Almost missed it

I received an IPPY(Independent Publisher Award) this week, a bronze in the Great Lakes Fiction Category. I went to a book festival, talked with an award winner last year, decided to enter the contest. It was just before the deadline. I won an award. Yeah!

I wanted to tell someone, stepped out my front door, but the barn cats were unimpressed–they were expecting food. Told the birds at the bird feeder, they wanted me to go away so they could eat. The Sandhill cranes kept picking their way across the fields. The sun was shining. That was a wonderful way to congratulate me. Nothing like living in the country to bring you back to reality.

Now it is on to getting the second Edie Swift book ready for publication and begin the next one.


What’s in a Title?

Working on the final revision, maybe, of my second Edie Swift novel and still don’t have a title for it.  But there are possibilities.

The original title was Whistling in the Dark. Nice title, it reflects Edie’s struggle to deal with the emotional aftermath of her beating, but lots of books have that title. The next was A Steady Heart, another good description of Edie’s internal struggles and what it takes to stay the course . Again, a well used title. Then Two Steps Back, Dej Vu, All Over Again– the last book started with a murder and Edie’s waffling about the changes in her does this second book. But you had to read the first book to understand either of these titles.

So, what’s a gal to do–punt?


Winter Storms

We went for a walk last  week, it was warm, and there wasn’t any snow on the road. The Canada geese were honking and flying north, we heard Sandhill cranes calling from the marsh–spring is almost here. But winter isn’t over, yet– this week proved that. Most of us in the area still talk of blizzards in the middle of March and April, snow in May, and the dreaded ice storms of February and March that we have experienced.

The first year I lived on the farm there was an ice storm. For three plus days we didn’t have electricity, something we usually take for granted. Without it the well pump couldn’t run, we didn’t have drinking water, bath water or water to flush the toilet. Luckily the farm came with an outhouse.  For light we used candles and oil lamps. What an introduction to farm living!

But there were some good things that came from that storm: my husband had the outside electrical lines buried, we no longer worried about live wires during a storm, and I always prepare to hunker down when a storm is forecast.

Like everyone else I stock up on the essential foods, put wood in the basement to supply the fireplace which I’ve used to cook our meals. Pitchers are filled with water for drinking. Buckets are filled with water to flush the toilet as the outhouse is gone. As for everything else, it can wait.

We prepare for what we can during late winter storms, and then hope that spring is really around the corner as we listen to the winds howling around the house.


Book Review

During my research for a future book I came across Bruce Catton’s Waiting for the Morning Train. This is his memoir of growing up in Michigan as the lumber industry was in sharp decline.

The people of Benzonia, Michigan struggled to keep their town from disappearing. To give their youth the education needed for a different future. They created, and supported, a college until it went under, then recreated it as a boarding high school.

Catton tells of idyllic times sledding and ice skating during winter, during summer swimming at a local lake. High school plays, concerts, religious revival meetings are also detailed.

His high school years ended shortly before the U.S. entry into World War I.

Catton’s premise is that these years we live between two eras. The one we grow up, and the very advanced technological world we live in as an adult. One is so far removed from the other, that we have a limited capacity to understand it, let alone live in it.

As with all memoirs, there are shared pieces of wisdom that he learned along the way: “Proud that we have escaped from age-old superstition, we have condemned ourselves to live in a world of our own creation, a world which we fondly believe has no mysteries. We are made helpless by our own omnipotence.”

Bruce Catton is a wonderful writer, best known for his U.S. Civil War series, but this book is worth your time. It is a little gem.

First Book Festival

There’s been a lot of firsts this year for my writing: my first book published, my first book sold, my first book launch, my first panel on writing, and now my first book festival.

Edgerton hosted its 10th Annual Sterling North Book and Film Festival. Sold some books,talked to a lot of people. I enjoyed the day.



Every farming season has its challenges, this year it is corn harvest.

In July straight line winds swept through the Columbus area. The wind goose necked the corn.  The pictures below show what this corn looks like. The much of the corn crew at an angle making it hard to see the rows during combining, and, in some fields, combining it in one direction. This has added more days to the combine season than anticipated.

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Below is a picture of what a corn field should look like. The rows of corn are defined.

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I’m hoping that the good weather we’ve had so far lasts a while longer– until after the harvest is finished.

Soybean Harvest

On our farm, soybean harvest was finished about ten days ago. I am grateful we got them in before the first hard frost.
Now, one thing has nothing to do with the other, except that a hard first is usually a harbinger of winter. And you can’t combine soybeans in the snow.

There is a narrow window to harvest soybeans on a daily timeline and a seasonal one. Soybeans are sensitive to moisture, that means if there is dew or frost in the morning, we have to wait for the moisture to evaporate. And, as I said, you can’t combine soybeans in the snow, there is too much moisture, and the snow, that might be on the plants and ground, could get into the combine clogging it up. (I’ve learned some new phrases when that happened.) So, I am grateful we are done with that part of the harvest is done and we are onto the next crop. And that is another story.

October Sky

Have you seen it? About an hour before dawn in the eastern sky there is a gentle arc of stars and planets. It is worth getting up early to see.  I was going to an early morning exercise class on October 2 when I saw it, I was captivated by it. I’ve looked for it each morning since then, but due to foggy or cloudy skies in my part of Wisconsin I’ve only seen it once since then–maybe tomorrow I will see it.

October Sky

October Sky

I’ve searched the Internet to find a picture of the morning display, this one comes closest to it.

Independent Bookstores

Independent bookstores are wonderful. I knew that before I became a self-published author, I am even more grateful now.
I make it a point to browse and buy books from these stores. I like the mix of main stream and eclectic books they have on their shelves. There is always a book that is calling my name ( I can walk through department stores without buying, but put me in a bookstore and I always walk out with something.).


The King's English 1511 1500E Salt Lake City,UT

The King’s English
1511 1500E Salt Lake City,UT

The moment I walked through the door, I fell in love with this bookstore. It is now a must stop when I am in the Salt Lake City, UT area. Their selections are fantastic.

Mystery to Me 1863 Monroe St Madison, WI

Mystery to Me
1863 Monroe St
Madison, WI

There are books here that you can’t find anywhere else. Self-published books, small press books which are in search of readers. And it isn’t only mysteries that are on the shelves here–check out the children’s section.

Julie's Java House 409 N. Ludington Columbus, WI 53925

Julie’s Java House
409 N. Ludington
Columbus, WI 53925

I know, this isn’t a bookstore, but Julie’s does sell books, and music, by local authors. Her coffee, pastries, and sandwiches are good too.






Book Launch

It was a successful book launch, people came, and they bought books-what more can an author want.  Most of all it was great talking with the people who came, thank-you!AugSep Book Launch 2015 008AugSep Book Launch 2015 006AugSep Book Launch 2015 009