Meet the Author: Bear Lake Family Saga

To win an ebook or an Audible audiobook, answer this question: “Why do you like historical romances?” and your preference of ebook or audio.

Who is Author Linda Weaver Clarke?

I was raised among the Rocky Mountains of southern Idaho and live in Color Country in southern Utah. I am the author of 23 books. I have several genres that I write in—a Historical Romance series: Bear Lake Family Saga, a Mystery Suspense series: The Adventures of John and Julia Evans, a Cozy Mystery series: Amelia Moore Detective Series, and a Period/Adventure Romance: The Rebel Series. I am also a missionary at the Family Search Center. I help people find their ancestors and learn about their heritage.

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What draws readers to this historical romance series: Bear Lake Family Saga?

This series has strong female characters who have a destiny to fulfill. Each woman wants to make a difference in someone’s life. No matter the trial that comes her way, she is ready to fight for what she believes. I love the male characters. Even though they are strong and masculine, they have their tender moments that can melt your heart. Bear Lake Family Saga has plenty of adventure along with a tender love story.

What was the inspiration for this series?

My ancestors were my inspiration. I was writing their histories so my children would learn to appreciate their heritage. Their stories were intriguing and full of adventure. When I was done, I decided to write a historical romance series and give these true experiences to my fictional characters.

Give us a brief description of each story in this series.

Melinda and the Wild West (Book 1): Melinda is a schoolteacher. She has many challenges but it’s a rugged rancher who challenges Melinda with the one thing for which she was least prepared—love.

Edith and the Mysterious Stranger (Book 2): Edith is a nurse. When a mysterious stranger starts writing to Edith, she gets to know a man’s inner soul before making any harsh judgments. Whoever he is, this man is a mystery but is he as wonderful in person as he is in his letters?

Jenny’s Dream (Book 3): Jenny is an aspiring author. She has a dream to fulfill, but the only thing standing in her way is an unpleasant memory, which has haunted her since childhood. She must learn to forgive before she can follow her dream.

Sarah’s Special Gift (Book 4): Sarah is a beautiful and successful dance teacher but she is not an average young woman. Sarah is deaf, but this does not stop her from living life to its fullest. And it does not stop her from falling in love with a man who needs her help.

Elena, Woman of Courage (Book 5): The Roaring Twenties was a time of great change, when women raised their hemlines and bobbed their hair. As Elena fights to prove herself as the town’s first female doctor, the town’s most eligible bachelor finds it a challenge to see if he can win her heart.

Are your books in audiobook form?

Yes. I have a narrator who is narrating them for Audible. I have one narrator for Melinda and the Wild West, and then changed to a different narrator for the next four. Carolyn Kashner actually sings in Edith and the Mysterious Stranger, and she has such a lovely voice.

Who is the most intriguing character in this series?

I love all my female characters, but I feel that Elena from Elena Woman of Courage is the most interesting. She has to endure a lot of prejudice from the town bully who feels that women doctors have no right to practice medicine. But that isn’t all. This story takes place during the roaring twenties, and Elena has decided to be a part of this new generation by bobbing her hair and raising her hemlines. That takes a lot of courage. Of course, the town’s most eligible bachelor finds her most intriguing. He actually admires her tenacity. I admire Elena, as well.

(For history buffs: Bobbed hair caused a lot of commotion. A teacher in Jersey City was ordered to grow her hair back by the school board or she would be fired. Women with bobbed hair were fired from prestigious department stores without any warning. A preacher pounded the pulpit, saying that a “bobbed woman was a disgraced woman.” The raising of hemlines had its problems, as well.)

They developed a new vocabulary during the roaring twenties. What were some of the words you discovered while writing this story?

This was the fun part of writing Elena Woman of Courage. During this time period, theyLindaweb spoke a language foreign to their parents.  Here are some examples.

If you were excited about something, you say: Cat’s pajamas!

If you didn’t agree with someone, you say: Ah, horsefeathers!

If you were a feisty woman, you were referred to as: a bearcat.

If you were an attractive woman, you were referred to as: a doll.

