Sunday, November 25, 2012


I've read a lot of books. Since I was a little kid, it was something I just enjoyed. Part of that may have been because I was lonely. Books took me to an entirely different place with people with completely different problems. But within the span of about 300 pages, I saw those problems get resolved and those characters get their happily ever afters.

So, like I said, I've read a lot. So many authors. So many stories. Even so, there is a trend among authors as to how a story should end. I used to be a very big fan of the "Epilogue." I loved looking into the future of the characters after all their problems go away and they are living their dreams. I think I liked KNOWING everything was fine. But there is another option that I think I've come to love. Epilogues make my heart ache now. It's not a pleasant feeling any more.

When a story ends, one can either resolve the problem and give the the reader hints that despite all problems, the fact that the character now has what they NEEDED they can carry on and edure, OR the author can type the word "epilogue" and explain to the reader what they had in mind. Is it at all strange that for some reason, the first option is more appealing?

On the bright side, reading an epilogue where we read about a hero and a heroine who now have everything they deserve - a wonderful marriage and a baby on the way - can make us smile. Those kinds of endings make us feel as if life is good and can be wonderful. That's why we read books, isn't it? To hear about something better? But hearing about those characters' future can eventually make your heart ache.

We spend far too much time focusing on the future and what it will be. Worrying over what MIGHT be. Certainly an epilogue relieves us of that fear. But for me, I've come to find that I don't NEED to know what will be for those characters. Their story is done being told once they undergo some kind of change for the better. Isn't that what a story is? the story of a struggle and that moment when they overcome? The future apart from THAT DAY'S struggles is another story altogether.

This is why my heart aches as I step into the future and begin worrying or rejoicing in another day's struggles and triumphs. Carpe Diem seems to be the terminology for this idea, but however cliche those words have become. With stories, that's how they work. the character is only shaped by things that have happened or are happenING. Future events have no impact on who the characters are in the moment of their story.

So let's let go of our desire to know that life will be good and focus on the moments that are happening here and now. Goodbye Epilogue. You made my heart ache because you told me things I didn't need to know. I just need to know that my characters have found what they need to face the life ahead of them with confidence.

So how's that?

Carpe Diem

Thursday, October 11, 2012


College always adds a new element to life. Writing habits have definitely changed. I suppose that change has its ups and its downs. For me, this has meant a number of things, but I've found that - oh, I hope this isn't too disappointing - even with my lack of attention to my stories, I've started to learn a lot more about the process of writing itself. What inspiration and a truly good story look like.

Inspiration... it's a funny word, isn't it? It can mean so many different things. Spending time at a place of special importance, watching a sunset, listening to a conversation, "people watching," or simply having a cup of tea while listening to the birds. Inspiration can come from all kinds of places. For me, it comes when I spend time exploring museums and looking at "old stuff." Old places are fun too. Every time I "go back in time" I just find out something fascinating that gives me an idea for a story.

My family and I spent some time together at Tahoe this past weekend and visited an "old place." Valhalla to be exact. Such a cool place! It reminded me of my current story topic. The life o the rich at the turn of the century. Valhalla's heyday extended into the depression and prohibition, but still, it was built around the turn of the century. It has a beautiful boathouse on the lake with tracks that launch the boats into the water. So inventive! The women didn't have to get their skirts wet!
That's my inspiration. I couldn't imagine anything better that smelling dust and looking at old stuff. But that's not what's important. What I've found is that finding your inspiration is an important part of the writing process that I kind of forgot about.

Whenever I fist start to write a book, I always drown myself in the history of the time period. It helps me to get excited about a story. It also helps me to prepare my mind to create settings that accurately represent the scape I choose for my characters. Inspiration is important.

But I want to talk about more than inspiration. I've also started to take a closer look at stories in and of themselves. "Fine-tune," you might say. I'm praying that this will help me write better stories. Most of my recent discoveries you can find at A page that I manage on Facebook. though I suppose I'm officially no longer a minor, but this is where I share what I've learned with other Christian teen writers. You really should like my page. there are several other authors, primarily Mona Hodgson, who help me to maintain the page.

