Thursday, December 07, 2006

Critique Buddies

I spent a great morning and afternoon with my critique buddies. We met as usual at 10:00 in the morning for our critique session and afterward gathered at a local restaurant for our annual Christmas luncheon. What fun! Although we get together nearly every week, we never run out of things to talk about.

During lunch, I looked around the table and was suddenly aware of what great friends they'd become. We didn't start out that way. In the beginning most of us didn't know one another. And yet, for many years, we've hung together through the thick and thin of writing (and there have been a lot of thins). Plus, when we share our writing we unveil our hearts. And now we "know" one another well and we trust each other--not just with our writing but with our lives.

As I look back I don't think I could have made it in the world of writing without these ladies, and I can't imagine continuing on alone. Not only would my writing falter but so would my spirit.

If I send in a book that hasn't been completely critiqued by my group I know it's not as good as it could be. Our compilation of abilities and viewpoints make for better stories.

Each of the women are good, dedicated writers, and each have special distinguishing skills that set them apart. Diane, is a no nonsense kind of writer who can take real life and make it dramatic, she helps us stay real. Ann is like a poet with words and she does her best to make sure we find music in language. Billy is the practical one. I can count on her to find my too wordy passages and to help me tighten thoughts gone wild. And then there's Meddie. She's our photographer/writer who helps us see when our writing's lost its brilliance. Plus we can always count on her to find the misplaced comma or two.

I thank God for these women. Without complaint they have repeatedly made time to help me meet a deadline. I trust what they have to say and I always listen, even if I sometimes decide to go my own way.

I remember a time when the idea of being part of a critique group felt terrifying. I'm so glad I didn't let my fear keep me from one of the best parts of my life. Don't you let it stop you, either. If you don't have a group, find one. They'll not only make your writing better, but good friends always make life better.

Blessings to you,


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Wonderfully Opinionated Women

I've long wished that I could join a readers group. What could be more fun than being part of a sisterhood that all read the same book and then gets together and talks about it? For someone like me it would be like food. And I love food, almost any kind. Sadly, my schedule doesn't allow for such fun, but my need to make it happen has been stirred up. I'm searching for a way.

Recently, I was invited to be a guest at a local Readers Group called Wonderfully Opinionated Women--better known as WOW. What a great evening I had! These gals were terrific!

My book Valley of Promises and I were the topics of discussion. I've visited writers' groups before, but always as a guest speaker, not as part of the group. This was a one of a kind experience.

WOW is a pretty large group and has been meeting for several years. The camaraderie was immediately evident. Even so, the ladies made me feel like part of them. After sharing a delicious meal that they'd taken from the book, we jumped into a stimulating discussion. They had lots of questions about the book and the story about the Haspers, how I found the story and the characters and their names, about me and my faith and how I started writing and more.

Time passed quickly. The ladies were funny and intelligent. It was pure pleasure. And my desire for a reading group was reenergized. I feel a little like that pink bunny you see on television that just keeps going and going. Well now, I'm praying for a way to make time for this kind of fun.

If you love to read, join a group or put one together yourself. Each group has its own personality. Not everyone will have the same taste in literature, but that's part of the fun. You'll discover books and authors you otherwise never would have. And what a great way to make new and long-lasting friendships.

I'd love to visit more groups. I'm just waiting for invitations. :-)

Thank you WOW for inviting me and for being so gracious. You were definitely one of the highlights of my year.

Blessings from Bonnie

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Senior Gentlemen

Today was a good day. A group of senior gentlemen who meet once a month at the Roseburg Country Club and call themselves the Lunch Bunch, invited me to speak. Some of the men attending are friends of mine. I looked forward to the afternoon, knowing I'd enjoy myself. I did.

The time I spent with this group of special men (and their wives), got me to thinking and longing for something that's missing in this world--cordialness. The dictionary describes cordial as courteous, gracious; warm. That describes these guys.

From the moment I arrived, they were attentive and polite and they made me feel special and respected. And something more; when I looked into their eyes--everyone one of them--I could see goodness. And these fellows looked back at me as if they truly saw me. When I spoke they listened and then actually considered what I'd said. They were inquisitive and asked intelligent, meaningful questions.

