Thursday, December 27, 2007

Edge, the unfamiliar, newness, mending, quilts

This morning Bo and I took our walk together. Instead of walking along the river I decided to instead walk up one of the ravines. The wind felt cold though it was only 38 degrees out, but in the ravine, it was still.
We walked a deer trail. We haven't had much rain but I noticed the deer had been on it when the path was wet because their hoof prints sunk into the soil. Rocks had tiny shadows perfectly surrounding them that revealed themselves as space; the cold ground moving back from the rocks. Or else those stones were shrinking!
Bo stayed closer than usual to me. On more familiar ground he ranges far out ahead of me and the other day dug up a hole and caught a field mouse before I could get to him, so this "staying close" was nice. Probably because the new place made him a little cautious. Me too.
I thought about my latest book coming out in April, A Mending at the Edge. This little favine felt like "the edge" with it's ups and downs of deer paths. When I arrived at the upper end of the ravine, it turned out to be the sharp corner where a few years ago the trailer sank over the side and four calves got a reprieve. Jerry opened the door and the calves mosied out to munch while we spent quite a bit of time getting the trailer out.
Last year about this time we were finalizing the title for the book that is coming out in April. After much thought, we'd chosen “A Mending at the Edge.” I like it. In part because it is a book about a woman’s healing, her coming to terms with the mistakes of her past while moving forward. I’m reminded of Acts 26:2 in the King James version where Paul says “I think myself happy…” I love the idea that we can change how we feel, that we can think our way into a better, more hopeful place. Mending involves that kind of re-thinking, pulling threads across the tears and making something whole again.
I like the idea of an edge as well because this woman was at the edge of her religious colony. She didn’t always see eye to eye with the leader and yet she found herself needing the security and comfort that the colony provided to a woman with four children in the 1860s whose husband had abused her. She was marginalized in some ways, at the edge.
But in backwaters -- as in little visited ravines -- it’s the edge that promises the most intriguing bits of flora and fauna. Rich life goes on at the edge of things and contributes greatly to the health of the entire river. I like the idea that this woman will find her way toward spiritual health and in so doing, she will bring good things to the rest of the colony as they make their way.
There are quilts in the story too, so mending and having a tight, well-stitched edge, just stands for quality, doesn’t it? And perseverance.
I've decided to take that route again, just to see if the dog stays close or if with one exposure to the new his confidence has grown. I'm pretty sure I'll see something new as I walk along too. Not a bad thought considering it's the new year soon....when all will be new if not unfamiliar. Walking into it with Bo will be a delight.
I hope your new year is filled with new things whether you're living at the edge or in the middle. Jane K

Friday, December 21, 2007

Trees and letting go

My friend, Sally Freeman, is a Park Ranger at Ft. Clatsop, the wintering site of Lewis and Clark on the Pacific Coast. This is her fine piece gleaned from the wisdom of trees. It's also a site where Marie Dorion, the subject of my Tender Ties Series spent some time in the winter and summers of 1812-14.

sally freeman <youngsriver@yaho> 12/15/2007 08:48 AM PST During the Advent storm of December 2-3, 2007 in Clatsop County, high windsstarted late morning on Sunday and finally finished Monday evening (somegusts were 120-140 mph). This was the longest, strongest storm in memory.Many trees broke or fell and many did not. The following thoughts were given to me December 10 while carefully walking through a forest nearYoungs River.-
Don't be surprised by a gust from an unexpected direction. Not allstorms are predictable. Be prepared.- It is hard to tell who will stand and who will fall in a crisis. Many trees that look strong and beautiful fell, while many that appear weak had no damage.- Let go of your excess baggage before the storms come. Maple, oak, and alder trees drop their leaves in the fall so when the storms come, they suffer less damage.- A storm may break off sections that used to be vital to you; let them go.If you are still standing, you'll be okay and better able to endure the next storm.- If a neighbor falls, catch him/her if you can, but be prepared to hold them for a long time. If you fall, God might provide caring people to catch and hold you; don't resist their help.- If you are falling, it is useless to struggle to hold onto the earth.The world is not able to help you.- If you are falling, relax and let God catch you in His arms and set you down where your weakness will cause little damage.- If, after years of braving storms with God's help, you collapse, you are not a failure if you have provided shelter, fresh air, and beauty to those around you. Sally

