Showing Off My Fan-Girl Side

Today’s post is something of a continuation of my last post, but not by design. I originally intended to write about an entirely different topic, but I got side-tracked.

First, I’ll make a confession: I love writers. Whenever I get a chance to meet one—and I’ve met a good number of writers at book signings and conferences over the years—I get pretty giddy. Giddy in the same way some people get when they meet a Hollywood celebrity.

In my defense, I have shelves full of books that have earned the “keeper” designation. These are books I read and loved; most of them I’ve re-read several times; all of them touched me emotionally or conveyed a story that was so powerful I instantly wanted to run out and buy the author’s next book. Which brings me to author Lisa Wingate.

I’ll confess I’m a big fan of Lisa Wingate’s books. I read her novel Word Gets Around about seven years ago and enjoyed it so much I’ve been buying her books ever since. I never miss a new Lisa Wingate novel.

 

Word Gets Around

So I was glad to learn there are other Lisa Wingate fans out there just like me.

Today’s post on the Inspy Romance blog is all about Lisa Wingate and her books. In the post Lisa reveals a few hints about the novel she just finished writing (think World War I era), and she shares a link to her Pinterest site . . . plus many more little gems about her books and writing process.

I hope you’ll you’ll head over to the Inspy Romance blog and check out her interview. Maybe you’ll become a Lisa Wingate Fan-girl, too!

 

The book I’ll read this weekend is . . .

Don’t you love it when you learn one of your favorite authors has a new book available?

Regina Scott is one of my favorite authors. I first began reading her historical romances at least fifteen (or more!) years ago.

Some of her stories are light-hearted and fun; some have an element of suspense. No matter the plot or premise, I can always count on an entertaining read.

So I was pleased to learn Harlequin Love Inspired has published her latest novel, His Frontier Christmas Family.

Cover_His Frontier Christmas Family

It’s book seven in Regina’s Frontier Bachelor series, but it’s a great book that stands alone … no need to read previous books in the series to enjoy this one.

Britt Reads Fiction (my go-to site for book reviews) just posted a five-star review of His Frontier Christmas Family, and I’ve already pegged it as the book I plan to cozy up with this weekend to help get me in the Christmas spirit. I’m so looking forward to reading it!

I have a few more Christmas-themed novels to read in the days leading up to Christmas, but Regina Scott’s books stand out for me as some of my favorite all-time reads.

How about you? Is there an author whose books you never fail to read and enjoy?

 

Short Stories by Grace Livingston Hill

If you’re a fan of Grace Livingston Hill, you may know a lot about her life and her books. I thought I did; and I thought I’d read all her books. For proof I have a good collection of her vintage hard-backs on my bookshelves at home.

But something I didn’t realize until recently was how much Grace wrote for magazines and newspapers.

For years she wrote a weekly newspaper column dedicated to the Christian Endeavor movement.

Evening Star Jul 11 1903
Grace’s byline in 1903. From her regular column in the Washington, D.C. newspaper, Evening Star.

She also wrote short stories and serialized books for a number of different magazines.

I came across a couple of those old magazine issues not too long ago; and once I began to read Grace’s short stories, I knew I had to find more. I’ve been on a mission to find her stories ever since.

It’s tough going. Magazines from about 1900 to 1910 (when Grace was at the height of her short-story production) are hard to find. And some of the magazines she wrote for went out of business  long ago—their records ending up who-knows-where.

But I’ve been faithfully searching for those old magazines and I’ve had some success.

And each time I find a new story by Grace Livingston Hill, I realize what a gem it is and I have to share it!

I’ve reproduced some of her short stories on the Isabella Alden blog. You can click on the images to read the stories for free:

Beginning at Jerusalem Cover

Hazel Cunninghams Denial

You can also find a collection of some of Grace’s early short stories in Faith and Love. It’s a compilation of stories by Grace and by her mother, Marcia Livingston. The book is available on Amazon.com. You can click on the link to learn more and read an excerpt.

Cover_Story Collection

I hope you enjoy reading these hard-to-find gems as much I did!

Taking Control of Clutter . . . Again

In my spare time (IS there such a thing???) this week I’ve been cleaning up the clutter in my garage.

I’ve done it before (actually, I’ve done it several times before) but the clutter keeps coming back. It starts out small. Usually, when I’m in a hurry, I will set something down on the workbench “just until I have time to put it away.”

Garage clutter
I take comfort in knowing my garage does not look quite this bad. Still, it’s bad enough.

Of course, I never get around to putting the item where it belongs. And since it looks so lonely out of place by itself, I end up putting other things with it, until I have a jumbled pile of items begging for a home. Even worse, I’ve lost track of what’s in the pile.

Is it any wonder I can’t find what I’m looking for?

I’ve read enough about this syndrome to know I’m not alone. Clutter is rampant in American garages just like mine.

Einstein Quote

And it’s rampant on American desks, too. Desks like mine.

This is another area where I can show my true colors as a Pile Person. I have piles for everything on my desk, and each pile is important. At least, I think they’re all important. But since I haven’t looked through any of the piles in months, I can’t be sure, because I don’t remember what’s in those piles.

Here’s an example. One pile consists of ten 3.25″ disks. They’re all clearly labeled, so I know they contain information I’m going to need someday. Although neither my PC nor laptop read 3.25″ disks, I still hang on to them, even though the documents they contain are lost forever because I can’t access them because I can’t read the disks. It’s a vicious cycle.

Messy Desk in my Head

I don’t know why I tend to collect things in piles. I will probably have to invest in a minimum of seven to ten therapy sessions to figure it out.

But I can say that when I get the urge to go through my clutter—as I did this week in the garage—and sort and organize and discard, I feel great!

Clutter Fairy

In fact, I felt so great I immediately rewarded myself with a bowl of ice cream and the words, “You deserve it.”  Maybe ice cream and the chance to strut around the house like a winner is sufficient encouragement to make me tackle all that clutter on my desk.

Or maybe not.

Best Blog Post of the Week

I subscribe to about twenty blogs, not that many when you consider the millions of possibilities out there. But with a day job and writing the Isabella Alden blog and all the tasks associated with it, my time always seems to disappear each day before I run out of things to do. Hence my short list of blogs I make a point of reading.

One blog I never miss is InspyRomance, published jointly by a group of contemporary Christian fiction writers. InspyRomance is where I get to know the people who write the books I most enjoy reading, and learn about their successes and new book releases.

Last month Staci Stallings began a series of posts titled, In the Temple. I always enjoy Staci’s clear, straight-forward writing style; and in these posts, she didn’t disappoint me. In fact, she couldn’t have been more clear and straight-forward!

Her Part II post last Monday about the meaning of “the Temple”—where Mary and Joseph found Jesus after the Passover feast—was a mini revelation to me.

Have you ever read a blog post that made the light bulb go off in your head? That’s how I felt after reading Staci’s Part II post. Her message was a beautiful little nugget of truth that left me wondering how I’ve lived so many years not “getting” the point of the the New Testament story of Jesus in the Temple.

If you missed them, you can read the posts here:

In the Temple, Part I

In the Temple, Part II

I’ve re-read the posts every day this week as part of my morning prayers and devotions. They’re beautiful reminders to me of Christ’s true and constant presence in my life (whether I recognize it or not).

I hope you’ll check out Staci’s posts and let me know if they have a ring of truth for you, too.