Friday, December 31, 2010

Best and Worst Writing Memories of 2010

We were all served with some good and not so good things throughout the year. So here's a dozen of my best and worst writing memories from 2010.  When you're done reading mine, please share yours (writing or otherwise). And may the New Year be your best year ever!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

For Unto Us

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given,
and the
government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, 
Mighty God, Everlasting Father, 
Prince of Peace.   ~ Isaiah 9:6

Christmas - a timeless story

Wishing you all glorious Christmas blessings in Christ Jesus!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Winding down . . .

Be careful,
for writing books is endless,
and much study wears you out.
Ecclesiastes 12:12

So, as I wind down to the end of the year, I've also been contemplating gaining vision for the year ahead.


I've been having a bad spell over the past several weeks with my migraines.  On my in between times (when my head clears) I try to think. To read. To research. It's distracting. And healing.  I  just lost my cat last week after a 2 month long ordeal, and you may recall that I'm still grieving the loss of my Step-dad who's only been gone for 4 months. And our family is still grieving the loss of my cousin who was murdered, along with several others, in January. So in general I'm just trying to heal. But I am trying.

Here's what I have been enjoying. . .

Some family research. That always inspires me. And exhausts me. I managed to write a few special posts as tributes.

Reading a few short books. Heartsong Presents novels are only 50,000, but the authors are so talented. I've been enjoying Vicki McDonough's N. Dakota Brides.

I've found a few writing projects. After Christmas I'll be working on a novella collection with three other authors. Something short and fun. Been doing some research in colonial New England. Can't tell you much more than that. Also, I plan to submit a few short devotions. Here' are a few helpful links from the experts on writing devotionals.

Cec Murphy
Donna Shepherd
Nancy Robinson Masters

So, Christmas. Is it really just a few days away? Have you had a chance to write at all through the holidays? Do you write a family newsletter? Send out cards?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Stick Notes: William Blake

You never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough.  
~ William Blake  (1757-1827)

Care to discuss this quote and how it pertains to our writing??

Jane Austen

I would be remiss if failed to mention the anniversary of Jane Austen's birthday today. I kid you not, a few minutes past midnight I suddenly got a desire to write something about Jane. And then I realized, it was her birthday. My heart remembered, or at least my subconscious did, strangely enough.

So celebrate I will! It only comes once a year, you know. Though I do believe for the multitude of Jane Austen fans who have been inspired by her life and writings celebrate continually.

There is a fabulous blog tour going on today, and since I was a little late coming to the party, I didn't sign up, though I hope you will enjoy attending. (Click on the image above.) There are lots of prizes and great blog entries to enjoy!

I wrote a post on my genealogy blog, Relatively Speaking wondering am I Related to Jane Austen?

Last year I blogged A Writer Celebrates the 234th Birthday of Jane Austen where you can read about her influence in my life.

I'd like to point out Bethany House's Insight Edition of Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility. I have a copy of Sense and Sensibility that I have enjoyed. With a foreward by one of my favorite authors, Julie Klassen, Christy award winner for The Silent Governess,
Jane Austen's first published novel explores the question of what drives your life: your heart or your head? The Dashwood sisters, Elinor and Marianne, are as different as sisters can be. Serious Elinor lives by reason and thoughtfulness while her younger sister, Marianne, only follows her passions. But in questions of love, they learn neither the heart nor head alone will lead them to happiness. Filled with romance, Austen's brilliant wit, and rich characterization, this is a celebration of sisterly love and the need for family--no matter how different they might be from us. 

The classic tale is enhanced with the sprinkling of interesting trivian, humorous insight, and meaningful inspiration throughout.

Enjoy celebrating our beloved Jane!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Writing a Family History

Lately I've been spending time researching and writing down my family history at my genealogy blog,  Relatively Speaking.  I've been recording my family history online for the past three years and researching my genealogy for many more.

I plan to write some posts on how to go about writing your family history in narrative form, so stay tuned. And someday, I plan to write historical fiction based on the lives of three particular ancestors who have fascinating stories to tell.

