March Update/Review


Since December, I’ve been trying to finish the first draft of The Old River Road. Unfortunately, I ran into some historical inconsistencies that needed attention before I could continue/finish the story. After bugging extended family members, friends who knew the McDonald family, and taking several trips to the library and Spokane’s history museum, I am *almost* back on track.


Editing is rather slow with this book. I’ve really shirked in my duties to this poor little story over the past few months. As of Sunday, that changed. Now, my goal is to edit two chapters each day. That’s about an hour of work. I can do anything for an hour, right? Right. Tell me I can.


BTW, this is what NaNo does to me. I cannot remember the last time I confused two, to, and too. I’ve done it TWICE in this book.


Coming up in April is Camp NaNo. I was going to do another full 50,000 word project, but when I realized how far behind schedule I am with The Old River Road, that got pushed to the back burner. However, my goal is to do 25,000 words (though I’d be happy with 20,000). The project I will be working on is what I have been calling my Secret Story.




It’s not a secret anymore because I’m going to tell you about it RIGHT NOW!!!! :-)


Here is the blurb (and a draft of the cover):


1Chelsea is the daughter of Ralph Sanders, a respected crab fisherman and the much loved captain of the vessel Cora Lee. Named after her deceased mother, Chelsea feels a connection with the boat, and with the ocean, that no one but her dad can understand. When a sudden, unexpected proposal from her maternal grandparents sends Chelsea far inland, she fights with her desire to return home…to her dad, cousins, and everything she knows. But after taking a closer look, Chelsea realizes that though her grandparents are wealthy and not wanting of any worldly goods, they have not yet let go of death of their daughter, though she died sixteen years previous. Pulling away from self-pity, Chelsea reaches out to her grandparents and help them heal despite their obvious annoyance. Will Chelsea be able to help her grandparents move on in their lives? Or will their exasperating, constant mentions of Cora drive Chelsea away?


Already, Ocean Hues has 26,000 words, so it shouldn’t be too hard to resume. (Starting books is always the worst part for me.)


Also, I purchased a new word processing program called Storyist. Apparently, one must be a techy geek to figure this program out. It’s been rather maddening, but as I’ve slowly been understanding and working through the program, I think it is going to work very well for me. One thing I love about it is the ability to keep all my random papers and notes in one document/project. Maybe, eventually *crosses fingers*  it will actually make it so that I don’t have random pieces of paper spread all over the house with random notes written on them! ;-) (Doubtful, but one can hope, right?)

Screen Shot 2016-03-14 at 11.12.27 PM


Something else new is this beautiful new computer monitor. It is amazing. I can now sit at my desk and work with Adobe, read onscreen, and do schoolwork on this blown-up version of my laptop. All I have to do is connect the two computers and there we go…laptop expanded. It’s awesomeness.




One of my sweet, lovely siblings came into my room and STOLE my desk chair. :-(  Well…they were given permission from mom to steal it, so I guess that makes it better. Still, I’m out a comfy desk chair, and now I’ve got to find a new one that won’t fall apart when I spin around in it. After all, isn’t that the only thing desk chairs are good for?


I’ve read so many lovely books this month. Just to name a few, From the Dark to the Dawn by Alicia Willis, Dare and Deny by Tricia Mingerink (and oh my goodness get ready for a RAVING review on EACH of these books), The Little House Charlotte Years, Adventures and Adversities by Sarah Holman…I could go on and on. One of the best times I found to read was the 3-hours-3-times-a-week driver’s Ed class for my BABY brother.

IMG_1368Notice the hair tie? Not for hair. Perfect bookmark.



Soooo….that update was probably much more involved than you would have wished but hey…

Is anyone else participating in Camp NaNo? What have you been working on? Tell me tell me…I love getting comments! It’s like candy, finding a comment in the comment box. Come on…you’ll give me some virtual candy, right?!? *gets down on knees and begs*

130 Years Ago Today…


…two people, aged seventeen and twenty-four, joined hands in marriage.




Young and naïve, neither had the slightest idea that their lives would be anything but blissful and simple. They didn’t know that he would have health struggles and nearly leave her a widow. They couldn’t have prepared for the heartache of loosing a child. They never guessed that they, raised in a large city since childhood, would be forced into the wild west, pioneering in eastern Washington state, where there could be miles between homesteads.



They didn’t know that fifty years of marriage lay ahead of them. They might not believe how many lives they touched…lives of people who they met only once or twice, yet who still remember the kindness and smiles to this day.



