Thursday, December 31, 2009

Handing out Recipes

I'm blogging over at Prairie Chicks Write Romance today. We're sort of taking the holidays off but we're still blogging. Last week was stories and this week we're doing recipes. Leftover recipes, that is.

The other Chicks have posted recipes for a Wassail bowl and Plum Pudding as well as using leftover turkey and cranberries.

My recipes today are for Eggnog Bread and Mashed Potato Candy. Great reasons to clean out your fridge before the new year, if you're so inclined.

You also have just a few more days to enter the Prairie Chicks Anniversary Contest. So what are you waiting for?

Hoping you're showered with blessings in the coming year.

Anita Mae.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

At the Inkwell: A Young Shepherd's Story

I'm blogging over at Inkwell Inspirations today. The theme is: Fear Not, For Behold!

Since I already did a blogpost on fear when I reviewed Max Lucado's book Fearless: Imagine Your Life Without Fear, I wanted to do something different this time.

Because I'm still enjoying the Christmas holidays, the Nativity story is still on my mind. I started thinking about the fear the shepherds would have faced as they stood out on the hill above Bethlehem and the heavens opened in a choral song. What would I have done? Quaked in fear? Run? Fainted?

As usual, my imagination took over.  The story is about a cocky young shepherd named Nathaniel and what happened to him on the night Jesus was born.

If you have a few minutes, please join us there.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

My Christmas Story To You

It's Christmas Eve and I've posted a story for you over on the Prairie Chicks Write Romance blog.

All the Chicks are posting Christmas stories this week and it's my turn today. It'll only take a couple mins to read and it's called, 'The Shepherd'.

Next week we'll be posting recipes to help you clean up those Christmas leftovers.

Anyone who leaves a comment between Dec 20th and Jan 2nd will have their name entered to win a fabulous gift basket from the Chicks. The more days you comment, the better your chance to win. Comments posted here will not be entered as you must post them on the Prairie Chicks Write Romance blog.
I collect Nativity sets and have photos of my kids' favorite set here. I have more photos of my collection over on the Chicks blog today, so head on over, read my short work of fiction and view the pics.

Have a Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year.

Anita Mae Draper.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Moppin', Bloggin' and Singin'

Busy day today. Workers were in yesterday to put the new carpet in the livingroom/hall and new vinyl in the bathroom. Wow! Looks like a new house. Well, except it makes the worn lino in the diningroom/kitchen look...old and...worn.

We had to empty the diningroom to put all the livingroom furniture in it while they put the carpt down. So now that the everything's back in the livingroom, I get to wash the lino floors before we bring the diningroom furniture back in. Lucky me!

Meanwhile, I'm listening to Christmas music to get in the spirit of cleaning which isn't one of my favorite things to do - the cleaning that is - I love the music.

I'm also  blogging over at Prairie Chicks about how I've had to move my writing cave from it's original productive spot in the livingroom to the sunroom, the garage, back into the house, etc. I have pics, too, including one with my new burgundy wall. Love it!

Speaking of pics - one of these days I'll post before and after pics of the renovations. What a difference!

My questions over at Prairie Chicks today are: What are your writing plans for the next couple weeks? Are you going on writing hiatus or are going to try to keep writing albeit at a reduce number of words?

And if you're a reader: Do you like reading Christmas books just in Dec or throughout the year?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Snowy Church & Bin Photos

Ouch! Temp was   -35C/-31F this morning but it felt like -47C/-52F with the windchill.  I needed to travel 1.5 hrs south today to bring the boys to a Kid's Christmas party for hubby's work. It's a free 2 hr swim plus games, food, Santa and a $25 gift. The boys look forward to this party so off we went. Although it was cold, the sun was glistening off the snow.
I thought I'd show you some photos I took on Thurs. The first one is the Sacred Heart church right in Montmartre. I really like this photo except I wish the telephone pole and lines weren't in the way.

This second photo was taken on the way to Montmartre and is just a snowy grain bin scene that caught my eye.

I don't know how long we'll be in this deep freeze but I sure wish it'd go away for awhile. I don't mind it being this cold in Jan when all I have to do is huddle in the house but with only 11 days before Christmas, I've got places to go and gifts to buy.

So how's the weather in your neck of the woods?

