Friday, September 28, 2012

The Sentimental Gatherer

When my grandparents passed away, my Beloved and I bought their house. We lived there for ten years, and raised our baby family in the cute little cottage on Hillside Road. 

Not only did we spend those precious years at Hillside Road, but we inherited a few items to help us feather our nest. I've already written about my grandmother's garden I tended in her memory, but there were other, smaller trinkets I came to treasure. 

Amongst them, my grandfather's gardening tools. Not many, mind you and not as fancy as what you'd get at the hardware store today, but enough to add to my sentimental stash and keep me happy. As happy as he and I used to be when we chatted about our shared birthday in May. (Yes, I was born on my grandpa's birthday.)

Fast forward to a new century, and I still use the garden rake and heavy mattock for pottering around the garden at Crabapple House. I like to drag these old fashioned tools around and make no mistake, I don't need to lift weights on the days I weed or hoe. 

Wooden handles, weathered by Grandpa's hours of outdoor work, and smooth metal parts still work as well as they did thirty years ago. Only now, they get dirty in another garden and help bring order to our tangled rows. 

I've done lots of gardening this week. It's school holidays in Melbourne and the chance to knock off overdue gardening chores fits well with the sunnier days of spring. And while I weed around the well-rooted gifts from our families' gardens - hydrangeas and forget-me-nots, lilacs, figs and raspberries - my Grandpa follows. 

With every scrape and turn of soil, I remember his manicured garden. I remember the way he read his Bible, underlining words he wanted to remember most, and muttering ancient verses under his breath.  I remember his love of cheese, that one glass of beer he drank with his evening meal, and the yeasty smell of him as we kissed him goodbye. 

I never made it to his funeral. I was too caught up in the loss of my first baby, gone the same day my grandpa left us. But like the sentimental gatherer I am, I remember him as I work outside. And the other loved ones waiting for me in heaven alongside him. 

What do you remember most about a favourite grandparent? 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Rusty Keys to the Family Tree

On Monday I chatted with Carol Preston, whose love of writing historical fiction came after researching her own family history. 

I haven't hunted through my own family treasure chest. I can't. 

The stories I hold of my ancestors have passed down from my grandparents to my parents and then to me... but I'm not sure where I'd start finding out more. 

You see, my background is Greek and my search would have to be in the Greek language. I don't hold much hope for accurate record keeping in my grandparents' days, or the generations before that... but you never know what might be out there. Perhaps it's only a matter of time before one of my European cousins digs up a wonderful secret of our own. 

But I am privileged to own this original photograph. It's my darling grandmother at eighteen in 1928. What do I know about her from this photo? 

I know she desperately wanted to cut her hair into a bob, as was the fashion of the day. Her father refused, and to honour him she kept it long, styling it to look as close to a bob as possible. I know her nails were not painted, although they're varnished in the photo. She promised me the photographer added the gloss to the final print, where her father would never have allowed such fancies. 

I also know she'd already been proposed to. By the time she married my grandfather, he'd offered marriage three times, and in the end she agreed, to please her parents. 

I know these things because she told us, and I ponder them when I walk past her image in the hallway where her portrait hangs. And I often wonder about the scenes to her story she never shared. Somehow, I don't think I'll discover any more than what I already know. 

How about you?  Have you done a family history search? Do you have the keys to unlock the past, or are you more like me... with untold stories buried under centuries of dust and scribbled in another language?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Carol Preston

It’s my pleasure to introduce Australian writer, Carol Preston. Carol was born in Lithgow, NSW in 1948, and moved to the Illawarra at the age of five. In 1967 she married Neil Preston in Wollongong, where their two children, Tammy and Adam were born. One of Carol’s hobbies over many years has been family history research. It was this research which started Carol on the journey of writing novels. She has great admiration for the lives of her ancestors in Australia and has greatly enjoyed writing novels based on their stories and the inspiring history of the Australian people. 

Tangled Secrets In tragic circumstances Beth and her brothers are left in England to grow up without their parents. When Beth’s childhood dream to be reunited with her father in Australia finally eventuates, she finds that dreams do not always come true. All that seems to follow is more abandonment. Will she ever find true love? Will she discover that she does not have to be alone before it’s too late? 

Welcome to Ink Dots, Carol. It's so great to have an Aussie writer as my guest. Where do you call home and what do you love about it? Home for me is Wollongong, on the South Coast of New South Wales, just an hour south of Sydney. I love it because it’s more like a country town than a city, even though to travel into the city for theatre or visits is quite easy. I’m just ten minutes from beautiful beaches and yet ten minutes from lovely mountain walks and rain forest – and the weather is temperate all year round. What could be more perfect? Indeed... it does sound perfect!