Women were also referred to as: a tomato.

When John wanted to “spoon” with Elena, she said: The bank’s closed.

A woman’s body was referred to as a chassis and her legs were gams.

Where can readers find you?

My website has sample chapters to read: www.lindaweaverclarke.com

My Audible Page: https://www.audible.com/author/Linda-Weaver-Clarke/B004P47EWO
My Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/ZA-z2ckme8w

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My Mother Seeks the American Dream

When my husband and I moved from Missoula, Montana to western Washington in 1996, I thought it would be an easy transition. We were both ready for a change, a great job became available for him, and I was a freelance writer. I could do that from anywhere.

But I was surprised at how difficult it was for me to adjust, become acclimated, and feel at home there. Everything I’d known changed—new grocery stores, new doctors, and new friends. I kept thinking, what must it have been like for my mom, who emigrated from Germany in 1948 after WWII?

I moved only a few hundred miles, the language and culture was the same, and we did actually have some acquaintances there before the move.

Mom photo hi resMy mother came from an urban setting, where—at least before the war—they enjoyed electricity and indoor plumbing, and cultural experiences such as concerts and plays. She moved to extremely rural eastern Montana with no running water and an outdoor privy—the “middle of nowhere” where the nearest town was close to a hundred miles away—to live with the in-laws for nearly three years. She knew very little English, the culture was different, and people still considered Germans “the enemy.” Plus, she knew no one, except her fiancé, a man she hadn’t seen for two years!

A move like hers took a great deal of courage. I remember my nervousness when I went from my ranch home to college in the “big city” of Missoula, Montana. And I got to go home for quarter breaks and holidays. It was ten years before Mom was able to go back to Germany to visit her family.

All of these thoughts and questions ran through my mind until I was compelled to sit at my computer and write her story. I fictionalized it, so I could “fill in the blanks,” and with fiction, the author can create an ending that is the way it should have beenSeekingAmericanDream_1.5x2.

It has been twenty years since I started writing my mother’s story, and Seeking the American Dream is finally published! It was not the right timing until now. I needed to study and learn my craft, to continue to make it better, and chronologically, it follows the “Cowgirl Dreams” series I wrote, based on my rodeo cowgirl grandmother.

Mom died thirty years ago, but I hope she would be proud of the results. You were a strong, brave woman, and I’ve always admired you.

Seeking the American Dream is available as an e-book and in print from Amazon and autographed copies through my website.

Advance Reviews:

“With beautifully researched detail, haunting descriptions, and the authentic language of the heart, Heidi Thomas’s Seeking the American Dream is a classic immigrant’s tale, a domestic drama that shows the rebuilding of the world as planned at the kitchen table, enacted in the fields, and put into action in the financial, emotional, and psychological details of daily life. A story of longing—and finally of belonging—we see one woman’s dream become the fulfillment of the American dream one step at a time.”

– Mara Purl, best-selling author of the Milford-Haven Novels

“Seeking the American Dream is such a beautiful, heartwarming book! It was a pleasure to read about Anna’s quest for her dream. I didn’t just enjoy it, I loved it! Heidi Thomas has a way of building suspense that just kills me. Readers will love it as much as I do.” –Carol Buchanan, award-winning author of “The Vigilante Quartet” series

“Once again, I open the pages of a Heidi Thomas novel and I’m transported to another time and place. From post WWII Germany to the sometimes-brutal Montana ranch life, Seeking the American Dream explores one woman’s journey as she faces impossible odds to live her dream. Ms. Thomas is excellent at period literature. You won’t be disappointed.”—Brenda Whiteside, Author of The Love and Murder Series
Synopsis: As a nurse, Anna Schmidt deals with the aftermath of a war-torn Germany on a daily basis. The destruction and suffering of WWII frame her existence until she meets American GI, Neil Moser. His stories of ranch life in Montana, his quiet kindness and compassion, and the attraction that blossoms give her hope for a different life. Before their relationship develops, Neil is suddenly shipped out of Germany, and Anna is left with nothing but a yearning for what might have been.