Friday, December 4, 2009

An Inky's Extra Life

I've been busy blogging and answering comments about being a movie extra over at Inkwell Inspirations today.
The theme is Life Lessons and I used the movie extra or backgrounder to show the lessons my kids have discovered while working as these invisible people.

If you get a chance, head on over and whether you read my post or just scan it, I'd like to know your answers to these questions:
- Have you ever worked on a TV or movie set?
- Have you ever wanted to?
- Which movie or TV show would you want to work on if you had a choice out of everything?

The photo is what my yard looked like when I went outside today. A humble example of God's handiwork.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Secret Exercise at Prairie Chicks

I'm blogging over at Prairie Chicks Write Romance today about a secret exercise.

Since I've talked about Emma's secret so much, I thought I'd use the exercise to delve into Dan's secret. I was thoroughly surpised then when I discovered something I should have known all along. Now to slip it into my Emma's Outlaw story.

And a-tweaking we will go...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Book Review: Legacy of the King's Pirates

Legacy of the King’s Pirates series by M.L. Tyndall, Barbour Books:
Book 1: The Redemption 2006
Book 2: The Reliance 2006
Book 3: The Restitution 2007

I first saw the cover for MaryLu Tyndall’s pirate book The Redemption in 2006. My initial thought was disbelief. It intrigued me but really, a swashbuckler book with a pirate hero isn’t your average Christian literature.

Months later, I saw another Pirate book by MaryLu with a slightly different cover, followed by a 3rd book in 2007. By this time, the name MaryLu Tyndall was quite common to me but I didn’t know anything about her or her writing.

In the fall of 2008, I stopped off in a Christian bookstore in Winnipeg, Manitoba on my way back from the American Christian Fiction Writer’s (ACFW) conference in Minneapolis, MN and there on a sale table lay MaryLu’s 3 book series, Legacy of the King’s Pirates. I’ve always been a sucker for tall ships and these book covers caught my eye with their aura of danger and excitement. And at the price offered, I grabbed them. Once home, I put the books on my To Be Read (TBR) pile which is around 400 strong and got down to the business of writing. The pirates languished and I forgot about them.

By this time I’d read a few hundred inspirational books and although there were some I raved about in my book reviews, for the most part I thought them to be okay. Yes, they told good stories of faith and perseverance but they tended to ignore the physical side of their relationships. Now I’m not saying I want to read explicit material—I’m just saying I want to know the two main characters feel a real passion for each other before they take that huge matrimonial step.

Then one day I was watching the ACFW loop go by and a member mentioned this same thing. I was so pleased when another member posted a list of inspirational authors who wrote more ‘realistic’ or ‘edgy’ books. One of the authors on that list was MaryLu Tyndall. Really? I swooped down on my TBR pile and pulled out her Legacy of the King’s Pirates series and left them on my end table to read next.

And I’ll tell you, they are more than I ever imagined a Christian romance could be. I didn’t put them down until forced to by the dictates of family life. They fulfilled my quest for adventure, increased my heart rate, made me cry, and proved that Christian fiction came be just as entertaining as anything else on the market today. In fact, I flipped the pages to re-check the publisher’s insignia on the spine so many times and yet still I couldn’t believe it. Here’s a quick rundown on the books in the Legacy of the King’s Pirate series:

Book 1 – The Redemption – Lady Charlisse Bristol is on a personal mission to find the father who abandoned her as a child. She finds herself dependent on Edmund Merrick, a pirate leader. Running on an unlimited supply of faith, Charlisse struggles with her attraction to Edmund. The pirate leader is torn between his baser instincts and his respect for the beautiful Charlisse who seems to call upon God to do her bidding at will. But who will be the man beside her when she realizes her father is the most terrible pirate of the time.

Book 2 – The Reliance – I was very skeptical of this book because it contains the same main characters as Book 1. I mean I read their story of finding love and faith—what more could there be in a romance? But at that point, I hadn’t realized what a master storyteller MaryLu is. In this book, she didn’t just bring back Charlisse and Edmund, she also brought back the villain who’s extra angry at being bested in Book 1. So, he creates an incident where he’s able to steal a pregnant Charlisse away but leave Edmund thinking she and their unborn child is dead. So here you have a pirate with a shaky newfound faith drowing in misery. What does he do? What do you think he does? He certainly didn’t do what I thought would be printed in a Christian book, that’s for sure. Yet it could have happened so easily in real life.

