Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Wood's Edge: cover reveal

So happy to finally introduce you to the cover art for

The Wood's Edge  

(The Pathfinders #1)

Coming from WaterBrook Press 

April 21 2015

This book marks my foray into series writing, and is a little different from my previous two releases. How so? While I don't yet have an official cover blurb to share, I can say that the series spans a longer time period (twenty years), and deals with more than one generation of two families. It also encompasses a lot more history! But I trust all the elements you've come to expect with my books will be evident.
  • A setting that spans a frontier (cultural as well as topographical)
  • Romance (more than one!)
  • Faith journeys (quite a number of them)
  • That history I mentioned. The Pathfinders series explores the history of the Oneida people, one of the Six Nations of the Iroquois, leading up to the Revolutionary War and encompassing a key turning point in that war.
I'm looking forward to introducing you to a new cast of characters, come April!

Click image for full size

Monday, August 25, 2014

Writer's World Blog Tour

I'm honored to be invited to participate in the Writer's World Blog Tour by my writer friend, Amanda Dykes. In this tour we get to highlight the awesome author who posted before us (and was kind enough to invite us into this fun loop), answer a few questions about our own writing, then point you to the next author in the tour. How fun is that?

Here's a little about Amanda (be sure to check out her post in this Writer's World Blog Tour).

Amanda Dykes is a drinker of tea, a dweller of Truth, and a spinner of tales. She grew up just down the mountain from Lake Tahoe, a lake that holds a special place in her heart. It’s here that she now enjoys setting her historical fiction. She is a Novel Crossing contributor, co-founder of the Christian Fiction Book Club, but most of all, she’s just a girl redeemed, grateful for the gift of story, the hearts of those who read it, and the God whose love changed everything. Join her in the writing of the short story Bespoke, and the chance to use your own memories to give a bicycle to a missionary across the world at www.AmandaDykes.com/Bespoke.

Amanda's post went up last week on her blog and it was a lot of fun!

On this blog tour, writers answer the same 4 questions then introduce another writer who will do the same on their blog post the following week. Be sure to find out who I chose to come after me at the end of this post.

So here we go.

What are you working on?

I have two closely related projects going right now. I'm currently in the editing stages with The Wood's Edge, my next 18th century historical novel, which will release April 21, 2015 (WaterBrook Press). 

My second project is the sequel to The Wood's Edge. I'm still writing the first draft of this one, in between the edits for The Wood's Edge, but my goal is to have a first draft finished by the end of October, which will leave me another two and a half months to edit, polish, rewrite, and otherwise make it presentable for its deadline in January 2015. 

Both of these books, comprising The Pathfinders series, are set in the Mohawk Valley of New York. The series spans twenty years, 1757-1777. Readers of Burning Sky will recognize at least a couple of characters they first met in that book.

Edited to add: I'll have a special reveal about The Wood's Edge a little later this week. :-)

How does your work differ from others in its genre?

My taste in reading (and writing) tends toward male protagonists, close-to-the-earth historical settings, peril, and adventure, a lot of which can be found in the general market. But there's a romantic in me too (one who has no use for graphic sex scenes), so I read widely in the Inspirational/Christian market, especially historical romances that contain a deeply engaging spiritual thread. I try to blend all of those elements--history, gritty adventure, romance, and spiritual awakening--into my books.

Why do you write what you do?

Short answer: because characters keep talking to me! Long answer: What continues to excite my imagination as writer of historical fiction is something historians call the Middle Ground. It’s that shifting, redefining space where two cultures meet, often with a clash of ignorance and intolerance. But other times in a remarkable attempt at understanding, with a hand extended in trade, or in friendship. It's the testing of a character through physical adventure and peril, but also through an honest exposure to a way of life they’ve maybe held preconceived notions about, that keeps drawing me back to write stories set on the 18th century frontier. I want to see the Middle Ground experience reflected in the inner landscape of a character that chooses to cross that line, or is forced to do so by circumstance. I want to experience this through the eyes of a character who thinks like a person born to that time and place, while at the same time finding in them a common humanity, a place of connection from which to experience a slice of history.

How does your writing process work?

It's fun to read about how other writers get the job done, but in the end each writer has to work out their own writing process over trial and time. Here's a bit about mine:

Most writers will tell you the creative process is far too organic (and mysterious) to break down into steps. It's not always possible to pinpoint the moment a story kernel or seed is planted, so I'm going to skip to the part where I have that kernel, whether it's a character, an opening situation, or a conflict I'd like to explore (plus the historical time period or event I'm going to play it against). I need to have a clear idea of where a story is going before I can begin it, because the plot often hinges on historical events; I need to know the story arc I have planned for the characters works inside the framework of the historical record.

In the beginning stages of working out this balance of plot and history, before the writing begins, the story will start pouring forth. During this stage I'm scrawling notes on every scrap of paper I can find wherever I happen to be, in the car, at church, in the grocery store, making dinner, trying to fall asleep, and I'm wishing that my personal Super Power was the ability to translate my thoughts straight into the computer and bypass the whole writing down or typing steps.

In other words, I'm Cooking the Book. Wish I could claim that phrase. I got it from author Julia Monroe Martin

So, I'm madly getting down ideas for story and character in a rough outline form during that stage, however long that mad outpouring lasts, even if I’m not exactly sure of how one bit flows into the next. In fact I don’t want to know it all. I want to leave room for surprises to happen on any given writing day, weeks and months down the road. That’s part of the fun. But I do need a road map, for my own sanity.

