Sunday, May 19, 2013

Ta dah

Hope you had fun hunting and found lots of new authors you want to try out. 

While you were hunting, I was working toward the final page of the final edit of next spring's book, with short breaks to have the car towed to the repair shop, to motorcycle my way to our son's for a cook-out, and to pull what seemed like three million dandelions. That's probably an exaggeration, but I do have some fairly impressive blisters ... and yes, I wore gloves!

Here's the prettiest part of the gardening saga ... a fairy garden created by my four-year-old grand-daughter, in the top of my Mother's cherished bird bath. I think Mother would approve.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt Stop #3



Welcome to the 2013 Summer Scavenger Hunt! This hunt has 32 stops and runs from May 17 through May 19. Making the loop will take you through unique content from 31 different authors. If you complete the loop, and fill out the Rafflecopter form at Stop #32, you'll be in the running for an iPad Mini (loaded with all our books), or one of two runner-up prizes---all 31 of our new releases in paperback. Some authors are also offering additional prizes as part of their posts, so be sure to read each post thoroughly to be in the running for all that are available. The contest is open internationally.

If you've JUST discovered the hunt, I recommend you begin at the beginning, Stop #1, found at But you can also begin here, and keep on rolling. Just be aware that you have to have the COMPLETED phrase in order. One word is part of each stop’s post, so if you do the stops in order, you’ll have the phrase just right. You’ll need that if you receive an e-mail notification from Lisa Bergren that says that you won. If Lisa doesn't hear back from you with the correct phrase within the time limit, she’ll move on to the next winner Rafflecopter draws. Ready? Here we go...

Whispers on the Prairie by Vickie McDonough

I was on deadline for a new book and wrote the following scene before doing the research. My heroine has asthma, so I needed to check with several people who have asthma and a doctor to see if what happens in this scene is plausible. After talking with them, I realize my scene wouldn’t work and deleted it. You’re the first people to see this scene from Call of the Prairie, which is a Christian fiction historical romance, and the second book in my Pioneer Promises series. The first book, Whispers on the Prairie, releases July 1st. My heroine, Sophie, has received some disturbing news, which resulted in her having a severe asthma attack, but back in 1873, there were no inhalers or known treatments for the ailment.

            Josh tilted Miss Davenport’s head back, hoping the action would allow more air into her lungs. He lifted her fully into his arms, amazed at how light she was. Though he had no trouble holding her, he eased down onto the corner of his desk. Sophie’s body jerked as she fought for each wheezy breath. This was his fault. He should have waited a day or two or a week. Shouldn’t have put such pressure on her so soon after the funeral.
            Josh cradled Sophie against his chest, despising himself for causing her distress. “Show me how to help her, Lord. What can I do?”
            Her chest shook with each ragged breath. She needed more air. Josh could only think of one way to accomplish such a fete. Dare he? Could it make things any worse?
            His idea was absurd—certainly not the act of a gentleman—and yet he felt God prompting him. He inhaled a large breath, and before he could talk himself out of it, he leaned down and blew into Sophie’s mouth. The warm, softness of her lips sent waves of awareness charging through him, but the rise of her chest told him his idea had worked. He glanced out his office door, making sure no one would witness his scandalous actions, then took another deep breath, and blew in, this time covering her whole mouth with his. Again, her chest rose, and if he wasn’t mistaken, her wheezing had decreased slightly.
            Joy mingled with a new sensation—the realization that he’d grown to care for this prickly woman. He wasn’t in love with her, but he certainly didn’t want anything to happen to her. He’d never met a woman like her. It was as if she had no awareness of her limitations. He brushed her soft hair away from her eyes and gave her a gentle shake. “Sophie, wake up.”
            Quick footsteps rushed down the boardwalk and past his window. He bent down, giving her one last breath, ending with the briefest of kisses. Straightening quickly, lest he be caught, he watched for Doctor Walton. Seconds later, the man hurried through the door, medical bag in hand.
            “What happened?”
            “She couldn’t catch her breath. Started wheezing and holding her throat then passed out. I managed to catch her.”
            “You did, huh?” Though Doc Walton’s eyes held concern, the corner’s of his lifted. “Let’s get her home. I can’t examine her here.”
            Josh followed him out the door, carrying Sophie. She had to be all right. He couldn’t stand the thought that he’d brought on this fit. He glanced at Franklin and Samuels. “Hold down the fort. Don’t know when I’ll be back.”
            He wasn’t leaving her until he knew she’d be all right. Her breathing was still labored but not as badly as before, and she was starting to rouse. Perhaps his breathing for her had helped. The doc opened the door to Maude’s house and stepped back. “Put her on the sofa.”
            Josh did as ordered, although his arms felt empty at her loss. He crossed them and moved out of the way. Doc Walton pulled out his stethoscope and listened to Sophie’s chest.
            She moaned, lifting a hand halfway to her face, then dropping it to her side. Josh brushed his hand across his mouth, remembering the incredible softness of her lips. She’d be furious if she knew what he’d done.