Book 3 – The Restitution – Now this book was a stunner! Again, the characters are familiar because the hero is none other than the villain in the first 2 books and the heroine is the woman he ravishes in Book 2. This book starts with Lady Isabel Ashton and her 7 month old son who is the result of that fateful day on board Captain Kent Carlton’s pirate ship. As an unwed mother, Isabel’s life is a daily struggle of humiliation but she won’t give up her son for anything. When he’s kidnapped, she does the unthinkable and enlists the help of the baby’s father and his ship to search the Caribbean for him. Can Kent put aside his own agenda of becoming the new pirate king to become the man Isabel and their baby needs?

This series teems with the awesome power of God who stands beside those who serve Him. It resounds with the words from that gut wrenching hymn Amazing Grace in that the heroes are sinners on a path of destruction until faced with the infinite mercy of a Father who forgives everything and wipes the slate clean. MaryLu’s character arcs show the progression of villain to man of faith and made me wonder why I ever doubted a pirate could be saved.

Although this series is a couple years old, it’s still available online at Amazon and possibly even bookstores, new or used. MaryLu is still writing strong exciting inspirational historicals of the same location and era. In fact, she was a guest here at my group blog Inkwell Inspirations in October and will be back on Jan 20th to talk about her new release. For more information on MaryLu and her books check out her website.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

2 Loree Lough Books Up For Grabs

Over at Prairie Chicks Write Romance today, inspirational romance author Loree Lough is guest blogging about Book Signings.

A veteran of over 100 book signings, she'll tell you the most effective way to hold this type of marketing promotion.

Loree is giving away 2 books in the Love Finds You series so head on over and leave a comment to get your name in for one of the 2 books pictured here. And Loree's got a very unique way of picking the winners which I know because she told us over at the Inkwell on Thurs. But I'm not telling you here... you'll have to go to Prairie Chicks and find out for yourself.

Loree's question for today is this:

What would inspire you to attend a book signing… and what’s most likely to keep you away?

So head over to Prairie Chicks Write Romance to answer the question, ask a question, or just to leave your email address for the draw. You don't even need a reason and we'll be very happy you did.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Annie Oakley Visits The Inkwell

I'm blogging over at Inkwell Inspirations today about my favorite Inkspot in history . . . the one female who has inspired me the most. The answer is my namesake - Annie.

My sister has always called me Annie.

Back in the 70's, my CB handle was Annie Oakley.

I'm talking of no other than Little Annie Oakley, the greatest sharpshooter who ever lived. The young woman who shot the ashes off a cigarette while it was still held between the Kaiser's lips!

I thought I knew Annie until I started researching her for my blog post and then I realized I didn't know her at all. Because there's so much more to Annie Oakley than just the love story between her and Frank Butler. But oh, what a love story. :)

My question for the day over at the Inkwell is about role playing in your childhood. Who is your favourite character either real or imagined? In history or otherwise?

Photo credit given to:

Monday, November 9, 2009

NaNo Day 8 Progress Report

Today is the 9th of November and I've been at NaNoWriMo for a week. I finally took a day off on Sat to attend the the Saskatchewan Romance Writers monthly meeting which was being held in Davidson instead of Saskatoon so I didn't have to drive so far. I left at 9 am and got back home at 9 pm.

Fired up from all the coffee I drank enroute, I started writing at 10 pm Sat night and kept at it until 0430 in the morning, then continued yesterday when I awoke.

So, here's my NaNoWriMo Progress Report up to and including Day 8:

Project: Revising & Adding to Emma’s Outlaw

Goal: Need 65,000 words to finish (90,000 Total)

Nano Words so far: 11,834 (38,624 Total)

Nano Goal: 18% complete (43% Overall)

I seem to be revising more that I imagined. However, I thought it would be passive writing which was a fault of mine when I wrote the first draft, but I'm also adding sensory details and filling out my characters.

I really like the way the book is coming together. And the feedback from the excerpt I posted on Prairie Chicks Write Romance last Wed was a good boost to my morale.

