstove without igniting.

The book is Seeking St. Louis. It’s huge and I can only read a little at a time because it is so full of information. I haven’t used it yet in a book series but the time is coming. I want to be ready.

Are you out of books? Try finding some new reads here. One of mine, Hearts on the Road is on sale for 99¢.

Where do you like to read in the colder months? And how many blankets do you need? If I don’t have a fire I need at least two!

What I’m reading Monday

Broken lines by Kelsey Gietl is not a book for the faint of heart. It definitely does not fall into the category of rainbows and puppies. This book comes with a sensitivity warning for those readers who are triggered by alcohol-related stories or domestic abuse.

That being said, Gietl’s book Broken Lines is a terrific read with a satisfying ending, one I wasn’t sure would happen.

What if just before you board a ship back home to Germany, your brother informs you that you can’t come with him. Instead, he insists that you don’t. He hands you a ticket to St. Louis, tells you to change your name and to marry an American? That’s what happens to Amara. When she tries to do as her brother requested she is rejected and abandoned on a street in a city she doesn’t know.

The main characters of this book struggle with what side of the war they favor. How do you give up what you know and embrace what is new or has been your life for only a few years? There is an identity struggle that was common before and during the war. Are you German or American? There is not an in-between and if your name sounds German then there will be trouble.

The story begins just before America joins the allies fighting against the Germans. It is set in St. Louis, Missouri during 1916. A familiar city to me as I grew up in a small town close by as did the author. A lot of the landmarks and history in the story were familiar, making the reading the descriptions of back then even more intriguing to me.

Emil works as a morality police officer. He along with his partner frequently breaks the moral laws that he is supposed to be upholding.  He wrestles with this throughout the book knowing that what he is doing is not right. He’s not willing to change until he meets Amara a woman he must decide to change his life for, or let go. It is not an easy decision for him.

Amara has her own demons to fight, an abusive ex-fiancé, and a man she thinks she could love but wants nothing to do with her. How will she be able to stay safe if she can’t find an American citizen to marry?

Emil and Amara’s journey is intense with action and filled with secrets. Broken Lines is book 1 in this series but it is a complete story. If you like books where characters have a chance at redemption this one is for you. 

Broken Lines is a terrific read and will likely keep you up until you finish it. Geitl knows her history and she weaves it throughout the book with an intricacy that doesn’t shout here’s a historical fact that you need to know. She slips in those details where they make the most sense helping the reader feel the story.

What I Read Monday

All that Was by Tanya. E. Williams

I picked the perfect day to read this book. It was raining and gloomy with a chill in the air. Perfect for a book set in Seattle.

This book isn’t a quick light read. It’s one where you sink down into your reading chair with a cup of tea and a soft blanket and shut out the world kind of read.

When we meet Emily it doesn’t take long to realize she’s bottled up her grief over losing her parents so tight that it has taken over her life. Despite help offered and then refused she gets through her days thinking she is fine, though nothing will ever be good again.

Take heart reader, Emily embarks upon a life-changing experience when she agrees to archive the records of a historic church in Seattle. Hired by her law company as a first-year lawyer she gets the job to comb through centuries of old documents in a dark windowless room.

Emily doesn’t mind doing the work until memories of her parents begin to invade the space. How will she handle them when they won’t stop coming?

Elizabet, a spirit who has refused to move forward takes the reader on a journey similar to Emily’s. It’s not to be missed. Because of Elizabet the reader gets a view of what this church meant to people throughout the decades. The research on this book must have been time consuming but every detail adds to the ambiance of the setting.

When Emily is forced to look back on her life, she has choices to make moving forward. That’s what this book is about, being afraid for a minute and having the courage to move forward.

There is much to enjoy about this book, so I don’t wish to give away much. It is a good literary women’s fiction book. This is a book about two worlds, but not fantasy, scary type fiction.

All that Was has a happy ending which is important to me.

Separated by a century. Bonded by loss. Will examining all that was invoke comfort or calamity?

Seattle, 2015. Emily Reed refuses to dwell on her emotions. When the first-year attorney is assigned a church archival project, she dives into the records to hide from her own heartache. But when she discovers her parents were married in this very chapel, she is forced to confront the grief she buried a decade ago.