Her line about the storm breaking off sections "that used to be vital to you; let them go. If you are still standing, you'll be okay and better able to endure the next storm" really touched me. How often we hang on to that which was once vital but has been damaged, perhaps compromised and yet we hate to let it go. It worked for us once so we hold tight. Letting go. Perhaps that is my lesson from this Advent Storm...

Have a good day, each of you. Warmly, Jane

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Snow on Starvation Lane

It's been more than a month since I last posted here. Since then, I've mingled with some fine writers at the Women Writing the West conference in Colorado Springs; met with my editors there, flew home and the following day my husband developed severe abdominal pain. We ended up calling the ambulance and air life who transported him 160 miles to the medical center where he'd been treated for cancer. They discovered a blown colon and fixed it! Hallelujah! He's had some setbacks with bladder infections but we're hanging in there and we're back home. If you want the details you can visit my website and click on the November Monthly Memo.

Yesterday I drove 52 miles to do the grocery shopping, run errands, mail letters and paid bills, take the dry cleaning in and made it home before the snow began. Today the canyon of the photograph is covered with fresh snow. I can barely see the tops of the breaks as the foggy horizon has blanketed the ridge tops. Only the rocks jut out like cold noses from the white hills. It feels warm and safe here at the moment. A refuge which is exactly what we had always hoped this place would be and so it's been these last 22 years.

So now I'm trying to attend to deadlines for books and commitments I've made. I did want you all to know about a writer's workshop I'm teaching with Bob Welch, winner of a Gold Medallion Award for several of his non-fiction books, winner of the Columnist of the Year award from Newspaper columnists (his peers) and a winner in my heart because he was my first writing instructor when I walked through the door of a community college with fear and trepidation and signed up for a creative writing class back in 1982. He was a sports writer for the local paper then (the same town where Jerry was recently hospitalized). I broke out in a sweat; hated it when he read my work out loud because I knew it meant someone would see me for the fraud I was. Instead he encouraged me, suggested I try to sell come of the pieces and I did and thus my writing career began. He's a fine man, great sense of humor and as our brochure says: we're doing this weekend workshop on the Oregon coast (February 8-11) "to help you write better, believe in yourself and realize that in small, bug significant ways, your words can change the world." I hope you'll think about joining us. For more information contact He can answer your questions. It's limited to 50 people so expect some personalized attention!

For now, I better give my husband some personalized attention. It's time for lunch and since he's been ill, he hasn't complained about my cooking, not once! Just one more side benefit of catastrophic illness! Stay warm and well. Jane

