Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I May Be a Wimp...BUT I still wish you all a Very Merry Christmas!

A traditional White Christmas does not seem to be falling upon Galveston Island, Texas where I'm spending part of my winter.I still wear shorts and go barefoot in the sand as I hike beside the Gulf of Mexico,collecting sea shells. I've hung my Christmas ornaments on an artificial palm tree in the living room of my condo. I awaken each morning to spectacular sunrises over the ocean. In the evening, I relax,with a glass of red wine,on my western balcony as I witness some of the most incredible sunsets that I've ever seen.

Life is good...long walks beside the ocean,time to reflect and to explore the rich historical heritage of this amazing island... much of which will be included in one of my future novels.

Still,looking back...wasn't I the one who recently elaborated upon the splendors of a good old Midwestern winter? Yup...that was me... before I immigrated to the south. Before the water pipes in my Wisconsin home burst at the seams and my furnace went out during one of our good old-fashioned snowstorms...

It's difficult, sometimes, to get into the Christmas spirit on this paradise island... I'm used to frigid winters, being buried in snow drifts. How can it possibly be time for Christmas??

Christmas, this year, will be a tad bit different. What remains unchanged is the love of family and friends, wherever they may be. I'm blessed to have both Shannon's and Sherry's families celebrating down here with me. I will miss Shane's family, and my best friend,Len... but want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

Stay tuned and please stay in touch!

Janet Kay

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Traveling Back In Time ...

Have you ever felt that you belonged in another time, another place? Do you identify with people, places, and things associated with another era? If so, you're not alone! I must confess that I've always identified with the Victorian era, and with the world of Emily Dickinson. Several editors have told me that my writing style is quaint, reminiscent of the Victorian era. Is that all bad??

Anyway, I recently had an opportunity to travel back to the Victorian era, courtesy of the Dickens on The Strand Victorian Holiday Festival on Galveston Island, Texas. This annual celebration is held in the Strand National Historic Landmark District which is filled with Victorian-era buildings, brick cobble-stoned streets, gas lamps, and horse-drawn carriages. Many of the participants (including yours truly) dressed in Victorian costumes. Victorian music filled the air.

Highlights included Victorian bed races, parades, a Piccadilly circus, a living history encampment commemorating the war between the states, jugglers, magicians, Victorian Christmas carolers, Victorian arts,crafts and turkey legs! Down on the Galveston wharf, we also toured the 1877 tall sailing ship, Elissa, Texas' official tall ship.

My Texas grandchildren weren't sure, at first, if they wanted to be seen with crazy Grandma Jan in her lacy black Victorian costume and feather hat! However, once we arrived on The Strand, they realized that I obviously fit in with the other guests.

I'm inspired by all that I saw and learned at this unique celebration. That means, of course, that I'm now researching Galveston and its unique Victorian era. Someday, I hope to set a novel here on this fascinating island in the Gulf of Mexico.

You can check Dickens out at

Stay tuned and please stay in touch!

Janet Kay

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Welcome, Winter!

Let us love winter, for it is the spring of genius.
Pietro Arentino, Italian author/poet 1492 - 1556

Winter has arrived in the northland in all its glory - and fury. I woke this morning to find that the world had turned white overnight. Naked trees have donned frosty coats of snow, bowing low,swaying to the rhythm of the winds. Angry waves tumble across the lake, determined to keep layers of ice from silencing their energy. The Canadian geese have already given up the fight, loudly organizing themselves into formation for their annual flight south.

Soon there will be silence, solitude, as we drift into a winter's frame of mind. Soon we will turn our attention inward, taking time to reflect. Time to sit by the fire with a good book, perhaps to take an online course, to learn something new. Time to think about our lives and plot future directions.

As we turn inward, winter has a way of unleashing our creativity. As the snow falls, I'm drawn to my writing. My characters seem to come to life more readily in the winter than in any other season. Plots thicken.

I'm already hard at work researching my next several novels...and making plans to visit the destinations where they will be set. Of course, I'm doing a sequel to my "Waters of the Dancing Sky" which will be set again on Rainy Lake. Other destinations include Galveston, Texas; Virginia City, Montana; and Walnut, Iowa.

