Poured out ~ the story behind the story

August 25, 2015 | Comment on This

poured out

*Oil painting by Leah Kristin Dahlgren, “Silver Pitcher.”

I’ve been thinking of the writing process lately and what a mysterious things putting words on paper is. Where do these ideas come from anyway? How is it possible to create a character you know so well they seem to live and breathe? Why do I feel so smitten by my heroes ~ and they don’t even exist? Why do I find myself wanting to write rather than eat and sleep? Why do I often have to force myself to STOP writing and attend to other things?

When I was in Scotland May 2014 I wanted to take a break from writing. To be honest, I was exited to be there but worn out and weary. It had been a long winter with some unexpected twists and turns that I wasn’t weathering very well. I’d finished Ballantyne Book 3 and needed to let it rest so I could look at it, flaws and all, with fresh eyes once I returned home in June. My brother, who lives in Spain, met me in Glasgow. After arriving in a pouring rain he prayed for sun and the sun came out and stayed out the entire time. We hiked in the Hebrides and took trains and taxis and ferries all over, ate our hearts out (he’d brought a list of Scots foods he wanted to try :), and ended up in Edinburgh for more adventures. I began to feel full, inspired, enriched, overjoyed, overflowing. Green pastures and still waters, indeed.

I had brought a blank notebook and supply of pens thinking I wouldn’t use them. But somehow between all the hiking and walking and sightseeing and eating, I began scribbling a new story. I filled up one notebook and by the time I reached Spain I needed another. My pens had all run dry. By the time I left Spain I’d filled up another notebook. This was a story I’d been wanting to write for years and is set in my favorite century, the 18th. It didn’t matter where I was, or what I was doing, or if I was in a taxi or bus or whatever, I JUST HAD TO WRITE. It was wonderful to feel that overwhelming passion for words again. I’d nearly forgotten the  JOY of it. It was God’s gift to me in a rocky place.

When I came home I transcribed all that scribbling I’d done on vacation to a Word file. Since I never count words (too much like counting calories!) I was amazed when the numbers showed 40,000. My books are normally 100,000 and it takes me a year or more to write just one. The Frontiersman’s Daughter happened over a ten year period. This time I’d written almost half a book in a 2 week time frame on that month long trip. This was, of course, a first draft, and needed work. But it’s truly a story of my heart and that’s what matters. And it shows that a very slow writer like myself, when inspired, can pour out a story of substance in a short time, all because I, in a desert place, met the River of Living Waters who never fails.

So there you have the story behind the story of The Mistress of Tall Acre. 

Basket bliss

August 20, 2015 | Comment on This

porch baskets sunny

I’ve decided the best thing about this cabin is the porch. I thought so especially when I lined up these battered baskets on the railing and was delighted to see something woven across the planks of that very worn porch. A bit of whimsy, perhaps. These are the things that delight my heart ~ and I hope yours!

Have a blessed end of the week!

What are you reading?

August 15, 2015 | Comment on This

book stack best

I was recently asked in an interview what books I’m currently reading. Since a picture is truly worth a thousand words, I thought I’d post one here. I snuck Poldark in as that is what I’ve been watching, too. A little 18th-century cinematic bliss!

The better question is …

What are you reading?

Book buzz!

August 13, 2015 | Comment on This

Truly, I’m one of those low profile authors who likes to hole up in my cabin loft and just write. But when a book releases that comes to a screeching halt! So here’s some glad news to share on the book front. I promise to post more cabin pics later:)

booklist collage

I’m thrilled and thankful to share a starred review just in from Booklist. Librarians rely heavily on Booklist reviews so this is a double blessing.

The end of their review reads, “Frantz takes what could have been just another girl-next-door marriage of convenience story and turns it into something totally unexpected. Both poignant and suspenseful, this page-turner is sure to please a broad variety of readers.”

lifeway save the date best

Last but not least is the beautiful image Revell designed for me to promote my upcoming LifeWay event. This is my first Kentucky signing and I’m overjoyed to meet readers in person. If you’re anywhere near that day, I’d love to give you a hug and sign a book!

Release Party/Book Signing
for The Mistress of Tall Acre

Saturday, September 26th, 2-4 pm
LifeWay Christian Store
Richmond Centre
2085 Lantern Ridge Drive
Richmond, Kentucky


Have a wonderful weekend!

Hard Back Large Print Edition

August 5, 2015 | Comment on This

mistress large print bestFor my readers who request large print/hardback editions, here it is! I’m always intrigued when a new cover is used. This one I like very much with the woman’s back to the reader, that lovely parasol, and the garden or lane she is focused on. Intrigue! Romance! Shadows! Historical fireworks!