Sunday, October 14, 2007

stepping into wilderness places

It's been quite awhile and I apologize. I did meet my September 1 deadline for the Quilt and Craft book and then headed out for events in Wisconsin then back to Seattle and California. The first week in the month of October was deer season (if you're squeamish stop reading now!) and while helping cut up our deer (we do our own butchering and wrapping, too) I cut myself with a sharp knife. It didn't go to the bone but it did cut the knuckle of my pinkie so it needed stitches. They're supposed to come out this week. But I can still here I am.
I also head for Colorado Springs this week for the Women Writing the West conference. This group of women have really added to my literary life. I'm going to get to meet Susan Tweit who is offering a course. She has a great blog I've mentioned before. There'll be women I've met only on line who will have faces and voices and laughter I'll come to recognize and be grateful I have a writing life that includes such fascinating writers.
I'll be receiving a Finalist award for the book A Clearing in the Wild for the WILLA Literary Competition. Jerry isn't going with me and my editor has left the house for a new publishing house (boo-hoo). So I invited the president of WaterBrook Press, Steve Cobb and he said yes! He's going to come to lunch so I'll have someone there to applaud on my behalf..
There have been lots of changes this month. Our granddaughter moved into an apartment as she started her second year of art school. We sold all the cows (well, we have three steers and some calves that will go to market later this next month); bought a different hay bailer and in my writing life, I now have two new editors: one for the quilt and craft book and one for the novels.
I also began research on the next novel that will be a bit of a stretch for me, out of my comfort zone. The series will likely be called "A Fully Developed Woman" I'm calling the first book Where the Heart Hesitates from the line of a Derek Walcott poem that says where the heart hesitates "there lies your next frontier." For me that's certainly been so. I always hold my breath and wonder if I should take that next step into the wilderness...but I eventually do. I'll keep you posted on why it's a stretch but for now, I'm also working on final edits of A Mending at the Edge that will be out in April so I'm not thinking TOO far ahead.
Meanwhile, you are free to join the discussion at the Women Writing the West website where we host a book group. You don't need to be a WWW member to participate and we're reading my book this month, the one that is receiving the WILLA finalist award. So come join us at Click onto the reading group.
Janet Rhiel of also reviewed the book.
Meanwhile, I hope your own writing is going well. I've heard from some of my Canadian friends and am pleased to know that they've found some ways to silence the harpies of fear. I hope you're silencing them as well. Jane

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

the publishing life; following your dreams

I have been so remiss in not writing here! I can't even remember my random facts. I've been diligently working on the layout of my quilt and craft book to send to the publisher tomorrow! Hurrah. Then the edits for my novel coming out next April arrived with a few more redlines than I like so that'll be lots of decision-making. The Approved Reader copy has arrived at the local Variety Store where UPS and FED EX like to leave things rather than drive the 25 miles out here from town. Fed Ex does sometimes...they delivered my passport before I left for Canada. The audio of A Clearing in the Wild and A Tendering in the Storm are also ready to be listened to. We leave for Portland tomorrow, spend the night, leave early for St Louis and will listen to the audio as we drive from St. Louis to Bethel, MO, the site of my first novel in ths Change and Cherish series. There's a heritage festival going on and we'll get to see where my character, Emma Wagner, once lived and visit with the oldest living descendant of the Bethel Colony. Jerry's going with me; our children will stay here and look after the cows and dogs and our single cat, Diego.

I'm pretty much brain dead at this moment but that is the part of writing that seems to be lots of feast and famine time. Meanwhile, I've had a chance to read a book called "A Book is Born: 24 Moms Tell All" that will comeout this next month from Wyatt-Mackenzie Publishing. Nancy Cleary pulled these writers together and it's full of good information about publishing and marketing and about pursuing your dreams. They did and that's what they are telling all about.

That's what I'm doing too. I sometimes forget that in the midst of the chaos and deadline crunch but when I take a breath and remember, I must say how amazed I really am that so much could be going on at a place called Starvation Lane. I hope your summer is busy in the best way. Thanks for your patience at my tardiness! Jane

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Blog interviews

Today and both have interviews with me up on their sites. I'm keeping this brief as I'm still on that deadline for quilts and crafts. I hope you're writing is going well! Warmly, Jane

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The fire is out, hallelujah!