After she died in 1935, Elizabet Thomas was devastated when her beloved husband wasn’t waiting for her on the other side. A lost soul, she’s wandered their church for the past eighty years, desperate to find him. And now she must persuade a young, living lawyer that the historic building needs to be preserved rather than sold and torn down.

Discovering a diary among the disarray in the building’s basement, Emily is first engrossed and then moved by the dead woman’s words. And as the fate of her home unravels, Elizabet realizes she and the grieving archivist have more in common than she ever would have guessed.

Can Emily and Elizabet save themselves and their cherished sanctuary?

Get your copy!

What I read: Monday

Is there someone in your life that is also a reader?

Do you share the same love for certain genres?

My mom is responsible for helping me learn to read at an early age. She spent hours reading to me, helping me pick out the words for myself and even walking with me to the bookmobile because we didn’t have a car. I was four or maybe five when we did that. At the time, for someone who couldn’t leave her yard, the trip there was exciting. We had to walk along the side of the road and cross a bridge!

The way back was harder. I was hot, tired, thirsty and couldn’t wait to read my books. How long was that walk? Round trip about a mile. That used to impress me until I had kids and realized just how far they will walk if they are having fun.

Mom loves reading true crime, mysteries, and things that make me want to hide under the covers. Stories were people do terrible things to each other. She says it’s human nature. I think in a different time she might have been a forensic psychologist.

I love the puppies and rainbow kind of books. Happy endings give me great joy, books with endings that end with possible good in the characters future are my second favorites.

We have found a few places where we connect. The books aren’t true (for me) and the story is well-written and could have happened in real life.

When I finished reading Kristin Hannah’s book The Great Alone I knew it was one of those books mom and I could connect over. I ordered a paperback for mom. She’s reading it now and we are having our own little book club moment discussing it every day.

It’s set in the 1970s so that decade is a familiar one to me as I was in high school then. The angst of being a teenager and moving to another state and not having the right clothes is universal but what follows in this book I pray isn’t a normal life for anyone.

While the relationship between Leni and Cora is unhealthy it brought me back to living with my own mom. The closeness that grows between a mother and daughter when there is sadness and problems they can’t control is what kept me reading page after page. Peas in a pod is her mother’s favorite saying.

If stories of abuse are a trigger for you then please give this book a pass. If not, it’s a book full of relationships, the beauty, and roughness of Alaska, and the possibilities of hope.

The Great Alone: A Novel by [Kristin Hannah]

Alaska, 1974. Ernt Allbright came home from the Vietnam War a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes the impulsive decision to move his wife and daughter north where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.

Cora will do anything for the man she loves, even if means following him into the unknown. Thirteen-year-old Leni, caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship, has little choice but to go along, daring to hope this new land promises her family a better future.

In a wild, remote corner of Alaska, the Allbrights find a fiercely independent community of strong men and even stronger women. The long, sunlit days and the generosity of the locals make up for the newcomers’ lack of preparation and dwindling resources.

But as winter approaches and darkness descends, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates. Soon the perils outside pale in comparison to threats from within. In their small cabin, covered in snow, blanketed in eighteen hours of night, Leni and her mother learn the terrible truth: they are on their own.

The book is $9.99 for ebook or paperback but it is also in KindleUnlimted if you have a subscription this book almost pays for your month, read one more and you’ve saved money. 🙂

Saying Goodbye

Two years ago I started a new job somewhat reluctantly. Going to work meant I had to leave my writing behind, and I’d have to interact with people I didn’t know. GASP! I would have to smile and be present.

Writers are often off in their own worlds thinking about their book even if they are standing right next to you. We forget to smile, instead, we make strange thinking faces. Or so I’ve been told by my husband.

After a few weeks of settling in, I loved my position at PYC-programs for young children. Smiling faces of little ones brightened my day. Laughter and silly actions lifted my heart. Watching them discover the amazing in the ordinary helped me see it too. Helping with zippers, mittens, and coats could have frustrated me but instead reminded me how fragile childhood can be.

Turning in my key

While I started this position thinking I would be able to serve well with my social media skills it didn’t take long to realize there was so much more.

I met incredible patient women who taught there. I learned to sing everything because preschoolers listen when you sing instructions. I didn’t hesitate to hop into a substitute position when needed because joy is a child who paints and tells you a story.

Then Covid-19 became a reality.