Why did you become an author? I’ve always dreamed of writing a book but until I had gathered nearly twenty years of family history I didn’t really have a passion to write a novel. Once I had all that information about my early ancestors in Australia, my imagination went wild until I decided to write those fascinating stories in some form that my own descendants and others could appreciate and learn from. I hear you. Historical details have a wonderful way of inspiring the storyteller in us. 

Why did you choose this period of history to set Tangled Secrets? When I found that my family history in Australia went back to the First Fleet of convicts sent from England and Ireland, I became very interested in those first one hundred years of Australian history – how white man settled, survived, changed the landscape and developed as a people. It was suddenly very personal. My stories have gradually moved into the beginning of the second hundred years of course, but I still think we have much to learn about that period of our development as Australians. 

What are you reading now? Is it fiction for pleasure or research for you next projectI am always doing research for my next book – on towns and events and people who lived in the period of the ancestors I’m writing about, so history books and articles and on line resources are never far from my desk. I’m also always reading for pleasure. I’ve just completed Dan Brown’s The Symbol, which was fantastic. He’s one of my favourite authors. I’m now reading Jo Wanner’s Though the Bud be Bruised as I like to keep up with what other Australian authors are writing. This is a very moving story.  

Where can we find you on the internet? My website is 
I’m also on Facebook plus I have an author page 

Thanks so much for joining with us today, Carol. I can't wait to hear more about your writing and the journey it's taking you on. 


Carol's heroine, Beth, nurtured a childhood dream to reunite with her father. That's some desire. What was your childhood dream? I bet you're not surprised to know mine was to become a librarian. 

For your chance to win a copy of Tangled Secrets tell us what you hoped would be part of your adult world when you were little. I'll announce the winner in the comment thread here on Friday. 

In the meantime, you might like to read the opening pages of Tangled Secrets. Enjoy, and good luck in the draw. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Watching... and waiting

My nose is pressed against the window. I'm watching many of my dear writing friends post about their time at the ACFW conference in Dallas this week. And I'm not in the thick of it. 

That stings a little. (Insert long sigh. Ok, and one more for good measure.) 

I didn't think it would hurt to be left out, but these things sneak up on a lonely writer and knock your teeth out just when you thought you might smile. 

Thanks to facebook and emails, I've been keeping up with the antics of friends let loose in hotels with too much adrenalin and way too much chocolate.

Like peeking at a party through a window, I'm going to stay where I can taste a little of what's going on. I'll fill in the gaps using memories from my turn in 2010 when I got to giggle with the best of them... and wait for another inbox morsel.

While I'm waiting, I'll be praying for these writing partners and mentors. Praying for heartfelt sharing and deep growth, while they strive to become even more of the writer God has planned for them. 

And in that prayer, I'll be whispering. Daring to voice my longing to return this time next year. Handing over my writing dreams in heartfelt sighs, when words get stuck in the back of my throat.

Are you longing for something to happen by this time next year? Do you pray that far ahead... or keep your talks with God about the here and now?

Blessings for a wonderful weekend,

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Ache of Spring

One of our chickens had a crisis this week. The poor girl thought she was a mama-in-waiting and made herself comfortable over everyone else's eggs, as well as her own. Without a rooster in the mix, chicks don't arrive in our hen house. But she didn't know that.

When her nesting instinct kicked in, she would not budge from the box where she and her sisters lay each morning. Not even after their rude prodding. Not even after mine.

I'd never had a cluckie hen before. Until I realised she'd been hemmed in by her natural broodiness, I thought she might be sick... or dead. If it were not for her slow blinking, we would've made plans to find her an eternal resting place.

But, alive she was! And with resolve of steel, refused to relocate from her imaginary brood under foot wing.

We left her like that one more night and decided to try moving her the next morning. At least, we agreed my Beloved would do it. I didn't have the heart to rip her from the ache which pinned her there. She thought she was going to be a mother. Enough to stay away from food and water to ensure her eggs remained safe. And I didn't want to mess with that.

Because I know how she felt. I know about the ache that comes from thinking in a while you will hold a baby, all your own. That no matter how sick you feel, how early you may have walked away from your paid job, how much you vomit and how little you manage to eat... it will all be worth it one day.

And how it can all be an empty promise when miscarriage steals your hope and someone gently nudges you out of that empty nest and tells you not to cry.