After the luncheon was over I went on my way, but I felt a longing to spend more time with quality people like these. They made my day, my week, and maybe even more than that. I saw something in these fellows that I do not see in my generation and the generations following me--cordialness.

Where have the gentlemen gone? Too many men (and women) are too busy to spend time with others, too self-absorbed to be courteous, and sometimes too arrogant to truly listen to a female. I apologize if I sound discontent, but I guess I am. I long for something more to happen when people meet. I want to connect, not just pass each other by.

Perhaps the men I met yesterday were brash in their youth, as youth have a habit of being, and have only now learned to savor the moment. But these "Old Timers" possess a special quality, something our young men are missing or maybe it's simply something that's been lost as generations have passed.

Wouldn't it be great if men like the ones I met today could bestow some of their cordialness to others, especially to the young men coming up. If only the young would pay attention--they'd learn a thing or two. I entreat the "Old Timers" to connect with the young. They . . . we need you to pass on the qualities that make a gentleman, that is . . . a gentle man. For that's what you are and that's what we need more of.


Monday, October 30, 2006


When I learned that Ernie Wenk had won the contest I was thrilled. He's a former student of mine and has been moving forward with his career. Go Ernie!

The contest got me thinking about quotes. We use quotes all the time. I have some favorites such as: "Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail," by Ralph Waldo Emerson. I also like this one, "The Person who rows the boat usually doesn't have time to rock it." The author is unknown.

And there's another one a friend of mine came up with. He used to say, "How can I know what I do not know?" It stuck with me especially after my accident when my husband and I were trying to figure out how to live with my new body. I'd get frustrated with him for not understanding my needs. But how could he really know when he'd never experienced what I was going through? I put the quote in the upper right hand corner of my bathroom mirror to remind myself everyday.

Do you have a favorite quote? Please leave it as a comment. And if you know who the author is include that. Especially if you're the author.

I'm always looking for good quotes to add to my file. Can't wait to see what you come up with.

Have a great day!


PS If you'd like to be added to my email list, make sure to leave your name and address on my contact page.

Sunday, October 22, 2006


We maneuvered the winding highway through the Shasta National Forest and anticipation filled me. When we stopped in the small mountain town of Weed my eagerness intensified. We were almost home!

While high in the Siskiyou Mountains we passed a sign that said, Welcome to Oregon. We’d arrived in our home state and it felt good. Yet, the best was yet to come. We descended into a valley north of the Siskiyou Mountains where golden hills cast in shadows and surrounded by forests welcomed us.

We continued north, navigating familiar mountains. The evergreens were taller, their girth greater and the forests were dense with Douglas Fir and Cedar. The final few miles we traveled from Roseburg to Glide were a balm to my need for home. Sheep and cattle grazed on honey-colored hills, and the colorful oak and dark thick forests shouted HOME!

In spite of all the grandeur, beauty, and fascinating people and sites we’ve encountered the last three weeks, there’s just no place like home. Fall arrived while we were gone. The air is cool and smells of evergreens and overripe blackberries. Before leaving for church this morning, I stepped onto my front porch and savored the morning crispness and the mists hanging over the meadow in front of my house.

As I contemplate our journey it’s clear to me God favored us with His presence and His mercy throughout our adventure. He revealed to us so much of Himself and His creation. We felt His protection and took comfort in the prayers of our friends.

A cross country trip may seem a small thing to some, but I’m changed. Travel isn’t easy for me. My body sometimes betrays me. But every ache and pain was worth the insight, wonderment, pleasure and knowledge I gained. God’s hand is truly upon this country, and we are blessed to live here.

I learned many lessons on this trip and praise God for allowing me to go. I know better how much he loves me, just as I am. And my confidence in Him has amplified.

May you know the joy and wonderment our glorious God offers to each of us.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Tonight we are sleeping in Las Vegas, but yesterday we set out across New Mexico and Arizona. The morning began with clear skies, but soon the winds picked up and dark clouds appeared on the horizon. We were in for it, or so we thought. Although strong winds buffeted our truck, the storms remained north and south of us and we made our way across the prairies and deserts bathed in sunshine. God has done this for us from our first day of travel. I don't know why, but I'm grateful.