Here's to winter! Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...

Stay tuned - and please stay in touch.

Janet Kay

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Inspirational Moments in Sweden

They say that life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away! While Sweden was full of these moments for me, one of the most inspirational was a visit to the home and gardens of the famous Swedish artist, Carl Larsson. Born into a poverty-stricken family in 1853, he found a way to follow his dream and talent, to become a world-renowned artist - and to actually become wealthy from the sale of his art work.

Winding through tiny streets in his picturesque village of Sundborn, it felt almost surreal, as if I'd just stepped back into the last century. Carl lived with his wife, Karin, and his eight children in a red Swedish cottage on a private lake. His family, home, and gardens were frequently the subjects that he painted.

I was entranced - and greatly inspired by his quaint cottage. French windows overlooking the lake and gardens were lined with red geranium flowers in clay pots. There were nooks and crannies in which to write, paint, or do needlework. Carl had painted portraits of each of his children, and his wife, on the interior doors, sometimes extending his artistic endeavors up and across the ceilings.

Standing quietly in the midst of his gardens, I marveled at a 350 year old apple tree that is still producing apples! There is something magical about this place...

Breathing deeply,I could almost feel spirits of the past lingering on here. Inspiration flowed through me like a river, as if I'd been touched by the stroke of Carl's paint brush.

I'm back home, back to work on my computer. I've framed one of Carl's photos above my desk, a source of inspiration for me. When I look at it, I hope to tap into my experiences in his gardens. Thanks, Carl!

Stay tuned and please stay in touch.

Janet Kay

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Stepping Back in Time...

As I explore the nooks and crannies of Sweden, I am overwhelmed with the deep sense of history that seems to seep into one's mind and soul. Wandering through quaint villages along winding cobble-stoned streets, there's a sense of stepping back in time...far back.

In America, I was intrigued with "relics" from the 1800's. Here, I'm disappointed to find that the village church where some of my ancestors lived during the 1600's and early 1700's was not even built until 1840! Imagine that!

What I have seen so far are incredible Gothic and Romanesque medieval churches and cathedrals dating back to the 11th and 12th centuries. Swedish life has always revolved around its' churches, perched high above surrounding little villages and farms. They feature some of the finest art work and decor that you will see anyplace in Europe. The history behind these "kyrkas" is fascinating, opening one's mind to endless possibilities for future stories!

I have one of my own amazing stories to share. Something had been nagging me to visit a certain research center here in Ronneby, Sweden on the Baltic Sea. I soon discovered why! The research geneologist who was helping me decipher Swedish records suddenly became very much interested in my family's pedigree chart. She began furiously working at her computer. Finally she turned to me with a big smile on her face, tears in her eyes, and gave me a big hug! She informed me that we were related! It seems that my great-great-great-great grandmother was a sister to Annika's! The two girls, born in 1796 and 1801,came from a family of FOURTEEN children! So, I now have a relative in Sweden whom I plan to stay in touch with.

Amazing things can happen when you embark upon a journey to research your past.

Stay tuned and please stay in touch!

Janet Kay

Saturday, September 11, 2010

"Trollin" in Sweden

Greetings from the land of the midnight sun! I'm here in Smaland doing some family history research, visiting little villages where my Swedish ancestors once lived, trying to learn more about their lives.

I recently went "trollin" in the amazing Trollskogan forest on the northern tip of the Island of Oland in the Baltic Sea. They say that trolls live here! Ancient gnarled oaks twist through the dense forest, taking on the shape of witches, ghosts, and trolls. One tree is 900 years old! I was alone in a fairyland, stumbling over rocky trails, walking through silky threads of spider webs. In the background, the sea wails and crashes against the rocky shoreline. All alone...wondering what lurks around the next bend. Yes, this is a place where imaginations soar. A place to set a story, perhaps. What if...

I contined my "trollin" - this time, searching for tiny villages where my ancestors lived in the 1700's and 1800's. A very long time ago. Some of their old farms no longer exist although remnants of their lives dot the forested landscape.

