Monday, August 25, 2014

Happy 75th Anniversary Wizard of Oz!


Wizard of Oz Turns 75!


If you look around in bookstores, on the Internet, and on television, you're bound to notice sooner or later that this year marks the 75th anniversary of the movie The Wizard of Oz! This is a great time for fans of the movie to pick up memorabilia dedicated to this special birthday.

Annie's Stories Wizard of Oz

Wizard of Oz Merchandise

What collectables have you seen? 

Wizard of Oz Where is Annie's Stories?

Wizard of Oz for Annie's Stories
My friend Sandy sent me this card as I was working on the manuscript for Annie's Stories

Wizard of Oz trashcan
She later sent me this for St. Patrick's Day!


Wizard of Oz and Annie's Stories

Of course I'd love for folks to include my new book Annie's Stories in their collectables when gathering up items in this special landmark year. Long before the movie there was the book, you know. And I thought it would be interesting to explore what folks at the time thought of L. Frank Baum's tale. From the New York Times, September 8, 1900 (Baum's launch week of his new book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.)

"In 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz' the fact is clearly recognized that the young as well as their elders love novelty."
Now isn't that the truth still today!
"There seems to be an inborn love of stories in child minds, and one of the most familiar and pleading requests of children is to be told another story."
I certainly hope that's still true!
"...it will indeed be strange if there be a normal child who will not enjoy the story."
What an endorsement! :)

Do you love the story still today? If you've read Annie's Stories, what part of what Annie read in the book resonated the most with you?

More Wizard of Oz Memorbilia

Because the cover of my book bears the cover of Baum's book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, it makes a great collectable don't you think?

Annie's Stories with the Wonderful Wizard of Oz
My friend Jaime Wright thinks so! :)


Writer's World Blog Tour


The Writer's World Blog Tour Continues!


Fellow Tyndale author Cathy Gohlke invited me to join this blog tour. Several authors around the web will be answering the same questions. Below you'll find my answers, but before I get to that, you should get to know Cathy and check out her books. I recommend them! Besides being a sister author over at Tyndale, she's a wonderful weaver of tales. (At the end you can find out who I invited to continue the tour.)

Cathy Gohlke is the two-time Christy Award-winning author of the critically acclaimed novels Saving Amelie, Band of Sisters, Promise Me This (listed by Library Journal as one of the best books of 2012), William Henry is a Fine Name, and I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires (listed by Library Journal as one of the best books of 2008), which also won the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Book of the Year Award.

When not traipsing the hills and dales of historic sites in search of a story, Cathy and her husband divide their time between Northern Virginia and the Jersey Shore, thrilled with the new-every-morning joys of grandparenting.
Visit her online at www.cathygohlke.com and on FB at CathyGohlkeBooks.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And now my part of the Writer's World Blog Tour




What are you working on?


I've been busy promoting my latest release Annie's Stories all summer. But now I'm beginning to get back to writing. I'm hoping to make some major progress on book three of the series (no publication date is set yet.) This book will feature an Italian immigrant who finds herself suddenly in need of a place to live because her Italian family can longer keep her due to a family secret that is threatening to take away her mother's mental well-being. The male protagonist is a vaudeville pianist dreaming of being a concert musician and his sidekick is an adorable mutt everyone thinks looks just like the Victor dog on the record labels.
Photo by: The Sun and Doves via Flickr



After that I'll be working on a different time period--a story with a contemporary line paired with a historical one that involves the Chicago Cubs in 1946.

Here's a hint, something that will be an important part of the story:

Photo by: fourth photography via Flickr


And, if I decide I don't need sleep or a clean house, I hope to put my out-of-print novel Brigid of Ireland out as an ebook along with a sequel I wrote years ago.--I guess these are my long-range plans, God willing!

How does your work differ from others in its genre?


In my Ellis Island series I've focused on a historical element that is well-known today: the Brownie camera, the book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and the Victor dog and "His Master's Voice." I focus on the stories of our ancestors and what their lives (which I try to portray as appropriate to the times they lived it) have to teach us today.

Why do you write what you do?


I'm passionate about history and history's lessons. I'm always exploring what the past can teach us and I believe God has instructed us to learn from the past and to keep the stories of our ancestors in our hearts as we journey along creating our own life stories.

Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.~Jeremiah 6:16 NIV



How does your writing process work?


The toughest question saved for the end! It really depends on whether or not I have a deadline. When I do, I'm committed to putting in several hours a day writing. When I don't, no matter what I tell myself, I end up writing less. But basically I write full-time so whenever life events don't get in the way, I'm in my office writing most days.