There was so much to see and to savor as we moved through the dry lands in the middle of the country. New Mexico was a mix of broad prairies, rocky mountains, and red rock formations. I loved the colors of the landscape and Greg and I decided to incorporate many of them into our new family room. We picked up a few pieces of pottery and art work that will remind us of our time here.

We saw so many interesting things. I wanted to stay and explore our history and the unique sites and to study what God had made, but I was forced to keep moving. We stopped briefly at the Petrified Forest in New Mexico. It is an amazing place where centuries of history have been laid down. What a privilege to be able to revisit our past. I could have spent days there.

Yesterday we arrived at the Grand Canyon. There are no words to describe what I saw, but I will make a measly attempt--magnificent, majestic, frightening, humbling, breathtaking. It is a place layered with colors and textures. A place where I felt God's presence, a place only He could have created. And a place that made me feel small and at the same time significant because the God who created this wonder also created me. Even now when I think about it I feel tears well up.

I wanted so badly to spend more time. I needed to find a quite place overlooking the grandeur where I could be quiet and contemplate God and what He must have been thinking when he created this glorious place.

I had to move on. This is a working trip and I'm nearly out of time. So, we packed up and hit the road. Tomorrow we will begin the last leg of this adventure.

My next message will be from my office at my home up on my mountain in Oregon.



Monday, October 16, 2006


October 14th we left Panama City Beach, Florida and in a single day crossed through Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana, and then finally stopped in Houston, Texas. Traveling across the south with its many waterways and swamps was fascinating. In some areas it seemed there was water everywhere. I've never seen anything like it.

Thick tangled forests with trees swathed in Spanish moss and vines, hemmed in the highway much of the time. Some places looked mysterious, others were almost spooky. I couldn't help wondering what might be slithering beneath the surface of the swamps.

It was beautiful, but I didn't like the odor. Some sections along the way stank. Think about a time when you left veggies in the fridge too long--that's the smell. My daughter said it's the swamps. Still, I enjoyed the journey. We crossed the Mississippi and it was big and muddy, hence the name--The Big Muddy.

The night of the 14th we went to bed in a Houston hotel. The weather forecast was downright frightening, so we decided to get up early and try to beat some of the bad weather coming in from the Gulf. When we headed out, clouds hung low over the land and it rained off and on, but nothing serious was going on.

The countryside along Highway 10 was mostly rolling grasslands with trees and grazing cattle. The landscape outside of San Antonio actually looked like Roseburg, Oregon, my home.

West of San Antonio the weather deteriorated. I wasn't worried, thinking it was just a bit of rain and interesting-looking clouds. I soon realized it was more than that. The clouds looked peculiar and their movement was not like any I'd seen before. A pulsating buzz interrupted the music on the radio and I expected an announcement saying, "This is a test . . ." Instead the buzz became a wail accompanied by a message announcing a tornado warning for our county. We were fifty miles from any town so there was no place to find shelter. I prayed and kept driving, keeping an eye on the sky.

Finally, we moved out of the storm and into the sun. I don't know that I've ever seen anything so beautiful. Broad flat lands were framed by hills and mountains and to the west monstrous thunderheads were stacked up. We stopped in a small town called Fort Stockton and found a hotel for the night.

Storms to the west and east skirted the town, which happened to be on the Weather Channel's only tornado watch box (another new experience for me). We slept and woke to blue, cloudless skies.

Today while we traveled across western Texas and into New Mexico the radio broadcast severe weather alerts for Houston and other areas of southern Texas, places we'd driven through the previous day. They were hit hard with flooding, high winds, and tornados. I'm so glad to be in Los Lunas, New Mexico.

Throughout this trip we've traveled in what feels like a God-made bubble of fair weather. There has been every kind of bad weather before us and behind us and yet we've traveled in good weather for 6200 miles, except for a few dark miles yesterday.

One word describes Texas--BIG. It has big cities, big country, big storms, and a big sky.