They didn’t know that their great-great granddaughter would be one of those weird author-folk who loves to write everything down. They didn’t know that one day, their life story would become an honest-to-goodness, deliciously pieced together book.


They didn’t know that their lives would leave a legacy which would remain sound even seventy years after their deaths.


If you haven’t already figured it out, I’m speaking of William and Clara McDonald, my great-great grandparents. Today is their 130th wedding anniversary. (Hence the special post.)




William and Clara have inspired me so much, first as a young child when I heard of their bravery moving from Chicago to little tiny Spokane, and now again as I’ve dug deeper into my family’s history and learned more about these two amazing people. When I first read their 8-page memoirs at age ten, I remember thinking, “wouldn’t it be cool if there was a book about them?” Never in my wildest imagination did I think that it would be me who would be recording their story.


This very special record of their lives, a book I’ve titled The Old River Road, will be shared with the world THIS YEAR. That’s right; this year, on June 13th, I’ll be throwing my great-great grandparents (not literally, mind you) out into the big scary world.


Are you excited to read their story?

Beautiful People–Valentine’s Edition

10928109_595959117172101_1450331761_nWhen I saw the topic for the February Beautiful People, I had almost made up my mind to skip it all together. None of my fictional couples are extremely well-developed yet, so I didn’t have much to write about.

Then I remembered the story that’s been taunting me since last September. My NaNo project, the topic of my nightmares…(Okay, maybe that may be a slight exaggeration ;-)  )

Yes, I’ve been talking and whining about Clara’s Story here on the blog for quite some time. Writing about real people is extremely difficult for me; trying to fit in all the little details can be stressful. Of course, I had to use some “storyteller liberties” in the book. Most of the answers below are according to how the book has been written, but I threw in some fun facts as well. :-)


How did they first meet?

In a mud puddle.

Well, not quite. William bumped into Clara and sent her flying into a puddle. He was nice enough to help her out of it.

What were their first impressions of each other?

Clara noted that William was rather handsome and tall, and strong enough to pull her out of the water without much effort. William’s first impression was, “She isn’t crying or yelling at me, but she’s standing here dripping wet in the freezing cold. I might be able to get along with this girl.”

How long have they been a couple?

Not long at all…though by the time the book ends they’ve been married for more than twenty years.

How committed/loyal are they to each other? Would they break up over a secret or a disagreement? Could stress drive them apart? Would they die for each other?

Extremely committed. Divorce wasn’t an option back then. Yes, they would die for each other…William almost did.

List 5 “food quirks” they know about each other.

I’m not good with quirks so I’m going to do interesting facts instead. (These are all facts, not fiction.)

–I don’t actually know what year Clara was born. According to census records, she could have been born in 1866, 1867, or 1868. For the book, I split the difference between those years. Henceforth (until I find a more reliable document), her birthdate is November 22, 1667.

–William had never chopped wood until he was nearly 30 years old.

–Clara was the baby of her family and incredibly devoted to her parents, yet she willingly left them and followed William to Spokane when asthma nearly took his life.

–William was the only surviving child of his biological parents. (He has one half-brother.)

–Aaannnddd I can’t think of anymore so there ya go.

Does anyone disapprove of their relationship?


What would be an ideal date?

In Chicago? A fancy dinner and starlight walk along the shores of lake Michigan. In Tumtum, probably an afternoon away from their passel of sweet kids.

What are their personality dynamics? Similar? Contrasting? Do they fight a lot or mesh perfectly?

Quite similar in most areas. Clara tends to be more of the spitfire personality-wise, though William does anything and everything to ensure his family is safe and well cared for; but he does it in a more quiet manner than Clara.

What have been their best and worst moments together as a couple?

Best moments always seem to happen in the kitchen. :-) Worst moments…those seem to have something to do with the kitchen as well.

Where do they see themselves and their relationship in the next few years?

Next few years? That’s kinda tough, as I haven’t decided for sure where in their lives I am going to end the book. Factually speaking, they were married for fifty years before William passed away.


And, for your enjoyment, here is the ONE photo I have found of William and Clara together.

IMG_1314Yes, they are old. :-) This photo was probably taken around 1935-ish. Isn’t it sweet? Their smiles tell it all.

And this photo is of William, likely taken when he was around 19 years old.

IMG_1318Is he not handsome? ;-) (I think he looks like he’s trying hard to be serious.) From talking to people who actually knew him, I learned that apparently he was quite the tease and always cracking jokes.