Anna’s dreams are renewed when Neil writes to declare his love and propose that she join him in America as his wife. After two years of endless paperwork, she is finally on American soil. But will Anna be able to overcome the language barrier and harsh Montana ranch life, to gain acceptance from his parents, and form a family in a country that still considers a German the enemy?

Book 1 in the American Dream series and the next generation of the Moser family.

Sink, Sank, Sunk–Which do You Use?

I’ve been noticing more and more use of words like “sunk” as the simple past tense, by authors and even in newspaper writing. For example: I sunk into the easy chair.

Here are some other examples: I’ve heard people say I seen it, when they should say I saw it. Or they will use the past tense instead of the correct past participle: We could have went to the movie.

My editor’s hackles go up!

The simple past tense of “sink” is “sank.” The word “sunk” is used as the past participle (or past perfect) and always requires the “helper” word “has” or “had.”

Sinking shipSink: I sink the ship today.

I sank the ship yesterday.

I have sunk the ship many times.

 

See: I see it today.

I saw it yesterday.

I have seen it many times before.

 

Go: I go to the movie (or I’m going to the movie today).

I went to the movie yesterday.

I have gone to the movies many times.

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I remember memorizing many of these verb forms when I was in grade school. Maybe they don’t teach that anymore?

Don’t even get me started on “snuck.” (A blog for another time!)

Published in: on June 2, 2017 at 6:22 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Dare to Dream Honored

Somehow, having one’s book honored in an awards contest is a bigger deal than you would think. I was surprised to find myself walking with a lighter step, smiling a little more, and wanting to share the news with everyone: Dare to Dream is a Finalist in the International Book Awards in the Fiction: Young Adult category!International Book Awardsw

The whole writing and publishing experience is akin to a birthing experience. Writing is not an easy process. Some days we sit and struggle with a few words, then after critique partners go through it, maybe we toss those hard-won words aside and start again.

Do we have a good enough opening to “hook” the reader? Does the story continue to flow throughout or does it lose momentum and sag in the middle? Are our characters “real” and people the reader can cheer on to achieve their goals? Is the ending satisfying?

Once you spend weeks, months, even years getting every word “just right,” then, with held breath and jittery anticipation, you send your baby out into the agent/publisher world, only to receive those “Thank you, but this is not right for us at this time” form rejections.

Rejection = dejection.

But, after you collect enough of those letters to wallpaper your office, maybe, just maybe one will be “Yes! We love your story and would like to publish your book.”

Cloud 99, here we come!Dare Cover .5x1

But the next step of the journey has just begun. Once you hold that “baby” in your hands–the first paper copy–then you have to get out there and “sell” it! Marketing is a whole ‘nother game, wearing a different hat. “Please buy my book. It’s great!” We creative types are not always good at putting ourselves out there and tooting our own horns. What to do? Social media, mail campaigns, Facebook events, speaking engagements, arts and crafts fairs, book signings.

All phases of this writing/publishing/marketing journey are hard work.

And so, if you receive some small recognition, like being a finalist in a contest, it is validation. And it gives that small push to keep on doing it!

Published in: on May 24, 2016 at 6:38 pm  Comments (2)  

Happy New Year!

 

happy-new-year-large 

I wish you all peace, happiness and good health in this New Year!

Published in: on December 31, 2015 at 10:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

Happy Holidays!

Christmas nativity

May the Reason for the Season bring you light and joy!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Published in: on December 24, 2015 at 6:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

Sailing With Impunity

Impunity cover 300x200I recently came back to land after a thoroughly enjoyable armchair adventure with Mary and Bruce Trimble on their sailboat Impunity. Sailing With Impunity: Adventure in the South Pacific is a story of a dream fulfilled for two very courageous and adventurous people. I hung on every word, from the chilling opening with “Man Overboard” and the life-threatening storms to the delightful, lazy days in tropical harbors and the new friends they made.

Welcome, Mary. You certainly have had an adventurous life, from living in Hawaii to the Peace Corps in the Gambia, to serving the Red Cross, to this 18-month sailing odyssey. Is this bold “venturesomeness” a part of your DNA, so to speak, something you always aspired to?