With every novel I write I spend a lot of time thinking about the characters, their back story, what their goals are and how they will be tested, how they will grow, before I begin writing. It’s as if I’m mentally circling them, observing, listening, questioning, and furiously jotting down what they reveal about themselves. It might come in waves, or trickles, scattered over weeks or months, but spending as much time at that as I can before I begin writing makes for less floundering around and trying to nail that stuff down later, when thousands of words have been expended and need to be heavily revised.

Still, no matter how much planning I do there’s nothing better than putting characters into a scene, letting them confront a challenge or setback, seeing their personalities emerge. Once I start the first draft it’s still an organic process, part intentional construction as I apply what I learned during that mental circling, and maintaining the flexibility to explore surprises when they happen on the page. It doesn’t all get done in the first draft. I continue refining those characters through many passes over every scene, right up to the three main edits that take place once the book passes into my publisher’s hands and is handed back off to me.

Tinkering, or fiddling, best describes how I work. I’ll write a few sentences, go back and play with them for a bit, rearrange the phrases, the sentence length, the word choice. Add some. Delete some. Write a bit more. By the time I’ve completed a 1500 word scene I’ll likely have been over it five or six times, it’s the end of the work day, and I’m exhausted.

But I don’t stop there. Most of the scenes that exist in published form have been edited several dozen times. 

And there you have it. Thanks to the lovely Amanda Dykes for inviting me along on this tour!

Next week I pass the baton to author Ann Shorey, who will answer these questions for readers on Sept 1. I've known Ann for many years and along with being a wonderful writer and storyteller, she's also an encouraging friend. You'll find Ann's post for The Writer's World Blog Tour next week on her website: http://annshorey.blogspot.com/

ANN SHOREY has been a story collector for most of her life, and has been a full-time writer for over twenty years. She has published selections in Chicken Soup for the Grandma’s Soul, and in the Adams Media Cup of Comfort series. She made her fiction debut with The Edge of Light, Book One in the At Home in Beldon Grove series. Her latest, the Sisters at Heart series, released in 2012, with Where Wildflowers Bloom. The third book in that series, Love’s Sweet Beginning, released earlier this year. 2014 also saw her debut as a novella author in the Sincerely Yours collection for Revell.

When she’s not writing, she teaches classes on historical research, synopses, and other fiction fundamentals at regional conferences. She lives with her husband in southern Oregon.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Impromptu Tamsen Drawing: winners!

What a great response to the Totally Impromptu Tamsen Littlejohn giveaway. Thanks so much to all who entered. I've put all your names (well, your numbers) in the Random.org hat, and the two winners are...

1. Sheri
2. Merry (Anonymous 1:48pm)

Congratulations! I'll be emailing the winners soon.

Thanks again everyone, and if you get a chance to read The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn I'd appreciate it if you could leave a short review on Amazon or Goodreads, or anywhere else reviews can be posted. They really do help get the word out about the books you enjoy.


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Totally Impromptu Tamsen Giveaway

Over on Amazon, The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn just hit 100 reviews. Thank you readers and reviewers!!!!

To celebrate this little milestone, I'm giving away two copies of the book this weekend, signed to the winners. 

Comment on this post to enter. Include your name AND some means for me to contact you if you are the winner. That can be an email address or a link to your blog/website where I can EASILY find an email address for you. Please include SOME means for me to contact you. Otherwise you can't win, and that would be a bummer. :-)

Already read The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn? Enter for a friend, or share a link to this with your reading friends who might be interested in winning a copy. 

I'll close this drawing tomorrow, Sunday, August 24, at 8:45pm PT, and post the two winners, chosen by Random.org.

Frontier dangers cannot hold a candle to the risks one woman takes by falling in love

In an act of brave defiance, Tamsen Littlejohn escapes the life her harsh stepfather has forced upon her. Forsaking security and an arranged marriage, she enlists frontiersman Jesse Bird to guide her to the Watauga settlement in western North Carolina. But shedding her old life doesn’t come without cost. As the two cross a vast mountain wilderness, Tamsen faces hardships that test the limits of her faith and endurance.

Convinced that Tamsen has been kidnapped, wealthy suitor Ambrose Kincaid follows after her, in company with her equally determined stepfather. With trouble in pursuit, Tamsen and Jesse find themselves thrust into the conflict of a divided community of Overmountain settlers. The State of Franklin has been declared, but many remain loyal to North Carolina. With one life left behind and chaos on the horizon, Tamsen struggles to adapt to a life for which she was never prepared. But could this challenging frontier life be what her soul has longed for, what God has been leading her toward? As pursuit draws ever nearer, will her faith see her through the greatest danger of all—loving a man who has risked everything for her?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


We had two nights at the Oregon coast. My first (more than a Sabbath) break from writing/editing in 2014. No work. No internet. No computers.

I walked in the sand. I watched the sun set. I watched my dog watch the sun set.

I took pictures of rocks. And of my husband.

I finished reading two books. It was nice.

Now I'm back and finding my place in the work in progress, which I set aside a month ago to tackle the content edits for The Wood's Edge. I spent today reading back through the last three or so chapters I wrote. Ready to start writing again tomorrow!

Have you taken any trips this summer? Where have you been? What have you seen? I hope you had a chance to unplug and unwind.

Monday, August 04, 2014

One Last Push

I'm still playing at The Wood's Edge. Deadline for content edits: August 8!

This week is the final push through.