The week coming up is a busy one:

Wed Nov 11:

Inkwell Inspirations - posting about my alter ego Annie Oakley

Thurs Nov 12:

-Prairie Chicks Write Romance - posting about NaNo

-Inkwell Inspirations - hosting Loree Lough, author

Sat Nov 14:

- Prairie Chicks Write Romance - hosting Loree Lough

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Emma's Outlaw Excerpt at Prairie Chicks

Even though I'm heavily involved in NaNoWriMo, I still had to prepare a post for today at Prairie Chicks Write Romance. I planned to talk more about Nano but forgot the Chicks are starting a new monthly feature: Writing Exercises. Wheeee!

Janet posted this exercise on Sunday: Choose one of your main characters (male or female) from any of your WIPs and from his/her POV write about one of the most difficult decision he/she had to make.

Since I’m working on Emma’s Outlaw for my Nano project, I used my hero, Dan for this exercise and then I used the word count for Nano.

The excerpt I posted is a defining moment in the book but I haven't given away the ending. For the record, you are free to guess what comes next but I'm not confirming anything.

Okay, I'm off to see if I need to respond to any comments over at Prairie Chicks and then I'm buckling down to Emma's Outlaw. When I left off on Tues, Dan had just come back from town and he brought Emma a surprise . . .

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Day 3 NaNoWriMo Progress Report

Here's my Day 3 NaNoWriMo Progress Report:

Project: Revising & Adding to Emma’s Outlaw

Goal: Need 65000 words to finish (90K total)

Today's word count: 2458 quality words

First word: For

Last word: eggs.

Favorite line: It was one thing to be forced to sleep in a room with a strange man even if they were in separate beds but it would be a definite breach of propriety to speak to him.

Total Nano Words: 5837

Nano Goal: 9% done (should be at 10% today)

Treat: Dancing With the Stars Results Show

Overall, it's going good. However, I'm working at a much slower pace revising than I ever did drafting a novel during Nano. Will have to pick up the pace.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Revved up and Rarin' to Go

Am I really here? My internet service hasn't been working all week and did I ever miss it! The tech adivsed us it may go down again however because our modem needs to be updated. Terrific.

Since Thursday was my day to post at Prairie Chicks Write Romance, I went into the local library Wed afternoon and used their computer to submit my post.

It's the last day of October which means National Novel Writing Month starts tomorrow. In the coming month, you'll see me refer to it as NaNoWriMo or even NaNo.

I've signed up as a Nano participant at eHarlequin so I'll be reporting my progress there as well as here. Plus, I've been invited to report my progress on Michelle Levigne's blog Living Proof.

So, my Thurs Prairie Chick post was Nanowrimo Tips and it's all those things I've found and used for getting the most writing out of Nanowrimo.

I've spent October working on Emma's Outlaw and it will be my Nano project this year. My goal is to have Emma's Outlaw complete and submissions started to my critique partners by the end of Nov.

My writing cave is still in the converted garage we call the rec centre. After I switch the furnace on in the morning, it only takes 15 mins and the whole room is heated nicely. It's so peaceful out there, with my Wyoming maps pinned to the drywall beside me, and it's fired me up. I've made so much progress on Emma's story and am excited that it's my Nano project this year.

I thought I was over the lung infection which burdened me for the last month but I'm stuffed up with a sore throat again. I bought some licorice herbal tea when Nelson and I went shopping in the city last week so I'll be sipping that today. Licorice is an excellent expectorant. I do not want to get sick again. It's such a waste of time!

In case you're wondering, there has been NO progress on my living room/bathroom wall. *sigh. I don't want to start nagging the contractor because at least we still have the bathtub and toilet which they'd originally wanted to take out. And since the insurance company will have to dish out over $7,000 for our new 'makeover' I'm willing to wait. Oh no, just had a thought...what if they want to come in Nov while I'm doing Nano? Yikes!

Over at Inkwell Inspirations this month we'll be talking about our alter egos or personas. These are females, either real or fictional, which we feel an affinity toward or can really relate. Mine is Annie Oakley and I'll be posting about her in a couple weeks. Check out the Inkwell for the fascinating variety of personas from both the Inkies and guest authors.

And what have you been up to this month?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Visit Kate Bridges, Win a book

Kate Bridges, a Harlequin Historical author and winner of numerous awards, is guest blogging at Prairie Chicks Write Romance today. She usually uses Alaska or the Yukon for her settings.