I was delighted to find the Algutsboda Kyrka (church) where my ancestors were baptized, where many were buried. It was built in the 1500's, renovated in the 1700's. Searching through the grave yard in a drizzling rain, I was disappointed to learn that the graves of my relatives were no longer visible. They now lie buried beneath another layer of gravestones. That is the way they do things here...

My search for these graves was similar to my search for the trolls. Perhaps I didn't find what I thought I was looking for...but maybe I found even more. Maybe we don't need physical evidence of things like spirits and trolls. Maybe it's enough just to feel their believe in the magic.

Stay tuned and please stay in touch.

Janet Kay

Monday, August 30, 2010

Summer's End...

The last sultry days of summer are slipping silently into the mist of early autumn mornings. Intricate spider webs hang precariously from twisted branches of gnarled old oaks. Subtle shades of sun-drenched red and gold begin to emerge along winding country roads.

Tonight I sit alone on my deck overlooking Whitefish Lake as waves crash beneath me. As shadows slip into an endless lake. As wild winds penetrate the pitch of night. Tonight there is no moon. There are no stars. All I can see is black leaves rustling and swaying to the rhythm of the night, dipping and dancing against a blackened sky that seems to threaten the world below.

I wait - as winds begin to howl, as thunder booms across the universe, as jagged spikes of white lightning sizzle across my lake. It's time to retreat into the safety of my home, I think, as the heavens unleash a downpour of icy rain.

As I slam my windows shut against the fickle whims of nature, I ponder the seasons of life that provide balance in our lives, that inspire us to write, to create, and to dream. I long to fling these windows wide open,to let the creative juices flow in again. And I know that they will, when the time is right...

Stay tuned, and please stay in touch!

Janet Kay

Monday, August 23, 2010

"On The Edge..."

"If you're not living on the edge, you're taking up too much space," an unknown author once wrote. I wholeheartedly agree!

What does it mean to live "on the edge?" For me, it implies taking a few risks in life, exploring the unknown, being open to new things and ideas. I've tried to do this in my own life, not always successfully, I might add! I've parasailed off the Florida coast, ventured deep into the heart of the jungles of Honduras in a crude dug-out(canoe), snorkeled in the turquoise waters of Hawaii,and jumped into the frigid waters of the Arctic Ocean in Alaska (my initiation into the "polar bear club")I've also gone dog sledding in adventure that came to an abrupt halt when I broke my back. Still, it was an amazing experience, one that will show up in my writing someday.

Living on the edge also means finally writing that novel that has been bubbling around in your subconscious for years. Unless you try, how do you know if you can really do it?

It means thinking out of the box, interpreting life's experiences. I once wrote a poem entitled "On the Edge":

What is real and what is not?
Who is to be the judge of that...
you or me?
For it's a different world that we each see,
shaped by who we are,
by where our paths have led us.

A fine line it is we cross at times,
weaving back and forth
between inner and outer space,
balancing the shifting realities of life.

Sometimes we stand shivering
on the edge...
on the brink of conflicting realities,
wondering where "reality" really ends...
or if it even
exists at all."

between i

Here's to life on the edge!

Stay tuned and please stay in touch.

Janet Kay

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Now that I've accomplished my goal of publishing my first novel, WATERS OF THE DANCING SKY, I'm asking myself the question that all authors seem to ask post-publication - "So now what?"

Although I'm buried in marketing efforts - and it is paying off - it's time to set some new goals, right? After all, I'm on a roll...I think... My book reviews are great. I continue to get wonderful notes from my readers. Many are asking for a sequel to "Waters," not wanting to let go of my characters and their lives on Rainy Lake. They want more! Some of them are even sending me some wild and crazy ideas for a sequel - what fun!

Yes, a sequel is in the works, currently hibernating in the recesses of my mind as it comes to life. I'm lovin' all the input from my readers. If any of you have suggestions for this next book, please let me know.

Stay tuned and please stay in touch!