Mary: I love adventure. Right after I was born, my dad picked up my mother and me from the hospital and, along with my three year-old sister, we went camping. I guess that set the pace.

How did you and Bruce come to the decision to quit your jobs, sell your house and buy a sailboat to sail around the world?

Mary: We were both at a period in our lives that we longed for change. I loved my job as a computer/analyst at Safeco Insurance Company, and Bruce had a good job, too, working in the marine electronics field. But we knew how strenuous sailing is and decided that if we were going to do it, that was the time.

Sailing, to the uninitiated, sounds so romantic, peaceful and fun. Did you anticipate the possible dangers of this trip, and how did you prepare?

Mary: To tell you the truth, I had thought of this as a sort of luxury cruise. Bruce knew better. It wasn’t a luxury, though there were some lovely periods. But life at sea is hard work and can be downright dangerous. We prepared for some of the possibilities by having drills, such as the “man overboard” drill. We wore safety equipment; i.e. life vests and safety lines (tethers attached to the person and to the boat). We put rules in place such as no changing sails alone—the other person always needed to be present. Someone was always on deck and responsible for the boat, so we stood four hours on, four hours off, watch schedules.

What was the worst part of your trip?

Mary: Going along the U.S. west coast was pretty rough, but I guess the worst part was Cyclone Ofa that we experienced while in Samoa. The storm lasted for about 36 hours. We stayed aboard Impunity to do what we could to protect our boat.

How about the best part(s)?

Mary: Some legs of the journey had good winds and calm seas. We would scoot silently along with a minimum of work on our part. That was glorious. The night stars were wondrous and felt so close. Our companionship with each other was a real plus. We never tired of each other’s company.

What advice would you give someone who wants to experience this type of adventure?

Mary: Be prepared! We were appalled at how many people undertake this journey unprepared. It took a lot of work and planning, but we had food enough to last the journey, supplementing with fresh vegetables, fruit and meat or fish at various ports of call. Food can be expensive in the South Pacific. Also, Bruce stowed spares of anything that could possibly go wrong—spare pumps, seals, screws, sail repair equipment, etc. These are simple steps, but important for a safe trip.

How do you fulfill your adventuresome spirit now that you are “retired”?

Mary: Actually, we’re not retired. I am a full-time writer. Sailing with Impunity is my fifth book and second memoir. Bruce is still working, though retirement is hopefully not too far off.

———-

A prolific writer, Trimble draws on personal experiences including Mary0010 croppurser and ship’s diver aboard the tall ship, M.S. Explorer, two years with the Peace Corps in West Africa, and a 13,000-mile South Pacific sailing trip aboard their Bristol 40, Impunity.

   Mary Trimble’s recently published memoir, Sailing with Impunity: Adventure in the South Pacific is about their 14-month sailing adventure, from magical sights and scents of their first island landfall to the bustling, colorful Tahitian markets. From sudden midnight squalls and weathering a cyclone in Samoa to pristine anchorages in the Kingdom of Tonga.

   An award-winning freelance writer, Trimble’s other works include Tubob: Two Years in West Africa with the Peace Corps, a story of a newly married couple who discover themselves in new light as they work and learn about a third-world culture. Tenderfoot, a romantic suspense with a sub-plot of the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption. Tenderfoot won finalist with Western Writers of America for Best Western Long Novel. Her coming-of-age novels, Rosemount and McClellan’s Bluff have been met with enthusiastic acclaim.

   Trimble lives on Camano Island with her husband, Bruce.

Published in: on December 11, 2015 at 5:43 pm  Comments (1)  
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Practice, Practice, Practice…Deliberately

This post first appeared on the Writers on the Move site Oct. 27,2015.

by Kathleen Moulton

If you want to be the very best writer you can be, if you want to master your writing craft,  it is going to take practice and you will have to do it deliberately.pencil, notebook,folder

If you have not heard of deliberate practice, it’s a thing!