So I let another hand push her away. Not my own. I watched from the window as she scratched for grubs, wondering if instinct would drag her back to the nest.

But she stayed where she'd been put. With her feet on the ground and probably, one eye on the box.

Thank God, my own story saw a gentler hand. One of compassion and blessing. Three more times I nested and delivered my real chickens into the world and every day since they've kept me busier and happier than I could hope to be. I hardly remember the sorrow anymore...

Until moments like this week, when I felt afresh the ache of hollow dreams. It crept in like a quick breath. There one minute, snatched the next. 

And I'm glad to stop and feel that from time to time. Not that I like to count losses. But more, to remember the way God brought me back to the ache I'd always longed for. And multiplied it again. And again. 

photo source - the murmuring cottage

Monday, September 17, 2012

Melody Carlson

Melody Carlson has written 200 books for teens, women, and children (more than five million copies sold). She’s won several awards from the Romance Writers of America, the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association, Christian Retailing magazine, and other national organizations. Melody and her husband have two grown sons and make their home in the Pacific Northwest.

Kentucky, 1854--Elizabeth Martin has mourned her husband's death for three years, but now she feels ready to fulfill the dream they had shared--to take their two children west. The dream becomes reality when her middle-aged parents and bachelor brother surprise her with the news that they want to go as well.
After converting three of their best wagons to prairie schooners and thoroughly outfitting them, the little party travels from Kentucky to Kansas City, where they join a substantial wagon train. Elizabeth soon finds herself being drawn to the group's handsome guide, Eli Kincade.
The long journey and deepening relationships challenge the travelers to their core, and Eli's mysterious past leaves Elizabeth with more questions than answers. She knows there's no turning back, but she wonders, What have I gotten myself into?
The Homeward on the Oregon Trail series brings to life the challenges a young widow faces as she journeys west, settles her family in the Pacific Northwest, and helps create a new community among strong-willed and diverse pioneers.
Welcome to Ink Dots, Melody. It's great to have you visit this week. Tell us about your family? I grew up in an unconventional household with a single mom and one sister. For that reason my extended family (grandparents, aunts, uncles etc.) became very important to me. This also made me long for a more traditional family as an adult. I’ve been married to a wonderful guy (who supports my writing) for more than 34 years now. I have two grown sons who live nearby. And we’re blessed with a delightful eight year old granddaughter who brightens our lives considerably. Oh, yeah, we also have a sweet yellow lab dog and a Mainecoon cat. 

How did you come to write Westward Hearts? During my childhood, my grandparents were a major influence in my life and I grew up hearing stories of their adventuresome ancestors who traveled the Oregon Trail in the 1850’s. In light of our recent depressed economy, I got to thinking about that pioneering spirit and decided to write about this previous generation and how they rolled up their sleeves and worked hard to improve their quality of life. My hope was that these tales of ordinary people triumphing over hardships and challenges might inspire readers in their own journeys.

What’s the most fascinating thing you discovered in your research for this book? Several things fascinated me, including the political climate at the height of the Oregon Trailemigration. The United Stateswas on the verge of a Civil War that would tear the country apart. Also there was the relationship between Native Americans and the push toward “settling” the west. Although I try not to get too political in these stories, I do address these issues and I feel they make this series more interesting.

Have you been to Australia? In the mid 1970’s I was in Sydney (and thereabouts) briefly. I was on my way to Papua New Guinea where I spent a year volunteering with Wycliffe Bible Translators SIL program. I loved my visit Down Under and wished I could’ve stayed longer. My year in PNG I had numerous Australian friends (and an Aussie roommate) and felt like I was experiencing Australian culture. I even mastered a fairly convincing Aussie accent. I would love to come back to visit someday. How exciting!! I think you're my first author interview who's made the trek Down Under. I'm very impressed at your Aussie accent abilities. Not many people get that right!

So, what’s on the horizon for Melody Carlson? I’m always working on the next book. Well, almost always because I do take some time off. Right now I’m finishing a young adult novel and my husband and I are getting ready to head off to the Pendlexton Round-up (one of the biggest rodeos in America). After that I’ll be working on the third and final book of the Homeward on the OregonTrail series. In this novel the pioneers are settling into their new lives in western Oregon.

I really enjoyed getting to know you, Melody, and look forward to this series. Where can we find you on the internet? <
Thanks for being my guest this week. We look forward to hearing more of your writing news. 