But for now, I stick to writing pure fact. It's been therapeutic for me as of late, as I'm still grieving the loss of my Step-dad and have an intense longing for family who live far from me. Connecting with them, sharing oral histories and me writing them down, has done this heart good.

I'd be thrilled if you'd stop over to  Relatively Speaking. I have not only my own family history there, but genealogy tips, resources, and some articles, poems, etc. There's even some famous authors in my family tree - and I share some Christmas poems of one of them (John Greenleaf Whittier).

Have you ever considered writing or blogging about your family history?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sticky Notes: John Greenleaf Whittier

“The best of a book is not the thought which it contains, but the thought which it suggests; just as the charm of music dwells not in the tones but in the echoes of our hearts.”

 John Greenleaf Whittier quotes (American Writer, 1807-1892)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

More About my Upcoming Novel

Some of you have been wanting to know more about the novel that I wrote. So I thought I tell you a little bit about it. 

The Shadow Catcher's Daughter (formerly titled Sunlight and Shadows) is my contribution to a 3 book set about romance in the Four Corners (CO, UT, AZ, NM). This historical romance is set in 1875 in Colorado and New Mexico Territories during the surveying expedition of the four corners, which will mark the quadripoint where all four states/territories meet.

Eliana Van Horn has assisted her renowned father with his photography for years. When he is asked by the U.S. Land Grant Office to be the official Photographer for a government survey of Four Corners, he insists that his assistant be allowed to accompany him. Eliana's own heritage shines a light on her own self discovery on this grand adventure.

Yiska Wilcox, is hired on as the Guide for the Four Corners survey expedition. Son of a mountaineer and a Navajo woman, he lives and breathes the freedom of the great southwest. When he meets Eliana he soon discovers that his heart is not as free as he thought, he has been living in the shadows of his past and longs to understand who he really is. (Yaska is Navajo for "after the night has passed".)

Eliana and Yiska are worlds apart, but are they willing to stake a chance on love?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Celebrating my Book Deal!

I have so much to be thankful for and could hardly wait to share the great news with you! 

I've been offered a book deal for my novel,
The Shadow Catcher's Daughter!

Although I did make an announcement on facebook, I wanted to wait a bit to post any of the details until after I talked to my new literary agent, Chip MacGregor. My historical romance novel will be published by Barbour's Heartsong Presents and is set to release in January 2012. Although that's still over a year away, the timing is perfect due to the relevance to the book's theme which I'll share more about in the future. I've been blessed to partner on this project with Darlene Franklin and Susan Page Davis. Each of us have written a book for this three book collection, tentatively titled "Love in Four Corners".

It's taken many years of perseverance and prayer, writing and learning craft of writing as well as about the publishing industry. So, when I received the email that I was promised a contract it was surreal. I'd always wondered how I'd respond to such news. Would I jump for joy, dance around my living room, fall on my knees? I probably did all of that, but what I did the most was cry. I'm one of those stoic New Englanders and tears don't flow easily for me, although I'm very sentimental at heart. The tears just wouldn't stop flowing from the late afternoon until I went to sleep that night. I guess it was all the pent up hopes and dreams, finally releasing. I was also still freshly grieving the passing of my Step-dad (who gave much research advice as I wrote the book) so emotion was right there waiting for the floodgates to burst. So cleansing and wonderful. . .happy tears.

I'm so blessed and honored to finally have this opportunity and am thrilled to be able to share it with you all who have encouraged and prayed for me along the way!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Sarah Hale's Letter to Abraham Lincoln Requesting a Thanksgiving Holiday

Sarah Josepha Hale, a poet and novelist, served as editor of Godey's Ladies' Magazine (later called the Lady's Book) from 1828 until 1877, during which time she made it the most influential periodical for women. Sarah Hale is hailed the Mother of the American Thanksgiving due to her long campaign to get Thanksgiving accepted as a national holiday in the United States. As a result of a letter she penned to President Abraham Lincoln when she was 74 years of age, he issued a proclamation that urged Americans to observe the fourth Tuesday in November as a day of thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Homeschool Book Fair

I have stacks and stacks of homeschool and children's books that need a new home. . .or homeschool, I should say. The kids are all grown up now and I want to bless other homeschool families with my surplus. Please feel free to ask for whatever books you need.

