Posted in Adventure Fiction, Coming-of-Agency Fiction, Debut Novel, fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Travel Writing, Women's Fiction

Sample from My Debut Historical Novel

The book title from my historical novel, Song of Herself, is a take-off from Walt Whitman’s poem, “Song of Myself” from his book, Leaves of Grass.

Here are three short paragraphs from early in the book that introduces Fiona, her brother Will, her Uncle Louis, and the shipping agent Jacob, as well as her use of Whitman’s Leaves of Grass.

~~~SAMPLE 3 paragraphs from the BOOK~~~

“Her Uncle Louis had read from Leaves of Grass to her since she was little and gave Fiona her own copy when she turned thirteen. Turning to the comfort of Walt Whitman’s book, her burning eyes scanned the pages. Tonight the bard’s words spoke directly.

 

And I will show that there is no imperfection in the present, and can be none in the future, And I will show that whatever happens to anybody it may be turn’d to beautiful results, … And that all things of the universe are perfect miracle, each as profound as any.

 

Fiona argued with Whitman’s optimism. Will’s death had no beautiful results, nor was it a perfect miracle, as Whitman suggested. The only marvel at work she knew of was Jacob’s care and tenderness, not only to the mares, but also and especially toward her.”

 

Thanks for stopping to read today

I hope this whets your appetite for reading Song of Herself, when it’s available.  Watch for information about my book coming out soon. Please join my newsletter by signing on with your email on this webpage. Thanks for stopping by today!

Posted in adventure, Travel, Travel Writing

Let Travel Be Your Teacher

Study abroad experiences stretch college students’ horizons; mission trips help church teens see a world different from their own. We expect young people to learn from travel, but do we anticipate the same from ourselves when we travel?

We often say, “Yes,” but fail to do what it takes to make it happen. We may be a tourist, pilgrim, or adventurer. It doesn’t matter. Anyone can let travel be their teacher by setting an intention before leaving, paying attention to that intention, and seizing surprises along the way. When we capture our experiences in a journal, we can reflect on the insights gained. That’s where the learning takes place.

The only things that interest me are people and ideas. I love going on trips that shock me, where everything I believe in my religion, my politics, my social outlook is immediately challenged with diametrically different viewpoints. (Arthur Frommer)

Objection

A frequent objection is one misses travel experiences, while journaling. Early morning or late evening can offer quiet time to write. Or you can convert hours of transportation to useful writing. Using simple methods that don’t take much time is another answer.

Themes for your travel

A purposeful method of journaling is to choose a theme for the trip. You might select to focus on architecture, then create questions that go beyond the obvious.

  • What are traditional and contemporary construction methods and materials used? Why these?
  • What topographic, geological, or historical factors affected building structure design?
  • How are/were homes different from ours and for what reasons?
Journal when you have down-time.

These inquiries set in motion intentional travel that culminates in paying attention more closely while roaming the world. We experience the trip more deeply, and as a result, discover richer insights.

Choose from simple journaling techniques

  1. Categorize differences between the culture you’re visiting and your own
  2. Write about the most influential part of your day; recall one significant conversation, historical fact, or memorable event – not everything
  3. Create a “3D” table: Date, Destination, Discovery (what you learned in twenty-five words or less)
  4. Identify the 3E’s of daily travel: Event, Emotion, and what to Explore next
  5. Each day draft a short poem about something particular or a haiku (a 17-syllable poem)
  6. Ask others travelers to record memorable moments from their day in your journal
  7. List new foreign vocabulary words and their meaning
  8. Describe trees and plants, birds or animals new to you  

Artistic Journaling

Try artistic approaches. Collect items like tickets, coffee sleeves, or maps to paste into your journal—like a collage. Sketch a scene, a historical building, or unique road sign. Ask children you meet along the way draw or color in your journal. Create a mind map of the day’s activities.

Journaling Supplies

People, who journal, choose supplies to fit their personality and the circumstances of their trip. Do you prefer a ballpoint or gel pen, colored markers or pencils? Do you like a sketchpad, a spiral bound notebook with lines and a pretty cover, or a classic leather-bound journal? Will you be at the beach or in a rain forest? Waterproof paper and pencils are available; otherwise, a Ziploc bag will protect your supplies.

Mindful, intentional journal writing allows travel to serve as guide, mentor, and teacher.

Posted in Travel, Travel Writing, Women traveling

Travel Back in Time

On vacation last month we traveled to visit friends in Wisconsin we had not seen in many years. As we followed the Wisconsin highway and turned onto a two-lane county road, then to the unpaved road into the forested overhang of our friend’s retreat home on Lake Michigan, we knew we were almost there. As it is with old friends, we fell into old habits of eating, drinking, story telling, reminiscing, filling our glasses again and catching up on the years in between. 

A TRIP DOWN ANOTHER MEMORY LANE

But I must interrupt our current good time to walk the dog, Murphy, who travelled with us. So he and I trekked back up the long driveway to our friend’s house and I was transported to the Scottish Highlands, particularly the Isle of Skye.

I had visited the isle decades ago, where eight other tourists and I missed the last ferry of the day for the mainland. We ended up spending a night at the inconvenience of locals who found lodging for each of us, couples, singles (like myself traveling alone), and singles traveling together.

We spent a riotous dinner together laughing about how we had become so entranced by the island that we simply forgot to catch the ferry. At least I was not alone. 

The road Murphy and I walked that day took me back in time to why I missed the ferry. In wandering the lush undergrowth that was so mysterious then, I decided–just knew in my bones–that elves had to exist on that island.

Did they call them pixies, sprites, fairies, leprechauns (no, that would be Irish)? 

I could not see them, but I just knew (without really knowing) they could see me. They were watching my every move. And here again in this forest near the shores of Lake Michigan in Wisconsin I could feel their presence then and there again. 

I WONDERED 

Were they observing me from the turn of the underside of a fern? 

How small were they and how many were there? 

 

Did they sit and twitter with each other about how funny we look and sound? 

Could they leap from leaf to leaf to get a better view of us? 

 

And did they listen from the creases of a tree?

Could they hide in the center of a flower, seeing us without being seen?

TRAVELING BACK IN TIME

I will never know the answers, but I will remember that unexpected overnight stay on the Isle of Skye. And then how my time in Wisconsin took me back, just as our drive had taken us back in time to visit old friends. What joys!

A TRAVELER’S QUESTION

When you travel what kind of alertness do take with you to explore even the mundane? 

 

 

 

Posted in fiction, Historical Fiction, Travel, Women's Fiction

Debut Novel Coming Soon

Book Description: Song of Herself

Fiona Weston, an Iowa horsewoman in trousers, sails to India in 1906 to discover her journey is not the quest for which she had yearned, nor the escape from those who ridicule her unconventional ways.

Her uncle offers Fiona and her brother a chance for adventure, to sell the quarter horses to the British Indian army to breed with their Manipuri for polo. The San Francisco earthquake takes the life of her brother. Jacob, the shipping agent, hired to handle the horses, sale and quarantine, works alongside Fiona. Confined below deck to her quarters by the captain, the adventure of sailing evades her, but an attraction with Jacob smolders.

In India everything she encounters rubs against previous experiences. Her host and mentor, Ameera, introduces her to religions, castes, British Imperialism, and the ways of men and women. Fiona will choose between two men: the engaging shipping agent, and an intellectually intriguing missionary who needs a wife. More importantly, she will choose herself above all others.

In Song of Herself, Fiona experiences a journey fraught with obstacles that creates a sturdy sense of self in which she learns to accept irreconcilable differences and still sing her song of self.   

Pre-Order Info Coming Soon