Like me, if you'd like to read about Elizabeth Martin's adventures on the Oregon Trail, please leave a comment below and you'll be in the draw to win a copy of Westward Hearts. Tell us if you've ever ridden in a horse drawn wagon, or similar contraption. I'd love to hear your stories, and I'll announce the winner here in the comment thread on Friday. Good luck - and don't forget to leave your contact details if you don't have a blog link to your name. I wouldn't want anyone to miss out on a chance to win this book. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Home Library...?

I recently watched a show where an author and her husband engaged the services of a well known TV real-estate duo, to find them a new home. They were looking to relocate from Sydney to the historic suburb of Battery Point in Tasmania. 

Historic Battery Point
In 1818 a battery of guns was established on the Point as part of Hobart's defences, and it's from this that Battery Point gets its name. It's now a fashionable suburb in which to live, but it also contains some of the oldest, still standing houses in Tasmania. 

I heard the words author and historic homes... and settled into my favourite wing back chair to see how the episode would play out. 

The couple included a list of 'must haves' - essentials in the hunt for their dream home. My ears pricked up when I heard the wife needed 'adequate storage' for her 5000 books. 5000 books!

Yes... and each one was necessary to her writing. 

The camera made a quick zoom past the necessary overflow ... and I'm still not sure they captured it in all its fullness. I had a mental flash of my own book stash upstairs, miserly in comparison even though most days I believe I'm stumbling over more than any sane person should keep underfoot. 

Home Library

The moving process served as another way to document their wealth of literary resources. A wall of boxes labelled books, easily outnumbered any other possession this couple carted southward. Think Imelda Marcos and her shoes. And swap them for books. 

After a few near misses, the couple eventually found their ideal nesting place, let the cats and dogs free in the yard... and lined the shelves with the author's treasures. The room she ended up transforming into her writer's den must have been the size of three bedrooms. And in true Cinderella style TV, just perfect for what she needed. 

And in true step sister fashion, I succumbed to the folly of comparison and counted my own stash. How did I stack up against a library of 5000? A modest sum... perhaps. I didn't count fiction, as it comes and goes. Many novels find a new home in our church library after I've savoured them. But I have close to 100 Australian history books and 20 craft of writing books. Thanks to thrift shop finds, this number is bound to increase.

Will I need to spill out of my little writing hole someday? Find an historic home to house me and my beloved books? 

Not a chance. But I do love to dream about those amazing home libraries ... fitted out with thousands of good friends. 

Here's a few more you might like to drool over with me. Which one's your favourite? Could you fill a room like this?

Home Library

Home Library

Home Library

Home Library

I hope you get to raid the shelves this weekend.
Happy reading, 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Golden Threads

Sandy track leading to 'our beach.'
I'm in the middle of that delicious cluster of weeks where I get to research my next book. 

Book 2 of my Phillip Island series. And it's like living in a room littered with golden threads. Which ones to use straight away, which ones to save just incase... which ones to put in another box for Book 3...?

Sigh. Did I say this is delicious? 'Cause it really is. Part play, part creation, I don't think I'll need to watch a movie for a while. I have one running in my head, reel after reel, like a disjointed mash of scenes.

I'm thrilled to be revisiting the location of The Everlasting. Phillip Island is too beautiful to leave after only one book. And with my thread-box still spilling with richness, I can see myself in the groove I've created, for some time. 

Like a bower bird, I've collected details about this wind swept island. Make no mistake. This is no tropical oasis with frangipani for your hair. The settlers who turned this place into home fought the scrub with fire just to clear the land. Houses were little more than crude dwellings, made of raw materials the fire didn't consume.

Sunset on our road. Photo Source - Matt Adamek

But that's where they started. Fortunately, for a bower bird, collector of history and lover of all things old like myself... they transformed a formidable volcanic outcrop into something comfortable. With all the fancies the Victorian era could offer. 

Now, it's one of Australia's favourite tourist attractions. And for 30 years, I've been one of those holiday makers who calls Phillip Island their summer home. (And any other time I escape there.)

And why has it hooked my heart? Much of that I've put in The Everlasting - but have a look at these pictures. Taken by me and my budding photographer son, they capture some of what I'd love to share when my book hits the shelves. 

Under the jetty

Island Bush Scene

The Walk to Red Rocks

Farm Gate

Olde Worlde Farm Well

Into the Kitchen Garden

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into my story location. Have you visited Phillip Island? Seen the penguins waddle home at dusk? Perhaps you're not from around here. You may have heard of the famous Phillip Island Penguin Parade or the Motogp.

