How Do You Connect?

My, how the world has changed! With today’s technologies, we can be connected with friends from all over the world practically in an instant. I remember my grandfather telling me many years ago that the world was changing so fast, he could barely keep up. And that was before the personal computer saw the light of day. But I understand how he felt, because some days I feel I can’t keep up either. Maybe I have an old soul.

A hundred years ago, pioneers could only connect with others by one type of social media. It was called getting together and talking, face to face. People worked hard in those days–not that I’m saying we work any less–but they made time to connect with their neighbors, family and friends. They didn’t Skype, or have Face Time. They couldn’t email, or even phone someone. They simply hitched a team of horses to a wagon or sleigh and traveled to a neighbor’s farm for a visit. They appreciated their friends and took time to nurture their relationships.

As well as visiting, they also organized group events to keep in touch. The box social was a major function held in the fall after the harvest was finished. It gathered friends and family from the four corners of the district together in one place, usually in the one-room schoolhouse. At the same time they raised money for the upcoming Christmas Concert.

A box social was a simple concept. The women packed a lunch, wrapped it in some creative manner, and secretly took it to the social. The men would bid on the boxed lunches, and the woman who prepared the lunch would share it with the winning gentleman. More often than not, a husband knew which lunch was his wife’s, but there was usually a prankster in the group who loved to mix things up. Sometimes the outcome was good, sometimes not.

In my recently re-released book, Stubborn Hearts, the young school teacher has packed a lovely lunch for the box social. She wonders who will be the winning bidder. Will he be the blue-eyed Norwegian she rather fancies, or perhaps a father of one of her students? Or will he be that interfering, insufferable blacksmith she so despises? And who is that man funding the most hapless bachelor in the district? But no matter who buys the teacher’s lunch, he’ll be treated to some interesting conversation and delicious food.

Maybe the pioneers had the best means of communication after all.




My Book Cover

It’s arrived! For the past several weeks, I’ve been worrying about my book cover. I’m a visual artist (when I’m not writing) and I often pick up a book because I like the cover. I was almost afraid to see what the artwork of my book, Stubborn Hearts would be. It’s not at all what I was expecting, but I love it. It definitely depicts what the story is about: a young woman in a small western town back in the early        1900’s. It’s very surreal seeing my name across the bottom of the cover. I can hardly believe that my dream of getting this book published is finally coming true.

To any of you thinking you’d like to write a novel, go for it. But be prepared to put in many, many hours. Actually, I need to add a couple more “many’s”.  Still, if you stick with it, someday you can upload a picture of your book, too. And it feels great!

Social Media Freaks Me Out

Finally! I’m going to be a published author! But no sooner had I signed the dotted line of my book contract with Crimson Romance, I found out that the real work had just begun. Gone are the days of letting the publisher do all the promoting and selling. If I really want to sell books, I’d better get the word out there, too. Enter social media.

Me on facebook is akin to me on skates. Yes, I can do it, but there’s a lot of screaming and crying involved. But during these past few weeks, I’ve perservered and soon I hope to be gliding gracefully (and tearlessly) all over facebook.

Now I’m told I need a blog or a website. Really? I am about to enter deep water far beyond my comfort zone. Did I mention I can’t swim either? I sink like a rock tethered to an anchor. But I’m okay. I’ve donned my yellow life vest and I’m bobbing along, even learning to sumberge myself. Someday, with many more blogs behind me, I’ll be a certified blogger. No water winds required.

Twitter has made me paranoid. People are following me. Why me? I hate being the leader. I’m a follower! Tell me what you need done, and I’ll do it, but please, don’t expect me to lead.  Yet, there you all are, traisping behind me. It’s as if you think I know where I’m going. I don’t. Now it makes perfect sense that I should be following you. That, I’m comfortable with.

Pinterest. I was almost afraid to see what that involved. How delighted I was to discover it’s all pictures! Yippee! I’m a visual person. Within no time I’m pinning and repinning with the best of them. Yes, I have followers again, but this time I’m okay with it. Make a congo line behind me if you’d like.