If you'd like to reciprocate with a donation of whatever you can afford, it would be appreciated (but not required). Or send me a jar of jelly, a gift card to, or come wash my kitchen floor. Anything will do.

Recipient is responsible for the shipping and must get that to me in advance. Email me at with your selection. If you live nearby and would like to rummage through my boxes just give me a shout. Thank you!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sticky Notes: Rich Mullins

"I think, writing-wise, I am probably more of a quilter than a weaver because I just get a little scrap here and a little scrap there and sew them together."  — Rich Mullins

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


During the 18th & 19th centuries, in an effort to conserve the expense of paper and postage, cross-writing was often used. Although it seems rather cryptic, writing this fashion was a great way to economize. Perhaps we could learn a lesson from our ancestors in this regard.

How it works:  After a page of writing had been completed, often when both sides had been filled, the write turned the page 90 degrees and continued writing, adding a second layer of text.   To decipher the letter, one simply must read in the direction of the text. The reader's eye tends to naturally tune out the perpendicular lines and can follow what was written.

Although cross-writing was used, it wasn't always advised, especially later in the century.

"When you get to the end of a notesheet, and find you have more to say, take another piece of paper—a whole sheet, or a scrap, as the case may demand: but whatever you do, don’t cross! Remember the old proverb 'Cross-writing makes cross reading.' 'The old proverb?' you say, inquiringly. 'How old?' Well, not so very ancient, I must confess. In fact, I’m afraid I invented it while writing this paragraph! Still, you know, 'old' is a comparative term. I think you would be quite justified in addressing a chicken, just of of the shell, as 'Old boy!' when compared with another chicken, that was only half-out!"
~ Lewis Carroll on How to Write a Letter (Rule #9), 1894

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sticky Note: A Writer of Real Taste

A writer of real taste will take great pains, in the perfection of his style, to make the reader believe that he took none at all. The writing which appears to be most easy, will be generally found to be least imitable. The most elegant verses are the most easily retained, they fasten themselves on the memory, without its making any effort to preserve them, and we are apt to imagine that what is remembered with ease was written without difficulty.
- Hannah More,  1834

Monday, October 11, 2010

Carol Kent: Between a Rock and a Grace Place

A few years ago when I heard bestselling author and speaker Carol Kent was coming to a women's conference in Maine I had to go. I was excited to hear her because I have taught one of her Bible studies, Secret Longings of the Heart: Overcoming Deep Disappointment and Unfulfilled Expectations, to several groups of women through the years and, in fact, in changed my own life. She is an inspiring author and speaker with great wisdom. And when she shared her heartbreaking story Laying My Isaac Down there wasn't a dry eye in the large room.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Books of All Time

"All books are divisible into two classes, the books of the hour, and the books of all time." - John Ruskin

I think every author's dream is to write a timeless piece of work that would be enjoyed through the ages. Many authors (fiction and non-fiction, poets and preachers) have experienced this achievement:  Shakespeare, Dickens, Rossetti, Austen, Byron, MacDonald, Twain, Lewis, Hurnard,Tolkien,Spurgeon, and the list goes on.

There are some novels that I have read in recent years that I believe deserve to be kept on the shelves. So often in this day of faced paced publishing books go into the bookstores for a set time and often disappear. Unless they end up in a library, they have a limited audience to reach - the one contemporary to the time of publication.

I've read some glorious works of fiction that were so well written I wish they could fall into the ranks of those that would stay in the forefront so that people could enjoy them for years to come. So today I thought we could share some of our favorite novels that have been written in recent years that we would consider "books of all time".  I'd like to hear what they and what makes them timeless. I'll share my own in the comments area. I hope you'll chime in.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

We are His Masterpiece

A very talented  potter, Rebecca Barthelmess, with a sweet spirit, did a painting like this at the women's retreat I attended with my Mom last weekend. I hope you'll take the time to watch this. You will be blessed if you do.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Me, wordless? I've lots to share, but am busy trimming my finished novel to send to the editor in a few days. So for now, I leave you with these cool pictures. I fear that someday I might end up looking rather like them. Would it be such a bad thing? Books are a beautiful thing.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sticky Note: Tears

No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader.
~ Robert Frost

Monday, September 6, 2010

The View from Here

I've been hiding in my writing cave all weekend, chiseling away at my novel. I'm in the 3rd act now nearing the home stretch. With your face in such proximity to the screen it can sometimes feel claustrophobic.