Perhaps... if you're too far to visit, you may taste a little of this gorgeous spot, when you read The Everlasting.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Elizabeth Musser

It's my pleasure to welcome back, Elizabeth Musser, to Ink Dots. We met a few months ago, and Elizabeth's back to share more writing news with the release of Two Destinies

The Secrets of the Cross Trilogy by acclaimed author Elizabeth Musser, already a European bestseller, concludes with the debut of Two Destinies, as story of forbidden love, passionate faith, danger and intrigue. Now 1994, France faces unrest and rising poverty while neighbour Algeria is in the midst of a blood civil war. Rislene Namani, a French woman born to Algerian parents, converts to Christianity and falls in love with Eric Hoffman, a Christian, committing the unpardonable sin in the eyes of her Muslim family. Eric must find a way to rescue her - from a forced marriage in Algeria and even death. A powerful, relevant tale of social struggle, heartache, cultural conflict, and faith put to the ultimate test. 

Welcome back to Ink Dots, Elizabeth. What's been happening since we last chatted? I want to tell you about a brand new wonderfully important person in my life right now—my grandson, Jesse Andrew Musser, born on July 16, 2012.  I’ve had the immense privilege of getting to know him while I was back in the States for a few weeks.  It is a delight to be a grandmother! Congratulations!! I'm thrilled to hear it. I can only imagine the fun you're having, and the inspiration a grandson brings to a writer- grandma. 

Tell us what inspired you to write this book? When my husband and I were living in Montpellier, France in the 1990s, I became more aware of the persecuted church in Algeria.  Also a young woman in our church, Rizlène, converted to Christianity from Islam and experienced some of the problems the fictional Rislène goes through in the novel.  There are many true stories like this.  I also became very aware of the homeless people in Montpellier and the Lord challenged me on my responses—always a good way to get inspiration!

How do you choose your characters’ names? For Two Destinies I wanted to be true to the cultures I was representing, so I researched Algerian names as well as choosing names of North Africans I either knew personally or knew of.  The same is true for all the French names.  I want my characters to feel authentic, so the names are very important to me.

Have you been to Australia?  I have never been to Australia, but over the years, have made several Australian friends.  What I would like is for one of them to take me on their ‘must see’ tour of Australia.  I am sure a novel would be inspired by that trip! I'm putting my hand up! I'd love to be your tour guide.

What’s next for Elizabeth Musser?  Besides being a grandmother, and traveling with my husband throughout Europe in our role of ‘Member Care’ for our mission’s workers, I am working on two new ideas for novels.  One involves refugees escaping from a Middle Eastern country and the ministry in Austria which reaches out to these refugees.  Another involves a part of Atlanta and Southern history which I have not yet explored.  Can’t say any more yet! Very mysterious! Can't wait to hear more.

Where can we find you on the internet?

If you'd like to win a copy of Two Destinies, please enter the draw by leaving a comment below. Tell us if you've ever been to France, or what would lure you there if you had the chance. For me... it would have to be the food! Especially the cheeses. Yum. I'll announce the winner in the comment thread on Friday. Good luck.


It's been wonderful catching up with you again, Elizabeth. Thanks for being my special guest this week. 
Thanks so much, Dotti, for hosting me again on Ink Dots! 

Friday, September 07, 2012

Bubbles with Pixels?

I wonder how many people risk reading in the bathtub, in this age of Kindles and e-readers. 

Do people do that, or am I so old fashioned I haven't caught on yet?

As I'm not game enough to give it a try, many of my books wear the water mark of evenings spent submerged with yet another paperback.  

While I love the ease of carrying a small library on an ipad or Kindle, I don't fancy losing it all, while juggling water spouts, camomile tea cups and cinnamon candles.

You might, though. I bet someone will put their hand up and admit to mixing bubbles with pixels. 

As for me... when nights are cold, I like to read where no one can find me. Where I can slip as far under the hot water as the hem of my book allows, and with the flicker of a flame or two for company. 

How about you? Do you read in the bath? Old fashioned book, or new technology? 

Blessings for a wonderful weekend, in or out of the tub.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Crabapple House

So it's springtime in Australia. Buds and blossoms have already snuck their way into our gardens and before we've had a chance to pack away the feather quilts, the landscape will flourish and chase away the nakedness of winter. 

Crabapple House in Winter

Our street is new to the map. Less than fifteen years old, our trees are growing well, but there's nothing stately here yet. Nothing with roots older than the gardeners who dug holes and planted saplings this last decade. 

Along the boundaries of our corner home, we have six crabapple trees. They're part of the streetscape, designed by local council and added to after we'd built our home. 