I held my breath as we passed through San Antonio and Houston. The freeway systems were daunting with overpasses and underpasses so complex it felt as if we were driving through a wriggling octopus. Big cities are a bit overwhelming for me. I'm used to my quiet mountain in southern Oregon.

New Mexico is dry. Just looking at the terrain makes me feel parched. There's a lot of open lonely country with distant mountains lying in a desert haze. Unexpectedly a lake or small farming community appears in the rugged terrain, seeming misplaced. And yet, it is so beautiful that I am reminded of God's power and how he created all this just by speaking it into existence. And then He saw what He'd made and was pleased.

Tomorrow we plan to visit the Grand Canyon. I can't imagine what I will feel when I see one of the grandest of God's creations.

I'll stay in touch.



Friday, October 13, 2006


It’s our last day in Panama City Beach, Florida. We splurged and stayed three days. The only word to describe our time here--AMAZING! My characters are going to love it.

Our daughter Kristi and her son, Gabe, joined us in Hinesville, Georgia and will be making the rest of the trip with us. Kristi's been living in Hinesville, but as it turns out, she's a West Coast kind of gal. And we're happy about that. It's fun having them with us and so good to become better acquainted with our grandson.

Panama City Beach has been a surprise to me. I made reservations at what I thought was an "ordinary" Holiday Inn on the Gulf Coast. To my pleasant surprise it turned out to be a fabulous resort with white-sand beaches, stunning sunsets, aqua waters, hot tubs and swimming pools, grass huts, waterfalls, tiki lamps, palm trees, entertainment, and a disc jockey playing fun music much of the day. If you're ever in Panama City Beach this is the place to stay.

Yesterday, Greg and I traveled by pontoon boat to an uninhabited island called Shell Island. It was a perfect day with temperatures in the 80's, soft breezes and blue skies. We walked a quiet beach and after cooling off in the Gulf waters, we settled into our chairs, sipped drinks, had a snack and thought about how incredible it was that we were in such a wondrous place.

Feeling adventurous, we donned our snorkeling gear and headed back into the water.
What great fun--floating in a warm sea watching for wildlife and sea creatures. It was a new experience for us. Greg spotted a very large raspberry-colored jellyfish and managed to get some photos. Me, I kept my distance.

One of the highlights of the day was a dolphin encounter. While on the boat, we watched a blue fish swim for its life, leapinig out of the water and then swimming as hard and fast as he could. Although he fiercely tried to evade a hungry dolphin he ended up as lunch anyway. The dolphin gave us quite a show, diving, surfacing and hunting for something more to eat. We've had several dolphin sightings since arriving here. Our first day, we watched three of the beautiful creatures play in the waters just off the beach in front of our hotel.

After our adventure on Shell Island, we returned to our room thinking a nap might be nice, but when we looked out our window and saw someone parasailing renewed energy kicked in. My husband made a quick phone call and before I knew it we were heading for the beach to meet the parasailing boat.

While Greg sailed, I took photos from a safe spot on the beach. My husband's not at all like me--he's always up for an adventure.

Tomorrow, we move on and once more the miles will be rollng beneath our tires as we travel through Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana headng for Texas. The weather forecast is for rain (lots of it) and thunderstorms so keep us in your prayers.

Blessings to you,


Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Tonight we're sleeping in Hinesville, Georgia. We've logged more than 4,000 miles on our truck and still haven't put our feet in the Atlantic. Tomorrow is the day. We're heading into Savannah to have a good look at the historic city and then plan to walk on an Atlantic beach.

On October 7th, when we drove into Nashville, I felt a bit discouraged. It was too late to go downtown and stop in at some of the honky tonks. Plus Loretta Lynn was performing at the Grand Ole Opry and there was no way to get tickets. So instead, we had a late dinner at a very nice restaurant and met a sweet gal who served our meal. It turned out to be a good evening in spite of MY unfulfilled plans. God is so good to me.

The morning of the 8th, we decided a trip to the Country Music Hall of Fame would be something my characters would do and so we went. It's an amazing place. Three floors each more than a block long and a block wide are filled with history, videos, music and all kinds of instruments, stage costumes and stories about the stars. There were even some of the well-known performers cars.