Here are links for those who need it…

Thorndike Press


Again, please feel free to ask your library about ordering as most branches shelve large print editions.

Back to penning that next book!

Another review…and ask your library!

July 31, 2015 | Comment on This

RT review best

Reviews are starting to come in from major trade publications like RT Review, USA Today, and such. I’m very grateful for this top pick by RT Review. Given this story was written at a time when I had nothing much to give, I can only credit the infilling of the Holy Spirit for any accolades/praise. HE truly is the Father who never fails!

This novel is a book of the heart in more ways than one. I’d carried the story idea around with me for some time and was smitten with my hero even before I put him down on paper. It is probably my most suspenseful novel to date and I hope/pray you find it as hard to put down reading it as I did writing it!

I’d like to encourage those of you on a book budget to kindly ask your library, specifically your acquisitions librarian, if they will order The Mistress of Tall Acre. Most are happy to honor patron’s requests. That way, many people can read and enjoy. Love those libraries!

Not too much longer till release day, September 1st!

Cabin fever

July 23, 2015 | Comment on This

 I’m back:) Heartfelt thanks to those of you who have waited patiently for me to unpack my last box! Here’s a little snapshot of our journey to our Kentucky cabin…

july cabin map

We traveled 2800 miles by car and moving van across 9 states in mid-June. We were blessed with great weather, good health, and no breakdowns along the route. It was truly an incredible, memorable trip…

july cabin cat

Upon our arrival this charming creature greeted us. We were told the cat came with the cabin! Paul named him ‘Thomas’ since he’s a Tom but we’ve since learned his real name is ‘Alvin.’ He’s pretty sweet!

Here’s a view of our humble home below blue skies…

july cabin porch swing

One of my favorite places is out on the front porch. My dear Kentucky kin gifted us with this porch swing. Needless to say, I’m swinging every chance I get!

july cabin screen inside

Here’s looking out the screen door into the woods. There’s almost always a breeze and we’re surrounded by oaks and pecans and hickories, etc. Lael would definitely approve!

july cabin dresser

Our wonderful realtor and his wife told us about the Peddler’s Mall nearby and I found this lovely dresser and tucked it in a cabin corner…

july cabin key

Down the way in Paint Lick is Todd’s Antiques where I discovered my old desk. I’m quite smitten with the little key. Lots of cubbyholes within…

july cabin desk

It’s called a ‘plantation desk’ and is thought to be about 200 years old. I was able to bring it home for a very reasonable price. I believe the wood is walnut. Love the matching seat…

One of the biggest joys has been moving in family heirlooms like my great-granny’s china cabinet. She lived on a farm right down the road from our cabin…

A little logging and laundry off the back deck. The cabin is truly a work in progress and has many charms and eccentricities and flaws! But it’s a joy to wake up in every morning and call it home. Home at last!

divider best

Now, enough of me. What about YOU? I’ve missed reading friends here and need to know what’s happening in your neck of the woods. Please feel free to write a novella and catch me up…!

Counting down till release day with you…

June 25, 2015 | Comment on This

roxie prerelease banner

Special thanks to my marketing director and Revell for this beautiful pre-release banner. I especially like the lovely font, the touch of pink, and the lace border. And I even spy Tall Acre’s chimneys in the background. The art team truly captured the look and spirit of my heroine. I can’t wait for you to meet her!

Only 73 more days now…

The road home

June 3, 2015 | Comment on This

Here we are and it’s June!

I want to update the journal here before I sign off for the summer. I’ll join you again in August when the release day for The Mistress of Tall Acre draws near. For now we are finalizing the big move and getting ready to go.

cabin drive fall

Here’s the road leading up to the cabin, taken last fall when I saw it for the first time. I’ll be sure and post a summer foliage picture soon. It’s quite lush this time of year. Since the cabin is situated on its own little hill, you can see the sun rise and set from the front porch. My first purchase will be a porch swing:) Can’t wait to get my fill of sweet tea and lightning bugs, neither of which exist in the Pacific Northwest.

We need and appreciate your prayers as we begin this big adventure. Praying you have a blessed summer and we can catch up when I return!

Psalm 121: 7~8

Love’s Awakening in audio!

May 27, 2015 | Comment on This

ellie audio

Ellie is in audio format and I’m thrilled! For friends who are audiophiles, here’s the link. The lovely Angela Brazil narrates all three books in the series and you can have a ‘wee listen’ as Silas would say. Ellie looks quite coy here. Love the blue dress:)

Happy end of May to you!