First I apologize for posting then not getting back to people. I'm still learning this blogging thing...
The fire was put out on our ranch about 150 yards from the barn on Saturday evening about 8:00 PM. In the picture on the blog you can see the wide sweep of hillside. That's all black now. The ridge that rises up from the barn that's in the lower right hand corner is where they stopped it. Three fire trucks drove across the river from another county and about 8 more trucks -- three official though still volunteer fire trucks and ranchers and neighbors -- worked above to sort of "herd" the fire toward the rocky ledges. At least that's what I called what they were doing, using shovels at the fire line to push the burn toward the edge they wanted. One of the ranchers used his disk to work a fire line in the grasslands. Then the men and women marched down the edge with shovels pushing against the fire and smoke as they went. Water from the trucks at the bottom sprayed up and they got it out.
After that, they decided if they wanted to get any sleep that night after being up for 30+ hours straight and not wanting to worry about an errant ember firing up in the night and starting all over, that they would backfire a section. So about 25 men and women stair-stepped up the hillside dragging a fire hose and shovels and then they began setting flame to the grasses and pushing it back so it burned the green area until it reached black.
At times, because of the wind, the fire moved both up and down river at the same time. The BLM figured 15,000 acres had burned. We had power the entire time which was fortunate. Most of our neighbors didn't because over 36 power poles had burned as well, some falling across the road as firefighters drove past them to fight the fires. We get our power from across the river and it is underground at our ranch so we were all right and it allowed us to continuously irrigate around the house and around the haystacks and the barn and corrals where we had the cattle holed up.
This is the third fire in 22 years we've endured here. It's the second major fire that began burning far away but was put out on our ranch. We're so grateful for the firefighters and our family who helped and all the others from dispatchers and beyond who kept us abreast of where it was and how fast it was moving. We lost no buildings though our neighbors did. We may have lost some fence posts and our big irrigation gun has to be reworked today since in moving it the an out of the way place (behind the barn to pump water onto it instead of on a flat alfalfa field!) the wheel got bent. But all in all, we were most fortunate.
Once everything was over we fell into bed and then I was off finishing the photo shoots for the quilt and craft book so...I didn't get back to you all. Thanks so much for noting your concern.
Now if I can just finish this book....Warmly, Jane
Oh, here's a link to see the movement of the fire and a small photo of what it looked like in the wheatlands on top If I knew how to attach it on my blog,I would!

Saturday, August 4, 2007


We got the call at 1:25 AM telling us that the wildfire we thought had been contained late last night wasn't. Instead it is moving toward us. The ridge in the picture is the ridge it will come over much as it did six years ago when it took out our vineyard, all our fences but not our buildings. This fire has already taken several outbuildings of ranchers upriver from us; so far, no houses, but thousands of acres of rangeland. At least today the winds are lying low.
We've spent the morning moving big irrigation guns off the alfalfa fields and onto places that we want to water down to protect the barn, haystacks, cattle in the corrals. We'll move the goat into the yard shortly. At the house we've been running irrigation sprinklers in the "green space" as we call it for several hours now and set up special sprinklers up under the deck to keep them wet. All windows and doors are being kept closed as much as possible because as the fire moves forward it sends advance-men out, so to speak, of sparks and hot ash and open doors and windows can suck that inside the house. Fortunately we don't use the area under our decks for storage so they are clear of things that might otherwise catch fire.
I'm not sure there's much more we can do now except to wait. It's been 6 hours since they called; we can see the smoke now above the ridge but if it moves as it did the last time -- there's no telling it will -- it will be another six hours before it reaches the ridge next to the house. By then, the fire department will be down here and hopefully backfire as they did last time to divert the wall of flames twenty-feet high as it raced toward the house.
We've put things into the car but the reality is there are few things that are just critical that must be saved. Or else there are simply too many to sort. The dogs are agitated. Too much activity in strange places. So now we wait.