I learned a lot and gained a new respect for the country music industry and its celebrated musicians. Being there gave me insights that will help me better understand one of my characters and her great passion for music.

I had a mishap while there. My husband and I took seats in a small theater and waited for a showing of country greats. I asked Greg, "Do you have the camera?" He said, "No." I looked around my seat to see where I'd put it. I couldn't find it. Panic set in. There were more than 200 photos on the card in that camera, all taken since leaving Oregon.

Greg and I set out in different directions to look for it. I was near tears and praying. Retracing my steps, I checked all the places I'd sat to watch and listen to videos. I couldn't find the camera anywhere. And then I saw Greg. Triumphantly he held it above his head. Yay! I'd left it on a bench where I'd sat down to rest. This is not the first time I've left something behind. Greg is now in charge of the camera, except for picture-taking. God is truly good.

It was nearly time to head down the road and I still needed to get inside the legendary honky tonk, Tootsies. An important scene takes place there. We were told there'd be no parking anywhere close to the bar and by this time my back was hurting too badly to walk several blocks so we drove to the corner where Legends (another honky tonk) and Tootsies are located. Greg parked on the street and said he'd try to stay put while I went in. I hurried inside Tootsies, clicked a few photos, tried to get a feel for the place and then hurried outside. Greg was gone. I figured he'd driven around the block and would be back any minute.

I looked up and there he stood grinning at me. The truck was parked right across the street. A parking spot "just happened to open up." God is sooo good.

We went in, found a seat at the bar and ordered two cokes. It was great! A country singer, getting experience and hoping to be discovered was on stage playing her guitar and singing her heart out. She was good. I hope she makes it. It was fabulous to be there, soaking in the history and character of the place. I am sooo ready to write the scene! God IS good.

We left Nashville and headed south down Interstate 75. Driving through Atlanta was a real thrill--huge freeways and wild drivers. We stayed in Jonesboro that night and then headed for Hinesville the next day.

While driving down Highway 16, my husband spotted a Dodge dealership in Macon. Our brakes had been acting funny, so we stopped to get them checked. One of the mechanics said it might take up to three hours to look them over and fix them. I was not thrilled; I wanted to get to Hinesville. But God's timing is always perfect.

We settled into chairs in the customer waiting room and chatted with another man,
Anthony Butler, who was also waiting. He turned out to be a terrific guy and as the time passed he shared some of his life with us. What he said impacted me, and his knowledge and experiences will make my story richer. We plan to stay in touch. God is so good to me.

I have to mention my hero--my husband. While I've been taking notes, talking into my tape recorder, and typing scenes on my laptop, he's been driving. And every night when we stop and I'm resting my back he unloads all our stuff, which includes my writing paraphanalia and everything I need to make me more comfortable. And the next morning while I'm giving my back time to unkink he loads everything back into the truck. And tonight while I'm working on this, he's doing laundry. God is so good to me.

Tomorrow, we plan to make a trip to Savannah and to the beach where we will dip our toes in the Atlantic. It promises to be a special day.

Blessings to you all,


Saturday, October 07, 2006


Sadly, we left Branson Missouri yesterday. I wish we could have stayed longer, but "work" calls. We covered a lot of miles, driving through Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana. After fourteen hours on the road we finally stopped to sleep in Lexington, Kentucky.

In Illinois I could feel and see signs of winter. The leaves had turned, fields lay fallow, and the air felt chill. It seemed as if the land were waiting for winter.

In spite of the long hours on the road I truly enjoyed our time in Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana. The countryside was colorful, expansive, and restorative.

The landscape changed as we approached Kentucky. There were more hills and they were steeper and demanded our attention. The reds, oranges, and yellows on the trees and foliage seemed vibrant and I don't know that I've ever seen fields as green, not even in Oregon. Horses and cows confined by white fences grazed in lush pastures. The forests changed, too. They were dense, the trees crushing each other as if fighting for space.

After a night's sleep in a very comfortable bed (Praise God!) we set out again, crossing the mountains and traveling through the Daniel Boone National Forest. We stopped at a place called Paintsville Lake. One day I'll return. It is one of the most tranquil spots I've ever seen. Hoping to find a town called Van Lear, we wound our way through country roads where small farms rested in green meadows.

