Thursday, July 18, 2013

trying to write with a dog staring at you

Poppy listens to an awkward sentence
I have two supervisors who take turns staring at me while I write.

Poppy is pictured here by my laptop, taking over Daisy's shift, who is in the background settling in for an extended nap.

They're great workers. They listen patiently as I read aloud from my work-in-progress and as long as I feature a dog in the story, they don't complain about the plot.

The only time they ditch me is when they hear rattlings in the kitchen!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Rescuing Clementine, Part 2

paperback or ebook
As a young Girl Scout at camp, my friends and I learned a bunch of folksongs, among them "Oh My Darlin' Clementine!" which we belted out with gusto. Now some decades later, I thought it would be fun to connect this old favorite with a work of historical fiction: thus this novel: The Waiting Light: Clementine's Story
       This song's original music and lyrics are usually credited to Percy Montross, circa 1880. Since then, Clementine has become a popular song with countless different stanzas that children sing in school, Scouts, and around summer campfires.
       Most folklore and modern urban legends often have some basis in truth. In this vein, The Waiting Light follows themes from the lyrics. I pretended the song was a legend spawned from Clementine's life, so using clues from the verses, I worked backwards: her father was a "forty-niner" and they lived "in a canyon" by a river. She cared about animals ("drove she ducklings to the water ev'ry morning just at nine"), but she stumbled from a bridge ("hit her foot against a splinter") and fell into "the foaming brine." As for the herring boxes, they're mentioned in the novel, but not as the exaggerated image that ends up in the song (size-nine sandals).
       The singer appears to be a grieving beau: "I kissed her little sister, forgot my Clementine," is a curious ending which inspired my imagination. Who were these people, what happened, and why? So in my story I gave Clementine a father, a sweetheart and a little sister, and included them in the mystery.
     I hope you enjoy this new release!


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

an hour of writing then a long hike!

on the Boise Greenbelt
This morning after tearing apart a chapter then trying IN VAIN to rewrite it, I fled the house for some fresh air. 

My hiking buddy and book club pal always brings a stash of dark chocolate! We picnic in the shade and listen to the birds.

Now back to work, Kristiana!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

a little monster in the wall: inspiration

a nice little monster
A sunny weekend in Seattle is one of the most beautiful places on earth, especially with loved ones, and especially when you find a little MONSTER. This one is the size of a cat and lives in a stone wall on Capitol Hill. 

I like him! He makes me want to write a story.

For more stories: 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

writing distractions: golden retrievers!

golden retrievers at work
Today's progress with writing: C-

Entertained by dog videos: A+

This house full of golden retrievers makes me laugh out loud. They sure know their way around the kitchen!

Ooookay, back to work ... well, maybe I'll watch it one more time ...

For a photo of my two goldens hard at work:

Monday, May 20, 2013

new website!

hard at work!
Oh boy, my new website is up! 

It's been a long time in the "thinking" process as I transition between traditional and self-publishing. 

I hope you like it! 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

mother's day: beauty from our garden

at our breakfast nook

I love being a mom to Greg and Cody.

A snapshot from our kitchen this morning:

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Rescuing Clementine, Part I

paperback & e-book
Hello reading friends!

I'm happy to announce the re-release of one of my historical adventures, The Waiting Light: Clementine's Story. Originally published under the title My Darlin' Clementine, it won the Idaho choice for the 2010 National Book Festival in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the Library of Congress.

When the rights reverted back to me, I updated the Author Note and tweaked the title. Then I refreshed the cover with Cody Rutty's photo of New Meadows, Idaho, which he took looking out from his studio. I think it's beautiful and reflects the novel's themes of hope, unconditional love, and redemption.

For ages 10 up, the story tells of sixteen-year-old Clementine Kidd, who dreams of becoming a doctor. Her hopes are complicated however, by the lawlessness of a mining town in 1866 Idaho Territory, prejudice against the Chinese, and the affections of handsome Boone Reno. When tragedy strikes, a chain of desperate events is unleashed. To save her family and follow her dreams, Clementine must take an unthinkable risk.