Kate is also a screenwriter and her post shows how this technique can enchance your novel writing.

If you have time to go over and post a comment or question today, you may win a copy of Kate's upcoming November release - Alaskan Renegade.

Kate's questions are: Have you ever tried screenwriting? Do you prefer seeing a movie or novel open chronologically in time, or does it matter?

Here's a blurb on Alaskan Renegade: When the Skagway town nurse, Victoria Windhaven, sets off on a dangerous medical journey across the Alaskan wilderness, she’s forced to ride with a man from her past - bodyguard Brant MacQuaid. Five years ago in St. Louis, Brant left her sister standing at the altar and Victoria has never forgiven him. They’re accompanied on the trip by a young medical student who has a crush on Victoria, which further complicates the arrangements.

If you could get over to Prairie Chicks today it would really help me out. My internet service is unreliable this weekend due to a technical glitch and the technician won't be out until Monday.

Also, most of the other Chicks are in BC for a writer's conference and I'm worried our guest will think the lack of participation is due to her. So if you have time, please drop in even if it's just to say hi.

Gotta go before I lose my connection.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Blogging About My Rocks

I'm blogging over at Inkwell Inspirations today about my rocks. It was supposed to be a travel piece about somewhere I've been and every time I sat down to think about it, I kept coming back to the Souris Rock Pit and all the treasures I've found there.

I asked hubby to read my rock post when he came home for lunch. He was eating with one hand and holding Lynnette Eason's latest Love Inspired Suspense, A Silent Fury, in the other. He looked up and asked, 'Do I hafta?'

'It's got lots of pictures,' I told him. I even brought my mini over and put it down on the table in front on him. Then I sat down to eat my own lunch. And no, I didn't feel bad that I was able to read Margaret Daley's Love Inspired Suspense Poisoned Secrets while making him read my blog. Heh.

But a funny thing happened while he was reading it. He started chewing slower until finally, he put his sandwich down and kept reading the blog. I was so astonished I had to remember to breathe! And when he finished, he smiled and said, 'That's really good, honey.'

So, if I can catch his attention . . . LOL

You could say today's post is a continuation of one on agates I wrote about here last year.

I was late getting my post up last night because I decided to check in with my doctor in the city yesterday. This cough of mine has been going on for 10 days now and that's too long for me. Being sick is such a waste of time and I've got things to do. Like write Emma's story without interruption, even by a coughing spell.

The doctor said I have an infection in my lungs and gave me some meds. One to get rid of the inflamation and an anti-biotic. The pharmacist said the anti-inflamatory might keep me awake at night. I said that was good because I'm a writer. But here it is in the middle of the day and I feel lethargic and dopey. *sigh

Anyway, anyone who comments on my rock/travel post over at the Inkwell blog until midnight Oct 22nd will get their name in my hat for a free Janet Dean Love Inspired Historical, Courting Miss Adelaide, as well as a small piece of petrified wood and a small agate.

We have a great discussion going on at the Inkwell based on todays blog questions:

- Are there any other rock hounds out there?

- Do you have a favourite hobby you need to get out of your system once in awhile?

- Do you collect something which gives you a reason to travel?

Thanks for visiting here today.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

What a Week!

It's a brilliant sunny, Saturday outside and I'm inside coughing away. Can't even say 6 words without hacking. Of course the little guy doesn't mind 'cause I can't yell at him to clean his room. My cough has come back with a vengeance and I believe it's because of working in the cold on Thursday afternoon.

Seekerville's BIAW ended on Sunday :( and I haven't worked on Emma's story now since Tues. I miss it. I like the accountability that BIAW and Nanowrimo offers.

Here's what I've been doing:

Wed - writing Prairie Chick Writes Romance (PC) blogpost

- blogging at Prairie Chicks (answering comments)
- drafting post for Sat's PC guest blogger
- emailing/scheduling PC guest bloggers for Nov/Dec
- writing Tues 'Travel' blogpost for Inkwell Inspirations

And then at noon on Thurs, the furnace started squealing! What a racket! Hubby was in the house eating lunch so I called him over and he said the motor was shot and he'd try to fix it later. He gave me a small baseboard heater to use. By 4 pm, I realized the little heater wasn't doing it's job and I was just wasting electricity so I moved back into the house.