Though, inside the cave there can be many passageways and tunnels for the imagination to explore. Often it is a beautiful place.

But I prefer to be where there is a view outside of the cave, especially when I'm writing for hours on end.
I love to read and write outdoors whenever possible. Although it's hard to tell, on my Mom's balcony I can see the sun sparkling on the lake across the dirt road. A nice rest for my eyes, and my brain. And, yes, that is Eliana and Yiska (my heroine and hero) on my laptop - more inspiration for my writing.
But when I'm home and need to get away from my computer in my writing studio, I position myself in front of a window, with plenty of fresh air flowing in, and enjoy the beauty of a view beyond.  This is the view from my bedroom, where I've been reclining with my laptop. Beyond the treeline is the river, and though I can't see it, I am refreshed by its sound. A steeple is also centered in the distance (difficult to see from this photo), but it reminds me to keep my focus when my attention is drawn away too long.

How do you keep yourself from getting lost in your own writing cave?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Shore Read

Even in Maine it's in the 90's. So I thought it would be nice to share a little refreshment with you. Last weekend I had a chance to relax on Thomas Pond in Maine (at my parent's home). It was a nice respite after the stress of recent days and I took a nice dip in the water to cool off on the hot summer afternoon. I brought the book I was reading and it seemed quite fitting that I read it on the shore of this beautiful lake, although the ocean shore would have been even better.  But with the brisk summer breeze there were many waves this day and my imagination swept me away - thanks to the intriguing high seas adventure written by Kaye Dacus.
Ransome's Crossing, the second book in The Ransome Trilogy, continues where Ransome's Honor left off.  The regency England setting launches the story and carries the newly married Commodore William Ransome and his wife, Julia, daughter of an admiral and heiress to a carribean sugar plantation, across the ocean to her home of Tierra Dulce, Jamaica. As William and Julia navigate the seas of a new life together a secret threatens to capsize their relationship. Captain Ned Cochrane, who has been appointed to a sister ship in the convoy following a deadly attack by pirates, confides to Julia that he discovered that William's younger sister, Charlotte, has been disguising herself as midshipman "Charles Lott" on his ship. Charlotte, desperate to meet her secret fiance, put herself at great risk to do so, but soon finds herself in more harm's way than she ever thought possible.

Kaye's writing had me turning the pages with excitement to the very end. I highly recommend The Ransome Trilogy, and especially enjoyed Ransome's Crossing. The surprise ending has me eager to read the next book in the series, Ransome's Quest (coming in 2011).

For more information about the series visit Kaye Dacus online.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Home At Last

Holding hand his hand, and Mom's, too. Praying at his bedside. Just being there. Now my Step-dad is finally resting in the everlasting arms of Jesus. He left this world two days before his 77th birthday. I had given him a card the day before he went in the hospital about 2 weeks ago. I tucked it in his casket. Not because he would know, but because I would. I wrote the obituary, and was blessed to be able to do this — my tribute to the Dad who won my heart through the power of love and forgiveness.

During these past few weeks, I was only home for one day. The rest of the time I've been with my Mom at the hospital, memorial preparations, and keeping her company in post memorial days. My husband and sons were there too sometimes. But we do live well over an hour away so it wasn't as much as I would have liked and oh, how I missed them.
I'm trying to resume my writing, but it isn't easy to get back on track. Saturday I went a top "Hacker's Hill" on Quaker Ridge Road in Casco, Maine which overlooks the White Mountains of New Hampshire and Sebago Lake. The funeral home is located at the bottom of this picturesque hill, which was so fitting since my Dad was such a great outdoorsman. This area was always one of my his favorites. I thought to sit there overlooking God's creation, to help me get my muse back. But instead of writing my novel, I ended up writing a journal entry. Ultimately that was probably time better spent. Tomorrow I'll be continuing my novel journey. For Dad.