Updates All Around

As you can see, I’ve made some changes to this blog. :-)  What do you think of the new look? As I’m sure you will see from looking around, I still have a bit of work to do, but I’ve got a good start!

Clara’s Story, my 2015 NaNoWriMo project has been officially re-titled.

Or so I thought. As I (re)write this post, it is 12am on Wednesday morning. I have been working on Clara’s Story for the past few hours, and suddenly thought of a possible title to this book that might be better than the one I had “for sure decided on.”

I don’t know which one of these titles would be best and right now I’m too tired to think it through all the way. So instead of staying up for another hour to sort this out in my already-muddied brain, why don’t you tell me which title you think is best?

Option number 1:

The Old River Road

Why is this a consideration? Well, there is a stretch of road on the way from my home to Spokane that all of the locals call the old river road. The reason for this is because it is the only remaining stretch of road that hasn’t been altered since the late 1800’s. That said, the two-mile river road that I drive on weekly is the very same one that William and Clara would have traveled over every single time they went to town. How cool is that!?

I desperately wish that I had a photo to share with you right now, but that would involve me hiking through about a half mile of swamp, in the winter, with a bunch of mushy, dirty snow all around. Wouldn’t make for a pretty picture. :-)

Option number 2:

The River’s Bend

Clara and William spent all of their years out west, save two, living on the banks of the Spokane river. They homesteaded over 200 acres of land. The land they homesteaded was exclusively at the biggest bend in the entire river, and it’s a very long river. (BTW the land they homesteaded is the same exact land I live on today.)

Which one do you like best?

After writing for four hours today, my word count went from 73,500 to 78,000. Yeah, I’m kinda excited. I didn’t even know I could type that much in one day. :-P I would guess that I have around 10,000-15,000 more words until I can end the story, and I have a week and a half to do that.


Nope, I’m not stressed at all. :-)

Tentative release date for Clara’s Story is June 13. I can’t wait to get this book into the world!

Wednesday crept up on me…

Well, it’s almost ten am on Wednesday and I just realized that I forgot to post something!  Grr!

Nothing much exciting has happened around here, other than being extremely busy in preparation for Christmas. That and a few of us have gotten colds (unfortunately, I am in the lucky few). Writing has been pushed to the back burner despite my efforts to keep it a priority. I suppose it is still a priority, just…lower on the list of priorities. ;)

Clara’s Story is progressing slower than I would have liked, but it is still moving along. I’ve also been sneaking in some time on a secret story, which I am incredibly excited about. I am going to attempt to keep this story shorter than my other books, which seem to be a consistent 85,000 to 130,000 words.  We shall see how much I can control myself.

I recently got a new keyboard! Typing on my laptop on my desk was giving me horrible wrist pain, so I began looking into one of those silly-looking curved keyboards. And finally, I found one that I absolutely love! It helps my wrist pain substantially and after I got used to the funny angle of typing, I can type just as fast on the new one as I can with my laptop’s keyboard. Here’s a picture of my writing area (one of them, at least) :

IMG_1191 IMG_1189

Please excuse the messy desk. :)

I will not be posting next week because it will be Christmas Eve’s Eve, and my family will be rather busy. So merry Christmas, one week early!

I Finished NaNo!


I am extremely excited to announce that I have completed, and won, my first NaNoWriMo. Considering that it took me 3 years to write 120,000 words, I am pretty proud of myself for persevering and getting through 50,000 words in one month. In fact, I finished the month of November out with a grand total of 56,000 words. Yipee!!

I estimate that the story is about half done. I am hoping to have the remaining 44,000 words completed by the second week of January. Then edits will begin. Yay. My least favorite part of this entire writing deal.

My ultimate goal is to have Clara’s Story (which will likely be getting a new title) published by June of 2016. I am going to have to push myself, but I think I can do it.

At the beginning of this month, I told myself that I desperately needed a break from Never Alone #1. When you’ve been working on something for a solid two years, it is hard to look at it with anything other than, “I JUST WANT TO BE DONE!!!!!”

It was hard, but I didn’t allow myself to look at any documents that had anything to do with the trilogy. Don’t get me wrong…I was thinking about the story as much, if not more, than when I am actively working on it. I missed my characters terribly!

Something funny happened about three weeks into November. I was furiously typing away at Clara’s Story in my writing cave (bedroom) when my fifteen year old brother walked in. After chatting for a few minutes, I whined, “I miss my characters from Never Alone sooooo bad!”

