A Writerly Blog
Visiting the home of Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of The Girl Scouts in Savannah (1912) was truly an inspiration. Although this woman never achieved her dreams of a loving marriage and a house full of children, she found her passion in helping girls around the globe to realize their own dreams.
There is always a feeling of reverence and wonder when one visits a well-known author's home and gravesite. Especially if it has been the inspiration for a popular series in the past. I had that opportunity last month to visit St. Simons Island, GA, home of prolific author, Eugenia Price. And although I could only see her home from afar, walking on the property of the church she dearly loved, and paying my respects at her grave, I had a new appreciation for the term 'author'.
Has it been two years? Wow. Tempus Fugit!
As long as I'm celebrating The Heart Changer’s 2nd birthday, I might as well share some of the marketing images I've created on Canva. If you don't know about that site (no matter what your profession) you are missing out on an incredible resource! There are many tutorials to help you create an image. And best of all, it's free at a basic level.
There is nothing more delightful to a historical fiction author's heart, than a visit to an old city. It's intriguing and enlightening, and sometimes hilarious! People are people no matter which century they lived in.
Experiencing a bit of cabin fever lately? Maybe you live in a tropical climate and are able to get out any day at any time. Well, I'm honestly jealous. But if you live in the mid to far north hemisphere, winter is showing it's true colors. White and not-so-white.
Coupled with the coronacrisis lockdowns, it can be spirit-zapping!
Well, I decided I was going to get out for a quick morning walk Monday through Friday, and keep my eyes focused on my environment, no matter how bleak it seemed. Come along with me (leave behind your coats, boots and other winter accessories) and I will share my discoveries!
I was becoming a bit panicky when I had no word chosen for 2021 by Thanksgiving. Usually by then, a word presents itself. But not this time. It wasn't until things began to crumble, or at least take a different turn, that the word SURRENDER popped into my head.
What to do when you want to safely break away from your Covid routine before the holidays, but have few options? Well, Galena, of course! I love this historic town. It's our go-to getaway in a pinch. This year, due to the coronavirus, things look different - masks worn everywhere, 6 foot spacing encouraged, and limited dining options. But true to form, the town is beautifully adorned for Christmas. Yay!
Does History Inspire You?
We drove around the hilly neighborhood, enjoying the decked out historic homes. Galena dates back to 1826, and the buildings reflect the Civil War era - not surprising because this was General Grant’s home.
Who Doesn't Love a Hearty Breakfast?
One treat I particularly enjoyed was wandering in and out of Main Street shops, also delightfully decorated for the holidays. Lots of eye candy here! Not to mention this is one of my favorite boutiques - Carlotta’s Studio. I make sure to visit each time we are in Galena.
Dan’s favorite pastime is eating out - especially for breakfast. Below our cozy Airbnb was the owner’s restaurant, Big Bill’s. Their food was scrumptious and the double expresso strong and rich - just the way I like it!!
Historic Homes Become Restaurants
Our warm and inviting studio was perfect for our needs - a few minutes walking distance from the center of town, a big screen TV and electric fireplace for movie watching and a complete kitchen for cooking dinner. The above photo shows the red Galena brick walls so prevalent in this area. The images are of the flooding this town experienced in 2017, artfully snapped by our young landlord’s mother, Michelle. You can find her photos at Michelle Deiter Photography.
As I've mentioned, dining options were limited, but the De Soto House and it's three restaurants (for breakfast, lunch and dinner) were open! So, after taking pics of their stunning decor, we settled into a lovely meal, COVID precautions in force. Below is a slideshow of other interior images . . .
The Reason for the Season
I trust you are able, even in this season of lockdowns and political unrest, to find peace and joy - and hope. Immanuel - God is with us - in His Son, Jesus Christ. We need never fear, for He sees the past, the present AND the future. He is in control, and has a purpose for everything that comes into our lives. And someday, He will reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords!
May you and yours have a Blessed and Merry Christmas and a Happy, Joy-filled New Year!!
This year, I’m going to be grateful for all the things I didn’t get or didn’t happen as I wished. And for the prayers God answered in the negative. I’m going to thank the Lord for the hard times — the low times — that knocked the wind out of me or caused me to slip and slide. I'll be grateful for those times I would categorize as disappointments or dead ends, and for people God surrounds me with who keep me humble — those who withhold praise, give criticism, or are uncomfortable to be around.
Why, you ask? Isn’t that a bit unorthodox? Or unconventional?
Yes. Well . . . No.
I am a Chicago girl - born and raised. And I love history, which is why I am a middle-grade historical fiction author. But I know that sometimes history is not so kind. In fact, it can be cruel. Chicago has some great events - The World Columbian Exposition for one; but I'm not proud of the corruption or racial tragedies in our past.
Today, I'm featuring a Q & A with Bibi Belford, a fellow #SCBWI_IL and #ReadLocalIllinois author who brings one of these unfortunate events to life in her novel, Crossing the Line.
Having just returned from Raleigh, North Carolina, the home of Shaw University, the first historically black university in the Southern United States, and considering the cultural, political and social climate of 2020, Patrica Powell’s picture book is timely!
She is a member of our SCBWI-IL (Illinois Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) organization, and Read Local Illinois, a service for teachers and librarians that connects authors and their books with young readers.
I love the title of her latest book, Lift as You Climb. Good leaders help others on the way up — they never steal the power or limelight for themselves. They also look for non-violent ways to solve problems and make their voices heard.
Below are a few questions I asked Patrica Powell about her newest release. . .
My MG Biblical fiction "The Heart Changer" debuted in 2019 with Ambassador International.