Janet Kay

Monday, August 9, 2010

Retreating into the world of nature

Sigurd Olson, the renowned environmentalist and lover of nature once wrote,"If we can somehow retain places where we can always sense the mystery of the unknown,our lives will be richer." I wholeheartedly agree!

I was fortunate to spend a week recently on a remote wilderness island of Rainy Lake along the Minnesota/Ontario international border...the place where my novel,"Waters of the Dancing Sky,"is set. I spent the week with 9 of my St. Croix Writer's friends - sharing evening meals and campfires, taking cool dips in the lake, participating in workshops together. During the day, we worked on our individual writing projects,roamed around the island picking blueberries, absorbing the nature and the history of this magical place.

Here,far from home, we reatreated into a world of the past. As I sat on my rustic deck late at night, immersed in the call of the loons and a full moon glistening across rippling waters, I slipped back into the days when Ernest Oberholtzer lived this house. I felt his presence, his love of nature, his dedication to preserving this part of the wilderness for us all.

Somehow, nature soothes - and releases creative forces bubbling deep within us all. Now and then, we need to retreat into the world of nature, taking time to balance our lives and renew our energy. We need to rediscover the mystery of unknown places.

Stay tuned and please stay in touch!

Janet Kay

Sunday, July 11, 2010

It Could Happen to YOU...

Life was good. I was traveling with my son and family around the Great Lakes - soaking up Niagara Falls, crusing around these magnificent bodies of water. Enjoying time with my family.

I even left my computer at home, taking a break from Internet, Facebook, and my blog. While I was away, however, I began receiving strange calls on my cell phone. Concerned friends asked if I was OK, if I needed money! What was that all about?

I soon discovered that I'd become a victim of a criminal cyber attack. Some creep had hacked into my Yahoo and Facebook accounts, sending blanket emails to all my friends and contacts (including other writers, business associates, agents I was trying to impress!) This imposter sent these emails under my name and Internet account! I was supposedly in the United Kingdom where I'd been robbed, at gun point yet, and had no money to return home! The creep pleaded for my friends and contacts to wire money to the UK!

No, I never thought it could happen to me. How embarassing! I've since changed my password to something very complicated that nobody will ever figure out! The creep left a few clues, however, which I've reported to Yahoo's fraud division. Hopefully, they will catch him/her soon.

In the meantime, please beware. There are many similar attacks and money transfer schemes circling the Internet. Change your password and security questions frequently. Check your settings to be sure a strange alternate contact email address or phone number has not been added by a hacker.

I'm slowly regaining access to my accounts - a long and tedious process, but have lost all email contacts.

Stay tuned and stay in touch...but please,DO NOT SEND MONEY!!

Janet Kay

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Why Write??

Have you ever wondered why writers write?

What drives relatively sane people to glue themselves to a computer, tuning out the rest of the world? Why do we spend hours searching for the right word, trying to get into the heads of the characters we've created? Is there something abnormal about people like us? Well...maybe we are a bit strange, sometimes wierd...but in a very good way, I think.

I'll tell you why I write. I write because I cannot "not write!" Writing is one of my greatest passions in life. I love creating fictional worlds, plots, and characters. Writing is a way to explore and work through the complexities of life.

Most importantly, however, writing can be a way to help other people. A way to expand their horizons, to help them see the world in a different light, to find a sense of hope.

It's great to sell books, rewarding to make a few bucks in royalties. The biggest reward for me, however, is to hear from my readers.

I write because there are people like "Stephanie" out there...she recently sent me an email telling me what my novel, "Waters of the Dancing Sky," meant to her: "Your writing inspired me and touched me in many ways. I cried, laughed, and smiled throughout. The story drew me in and led me on an amazing journey which I will ponder for days to come. Your words touched my soul, and revitalized me in many ways."

Thank you, Stephanie, for making my day!

Stay tuned, and please stay in touch.

Janet Kay

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

What's Beautiful in Your Life?

It's easy sometimes to wallow in the little irritations, the messiness of life. All you have to do is turn on the radio or TV to hear about the bad things in this about that horrific oil spill into the Gulf of Mexico? Or the tornadoes which recently devastated Wadena, Minnesota and other areas of the country? My thoughts and prayers are with all the people impacted by these tragedies.