Thank you so much to all of you who have expressed
your love and concern for me and my family through
your thoughtful messages and faithful prayers.
I appreciate you more than I can begin to say.
Love, Carla

Friday, August 20, 2010


As we summer draws to a close, it is already cooling off here in Maine. Leaves are even beginning to change. Soon a new season will be upon us.

I'm experiencing my own change of seasons right now as well. I had come home from my Writers Conference and gone to visit Dad the next day. Here I am taking a few minutes on the porch, trying to get back in my writing mode so I can meet my Sept. 15th deadline for my novel, after setting my conference duties aside. Dad really wants me to finish the book and he's helped me so much by offering his expertise on certain topics pertaining to the characters and setting. But he has been rapidly declining, and by the next day was sent to the hospital in crisis. After being with him and my Mom for the past few days, without a change of clothes or medicine for myself, I had to come home and regroup. So before I go to bed I thought I'd post a little update to let you know where I've been. Many of you have been keeping up with me on facebook and I cannot tell you how I appreciate all of your love and prayers. As my Stepdad faces his final journey in this life I ask for continued prayer for comfort and peace. He'll be 77 years old on Sunday, his years soon will fade into the eternal. A difficult, and yet precious, season in all of our lives.

To everything there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones,
and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate;
a time of war, and a time of peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Spell Chequer

Eye have a spelling chequer,
It came with my Pea Sea.
It plane lee marks four my revue
Miss Steaks I can knot sea.

Eye strike the quays and type a whirred
And weight four it two say
Weather eye am write oar wrong
It tells me straight a weigh.
Eye ran this poem threw it,
Your shore real glad two no.
Its vary polished in its weigh.
My chequer tolled me sew.
A chequer is a bless thing,
It freeze yew lodes of thyme.
It helps me right all stiles of righting,
And aides me when eye rime.
Each frays come posed up on my screen
Eye trussed too bee a joule.
The chequer pours o'er every word
Two cheque sum spelling rule.

By Jerrold H. Zar

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Conference Time

Wondering where I've been?  I'm up to my ears with conference preparation.

The Maine Fellowship of Christian Writers conference is this Saturday, August 14th.  As the primary organizer of the event and desktop publisher I've been so busy, especially as we get closer to the date. I only have a few minor details to tend to and then I head to the coast of Maine on Friday for set up and spend the night which will be a special treat for me that I'll tell you about after the conference.

Cec Murphey is our keynote and I'm so looking forward to meeting him. We'll have 3 sessions with him: purpose, technique, and "Ask the Expert".  He will also provide advisory appointments as will our other workshop presenters.  There will be two breakout workshops, morning and afternoon. Historical Romance author Ruth Axtell Morren will be conducting workshops on Christian Romance and Getting Published in Genre Fiction. Inspirational author Yvonne Ortega will be providing workshops on Self-Editing and Non-Fiction Book Proposal. We also have a workshop on Writing for Children, and I will be teaching on New Media Connections.

We had our last pre-conference meeting this afternoon and now I'm off to another conference meeting for the Women's Fall Faith Lift at my church in October (featuring Lucinda Secrest McDowell).  Busy, busy! 

Was I supposed to be writing a novel??? I'll have to get back to that next week.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sticky Note: Our Deepest Fear

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

----from A Return to Love, by Marianne Williamson.

And here's a great post you might like to check out:
What is Success - Chip MacGregor

Monday, July 26, 2010

Where I am

Where can you find me in my quest to finish my novel by September 15th? . . . Writing to distraction, of course.

I've written 15,000 new words in the past few weeks and I've crossed the half-way mark in my novel. That puts me in the southwest at a stagecoach relay station somewhere between Del Norte and Lake City, right after a runaway stage scene.  And after a few "non-kiss" scenes, I just wrote the first kiss!

As I write, submit my new chapters for critique, edit, revise, and write some more I still have other responsibilities that include: working a 12 hr/wk job, some freelance website work, facilitating my church's email prayer chain, creating marketing materials for a women's conference in the fall (check), and coordinating my writers group's conference coming up in August. I wouldn't have planned it this way, but sometimes things just come at you all at once and you just have to punt.

