Writing historical fiction is fun but you have to make it relate to readers of today. When I’m writing, I search through my memories and family stories and if you’re a friend –I’m probably absorbing your family history too!
It’s the small things that make a story come alive for today’s current readers. It’s not like any of us are going to be protecting our family farm from marauders, the way Heaven does in A Bride’s Dilemma in Friendship, Tennesee. Now we have security cameras and alarm systems or a dog that will scare off anything that walks by the door. So how do authors connect that history?
I discuss how green beans came to be in this book. Come and listen to Genealogy Publishing Coach get the details from me. And if you’ve read A Bride’s Dilemma in Friendship, Tennesse now you know why those green beans played such a big role in that book. Shh! Don’t leave spoilers in the comments. But you can comment with, “Now, I get it!”
If you can go to this exhibit, do it. I went to the #VanGoghStlouis exibit. You’ll walk in and think oh– I get to read a lot about this artist and maybe you learned a lot of it in Art History.
Then you notice how the exhibit is set up. Window frames catch your attention and you see information in a new way.
After you’ve read some amazing things about this artist, you walk into another room that is filled with color from lights and you might find that exciting. I did, but I didn’t know what was to come.
The next room you enter is huge! And before you know it you’re standing in paintings. Then the painting move. They sweep across the floor, flowers bloom beneath your feet!
Then you turn around and there is Van Gogh staring at you and he winks! That was startling–I mean it is an immersive art experience but I have to say that one had me second-guessing what I saw.
This was an experience I needed. I’ve been trying to write the next series and I can’t seem to find the imagination I once had. Doing more things like this will help with that. I used to go to the fabric store and look at colors and touch the material but I haven’t done that since “you know what hit our world in 2020” I hope that will soon be gone and we can all get back to filling our lives with experiences that fill our souls.
If you’ve followed me or read my newsletter you’ll know how much I do not like coffee. Tea? That’s another story. I love tea!
I was hanging out online with some fellow writers and one of them mentioned Hot Cinnamon Spice tea from Harney & Sonstea.
It didn’t take long for me to hop over to their site and order my own cup of happiness.
Forget pumpkin spice at the fancy coffee shop. Hot Cinnamon Spice tea is the best fall drink yet and of course, there’s Chia–always my #1 choice.
If you love tea, be prepared to have a decision dilemma. I’m wanting to try two more of their teas Paris and Jasmine. But first I must write at least another chapter–okay maybe just a scene.
Since I’ve given up drinking diet Dr Pepper–it’s true! I have given it up for real! Now I’m drinking more tea while I write. It’s getting colder here too so tea is my preferred winter drink. I might as well make it special.
Are you a tea or coffee person? Don’t hate on me because of the coffee dislike. I love the way it smells but I can’t get past the bitter taste.
Time for me to make another cup. I wish you could smell the cinnamon!
There’s this feeling I get when someone says, can I interview you? Radio makes me nervous. YouTube sends me running. My mother should have named me “Introvert Extreme.”
But they didn’t, and God didn’t say hide your writing under a rock. That would have possibly been another desire when I was younger. Oh, those marvelous days of hanging out on the porch writing stories with wandering plot points, misspelled words, and total misuse of point of view. It took me forever to show anyone my work.
I was recently on Book Banter with Tanya and it was delightful. Once I got over the first few minutes of thinking there was no way I could do this. To be fair I haven’t been speaking with a lot of people in the past 18 months. Alright, you will discover at the beginning of the interview that Tanya and I are friends, didn’t matter it was still an interview about how I write, how I come up with ideas, what did I like and hate about writing.
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.
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.
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.
A Bride’s Journey to the Colorado Territory releases July 30th. And we’ve learned about Jake Miles in A Bride’s Dilemma in Friendship, Tennessee and we know what he’s thinking before he boards the steamboat.
Now it’s time to meet Cornelia who will shake up his world.
Cornelia Taggart und Bruder reisen nach Amerika
Translation: Cornelia Taggart and brother to travel to America
Sind Sie nervös, was auf Sie zukommt?
Translation: Are you nervous about what lies ahead for you?
C. Of course. It’s hard for me to remember to speak English and my brother Raymond says I must. He’s right. If I get lost from him, I need to know how to ask for directions.
Ist die Sprache Ihre größte Angst?
Translation: Is the language your biggest fear?
C. Nein. Leaving home on a huge ship is scary. I have never been on a boat before, except for the little rowboat in the pond. This boat we are taking is groBe—big, my brother tells me it is taller than the church steeple.
Was werden Sie an zu Hause vermissen?
Translation: What will you miss about home?
C. My mother and father but they will follow us when we are settled. First, we must find enough gold to buy good farmland. Though I don’t know why we don’t try to find another way to buy land. My brother wants an adventure, I think.
I will miss my sweet horses too. I wonder if they will notice I am gone, though father promised to give them treats once in a while.
Was ist mit deinen Freunden?
Translation: What about your friends?
C. I don’t wish to talk about Frieda. I miss her and always will.
Woher weißt du, was du für eine Reise über den Ozean und dann durch Amerika packen sollst?