Friday, August 3, 2007


I thought I'd be more up to date writing a blog but I'm on some deadlines and life has intervened in other ways, too. There's a fire upriver from us...and the wind is blowing hard. This is a bad time in the west.
But for fun today, I had lunch with a retired pilot in Wasco a little town 25 miles from our ranch. She's now the editor of the Historical Society journal and we sponsored a writing contest for local students so today we were going over the results, having lunch at the Lean To Deli and Goose Pit Saloon, our "external office." We talked about other things too, of course. And it was while at the post office as she was sending her uniforms to a friend that I disocvered she'd retired and was no longer a commercial pilot.
That sort of fits in to my second random fact. I am a licensed pilot but since the accident in 1986, I haven't piloted. I have flown and even that took me lots of hyperventilating and practicing imagining the pilot doing everything he or she was supposed to be doing so that we could lift and descend without incident. There's only been one incident since our accident and that was a faulty hydrolic that squealed and the engineer came to sit by my seat to assess the problem. I was sure I was supposed to have died in our small plane crash and had somehow survived and now because I was on this commercial flight, the entire plane would go down! Funny how we have delusions of power at the same time that we feel totally power-less!
But all went well.
Our own accident took us between three houses in the middle of town, missing power lines. We had no fire. We'd hit a clear air wind shear. Our friends in the back seat, one who was seven and a half months pregnant, didn't have a scratch; she didn't deliver early. She doesn't remember the accident nor anything that happened for two days after it. The baby in utero is now 20 and doing well indeed.
For me, the idea of piloting again means relearning what I once knew in order to fly. It's pretty much for me "use it or lose it." I suspect that's why "writing every day" is such a mantra. If you don't, you lose the edge. For me and flying, I feared more than losing the edge. I suppose sometime in the future, when I'm no longer focused on writing and less life-threatening possibilities, I might take lessons again. I don't like the idea that fear would keep me from doing something I once enjoyed. But for now, I'm not going to take that fear of flying class for fear someone else will discover I'm a pilot...and that wouldn't engender much confidence in the profession at all.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

addendum to random facts

You'd think I knew how to spell! Bobbi's website is Sorry for that glitch. She has a number of other sites as well as she's a pretty versatile woman.
Donna's Sheep to Shawl with the Europe connection will also be phased out but if you go there to see her gorgeous photos of her European trip and its connection to sheep and wool and her writing and knitting, you'll find your way to her other sites.
I can add Dani to my Tagging too.

And finally, I forgot to give you the RULES.
Here are the rules for Eight Random Facts:
Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

Eight Random Facts

1. I don't have a belly button.
2. I'm a licensed pilot who hasn't piloted since surviving an accident in 1987
3. I'm gluten-intolerant
4. My sister and I used to sing duets
5. Our wire-haired pointing Griffon is the third dog we've had in a year; the youngest of the two we still have.
6. I always wanted to be a stand-up comic.
7. If I went back to school it would be in spiritual counseling.
8. I like to eat salt from the palm of my hand.

Al right. I think how this works now is that I'll be writing about these random facts for the next few posts. And I'm letting Susan and Velda and Bobbi and Janet and Dani and Donna know. Here are their blog links so you can meet up with them all!
Susan is
Velda is
Janet is
Bobbi is
Donna is at

Now I'll discover for myself what this is about.
1. I don't have a belly button. For years my parents thought I was allergic to milk and since we owned a dairy, this was a problem. So they tried other things: soy milk, lots of rice etc. I apparently cried so much that I developed a hernia and when I was twelve, they decided to fix it by taking out my appendix at the same time. They went in through the navel. It wasn't an artist's work. The scar is about six inches long and looks like a railroad track. I've thought about have a tattoo of a small train put on with the words from that children's book, the Little Train that Could...I don't wear bikinnis and never did so that's not a problem. But I once took belly dancing classes -- great exercise, and there was always something, well, missing. Maybe I do sometimes see my body as missing something now that I think of it. I have an increase appreciation for surgeons with fine scalples and an awareness of the aftermath on a young girl's sense of self.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Mid-wife and creative expression