Well, at least half of them were. Three were planted on one side when the road was developed. The other three were added later.

As I watched the landscaping crew beautify the street, an idea grew in my mind, inspired by the spring pretties just outside my door. What if we named our house?

Did you know the value of your property increases if it has a name? I didn't. But once I did, and with my crabapples waving a fan of bridal blossoms each year... I couldn't let the idea go 

So I came up with a name.  Crabapple House. In honour of the ladies who stand sentinel around us, and doll themselves up each year when the weather plays nice. 

Now, when my Beloved is away on business, he'll send through a message asking, 'How are things at Crabapple House?' My dear friend Lee, who's been a guest here, will often text 'What's happening at Crabapple House today?' ... and I think that's just brilliant. 

Because it's fun to give your house a name. To add to your family's history, collect the makings of a story already at your feet, and make your own mark. I have more than ownership now -  I have a connection. 

In the same way, God calls us. We don't just belong to Him. He knows us deep enough to go beyond child. Isaiah 43 tells us to not ever be afraid. I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine, says the Lord God.

And in a world where I can name my every possession if I care to, I'm thrilled to know the God of the universe loves me and draws me with a name I could never put a price on. Yes, he knows my name, and even when Crabapple House has fallen into a rubble of bricks... I will still retain my value as the apple of God's eye. And He will still call me by name.

Doesn't that thrill you? 

Ok, so what's happening where you are? Spring or Autumn? Does your house have a name? If not...what name takes your fancy for where you live now?

Monday, September 03, 2012

Anne Mateer

Anne Mateer has a long-held passion for history and historical fiction. In 2000, she embarked on a serious pursuit of writing. Her debut novel, Wings of a Dream, released in the fall of 2011. Anne and her husband live near Dallas, TX and are the very proud parents of three young adults. 

At Every Turn - Caught up in a whirlwind of religious enthusiasm, Alyce Benson impetuously pledges three thousand dollars to mission work in Africa. Now she just has to find a way to get the money.

Alyce harbors a secret passion for speed and automobiles, and she's spent many an afternoon driving around the rustic track in the field behind her home. When she discovers that her father's company has sponsored a racing car that will compete in several upcoming events--races in which the driver will be paid and could win as much as five thousand dollars in prize money--she conspires with her father's mechanic, Webster, to train and compete.

But when her friends cast aspersions on Webster's past, she realizes she may have trusted the wrong person with her secret. Will Alyce come up with the money in time, or will she have to choose between her hasty promise and the man who holds a piece of her heart?

Welcome to Ink Dots, Anne. What a fascinating premise for a story. But before that, tell us a little about yourself. My husband and I have been married 25 years as of June. We have three children (who are actually almost all adults now!), 21, 19, and 17. Our baby will graduate high school in May so we are quickly approaching an empty nest.

What is the main theme you wish readers to take away when they read At Every Turn? I want readers to take away a greater sense of understanding that God created each of us with unique gifts that He can use for His kingdom, even if those gifts look "out of the norm." I like that!

If you could follow one historical person for one day and one night, who would it be, and why? Abigail Adams has fascinated me since college. I would love to know how she managed to raise her kids, supply her family's needs, and support the cause of freedom while still maintaining a deep love for her husband who spent more time away than home while doing the work of crafting the government of the United States of America. Wow, she does sound inspirational. I can see why you want to know more about her.

How about life a little further from home. Have you been to Australia? I have never had the opportunity to visit Australia, but if I did, I'd want to see the places reminiscent of the Man from Snowy River time of history. Of course the beaches I've seen on House Hunters International intrigue me, too! (Isn't it fun how we can travel the world through books, movies, and television shows?)  

What are you working on now? I'm in the beginning stages of what will be my fall of 2014 release. Right now is the research and brainstorming phase, with hopefully a first draft coming before Christmas. 

Thanks for visiting with us this week, Anne. I look forward to hearing more great news about your next releases. Where can we find you on the internet? I blog 2-3 times a week at I can also be found hanging out at my facebook page, on twitter, Goodreads and Pinterest I'd love to hear from you!

Anne's included the first three chapters of At Every Turn for us to sample. If you would like to win your own e-copy, please leave a comment below, telling us if you pushed the boundaries when you were younger like Anne's heroine, Alyce Benson.

Were you the sort of child who needed rescuing from the highest tree, or would the thought to jump off a high ledge so you could fly, never enter your mind?  I'll announce the winner in the comment thread here on Friday. Good luck.