So, in general, I’m holding my own on the social media front.  I’m maneuvering about the facebook skating rink and screaming a lot less while doing it. I’m treading water and blogging. And I’ve discovered followers are people exactly like me. Well, maybe not exactly like me. They probably know how to really skate and swim.

I dedicate this blog to all the helpful people on the various social media sites who told me where to go and how to get there–oops, that didn’t come out right. Whatever! Thanks for showing me the way!

Please feel free to visit this blogsite often. And I’ll try to have something posted at least once a week.

Get the Champagne Flutes and Pop the Cork

I’ve been reading the comments on facebook bouncing back and forth between the Crimson Romance’s June authors. There is so much excitement among them that I can’t help but get caught up in it too. Each time a beautiful new cover is revealed, I can almost hear champagne corks popping as the authors celebrate.

And who can blame them!

It’s no simple thing, writing a novel. It’s far more than just taking a concept, piling words upon words, adding and deleting, moving and shuffling until the words form sentences, then paragraphs, then chapters, and finally a completed manuscript.  It’s about the writer digging deep within himself. He has to have the guts to steal time from a myriad of other obligations which threaten to heap guilt upon him.  He has to have faith to stick with his original story when a new and seductive plot sidles up next to him. He has to endure the pain when rejection letters are slicing away at his confidence.

They why do it? Why write when it causes such angst?”

I can only answer for myself.  I began writing simply because I wondered if I could. It was a whim, a foolish desire to see if I had any writing ability in me. I was unaware of the challenges I would face.

So I wrote, joined a writers’ group and wrote some more. I read books upon books about grammar and plotting and characterization. I rounded out my characters and put them in a lovely setting to live, and before I knew it, they were practically telling me their story and I simply recorded it. Certainly I presented them with obstacles, but ultimately they themselves resolved the problems. And while all this was going on, I had discovered a new passion . . . writing!

Did I have trouble finding the time to write? Not really. My two biggest responsibilities were adults now, so I was spared the guilt which weighs so heavily on young mothers. My dear husband understood my need to write and gave me free rein. I really didn’t care if the floor needed washing or the laundry needed folding. My writing took priority.

Was I tempted by other plots. Yes, sadly I was. But I refuse to take full blame. My characters, Tom and Beth, spent months at a time pleading editors to publish their story. While they were away, I sought out other characters for company. But when they returned, rejected again, I commiserated with them and promised never to give up on them. I edited and edited. Then I edited some more.

And one day, one glorious day, a lovely and wise young editor at Crimson Romance took an interest in the story. She accepted it!

The other Crimson Romance Ladies in Red know that feeling of euphoria. We’re riding high on it . . . the June authors indubitably riding highest.  To all the wonderful women at Crimson Romance, cheers! In a couple months it will be my turn to celebrate and you can bet champagne will flow.

P.S. Tom and Beth ask you to stop by your local eBook store and read all about their “Stubborn Hearts”.  I told them this wasn’t the time or place to shamelessly plug their story, but when have they ever listened to me!   😉

The premise

Can the love of an honorable man be enough to forgive a woman’s one felonious act? Should that woman risk everything to find out?

When Tom Carver, Whistle Creek’s blacksmith, tackles a youth prowling in his barn, he certainly doesn’t expect that youth to be the recently-hired school teacher, Beth Patterson. Her feeble excuses invite his suspicion, so for the next few weeks, he devises “chance” encounters with her so he can watch her every move.

Hiding from the law, Beth had hopes of starting afresh in the town of Whistle Creek. But with one brother obsessed with stealing a horse, and the other younger one befriending the town’s intrusive blacksmith, she fears her ugly past will be uncovered.

Tom’s deliberate encounters with Beth reveal she is a deeply devoted sister, and a beautiful, loving woman. Soon desire expels his distrust and he purposely courts her romantically. Denying her own yearnings, Beth knows she must reject his advances for the sake of her small family.

Surely Tom, a decent and respected man, would condemn her for her one tragic deed. Wouldn’t he?