- Susanne won my book giveaway at Prairie Chicks

- Furnace in rec centre still wasn't working so I stayed in the house. I don't like working on the dining room table because there's nowhere to plug in my cord. So, I worked on battery power for a couple hours until it ran out then I did something else while it recharged. I'll be so thankful when the livingroom wall is fixed and I can bring my writing armoire back in the house.

- right after school, the boys and I headed to the city. We dropped off the teen enroute as the youth group had something planned and he was going to sleep over. The little guy and I rushed to the city to get the latest issue of Olympic coins but the bank closed just as we got there. Sob. (The Olympic coins are only distributed through the RBC) But we had a good evening together at the Regina Coin Club mtg.

- hubby texted Friday night that he'd fixed the furnace in the rec centre so I can go back to my cave and work whenever I want. Yay!


- The little guy just came and told me it's 12c / 54F outside. Wow! Since he's by himself today and quietly playing on the computer, I'm hesitating leaving him alone and going to my cave.

- I'm hosting New York Times bestselling author Mary Balogh on Prairie Chicks Write Romance. We're having a lively discussion about whether a person needs a crit partner or can she send her ms straight to the editor. Mary is also giving away a hard cover copy of one of her books. To get in on her draw, go to Prairie Chicks Write Romance and leave a comment.

- I'm trying to get the church blog caught up to date

- I still need to work on Tues' post at the Inkwell

- I'm waiting to see if I'm a finalist in the Finally a Bride contest

- I need to work on Emma's story

- and I want to play Wii with the little guy (Heh)

And that's been my week.

So, what have you been up to?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Win a Book on Prairie Chicks Write Romance Today

What? I haven't blogged for a week? Ah - it's because I've been working on Emma's story.

I've also been sick with a sore throat and hacking cough. For a couple days there it felt like my head would split every time I coughed. Not conducive to quality writing.

Now that it's too cold to work in the sunroom I've had to move my cave into the renovated garage we've christened the rec centre. Here's a photo of my new cave in the back corner behind the furnace (on the right) but it's only temporary until we can get the carpet down. Then I'll move to the other side of the room and set up shop. I shut the furnace off at night and put it back on the next day. Because it's all one big room, it heats up in about 15 mins flat. But that's with the temps hovering around freezing. I suppose it'll take longer as the temp drops.

Since today is Thursday, I'm blogging over at Prairie Chicks Write Romance. My post today is my agent appt in Denver.

And, I'm giving away a free book to anyone who goes over and comments on my Prairie Chick post today. I'm sorry, but for the purpose of this giveaway, you have to actually go and leave a comment over there if you want a shot at winning Anna Meets Her Match by Arlene James.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Prairie Chick and Trade-Offs

Today I'm blogging at Prairie Chicks Write Romance about negotiating with your family to give you more time to write during what Prairie Chick Helena calls 'writing binges'.

For me, these writing binges come in the form of Book in a Week (BIAW) and National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo) which is only 3 wks away.

I find I write best when I'm accountable for my writing and that's what these 'binges' give me - accountability. Instead of just talking about it, I'm forced to actually do it. I say yay! to writing binges.

Who will care for your family while you're ignoring them? That's where the trade-offs come in.

The questions I've asked the Prairie Chicks today are these:
- Do you use trade-offs during intensive writing periods?
- Are there any trade-offs you’ve thought up but haven’t tried and why not?
- What's stopping you?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Seekerville BIAW Starts Today

I've signed on for the Seekerville edition of Book In a Week (BIAW). If you follow my blog, you know I do BIAW every January with the Sask Romance Writers, but this is a new one for me.

I won't be starting a brand new book but using this week to add the 20,000 words I need to Emma's Outlaw.

That means I'll be hunkering down in my writing cave this week. I may put out more blog posts here with my progress, but I won't be appearing on many blogs around the net except for the Seekervile one which is encouraging us on.

And in case you're wondering, yes, it's now too cold to work in the sunroom so I've had to move my cave into the rec centre. We've got the furnace fired up and I've set up an old comuter desk on one side of the room where I've been working the past couple days. I'd love to set it up permanently but the cement is cold under my shoes. We'll be putting the old living room carpet out there but have to wait for the crews to come and take it out of the livingroom first.