The preschool had to change a lot of things to be able to open. I was one of the changes, wanted but no longer needed at this time. It breaks my heart to step away but I understand. I will miss the women I worked with, the children, and their families.

I am walking away with good memories and new people skills because God sent me here–not so much so I could help at PYC, but that He could help me.

I am a better person for working at PYC and hope to be a better writer, because without people skills how can one write about people?

What I’m reading Monday

I’m taking a small break from reading contemporary books and reading historicals again while my hands recover from too much typing. I’m also learning to dictate so any oddness in this post will be from that. It’s a difficult skill for me to learn to speak words instead of thinking and letting my fingers talk.

A Most Inconvenient Wedding by Regina Jennings

Abigail Stuart Thought She was Jeremiah Calhoun’s Widow.
But Jeremiah Calhoun Is Very Handsome, Very Alive, and Very Perplexed.
Most Inconvenient Indeed.

Doesn’t that make you want to read this book? I can tell you it does not disappoint. And if you are looking for a book that fits the rainbows and puppies desire in you, this is it.

Did I say rainbows and puppies? I did. That wasn’t a dictation error. My author friend Tanya E. Williams who likes to say that the world is not made up of rainbows and puppies but we both wish it were.

Back to An Inconvenient Marriage, it is such a hoot! It takes place in the Ozarks a place I love to visit but it’s right after the Civil War so Silver Dollar City has not yet opened. 😉

Can you imagine marrying a man who you buried only to find out he isn’t dead and he’s pretty mad about you living in his house? And to make matters worse his mother and sister love her.

I loved this book. It was a sweet relaxing read. Now I didn’t say boring because it wasn’t. There was action, mystery and some suspenseful moments to enjoy.

Lots of New Releases!

What are you looking to read? Since I’m in the middle–okay only 1/4 of the way through of writing Book 3 A Bride’s Choice in Central City and it’s a historical, I’ll be reading contemporary books?

Now what would I do that? Shouldn’t I be reading historical? Maybe, but I’m always in fear that some clever line or a bit of dialogue that I read will stick with me and I’ll use it! Not on purpose of course but I’m pretty sure I won’t be using one of Julie Carobini or Kirsten Billerbeck’s cute sayings in a historical. Can you imagine? A woman in 1872 picking up a cute designer purse? Or wearing wedges? Me either, and that’s why it’s safer to read contemporary while writing historical fiction.

Are you often looking for a new author to read? Me too!

Check out this page for new releases! I am. I’m excited to see what’s available.

What are you waiting for? Join me! Click the graphic and see what’s available this month!


What’s it like for a reader when a book releases?

If you are an avid reader and you love an author you’ve probably grabbed the book when it came out on preorder.

If you are new to the author, you might think that looks interesting.

If it’s the genre you like to read you’re likely to go and read the backcover and take a good look a the front. If you like what you see, you stick it in your cart.

All three readers are different and yet they are the same. The minute they get time to themselves they retire to their favorite reading spot and open their e-reader or print book and sometimes they aren’t heard from for hours, dinner doesn’t get made, laundry stays in the dryer, and if it weren’t for that reminder on their phone they might not get to where they need to be.

From a writer’s point of view, release day is harrowing. We wait for those first sales, the first reviews, the good ones make us feel like we’ve climbed a mountain, the bad ones make us want to jump off a cliff.

It’s a roller coaster of emotions for a few weeks.

Dinner doesn’t get made, pizza is the main food and sandwiches lots of those because our fingers, brain and backs are tired from the writing, the editing and the watching of numbers. I wouldn’t recommend writing to anyone who is mildly interested. It is not for the weak. Well, maybe it is because as long as your mind, your fingers and Amazon delivers–you can write a book.

Did I mention that release day/week makes a writer a bit distracted? I probably shouldn’t drive a car today.

I might start thinking if a reader likes Jake or hates Raymond– his is hard to like, but give him time.

Was that light red?

Or maybe I should have written in the scene about using buffalo chips in the wagon to keep mosquitoes away. It could have been funny, but that’s part of the hard writing, knowing what to leave out. It didn’t fit. But still it bugs me that I didn’t write it. Maybe I will someday and give it to my newsettler subscribers to read just for fun. Right after I finish book 3.

Oh, didn’t I mention that? Release day is fun and exciting but it also means you need to get started on the next book.