Find Whispers on the Prairie at your favorite local bookstores or online. Online sellers include: 


Barnes and Noble


Write down this clue: one’s 
Have it written down? Great! 
Now head on over to, which is Stop #4 for the next clue! 
Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Bess Streeter Aldrich

The story starts like most stories about discovering a favorite storyteller. I'd never heard of her.

It was the 1970s, and as a new member of an intimidatingly large (to me) church in a new town, I was doing what new church people do when
they want to make friends. Volunteering for everything.

On this particular occasion, I was in the church kitchen helping with a chili supper, and expressing amazement at the unlikely (to me) pairing of chili and cinnamon rolls. Whoever heard of such a thing? I'm from Southern Illinois, where cornbread is what goes with chili. Well, the cinnamon roll thing was the first in a very long line of lessons about what it means to be a Nebraskan. Ha.

As the women in the kitchen chatted, I mentioned that I love to read. A little white-haired lady looked over and said, "Well, then. You should read my neighbor's books."

"What's your neighbor's name?"

"Bess Streeter Aldrich."

Ahem. You can imagine what I thought. A prophet is never thought much of in his own country, and a neighbor isn't exactly the writer we all long to meet ... right?


I began with A Lantern in Her Hand and went on to all the others I could find. I smiled and laughed and wept and loved them all, mostly because Mrs. Aldrich had a way of infusing her stories with hope and faith, and that spoke to me.

In the 1990s, when my husband was diagnosed with a terminal form of non-Hodgkins' lymphoma, I was encouraged by Mrs. Aldrich's personal story. It included losing her husband (heart attack) and raising her children on her writing income.

It was the next century before I finally visited the Aldrich home in Elmwood, Nebraska, saw the desk where she wrote, the wicker furniture in the entryway (made at the wicker furniture factory at the Nebraska State Penitentiary back in the day). Ate cookies in her kitchen. Walked the stairs she trod.

The story goes that Mrs. Aldrich was walking toward the main street of town one day when a strange car pulled over and asked if the pedestrian happened to know where "that writer" lived. Mrs. Aldrich said something to the effect of "that writer is no one special."

I disagree. Hope resonates in her books. And doesn't the world need more of that

Here's a fun place to find Aldrich titles:
And if you're ever in Nebraska ...

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Artichoke Annie's Antique Mall in Missouri

Whoever she is, Annie gets a "thumbs up" from me for creating a great antique mall on Interstate 70 near Columbia, MO. I had a wonderful hour there today browsing, and it will become a regular stop on my journey when I'm headed east to visit family in Southern Illinois and Nashville.

Today's jaunt yielded a leather-bound copy of the 1868 Arthur's Magazine, which is filled with the kind of information a historical fiction writer loves to find--fashion plates, homemaking advice, recipes, poetry, needlework patterns, etc. etc. There really is nothing like reading a magazine like this to familiarize oneself with a given era. How they talked, what they called things, what they were thinking about, what they were wearing and, in the case of a quick perusal of this volume in the car today, a homemade treatment for "chapped hands."

The bound volume includes some charming, frame-worthy ink drawings (although as long as I own the book those drawings will remain in place) and music ... one called the "Patchwork Polka." Since I'm such a quilt fanatic, I took that as a "sign" that this volume was calling me to come over and give it a home. It is, after all, fairly amazing that I found it amongst all the other things I loved but couldn't afford.

I also purchased a gorgeous post card of the Pont Neuf in Paris ... have no idea when it was printed (no date), but there are horses and buggies and not a motorized vehicle in site, so ... old enough for me ;-).

What did I leave behind? The oldest typewriter I've ever seen (dated 1890-something) and a beautifully quilted Mennonite quilt that was an Irish chain on one size and bars on the back ... "that" green, "that" yellow, and double pink. If money were no object, it would have come to live in Nebraska.

But I am content. I had a great time browsing the old stuff ... and now I'm really more excited than ever about the upcoming annual jaunt to the flea market in Walnut, Iowa.