It took a bit of doing, but we managed to locate Van Lear. It's a small town and we felt as if we'd stepped back in time. Our ultimate destination was Butcher Holler, Loretta Lynn's birthplace.

Although we got lost a few times, we managed to find her home. We drove back roads, some only wide enough for one car and some areas weren't even paved, although that's not so unusual for us--we're Oregonians. We weren't sure we were even in the right place and considered turning back but then we came upon a boulder with Butcher Holler and an arrow painted on it showing the way. We kept going and finally made it!

Loretta's brother, Herman, a real friendly fellow, was there and happily showed us around his childhood home. The simple old house was much as it had been when Loretta and her family lived there. There were few luxuries for the "Coal Miner's Daughter" and her siblings.

The original furnishings had been preserved and Loretta's grandfather's guitar rested on one of the beds. Herman told us stories about the old days, including Loretta playing that old guitar. He proudly showed us pictures of his family and many of the famous people who've visited there.

My visit was a moving experience, reminding me of the strength of the human spirit. So much can be accomplished if we will only believe in the One who can do all things.

Tonight we're in Nashville and plan to do some exploring tomorrow before heading south into Georgia. I'll be writing again soon.

Blessings to you,


Thursday, October 05, 2006

Wonder and Trepidation

We covered a lot of miles yesterday, travelig across the state of Kansas. I fell in love with the countryside. The rolling hills and open prairies surprised me. It was all so beautiful! I think the Kansas scenes from the movie the Wizard of Oz corrupted my mind, but thankfully it has been refreshed.

As we made our way across the state I felt as if I may have been born in the wrong part of the country. Kansas felt like home. I pictured myself growing up on a farm or ranch where I could ride my horse through the deep grasses and wild flowers. I was taken by surprise because, to be honest many Oregonians including me, believe Oregon is the only place to live. And it is a beautiful state. But I am humbled--there is no "only" place. All of God's creation is special and worth admiration.

We made stops to investigate small towns and even lost our way a couple of times when our satellite navigation went on the blink. I was told by one gal that she thought the cause was approaching storms. Yikes!

In spite of our wandering I found a perfect hamlet for a turning point in my story. I even managed to find two great gals, Carolyn a nurse and Amy who registers patients at the Salina Regional Health Center, who were willing to answer lots of questions for me. Now I know just how the scene I have planned will play out.

By the way,I really like Salina. It feels very homey.

We moved on toward Missouri and the winds picked up and thunderheads formed while the clouds darkened. I started to worry about severe weather. The open prairie didn't seem like an ideal place to be under the circumstances, and I tried to come up with ways we could duck for cover in case of thunderstorms that might include heavy rains, hail, lightening and tornados.

We managed to reach Branson without any severe weather, but there were some impressive thunderheads to the east. As usual, I took photos.

Branson's a great town, a mix of country and city. The surrounding countryside offers steep hills and forests of oak and pine. The most unusual thing here is that the city and country is intertwined. It's quite remarkable.

We've had help finding out way around. We're spending our time here at a World Mark Resort where some of the staff, Mairini, Becky, and Chuck have answered all our questions and told us about some of the great places to visit. I also met a gal, Joanna and her sidekick Roger, at the Christian Gift Outlet. They felt like instant friends. Joanna told me about a scenic route I ought to take just out of town so I went. What a great drive; it showed off the beauty of the area.

I love Branson. It feels small but offers a lot and the people are friendly plus it's a wholesome place to have fun. There are over 100 shows to see, but we made only one, the Jim Stafford Show. It was great fun. He is a funny man and a terrific musician.

The characters in my story will love it here. I'm planning some unique experiences for them in this special place.

Tomorrow, Greg and I will be heading for Lexington, Kentucky. We don't know what to expect along the way, but know God has the journey planned out for us. I'm sure it will enrich our lives and give me lots more story ideas.

I'll be writing again soon to update you on our finds.

God bless.


Wednesday, October 04, 2006


I'd hoped to write sooner, but the motels/hotels are set up for wireless computers. I'm definitely behind the times and in need of an upgrade; I need a place to plug in.