For now, if you are writing, or just like to read about the strange minds of writers, remember that stories are what shape us and transform us. Everyone likes stories. Cling to them and don't forget them. Jesus' most well-known teachings are in story form.


Friday, September 7, 2012

Some of you might be familiar with the books I have written on my Swedish heritage. Others might not. If that is the case, let me update you on my writings.

Only a few years ago, I worked on a series about the Hansson family - primarily Astrid, Lucia, and Christin. These stories are complete and should be available on Amazon soon. (Astrid's story is already available). These stories cover Swedes living in America and making a home for themselves on new soil, learning a new language, and conquering the difficulties that arise.

But since I told their stories, I moved on to start telling of the American Gold Rush in California. You may have read my blog and heard things about that story. Well, it's been told... that is to say, it's a very big file on my computer. But I don't think I'm quite through with the Gold Rush, and neither am I through with Swedish fiction. In my most recent story, I am endeavoring to do both.

In my story on the Gold Rush, I worked to tell about the Hydraulic Mining that happened in North Bloomfield. I haven't ventured so far from North Bloomfield just yet, but I have traveled about a "day's journey" to Grass Valley and Nevada City to tell the story of a family who owns an underground mine there. But not just about that family, but about one of the girls who works for them in their household.

I really hesitate to say much more than that... but I am excited to someday show you this story and take you back in time to the turn of the century and show you about life then for an affluent family in the days of mining and their servants and employees.

And so, I'm going to leave you with a song... a very melancholy one, but maybe later I can explain it's relevance.
When I was on my eighteenth year
There were a beautiful boy that I liked
Him I wanted to own forever. 
But this my thought was soon to disapear
There was anouther girl who was put into his arms. 
Her he likens to a rosy flower.

Though I have treasured my father and mother dearly
as well as siblings and friends who have loved me here
this love surpasses them all
Thank you for being my sole consolation 
and thank you for all the times I’ve rested on your chest. 
In heaven shall we be united again

Monday, June 18, 2012

The song...

the stories I have been working on for North Bloomfield are revolve around the ballads of America. Many songs truly describe America's heart, but others are purely sweet sounding. Aura Lee, the song used in Allison and Ian's story is one such song. Currently, I am using the song, "Believe Me, If All Those Endearing Young Charms" to tell another character's story, but Aura Lee is all you're going to get right now.

When the blackbird in the Spring,
'On the willow tree,
Sat and rocked, I heard him sing,
Sing Aura Lee.
Aura Lee, Aura Lee,
Maid with golden hair;
Sunshine came along with thee,
And swallows in the air.
Aura Lee, Aura Lee,
Maid with golden hair;
Sunshine came along with thee,
And swallows in the air.
In thy blush the rose was born,
Music, when you spake,
Through thine azure eye the morn,
Sparkling seemed to break.
Aura Lee, Aura Lee,
Birds of crimson wing,
Never song have sung to me,
As in that sweet spring.
Aura Lee! the bird may flee,
The willow's golden hair
Swing through winter fitfully,
On the stormy air.
Yet if thy blue eyes I see,
Gloom will soon depart;
For to me, sweet Aura Lee
Is sunshine through the heart.
When the mistletoe was green,
Midst the winter's snows,
Sunshine in thy face was seen,
Kissing lips of rose.
Aura Lee, Aura Lee,
Take my golden ring;
Love and light return with thee,
And swallows with the spring.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Aura Lee

Very little has been said about Aura Lee (the story of Allison and Ian) for quite some time. I've loaded you up with information about North Bloomfield and Nevada City etc. But I really haven't updated you on the story. To start off, let me say that any of the short, diary-like entries are no longer relevant to the current story. It has changed and evolved rather drastically over the last year. And I must admit, that unless you are on my list of close friends who get to check for plot problems and typos... I'm not going to give anything away. What you are allowed to know is that the story is about Allison Tisdale and Ian McConnell and takes place in North Bloomfield, California. That's it.