I thought I'd be leaving messages more frequently...but I forgot about traveling. I'm just back from Write! Canada, a writer's conference at which I taught five classes on writing the historical novel and one class about putting duct tape on the harpies, those negative voices that keep us from writing. I had a grand time! Canadians are kind, there's just no other way to say it!
One of the things that happened was my awareness that mid-wife, as a metaphor for the work we writer's do, is very fitting. I've been reading Jan Richardson's work Sacred Journeys, A Woman's Daily Prayer Book that is filled with great insights and connections about women and life. In that book she notes that mid-wife means "with-woman" and that mid-wives give everything to bring that baby to life, all along the way, not just at the delivery. They'll even set aside their own families to make sure the delivery goes as well as they can make it. It's holy work, that's how Jan described it.
One of the class participants, a writer, told me that she'd been asked to submit her manuscript to an editor and I cheered and said how wonderful, good going! She was sort of ho hum about it, saying it would probably come back, she probably wasn't serious etc. etc. Well, that mid-wife image jumped right out at me. We wouldn't wait until the baby took it's breath before we celebrated, would we? We have to celebrate each step of the way. When that ultra sound picture of our friend's baby is shown to us we don't say, well, gee, I can't really see what you see, and it's only a picture and pretty small at that so let's wait until the baby is delivered before we cheer, ok? None of us would do that and yet with our creative efforts we often do.
So this week I'm cheering steps along the way. I finished my manuscript and sent the revisions off to my publisher. I taught in Canada! And survived! Yesterday a very famous sculpture who has connections to Aurora, the little town where my characters live in this last series said my work reminded him of the writing of Cormac McCarthy (who happens to be the national book award winner and current author of the bestseller, The Road.) So ok, it's just one person's opinion but for just a little moment, my name was in the same sentence as a National Book Award Winner. You can't beat that!
This week I also opened a page. It's another connection with other authors and readers that I hope will make new strides in marketing for me. My publisher also has set up a blog tour. I'll keep you posted but for sure I'll be on 10 blogs and one you can link to on the 28th of June is Margaret Daley's blog Join me there.
Meanwhile, we're baling alfalfa hay this week hoping the rain stays off. We've had equipment problems but looks like things are working. Some friends from the Seattle area are coming for their annual "testosterone poisoning" weekend: seven guys in a camper who'll fish and lay around and enjoy the sunshine. It's been in the 90s so I hope they're ready for heat.
Hope you're ready for heat too...heating up your writing life or whatever it is you're about. Jane

Monday, May 28, 2007

Being Home

It feels like weeks since I've been home but it's only been a few days. After Chicago I headed to Sunriver and Redmond for book groups and events then Jerry drove me back to the airport for a trip to St. Louis. I loved both cities, by the way. Especially St. Louis. Everyone there was so friendly. The staff at the hotel, people riding the elevator, people at the restaurants, really, it was very small town-like. I commented about that to the events coordinator at the Missouri History Museum and he said it was a way of disarming people, that when they greeted them with exurburance then walked away the person was too stunned to do anything criminal to them. I think he was kidding. My publicist and I also did a little tourist trip up the arch. The sign at the ticket counter said "conditions at the top: movement. Enter at your own discretion." Gee, that could describe my life sometimes....though the movement part hopefully is a good thing. We did take the ride up the tram, felt the arch movement at the top, looked out two windows then walked to the other side and rode down. Flying is fine...standing on top of a moving piece of cement at 680 feet isn't.
We had a brief tour of the Missouri History Museum built during the time of the 1904 World's Fair. As we moved into one of the sections I noticed a glass case housing red and crystal glasses, shot glasses, tumblers, etc. with "1904 World's Fair" written on them. I have one of those in my own cabinet at home and I realized at that moment that my grandmother, from whom I received it, must have been here! It was a delight, really and made me ask about photographers at the fair. I learned there was only one official female photographer and that got me thinking along a story line since my grandmother was a photographer (not the official one!) and so was my grandfather. It peeked my interest anyway and who knows where it will take me.
Meanwhile, I signed a contract for my quilt book! What follows is the official news release.