We're making our way across Kansas and I'm writing like mad. There's so much I need to get from my brain to the computer--story ideas, notes on the terrain, interesting locations, and of course I've got to update my blog.

I'm only four days out and already I'm in awe. Creation is amazing! When I left home I thought I knew pretty much what I'd find. Wrong! So Wrong! There is so much uniqueness and beauty I knew nothing about. And it's clear to me none of it happened by evolution or whatever reason "reasonable" people want to use. This country was hand made by God.

I wish I could take all of you along so you could see first hand what I've seen. There are no words that can appropriately describe it, but I'll do my best.

In Eastern Oregon, my husband and I wandered off the highway to have a look at the Painted Hills. It's hard to believe I've lived in Oregon a quarter of a century and have never heard of the Painted Hills. They are impressive. In the midst of the desert at the John Day Fossil Beds are hills that look as if a master artist has painted them. There were broad vistas and striped hills of white, red, and green. It was a place of serenity--God's handiwork.

Idaho offered interesting landscapes and historical locations. We spent a few hours at Three Island Crossing State Park, a place where pioneers once made their way down steep bluffs to the Snake River and then crossed the river by Ferry. They were truly brave.

Utah had breathtaking vistas, and the fall colors were at their zenith. More than once I found myself close to tears as I thought about the day God created the earth and how he knew I'd be making this trip and would see what He'd created. Wow!

Nothing could prepare me for the San Rafael Swell and San Rafael Valley in eastern Utah. The panoramas took my breath away. I couldn't contain my joy. I kept exclaiming, "Oh, my gosh! Look at that! Look at that!" My camera came out and I filled an entire card. A man we met said the valleys and canyons are called "The Baby Grand Canyon." Baby my foot! It was an amazing place--deep canyons, rocks of all shapes and sizes and colors, and rock formations that looked like castles, giant stove pipes, swirling rivers, and one reminded me of the Parthenon and . . . well there isn't enough room to describe them all. What an amazing God we have.

When we made our way down out of these mountains I must admit to being a little frightened. The highway was steep and winding and the canyons deep.

Yesterday, we had a picnic in the Western Rocky Mountains and today we continued our climb over the mountains. At 12,000 feet we got out and played in the snow. Not for long, however. The air is thin at 12,000 feet. After our frolic we made our way down to the prairies that lie to the east, and again, it was more than I expected--lovely, rolling grasslands, and huge ranches and farms.

All in all it's been great so far. We've met interesting people, seen extraordinary places and story ideas are flowing. I've had a few bad moments--I'm sleep deprived, and my body is complaining, but I'm excited about what is to come. There is still so much country to see and people to meet.

Thanks to all of you who are praying for my husband and me. I hope to be back on line soon with more of our adventure.

God bless,


Friday, September 29, 2006


This is a great day! I'm launching my new website and setting out on a cross country adventure!

I've got a book that's screaming at me to be written, but first I've got to see all the places my characters will visit. So, today I'm off. I'll be traveling from Oregon to Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Kentucky and Tennessee, and then I'll head down to Georgia and Florida, travel across Mississippi, Lousiana, Texas and New Mexico and then cut through Arizona and finally head north into California and then home to Oregon. There's so much to see it boggles the mind.

I'm counting on meeting lots of fascinating people and I'll be handing out free copies of books from the Queensland Chronicles. I can't wait to discover this country. I know I'll find treasures that will fit perfectly with my story and that seeing the country will stir up all kinds of story ideas. If you know of a place I ought to visit let me know. I'll do my best to get there.

And here's the most exciting news: In honor of the trip, I'm running a contest!

To enter the contest, just post a comment on my blog between now and October 26th and you'll automatically be entered into a drawing.

I'll be giving away a copy of my most recent book, When the Storm Breaks, and a mug with one of my favorite quotes on it. Want to know what the quote is? You'll just have to wait until 27th:)

I'll post the name of the winner, as well as my favorite quote, then.

Bye for now. As I travel I'll continue to visit here and keep you updated on my latest adventures. It ought to be fun.