Audio at last!

November 29, 2015 | Comment on This

Back to pen some glad news here to ring the holidays in! After being away from the Journal page due to an overloaded schedule, I’m working on a special Christmas post to share. But first…

lael audio

I’m so pleased to announce that Lael’s story, The Frontiersman’s Daughter, is in audio format! I must admit I’m wild about the cover! The broody, wooded look and color scheme are just my cup of tea. If you’d like to listen to an audible sample, here’s the link…


The lovely Laura Jennings is narrating all three Kentucky books ~ Courting Morrow Little and The Colonel’s Lady will soon follow. When I first heard Laura audition, I was amazed at how well she brought Lael’s story to life. Turns out she’s from my neck of the woods! She was gracious enough to answer some questions I put to her about the process.

What is your favorite part of narrating a novel? Least favorite?
My favorite part is getting lost in the characters and the story and
your book was no exception. I also love the English language. Least
favorite is the research. I like sinking into a novel but in the
beginning I have to read and take notes to make sure I get everything
right in the narration.

What might surprise listeners about the audio process?
I think it is hard for people to imagine what it is like to sit alone in
a studio reading a novel out loud for long hours at a time. And then
spend that same amount of time editing and producing. At least I hope
they have a hard time imagining it – we are supposed to make it sound
effortless. :)

In The Frontiersman’s Daughter, were there any particular challenges or pleasures for you as narrator?
Well, being a southerner and a historian at heart the story was near and
dear from the beginning. Of course dialects are always tricky but that’s
part of the fun, too.

 What’s it like listening to your own voice bringing a story to life?
When I started narrating audiobooks I kind of fell in love with my own
voice in the beginning. Then I started comparing myself to others with
more experience and thought I was awful and came close to quitting many
times. Now, after doing this for almost five years, I am able to listen
to myself from an objective viewpoint. In the mastering process, if I
can listen to the story and not “hear” my voice then I feel like I’ve
got it right.

 Do you have to like/enjoy a book before you narrate it?
Sometimes that is not an option. I would say 90% of the time I enjoy the
books I narrate but sometimes I am asked to narrate a book that I would
not normally read. At those times, you keep the listener in mind and do
the best job you can for them. Mostly, as was the case with
Frontiersman’s Daughter, I do enjoy what I am narrating. But, in all
cases, I feel honored to have been chosen.

Favorite genre?
Who doesn’t love history and romance??? Well, I do like a good mystery,
too. I am a reader – I would read the yellow pages if that’s all I had.
Thank goodness it is not. :)

Any characters or books you’ve done that have personal meaning?
I tend to identify with strong female characters because that is what
feels normal to me. My family is heavily populated with very independent
women which is probably why these characters feel so right. Funny you
should ask this question, while reading Frontiersman’s Daughter, I felt
you had captured perfectly the independent spirit of the Southern woman.

 Ever think of writing your own book and if so, what setting or century would you choose?
Oh gosh, I Have an MFA in creative writing and have written several
novels. And they are all in a cardboard box under my bed which is where
they will stay. :) They are novels set in the south and in the early
part of the 20th century. Shhh, don’t tell anyone. :)

divider best

See you in December for a Christmas post about cabin life, what I’m writing, and more.

Hope to hear from you then, too!

November Giveaway!

November 1, 2015 | Comment on This

dawn november giveaway

So pleased to be included here in this terrific giveaway. Just in time to add to your to-be-read stack before the snow flies!

Please follow this link to enter.

Happy reading and a joyful fall to you!

Release Party ~ LifeWay Day!

September 28, 2015 | Comment on This

I wanted to share a few photos from this past Saturday’s release party at LifeWay Christian store in Richmond, Kentucky. It was my first Kentucky book signing and it exceeded my wildest dreams. So thankful for everyone who turned out and made the day such a blessing and success!

joyce signing me books

Wonderful to celebrate my newest release and backlist…

joyce signing 2 of usjoyce signing collage

I can’t thank my heaven-sent realtor, Robert Gullett, and his savvy wife, Joyce, (bottom left) enough for their assistance…

joyce signing big collage

Meeting with readers from out of state and within was such a treat, including reconnecting with friends who’ve been friends since grade school…

joyce signing store staff

The awesome LifeWay staff!

Thanks, too, for those of you who were with us in spirit. Your presence and prayers were definitely felt!

A hero…

September 6, 2015 | Comment on This

mistress house pin


September 5, 2015 | Comment on This

mistress cold quenching water pin

Chapter One

September 4, 2015 | Comment on This

mistress fence quote

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!