John Hayes, a cognitive psychologist at Carnegie Mellon University, spent many years researching talented individuals like Mozart and Picasso to understand how they became masters of their craft. He discovered a common thread – it took them 10 years! Further research found this was true of other notable people, as well.

Time was not the only key, but “deliberate practice” – a theory identified through the research of Swedish psychologist, Dr. K. Anders Ericsson – involving consistent and deliberate work to improve performance.  This concept believes innate talent isn’t the indicator of success, but practicing methods for improved performance.piano player baby

Some do not agree with this theory in its entirety, believing that talent does play a part, but I think we can glean some solid information.

Deliberate practice may be common with musicians, athletes, and painters. But how can it apply to writing?  Writer/Editor Chris Jones says this:

The concept of deliberate practice demands that you acquire new writing skills or strengthen weaker ones while building on the existing foundation you’ve already established.

It is making time to consistently and deliberately practice, resulting in improvement and mastery.  Jones suggests identifying your top 2 or 3 areas of weakness  and setting aside 30 minutes a day on focusing to make those areas stronger.

Author and writing teacher Barbara Braig suggests writing down the skills you are good at. Next, list the areas which you know need improvement. If you need to write more complex sentences, learn about sentence structure and practice writing sentences with more than one clause. If your characters are not believable, read excerpts from your favorite author. List those things the author does to make the story good. Ask yourself how many of those things you can do and how many you need to learn.

My first published article had to be written in Chicago style. Do you know the difference between Chicago and AP? I didn’t. If I’m going to continue to write articles, I need to practice writing in both of those styles until it becomes second nature.

The key is to schedule time regularly for practice. It will be work. You will be stretched. You might even get bored. Yet, the results are in and it is enough to motivate and inspire – whether you are just starting out or you are a seasoned writer.

***

After raising and homeschooling her 8 children and teaching art classes for 10 years, Kathy has found time to pursue freelance writing. She enjoys writing magazine articles and more recently had her story, “One of a Kind”, published in The Kids’ Ark. You can find her passion to bring encouragement and hope to people of all ages at When It Hurts 

Published in: on November 5, 2015 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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Writing the West

by Judith Kirscht

judy informalI am not a Westerner, by birth, so some would say it’s presumptuous to place my stories there. But the West shapes the imagination even for those raised East of the Mississippi. Chicago kids like me dream of the open skies of the Great Plains, the mountains beyond it and the sea—a fairytale land of space and freedom. My husband-to-be was from Oregon, and my first experience with the West was a train trip across the country to visit him, my first adventure, being snowbound (in that same train) in the Blue Mountains. Far from being put off, however, I loved the mountains, the space, the air.

When I began to write, some twenty-five years later, my writing coach said, “You write from place. It shapes your characters and your stories.” Now, some forty years of writing later, he has proved right. My first published novel, Nowhere Else To Go, is set in a fictional Midwest college town, based on Ann Arbor, Michigan where I raised my family. The story—a college town caught up in the turmoil of the Sixties—is clearly born of place and time. The second, The Inheritors takes place in Chicago, where I grew up, and at its core are the sensibilities of those who live in cultural, racial, mix of cities created by the great migrations of the Twentieth Century.

Chicago Street Scene 1By the time I actually moved west to California, my sensitivity to place was well formed. I had spent six years in Berkeley, so I already had a sense of California as the home of all those who escaped seeking a golden life—all of those like me. They were as rootless as the characters of my first two books were rooted. Santa Barbara was similar in that regard, but it was there that the power of nature took dominance. The beauty of that coast is legendary, and for the fifteen years I taught at the university there, I lived beside some forty acres of open meadow leading to cliffs above a mile of wild beach and the sea. I swore I would walk that meadow every day—and I did. And so Home Fires, my third novel takes place there and carries that sense of the almost unreal beauty of that place and the woman who breathes it in.CA Scenery

All of these places reinforced my sense of the power of place to shape story and character, but I think few are as aware of the power of nature as the Northwesterners, where the expanse of water and mountain dwarf all else. I think I was drawn to Washington, some ten years ago, because the combination of water and forest remind me of northern Michigan, Wisconsin,