No, the wall/renovations aren't finished in the living room/bathroom. Actually, they haven't started yet. We have everything ready to go and the insurance company has picked their company of choice but it's a matter of scheduling now. And whenever they do want to start, we won't be stopping them.

Now, on Emma's story: She's been kidnapped by outlaws and is riding across Wyoming...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Prairie Chick Picks One

I'm blogging today over at Prairie Chicks Write Romance about how I finally chose the genre I'm going to concentrate my writing on these next few years.

I wanted to show you a current farm image so I opened my door and took a few pics. Imagine my surprise when I loaded them and discovered I hadn't downloaded the photos I took of Montana on my last day of travel. Now these photos are special because I was finally - just hours from home - able to capture the elusive hoodoo on film. I tried to describe a hoodoo to my crit partner/roomie Gwen at the conference but I didn't do it justice. So hopefully she'll get an idea from these.

This photo was taken looking up a hill on the north side of Culbertson in the northeast corner of Montana just 65 mls/104 kms south of the Can/US border.

Now, it doesn't look like much, right? But my fingers started tingling. I got back on the road and headed north, up past the hoodoos, turned around and parked close to them. Here's a closer look:

And still closer:

Isn't it amazing what a bit of wind erosion and the right soil/limestone can do, eh?

And in case you don't live near the 49th parallel and have wondered what the Can/US border really looks like, here it is:

That small white obelisk on the left side is the actual 49th parallel marker. Doesn't look like much standing between the 2 countries, does it?

Anyway, back to the Prairie Chicks, the questions today have to do with series books:

- How many books do you think should make up a series and why?

- What type of series do you like: Siblings? Friends? Co-workers? Same community but unknown to each other? Same family but different generations?

And in case you can't get over the Prairie Chicks and are wondering what I picked to concentrate my writing on, it's: Inspirational Historical Romance.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Whittling My Report

I've been back from my travels for days now and still trying to get caught up. One of the things I'm working on is my workshop report for the Afictionado ezine for ACFW members. I volunteered to be a reporter for literary agent Natasha Kern's workshop entitled Sin + Virtue = Bestseller.

I took notes of Natasha's workshop with my mini while at the conference. Natasha spoke very fast for an hour plus and I tried to keep up with her. I ended up with about 2200 words. But it was too much. My report has to be 500 words maximum.

So, I whittled it down to 1500 words by taking out all the examples she used. Still not enough.

Then I worked it down some more and am now sitting at 1100 words. Sheesh. I still have to shave 600 words off it!

It wouldn't be so bad except that Natasha has some excellent stuff there. She talked about conflict and heroes and villains in a way that although it surely wasn't new, it was new to me. I'm excited to get back to Emma's Outlaw and breathe new life in my characters...

but Yikes!

Friday, September 25, 2009

My Poem Featured at Inktropolis Today

It's Poetry Day at Inktropolis and I wrote a special poem as my first public offering.

If you've been following my blog here, you'll know I visited the Oregon Trail Ruts this past Monday. A special friend had mentioned she'd wished she could make the journey with me and as I stood on the site in Guernsey, Wyoming this poem formulated in my mind. It's called, You Were By My Side.

So if like history and/or poetry pop over there and leave a comment with an email address for a chance to win a Love Inspired Historical book as well as have your name entered in the big end of October Grand Prize giveaway.

Although I'd love to hear from you here, you will only be entered in this draw if you leave a comment at Inkwell Inspirations during the next 3 days.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Prairie Chick Visits Wyoming

I'm blogging at Prairie Chicks today about my Wyoming recon for Emma's Outlaw.

Go check it out for some inspiring, unique photos. If someone had told me there were natural land formations like these, I would have been hard pressed to believe. But now after seeing them for myself, I can only marvel at the imagination of our God.

And here's a pic that didn't make the Prairie Chick cut:


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Wild, Wonderful Wyoming!

Today was the day I followed Emma's ride in my Outlaw story. I'm not posting those photos here, however, because I need them for my Thurs Prairie Chick post. But I recorded many other photos for you. Here's a pic of the the Laramie Mountains from the local McDonald's parking lot. This is what you'd see if you looked south from the city of Casper.