Needless to say, things around me at home are piling up. Although my family is being very patient, encouraging, and helpful. But, my three men in the house all work full-time, plus. So, life is what it is right now. Oh, well. I am grateful they regularly make meals - thank goodness, since they want to eat!

So beneath the mountains of laundry, the dirty dishes, and unmade beds is an exhausted author in distress, having one of the most remarkable times of her life!

P.S. Please tell that maid in the picture that she can stop over at my house any time.

Where are you right now? Enjoying your summer I hope!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Taste of the Familiar

As I've been working on my story, I've been scattering bits of food on the pages. Not crumbs, but some delicious treats to help evoke sweet reminisces of familiar tastes. It's important to use all the senses judiciously while writing a novel. Just think about the times you've been reading and someone bit into a luscious dessert, especially one that is one of your favorites!

I've been under the weather for a few days, but my appetite is returning so I thought I'd share with you a little "taste" of some of the online resources I've found for historical recipes - an essential ingredient for infusing authenticity.

Did you know...

That in rural homes in the 19th century, apple, and other fruit pies were often served for breakfast, and considered a good hearty beginning for a hard day's work?

That 2 spoonfuls of rose water, a widely available flavoring before vanilla took over in the mid 19th century?

Some real life resources that I'm blessed to have are old cookbooks that belonged to my great-grandmother, grandmother, and great-aunt. I've some special memories of home baked Molasses Cookies and more. So I'll leave you with a special treat - my great-grandmother's "19th Century Gingerbread" recipe.

Mrs. Jennie Walton

1/2 c. sugar
1 c. molasses
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. soda (baking soda)

Beat first 4 ingredients until they foam then add:

1 c. cold water
1/2 c. melted shortening (cooking oil as substitute)
2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt

Bake in greased and floured pan about 1/2 hour at 375 dgrees.

I've made this delicious recipe many times and it is wonderful served warm with fresh whipped cream.

Do you enjoy writing about food?  Reading about food?
Do you have any heirloom recipes? Please feel free to share!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Westward Ho!

It's done. Well, almost. My proposal submission for The Shadow Catcher's Daughter, my southwestern novel, is on its way to the acquisitions editor. Hopefully, she'll like what she sees! 

I spent almost a week straight, very long days, getting my first three chapters, long chapter-by-chapter synopsis (7 pages), and author bio completed. And now I'm utterly exhausted!  One of my partners suggested I reward myself.  I was able to go down for a visit to my parents with my son, Brandon.  Although my Stepdad was very ill, it was good to be there to offer some encouragement.  We got sandwiches at the best deli in Maine -The Good Life Market, went out for an ice cream at The Mosquitoe (I got Moose Tracks), and Brandon and I took a little swim in the lake at sundown.

My parents were thrilled that I brought my proposal with me so they could read the finished version of it.  My "Dad" is my advisor on life in the west, and as often as time allows, Mom is my copy editor. She's had that role my entire life. It's so funny, my husband and sons are reading my synopsis, too! They are all so excited for me, and that in and of itself is priceless.

Writing the synopsis was such a good experience for this Pantser; though I was bewildered by the thought at first - how could I summarize a story that I hadn't even written yet? Now that I have it all down (not that I didn't have the big picture in mind all along) I can flesh the story out. I feel more confident about my ideas, where before I had so many questions and not certain I was taking the correct route - a two fold issue for me since the plot features an expedition.  I always enjoy books where the characters travel, but I never realized how difficult it would be to get it right - the synopsis works like a map.

Now I'm on a schedule to get my manuscript completed by September 15th, at a rate of about 5,000 words per week. Two chapters a week should do it. I already have a good chunk of it done anyway. I can't tell you how supportive my partners/writing mentors are. I'm very excited about the project, it has such a fascinating setting. And I hope the editor agrees. 

Thank you all so very much for your encouragement and prayers!!

Have you ever written a chapter-by-chapter synopsis? Do you usually write a general synopsis or an outline before you begin to writer?Are you a Pantser or a Plotter?