Hawkins Lane Cover

Hawkins Lane Cover

and Minnesota—vacation country of the Great Lakes states. And here in the Skagit Valley I’ve found people rooted in a way the Californians of my experience weren’t. They are fishermen, hunters, farmers, wedded to the land and sea. And so the protagonists of Hawkins Lane, Ned Hawkins and Erica Romano, are brought together by their love of the mountains. They carry that love of the space and solitude of the wilderness, the escape, the self-reliance that has shaped the national imagination.But in Hawkins Lane the power of mountain and forest becomes a character—a dominant, powerful force to be contended with before all else.

Here are a few snippets.

“As March neared its end, the stream behind the Romero house rushed with melting snow, the crowds of skiers and snowshoers on the streets of McKenzie Crossing began to thin, and eagles passed over the house on their way to the river. Erica recounted every change in her journal, every new bare patch of lawn, every bird, and every change pushed her harder …”

A sheen of white glimmered ahead. A moment later they were staring without breath at the vast expanse of snow where the trail had been. He reached for Bonnie’s hand but it was gripping the pommel of her saddle. … tears running down her cheeks.

‘Bonnie …’

‘He’s in there, isn’t he? Archie.’”

“Over and over, he radioed her. Her line was open, but she didn’t answer. He was overwhelmed by the enormity of the woods, of the lunacy of their illusion that this mountain was their friend. The night belonged to the mountains, the wind, and the rain.”

 And finally, the image of a frightened child looking down a tree-roofed lane that gave birth to the story became this ending.

“   he stood looking down its tree-roofed length. It was stripped and naked, but nature would re-clothe it. In a month, the alders and evergreens would take up everything that had happened and fold it into their branches.”

North Cascades

North Cascades

Read more about Judy in this article from GoAnacortes, and you can purchase her books on Amazon.com. Check her website and blog too for more about her books.

The Longest Trail

By Roni McFadden

Longest Trail I never considered myself a writer. The only experience I had was writing letters to the editor of newspapers when I would get upset about something! My kids would roll their eyes when another letter by their mom would reach the papers.

I organized a reunion to the pack station where I worked in 2003. There were about 30 of us seeing each other for the first time in more than 30 years. As stories were told, someone said there should be a book about the place. All eyes turned to me. I don’t know why. But that was the start.

When I first started to write the book it was really going to be more about the “place”. I did a lot of research on the Native Americans there as well as the man who built the pack station. But, as I started writing, I realized that the story really had to be about my journey AT that “place”. I started writing down different things I remembered and each chapter developed from those memories. Then, I had a bunch of separate stories and needed to figure out a way to tie them together.

That is when telling the grandchildren came to me. Once I figured that out it all just flowed.

I borrowed the term “True Life Novel” from Jeannette Walls’ story about her grandmother, Half Broke Horses. I thought that would let people know that it was a true story, but with creative license to make it flow for the reader. It has won 3 awards for non-fiction (Global eBook Gold, winner EPIC eBook award, and winner USA REBA Awards), but another reviewer told me a year or so ago that the subtitle might cause some people a bit of confusion on whether the book is fiction or non-fiction.

This year after my mentor John Slaughter passed away I decided I wanted to put in an addendum about losing him. So, I thought it would be a perfect time to add all the pictures that would let the reader see what I was writing about.   I made changes and decided to republish it as a second edition. I changed the “True Life Novel” to “A True Story”. I changed the description on the back cover. I added the addendum about John, and added 58 pictures.   (The pictures are in color on the author photoKindle edition.)

The book took 9 years to write. I put it aside for a year or so to write and publish the “Josephine” book in 2009. Josephine: A Tale of Hope and Happy Endings continues to win awards as well, most recently receiving an Honorable Mention in the Purple Dragonfly book awards in two categories: Animals, and Spirituality. It is a book about death, love and hope for children of all ages told by the filly, Josephine, who is a great granddaughter of the legendary Seabiscuit.

Thank you, Roni, for appearing on my blog, and best of luck to you with your second edition of The Longest Trail.

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