Jane Kirkpatrick, author of thirteen award-winning and bestselling historical novels and three non-fiction books has just signed with WaterBrook Press/Random House for a new project combining history, quilts and crafts. Her agency, Hartline Marketing and Literary Services announced the agreement today. Stitching Stories: The Quilts and Crafts of the Aurora, Oregon Colony will be published in the fall of 2008.
Both a gift book of inspiration and a tribute to the longest-surviving communal Christian colony in the western United States, Stitching Stories is set to coincide with renewed interest in the American craft movement as well as the 150th anniversary of Oregon's statehood in 2009. Kirkpatrick's Change and Cherish Historical Series is based on the life of the only woman sent west to help found the western colony in the 1850s. Book three in the fictional series, A Mending at the Edge will be released by WaterBrook/Random House in April, 2008. A Tendering in the Storm, book two, has received critical acclaim since its release in April.
Settled in 1856 as a German-American Christian community whose members traveled from Pennsylvania and Missouri to Aurora, Oregon, its artisans were known for their weaving of beauty, faith and function through their colorful quilts and fibers, unique basketry, fine music, hand-tooled furniture and the culinary arts that served their neighbors and each other. The colony disbanded in 1884 but the town it founded continues on the historic register as one of the oldest settlements in Oregon and its history is one of a faith community living with relevance to the outside world. A fine museum houses the artifacts including more than 80 original quilts many of which will be highlighted with photographs in this coffee table gift book.
Keep your good thoughts coming for me as I finish the final revisions on A Mending at the Edge and begin work in earnest on the Quilt book.
Hope your days go well.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Tendering: a book event, a meaning, a transition

tomorrow I fly to Chicago. If any of you are near the Wheaton, IL Borders at 7:00 PM I hope you'll look for me. It could be lonely if no one comes. That is one of the unknown's we writers live with though. Carolyn See who wrote Making the Literary Life says you should always travel with an entourage and bring your friends and relatives to signings. My publicist will be with me but I suspect I'll have to go around and herd people standing in the stacks and ask them if they're in that select group of millions who have never heard of my work!
Regionally, my books do well so yesterday at the Aurora museum, we had close to 100 attend. They were good sports since we held the event outside and it was in the 50s and chilly. But people brought their mom's for Mother's Day as a surprise to come hear me speak and several said they need an annual "Jane fix" so keep track of my schedule. It's great.
So if it's lonely in Chicago I'll think of all those people who braved the chill with me and stood in line to get books signed.
There has also been a nice response to people who have read my interview at I hope you'll take the time to read it. Cindy Crosby was the interviewer and she asked great questions. On top of that, she did a review that I think I'll take with me to Chicago so when I'm there by myself I can be reminded that someone who likes books and reads many of them found A Tendering in the Storm worthy of her time.
One last little note: I chose the title with tendering in it because a tender is a small ship that goes between a larger ship and land, a transition, if you will. My character was in a transition in her life. I also liked the meaning of something fragile being tender and my character was fragile from grief and disappointment. How she chose to deal with that created additional problems for her. Then last week I was reading the glossary of a history of fabric book and there I found the word tendering again. It means the shattering of a fabric when exposed to toxic chemicals. It was perfect! My character was exposed to toxic relationships and it did shatter her. But she came through and it was a transitional time for her just as we have those transitional times in our lives. I took finding that meaning as a small gift from the universe.
Hope your day goes well. Thanks for stopping by. Jane

Monday, May 7, 2007

Strange appearances

I'm not talking about UFOs here with strange appearances but rather the unusual places where my latest book might appear. The cover is the lead photograph in the Aurora Antique's newsletter snuggled there between Shaker furniture and old dolls. It's like being on Antique's Roadshow, one of my favorites on OPB. The cover is also on a lovely invitation to a salon in Portland, OR where I'll be meeting with people and talking about community, especially the community of my latest series. Their invitation compared my work to an Armani suit...I'd post these (you can see the Armani suit invitation at my website on the schedule but I don't yet know how to add pictures here.)
We spent the weekend on the coast for a book signing and then drove up the Pacific before heading inland. As we drove up the coast, we watched gas prices go up too and wondered how long book tours will really be feasible. One more reason to know more about blogs.
Today I'll be spending the day indoors revising my latest then head to a library board meeting in town, 25 miles away. That's a drive that allows me to watch the progress of the wind farms going up in our county. There's a place where the green spring wheat covers the rolling hill and behind it you can only see the tops of the windmills turning, turning. They remind me of slender children dressed in silver performing cartwheels across the grass. Always a reminder too, to find time to play. I hope you will today. Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Editors and self-editing