A typical sight in Wyoming are these piles of boulders just lying there in the middle of a field. It always makes me wonder what formation they were before they fell.

Honestly, you can't go 2 miles without spotting a heard of a dozen or so pronghorn antelopes. They are a real menace on the Wyoming roads and I see them eating the farmer's fields which appears to be a luxury in this semi-arid state.

Wyoming reminded me of the biblical wilderness. Forlorn windmills like this one dot the state:

This memorial and an information sign are all that mark the route of the Bozeman trail.

I thought a butte was a flat topped hill. Nobody told me it was 20 times wider than it's height. This is a picture of one of the 'Pumpkin' Buttes.

The Big Horn Mountains are on your left as you travel north from Casper

Many of the roads and highways in Wyoming are made from the abundance of red dirt.

These topless hoodoos remind me of Mount Rushmore.

As I crossed the state line into Montana, the land became fit for farming again but always in the background were the mountains.

This tree was stark white and dead when I saw it just before sundown. I guess it hid in the shadows by the time I got my camera out:

Well, that's it for this day. Tomorrow I'll make my way across Montana, hopefully arriving home before nightfall.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Oregon Trail

I awoke this morning in Wheatland, Wyoming, close to Fort Laramie along the North Platte River. I set my GPS for Register Cliff and headed for Guernsey. It didn't take long before I got off the interstate and headed east. It was very easy to follow the signs and soon I was parking my van. I'd expected the site to be in a state park with an entrance fee but I'd passed that on the west side of town. After grabbing a sweater, I started up the trail:

It would've been a nice leisurely walk if not for the cold wind and 44F temps. I reached the top in just a couple minutes and tucked my hands in my pockets. It was the last day of summer. I alone stood at the top and read the sign. Not sure what to expect, I turned around and saw this:

It reminded me of a film set. The rules at the start had said only foot traffic could leave the designated paths. I had feet . . . so I stepped off the path and saw this:
I stared for a long time. All I had to do was take a step forward and I'd be in the middle between the ruts left from countless wagon wheels. I took that step and without conscious thought, closed my eyes. The feeling of being there was so intense I started to cry. I looked up the hill to the north and saw this:

How many pioneers had stood where I stood and looked east across the North Platte River wondering if they'd ever see their loved ones again? No matter how many years had passed, except for the plaques and cement path, this is what they saw:

I followed the Trail south, sometimes on it, sometimes beside it. I found many instances of survival with trees growing out of rocks and cactus on the ground. I actually took over 200 photos and I'll be putting more on Inktropolis this Friday, so only a couple more here. Look closely . . . sometimes beside the wagon ruts, sometimes I didn't see it, but to me it looks like the path of the women and children who climbed the hill as their men coaxed their oxen forward.

After walking around for over an hour, I was ready for a rest so I started the path down. In this next photo if you look close, you'll see a bench at the end of the path just before it turns to the left. I sat there and made notes on my iTouch while everything was fresh in my mind.

My next stop was Register Cliff just a couple miles south of the wheel ruts. It's a wall of limestone, common in the area, where hundreds of pioneers and present day people as well, have carved there name in the soft stone:

I didn't have time to research, but someone even made a tunnel:

I walked up to the gate, peeked in, and took this shot:

I started up the trail, hoping no boulders would slide down the cliff:

This 1840 inscription is the earliest one I found:

Unfortunately, those written on the south and southeast walls can't stand up to the winds of time:

I walked past the security fence, around to the west until a fence stopped me. This next shot was taken on my way back with the fence on the left and a small monument to the pioneers.

On the way back, I followed the path on the other side of the boulders which had fallen and found this jewel hidden in the prairie grass:

Back in my van, I drove north to Douglas and then west toward Casper but I had one more stop before I slept. Five miles south of I-25 is Ayers Natural Bridge. I parked beside a red wall and went for the 3rd walk of my day:

It was a short walk over a metal bridge to where I saw this natural wonder:

The place where I stood with the natural bridge was cool and surrounded by tall cliffs. I took a walk around and saw this:

And this:

Also, these trees caught my eye:

And these bumpy trees. Now they may be the norm for this area, but they sure look different to me:

And that's it for the Wheatland to Casper run. Tomorrow I hope to start Emma's journey which is why I'm sitting in Casper tonight.