Now for the real reason why I finally chose to say something about the story... I have exciting news =) Very exciting news. Here it is... I FINISHED. The rough draft is completely done.

So there you have it... that's my news and that's what's happening in my story. Even more recently though, I've starting telling Abby Kramer's Cinderella-type story with Allison's brother, Brenton Tisdale.

So, I'll say it again... that's all you get =) have a nice summer. I'm sure I'll post some other things before I take off for college in August. And even after that, I'll make sure you know what's happening with my writing. lol. okay, I'm done.

God Bless.


Monday, April 23, 2012


 meadows along the drive into N. Bloomfield
 McKillican and Mobley General Store
 a look down main st.
 N. Bloomfield circa 1870
Humbug Creek

There's nothing like actually visiting the place you intend to write about, esp. if you are writing from a historical perspective. If your location is a ghost town, more luck to you. Nothing much will have changed since the day the people packed up and left. The same streets will go to the same place, the general store will still be in the same place and the houses will be on one side of town or scattered all over. Pictures don't always say enough. There's always something to the left or the right that wasn't captured. 

If you never visit, you will never know that the air smells like sugar pines or if you can hardly hear a thing above whatever machinery they use, or that there are birds that squawk or tweet. Maybe bug torment the people, or maybe its a paradise. You'll never know until you go. 

In my head, I can still picture where I would go to find the blacksmith and that if I tilt my head up and inhale, I will smell the sweet scent of pines and deciduous mingled together. I can hear humbug creek down relief hill road and if I lived a hundred years before, the hydraulic monitors would have roared as the pressurized water smacked the walls of the mine. Gravel crunches under my feet when I walk, and in the thick of the forest, ground cover that looks like strawberry plants are abundant. Pine needles are everywhere. Grass and meadows linger here and there, and the air in thin. 

Think about it. I couldn't show you all that from a picture. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Mt. Hermon Christian Writer's Conference

No matter who you are, if you write, you are not a "normal" person. It is not at all unusual to make your eyes water form staring at a computer screen for too long - though everyone thinks you're crying. And more often than not, you talk to yourself, though its not yourself, its your characters - those people who seem to live in your head?

You're not alone, I promise, and Mount Hermon is one of the best places for a Christian writer to realize this.

For five days, writers have the opportunity to get to know one another, sympathize and perfect their craft of writing under the mentorship of others. As for me, during the past two years, I have gotten to know names like Sarah Sundin, Lauraine Snelling and Mona Hodgson. Suddenly, these names don't feel so lofty. These people aren't celebrities any more. They have become my mentors and friends.

This year at the conference, I took away many things that will help me with my writing, but more than that, Mount Hermon has honored me with "The Most Promising Teen Writer Award." I pray that this won't go to my head. God's been doing some work on my pride and this award has made me feel completely overwhelmed and blessed.

Thank goodness Allison's story has changed so much from what you may have read in my previous blog posts. My writing has changed and hopefully improved plenty since those posts. (thanks to mt. hermon) Someday you can see just how much and judge for yourself. But for now, this is my attempt at encouraging you, if you enjoy writing fiction... or even non-fiction, whether you are a teen or adult, beginning, mediocre or accomplished, to consider attending Mt. Hermon Christian Writer's Conference next year.

In His love,

Monday, January 2, 2012

Writing Contest

Always be on the lookout when you flip through magazines. I recently found a writing contest in Vision Forum magazine in commemoration of the 100th year anniversary of the sinking of the titanic. That contest ended on the last day of 2011, but I hope you have your eyes out for more contests. Not such a bad way to spread your writings around and receive feedback on your work.

Keep your eyes open!


Philippians 1:4-6