Learn more about my books on my "books" page tab above or click here.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


And next week continue the tour with these authors:


My friend Danica Favorite's debut novel will be out this fall! Danica and I have the same agent and we've gotten to know each other at conferences and other events, and we both love tea so of course we hit it off!

A self-professed crazy chicken lady, Danica Favorite loves the adventure of living a creative life. She loves to explore the depths of human nature and follow people on the journey to happily ever after. Though the journey is often bumpy, those bumps are what refine imperfect characters as they live the life God created them for. Oops, that just spoiled the ending of all of Danica’s stories. Then again, getting there is all the fun. Her first book with Love Inspired Historical, Rocky Mountain Dreams, is out in November.

www.danicafavorite.com









Carole Brown and I met at our local Ohio ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) group. She has so much passion for writing and promoting her books in the marketplace that at times it's difficult for me to try to keep up!

Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown enjoys mentoring beginning writers. She loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons? 

http://sunnebnkwrtr.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Writing Again!


Really excited about the next few days!

My literary agency is holding its annual marketing seminar this Sat. in Nashville (and if you're not repped by them, you can attend on Sun (same program repeated) for a fee: http://www.chipmacgregor.com/marketing-and-platforms/last-chance-join-us/)



So, I thought maybe I'll go down to TN early and get a quiet place to stay and write. My husband liked the idea. He can come and golf and make me dinner--yay! And our anniversary falls during that time, and we get to have dinner when we first arrive with my friend editor Jamie Chavez! What could be better? I'm really planning to knuckle down on my next book so that when I get home I'll be on a roll. Sounds like a plan!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Happy 75th Anniversary Wizard of OZ!


While it's been 75 years since MGM introduced the movie, my readers know the story has been around a lot longer than that. This fall will mark 114 years since L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was published.

But most folks are more familiar with the movie, and I have to admit it's one of my all time favorites. Since the theme of Annie's Stories is finding the place where your heart finds a home, I thought I'd celebrate with this clip.


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A Chance Encounter

I have met the most interesting people at Irish festivals, but at last weekend's Dubin Irish Festival I did not expect this.

Listen, for you never know what wonders you may meet when you do.

It’s a lesson I’m continually learning. It’s way too easy to judge people by their appearance or mannerisms, or to not even notice them at all. When you are signing books in a tent with several other authors, spending hour after hour hoping you sell enough books to justify the time spent there, you notice people but maybe not for the right reasons.

The good reasons, the most valuable way to spend your time no matter where you are, is to look for who God may intend for you to meet and to respond. It’s not an easy thing to do at times. Let’s be honest. Some people go against the grain, grating on your tired nerves. But…listen when you have the opportunity, because if you don’t, you might miss something special.


An elderly couple came to my table, which was squished up against author Brenna Briggs’s books for young girls, mysteries involving an Irish dancer named Liffey Rivers. Brenna is a friend of mine. We’ve done these Irish festivals together before. (If you know of a reader in her target audience you should check out her books. http://www.liffeyrivers.com)

This particular couple intently studied a couple of my books and then some of Brenna’s. Brenna asked if they had children or grandchildren. They didn’t, but were still interested. The wife decided to buy a book from each of us. Then the husband commented on something he had seen in one of my books, Columcille. At Gethsemani, south of Louisville, Kentucky, the Irish brothers were often given the name Columcille.

Oh, right, that was where Thomas Merton was, Brenna and I remembered. We talked briefly about the man and his writings and soon it became clear that the man at our table knew quite a bit about Merton.

Thomas Merton, known as Father Louis.

“Did you know him?” Brenna asked.

“Oh, yes. He had a serious side, but he was very funny.” And he went on to tell a few stories as we signed books for his wife.

It turned out this man had been a Trappist monk at Gethsemani with Thomas Merton. I believe he said he was there for seven years. He obviously had moved on to other things, including getting married to the woman standing next to him who he said was “older”—by three hours, he joked. They’d been born on the same day.

Photo by Jay Paradis

We never would have imagined this man wearing dark sunglasses, a fishing hat, and a wide smile had been a monk or had met one of the deepest spiritual thinkers of the twentieth century, a man this fellow called “The greatest Catholic writer of the twentieth century.”

I felt blessed by the encounter and deeply honored that this couple planned to read one of my books. Our brief conversation reminded me that even those we look up to and perhaps stand in awe of are in fact ordinary people whose lives touch ordinary people who in turn move through life touching the lives of even more ordinary people, but often in extraordinary ways.

Thomas Merton (Father Louis) at Gethsemani

Gethsemani’s web site states: “Intently and joyfully, we live the mystery of Christ-among-us.” That’s the way to live, don’t you think?

I’ll keep trying to listen. I’m looking forward to the next surprise meeting!

"Every moment and every event of every man's life on earth plants something in his soul." ~ Thomas Merton