I've been fortunate to have great editors in my writing career. They have the ability to give me an overview of how my story comes across and what I need to keep and what might be able to leave and best of all, give guidance about how to do that. Ultimately, it's my task to perform but a good editor makes all the difference. They ask the right questions: "I wonder what would happen if you had that character do this or that?" or "I didn't feel finished with that issues and maybe you could..."
I live too far out to really be part of a critique group even though one meets in Moro every week. I once signed up for an online group but realized I couldn't make the commitment to write a chapter or a piece a week for comment and also comment on all the others who were making submissions. If I sent in what I was working on for a publisher, I could see myself getting fifteen points of view and getting really lost in them. But I do think there are great ways to find a way to look objectively at our woek even if we aren't part of a group or don't have the gift of an editor awaiting the manuscript.
One of those ways is by reading books about writing and revising. Two that I'd recommend are Elizabeth Lyon's A Writer's Guide to Fiction (she also has a guide to non-fiction) and Renni and King's Self-editing for Fiction Writers. I haven't read James Scott Bell's book on writing but those I know who have also rave about it. He writes for Writer's Digest as does Elizabeth Lyon. Each offers practical ways to look at what you've written with a new eye.
That's what I'm off doing today: looking at my WIP with a new eye that this time includes my editor's eyes as well since we talked at length yesterday.
Stay posted, too, as I just completed an interview with that will be posted sometime next week. Great questions I thought; I hope I did the answers did them justice. Be inventive in your writing! Jane

Monday, April 30, 2007

My Editor's Notes

Today I received my editor's notes from the manuscript of A Mending at the Edge, the third and final book in my Change and Cherish series. I crave this kind of feedback and am so grateful that she gives me both an overview of what she likes and what she hopes I won't delete and where she thinks the story lags or needs improvement. Both are valued. For some writer friends I have, their agent acts as an early editor but I've been privileged -- and I do feel it is that -- to have had really fine editors who give me their studied and experienced response so I can make changes before submitted for acceptance and meeting my deadline.
Before these comments arrived, I'd read Elizabeth Lyon's A Writer's Guide to Fiction so I already knew something I needed to work on: clarity of protagonist purpose. You'd think after spending months writing the book, then sending it off, that I'd have figured that out! But it was only AFTER I sent it off and have a few weeks away from it and had read Elizabeth's book that I realized what was missing. I'd highly recommend that book but also the use of freelance editors if you don't have the gift of a publisher's editor to work with.
I've printed my editor's comments out and will now let them "cook" as I drive the 100 mile round trip to the nearest store where I can access yogurt and sweet potatoes as part of my errand-running day. I do some of my best thinking in the car and often tell people if they see me pulled over to not stop as I'm probably making notes. For a writer, a hybrid is a good thing because when I do pull over to write a note or two, the car turns off!
But before I leave I need to write my monthly memo for my website, update some scheduled events I added over the weekend so my webmaster/niece can add them, send some addresses from my guest book signed at events I had last week (to my other niece who keeps the mailing list) and work on the class I've agreed to teach at Write! Canada in June and write the three posts I'll send to a blog for those interested in Christian and inspirational writing. I'd best get at it. I hope your day goes well. Jane

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Entering the blog age

As I wrote "blog age" what I heard was "blockage" and that's part of what has kept me from creating a blog, a blockage of skill and information and not wanting to look foolish as I try out these new things on the computer. But my friends at Women Writing the West, a writers group I belong to, have spurred me on so here I am. I even added a photograph that seems a little large but maybe I'll find a way to reduce it. Later. Right now I will celebrate that I've learned something new and didn't have to break my arm to do it! Afterall, even old rats grow new brain cells when given new mazes to learn. This is my newest maze.