Translation: How do you know what to pack for a trip across the ocean and then across America?
C. Raymond has a book that tells us what we will need. I tell him we will need more than what that book suggests. He doesn’t listen, but then he never does hear what I have to say.
Haben Sie keine Angst, dass Sie miteinander streiten könnten?Translation: Aren’t you afraid you might argue with each other?
C. I have no doubt that will occur. We are sharing a cabin on the ship and then we will be in the wagon. I don’t see how we will keep our differences from banging against each other. Too much closeness but we will have to learn to be more than family. Freunde—friends, I hope.
It’s fun making up characters! Getting them to know them. And when it’s a character you already know like Jake it’s even more exciting. When I ended A Bride’s Dilemma in Friendship, Tennessee Jake well… he wasn’t exactly hero material.
Jake is a troubled man and if you’ve read A Bride’s Dilemma you understand why but you probably didn’t care much for him. But he’s going to change I promise!
One of the first things I did was write this interview before Jake boards a steamboat bound for St. Louis.
Article from the Cairo Evening Times
Hey, you there! Sir! Can I catch you for an interview for the Cairo Evening Times?
Jake: I suppose. Don’t know that I’ll have much to say.
You never know. People are curious about other people. Where you headed too?
Jake: Up the Mississippi River to St. Louis, then onto the Colorado Territory.
Thought the gold rush was over, think you’ll have any luck?
Jake: Probably not. My luck hasn’t been what I’d call good for quite some time. I figure it can’t hurt to try and turn it around. Then again maybe, if I stop thinking luck has anything to do with it, just hard work and pray more I might find what I’m looking for.
Leaving a sweet girl behind pining for you? Maybe a family?
Jake: No. There’s no one. Not even family that will miss me. My horse didn’t even look back when I sold him. Moseyed on like he’d found his new best friend. You might say I burned all my bridges and tore up my railroads and they aren’t likely to be rebuilt.
You don’t plan on returning East?
Jake: Can’t think of a reason why I would.
If I use your story, I’d like to print your name with it.
Jake: Jake Miles, but I doubt anyone will care what I have to say.
Like I said you never know what people will find interesting. Thanks. Hey you, over there, can I get an interview with you before you board?
She’s running from grief. He’s running from war memories. Can they find love on this dangerous journey west?
Cornelia’s parents send her to America hoping to heal her heart. Accompanied by her protective brother, they’ll travel by covered wagon to the Colorado Territory to search for gold. When Cornelia meets a man who seems as troubled as the friend she lost, it seems she might be given a second chance to save someone before it’s too late.
Jake, once a prisoner of the Union Army leaves Tennessee in disgrace. He wants nothing more than to find enough gold to start a new life. The last thing he wants is to fall in love.
Can the feisty Cornelia make him leave his past behind?
As the wagon train brings them together, will they look beyond past promises and old pain and discover treasure worth more than gold?
You will love this sequel to A Bride’s Dilemma in Friendship, Tennessee because everyone craves a second chance.
If you like stories about the Oregon Trail, happily-ever-after, and Christian romance, this book is for you. Start your journey with Cornelia and Jake today!
For now, that is. It’s been a crazy ride since I started A Bride’s Journey to the Colorado Territory at the end of December.
Being stuck at home in mid-March thought I’d write every day and have it finished by the mid-April.
My brain said not so fast, you need to process a few medical issues you have and then there’s this virus issue that is going to plague your mind way more than you expected.
I’m not going to lie and say I miss leaving my house and seeing people. I’m not built that way. I love being home and can find lots of things to do or watch–I’ve attended way too many webinars since being home.
The thing is, I eventually settled down by doing research. Since A Bride’s Journey to the Colorado Territory happens in 1865 and my characters Cornelia and Jake are traveling the Oregon Trail I had to figure out what it would be like.
I do know–sort of. We had an RV for a while and loaded up the kids and took the trail. It was easy except for the “stop touching me” and “he did it, Mom” coming from the back. I suspected it was similar to traveling with a wagon full of kids but there had to be so much more. I mean there weren’t rest stops and pizza places, right?
I discovered quite a bit of information and while it won’t all go into the book, there was enough for me to realize how parallel what the women were going through was to what we are going through now. The separation from family, the concerns about how to cook a meal, and how to live with less.
Once I got into that mindset the book started to write itself…sort of. My fingers are aching from days of 3,000 words. 🙂 I’m not complaining I’m rejoicing to find a satisfying end to this book.
Next? Glad you asked, I’ll be editing, writing the back cover copy, waiting for my editor to send me suggestions. I’m great at murdering commas. Look for this book around mid-August or early September.
Do I have a cover?
Yes, and it’s beautiful.
Can you see it?
Nope. 🙂 You have to wait.
Meanwhile, I need to do what a lot of people have already done during the shelter-in-place order. Clean my house, empty a few closets, and goodness, go through that spice cabinet! I tried to use cream of tarter this week and it had an expiration date of 2014. How many more of those lurk in there? I’m about to find out next week.
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