I hope you like this new edition, available in paperback and as an e-book. It's one of a trilogy set in mining camps of the American West. Next time I'll tell you about the re-release of Orphan Runaways: The Perilous Escape to Bodie ... stay tuned!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Prairie River re-release!

I'm thrilled to announce that my Prairie River series is back in print! It had been awhile since I read these four books, but last week as my family and I uploaded and proofed pages for Amazon's CreateSpace, I went over every line and every chapter. These wholesome stories follow the adventures of 14-year-old schoolteacher, Nessa Clemens, on the Kansas prairie of 1865. 

They were a joy to write! And now they're 6x9 paperbacks, easy to read and nice to hold. For those of you who haven't yet met Nessa, here's her first adventure: A Journey of Faith.

I hope you like these new editions!

Friday, February 22, 2013

the adventure in self-publishing continues

Sometimes life feels like one giant experiment with Hope. You have children, and hope and pray they grow up to be wonderful adults. You move to a new town and hope for a new friend. There's the new job, a new neighbor, a new puppy.
     Sometimes Hope is holding your breath as you try a new way of doing old things.
     As many of you know, I've treaded out into the world of self-publishing after 30 children's books with traditional houses: Scholastic, Harcourt, Holiday House. I miss my editors and the camaraderie of teamwork. But in its place is a new freedom. Instead of waiting a minimum of two years while a monolithic bureaucracy draws up a contract and goes through the necessary editing process then escorts the book to stores, self-publishing can be swift. As hard and fast as an author wants to work, that's how soon you can reach readers. I like that part. Recently I published Stalked: Danger and Fury, Ellis Island 1912, a Young Adult thriller set in the NYC tenements, and meanwhile kept writing.
     For several years children, teachers, and parents have been asking for a new adventure with the cousins Jeff, David, and Claire. So here it is friends,  CABIN CREEK MYSTERIES #7:  The Phantom of Hidden Horse Ranch, available in paperback and as an e-book. My son Cody did the interior drawings, and the cover is a photograph he took on a foggy morning in New Meadows, Idaho, where he has his studio. We hunched together over his computer experimenting with fonts and design then soon it was ready to pair with the edited manuscript. I love that part.
     It was a lot of fun and I hope you like it!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

4th graders: first-of-a-kind question

Fan letters are always fun, and I love it when kids tell me stuff. Such as why they're mad at a little brother or how it feels to move to a new school. They tell me the names of their pets, frogs included, and their favorite teachers, and they ask great questions about writing and stories, often wondering about my favorite book as a child. A question and comment in today's mail by a 4th-grader and her BFF was a first:
     "What kind of phone do you have? [We have] a Samsung Galaxy." 
Are you kidding? Ten-year-olds with $200 cellphones? Don't get me started. Meanwhile, I'm just thrilled they took the time to write a real letter on notebook paper AND included self-addressed stamped envelopes. Now that's impressive!

P.S. to any middle-grade teachers in Oakland, California: if you have a 9-year old student who wrote me about The Secret of the Junkyard Shadow, please say hello and that his kind words mean a lot. I'm bummed to say I can't write him back because there was no return address!

Monday, January 7, 2013

snow on seashells

20 degrees and snowing
As I look out our kitchen window, I'm torn. Our seashell wind chimes make me yearn for the beach and a warm breeze. Yet snow falling on the Christmas wreath my mom sent us is beautiful, too. Both bring good memories.

I'm excited that editing is nearly complete for The Phantom of Hidden Horse Ranch, #7 in the Cabin Creek Mystery series. I love writing these, especially because I'm reminded of when our boys were little and wouldn't go to bed. Bribes were easy. "Want to hear a Jeff and David story?" I'd ask, and zooom they were under their quilts. Snowy nights or summers with windows open, they were willing listeners. Thirty years later, I'm still thanking them.