And my dear bro, logical as he is, raised an eyebrow in that my-sister-is-a-nut-job way and, very slowly, said “Then open up the document and say hi.”

Though I giggled at his logical-ness, I didn’t heed his advice until November 30th. :)


Books I read in November: Ha! Maybe two.

Books I plan to read in December: The Destiny of One by Sarah Holman, Through the Tunnel by Rebekah Morris, Resistance by Jaye L. Knight, A Different Kind of Courage by Sarah Holman, Counted Worthy by Leah E. Good…those are a few that I am mostly looking to. Others, such as Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit I am not so excited about. :)

This blog post is getting very long. Kudos to you if you’ve read this far. :)

Final Week of NaNo 2015


I can hardly believe it…NaNo is drawing to a close! It seems completely surreal that an entire month has gone past, yet at the same time it went by too fast. (Fellow NaNoers will know what I mean). ;).

By God’s grace and against all odds (multiple illnesses, windstorms, etc) I have been able to keep my word count where it needs to be. As of now, the most words I’ve written in one day is 4,500, and the fewest words has been 316. As arrogant as this sounds, I’m pleased with myself for keeping up and not letting the 50,000 word goal smush my productivity. :)

As of now, I have 43,000 words. This story has been so much work and far more difficult than the all-fiction novels I have written. I’ve read through a few sections that I wrote towards the beginning of the month, and was able to get through and entire chapter without wanting to vomit, so that’s a good sign, right? :) The quality of my writing definitely suffers with speed, but I think editing will be my best friend. We shall see.

And now, coming into the last 5 days of NaNo, I give myself a big slap on the back and, Lord willing, will make the 50,000 goal!


NaNo Day 11

NaNo is working very well for me! I’m so glad that I’ve discovered this I’ve been able to keep up with my word count, even exceeding it some days. (Yippie!) I’ve added a word count meter in the sidebar of this page so you can keep up with how I’m doing. :)

On Thursday, my right wrist got so inflamed and painful that I put my arm in a sling. Did I fall? No (shocker).  I got a pinched nerve from so much typing.IMG_8434

No one can ever say that writing is a safe occupation/hobby. It is possible to hurt yourself doing it. (And of course, I’m one who finds the only possible injury.)

Anyway…because I had to wear a stiff splint and keep the arm in a sling to save myself excruciating pain, my ability to type was—impaired, we shall say. Over two days, I got quite fluent in one-handed typing. I even played with the dictation thingy on my computer. It was quite an adventure.

It’s now six days ‘post injury’, and now I just have to wear the splint. I can still use my typing fingers even wearing it, thank goodness. The pain is much better and the swelling is almost gone. I hope it doesn’t return.

Okay, I think I just botched up pretty much every grammatical rule there is in this post alone. My brain is tired of spitting out words.  I’m not making any sense.

Thanks for reading. :)

Oh by the way, are there any little social media buttons anywhere on this post? I’m trying to get them to show up but it’s not working very well.


NaNoWriMo 2015

I am very excited for November! Well, excited might not be the right word…maybe scared out of my wits is better? ;)

I have decided to participate in NaNo this year. I’ve never done it before, and I didn’t even know about it until July.

For those of you who don’t know what NaNoWriMo is (National Novel Writing Month), it is a program where everyone participating has a goal of writing 50,000 words on ONE story in ONE month. That’s about 1,667 words a day. At the end of the month, I’ll have an almost completed novel…at least, that’s the theory.

Though I’d like to work on another book, I really need to finish Clara’s Story (working title) that I talked about back here. I don’t feel ready at all, and since this is my first time trying NaNo, I don’t know exactly what I should do to prepare. So I’m jumping in head first and hoping to stay afloat! :)

With NaNo and school and music and everything else that worms it’s way into my days, I’m going to fall back to just once a week posts.

Are any of you doing NaNo? Or have you done it in the past?

Old Photos

Through writing Clara’s Story, I’ve had the privelage of digging through box after box of old family photos trying to find pictures of Clara and her family.  It seems so sterotypical…I tell relitives that I’m writing a book about an ancestor, they give me permission to dig though their attics and basements for pictures…I find boxes of old photos…I take them home and sort through them, trying to match faces with names…


It’s SO stressful!!

And SO MUCH FUN!!!!!! :)

Whenever I come upon a photo that I can connect to a family member, I tend to give a giddy scream and giggle insanely….wouldn’t you?  :)


I’m not exactly sure who these kiddos are but aren’t they precious?

Have you ever looked through old family photos?