Still, we need to take time to remember our blessings. Did any of you see the glorious sunrise this morning as a fresh, new day unfolded on this planet? Today truly is the first day of the rest of our lives!

How about the smile on the face of your child or grandchild? The fragrance of roses blooming in your garden? Sitting by the lake as waves crash in towards shore?

I have a friend, Mark, who created a blog on Facebook. The name is "What's Beautiful in Your Life?" It's a place to share the things that are beautiful in your life, including photos. A place to find inspiration for your life - and for your writing. Check it out.

What's beautiful in YOUR life? Think about it. Write about it. Share it with others.

Stay tuned and please stay in touch!

Janet Kay

Monday, June 14, 2010

Out of Left Field...

Agnes, one of my writer friends from Wascott, Wisconsin recently proposed a topic for our writers group to expand upon - "out of left field." The what??

I struggled to make any sense of this topic as I sat at my computer doing what all writers are supposed to be doing - writing. I wasn't in the mood. Defying all traditional wisdom, I decided it was time to shut my computer down and head off into the real world. It was time to embark upon a research trip to Walnut, Iowa where my next novel would begin. Sure, I could research it on the Internet...but sometimes you simply need to be there to absorb a place, to talk to the people, to find out what it's really like to live there.

I wasn't, however, expecting an "out of left field" experience when I arrived in the antique city of Walnut,Iowa. The skies looked dark and very strange as I checked into my hotel. The desk clerk advised that there were tornado warnings in effect, that I should be prepared to come down immediately, with my pillow, if and when the fire alarm system was activated.

Five minutes later, the sirens began to wail. I forgot my pillow but remembered my cell phone as I headed down to the shelter. Hotel guests sat side-by-side in the long hallway, out of touch with the five tornadoes that we later learned were swirling around us. Several "storm trackers" soon joined us with their laptops, tracking the twisters as they passed over and around us. Finally, it was safe to leave the hallway - a place where fearful strangers had become friends.

Yes, Agnes, this was an "out of left field" experience. If I had decided to sit at home glued to my computer, I never would have thought about including a tordado, or storm watchers, in this novel.

The moral of this story - get out there into the real world! It is the unexpected experiences, the tornadoes in life, that will help you to write a novel surpassing anything you may write spending day after day in the safety of your own home,staring at the computer screen.

Stay tuned and please stay in touch!

Janet Kay

Monday, June 7, 2010

Through the Eyes of a Child...

I've found the perfect remedy for writer's block! Take your child or grandchild out for the day or for a week-end get-away. (If you don't have one of your own, borrow one from a friend or relative!) Spend your time together focusing on this little person,trying to capture life anew through his or her wonder-filled eyes.

I have been blessed with ten exceptional grandchildren and have started a family tradition of taking each one on an individual "Grandma and Me" week-end trip during their eighth year. It was Audrey's turn last week. We went to Living History Farms in Des Moines, Iowa where we explored a pioneer homestead, a 1900-era farm, and the 1870-era Village of Walnut Hill. Audrey was fascinated with her trip into the past, capturing memories with her camera. She made a hat in the Millinery Shop, watched a blacksmith create tools over the fire, petted the farm animals,and admired the dolls and toys in the Victorian homes.

I watched her closely, absorbing her excitement as she saw and learned new things. My "inner child" was ready to come out and play with her - to see the world in a fresh new way.

It was time for Audrey to pick out a few souvenirs of her trip and little gifts for her mother and brother. Of course, this was a time-consuming process - but worth every moment. She wandered through the gift shops which were full of beautiful things - some relatively expensive. What would she choose?

After much thought and deliberation,she selected a little pig on a keychain. He oinked and his eyes flashed. Then, her big eyes lit up and began to sparkle when she discovered a giant lollipop, a Whirly Pop swirling with brilliant shades of red, yellow, blue and green.

Audrey held and admired her lollipop all the way home. Oh, to be a child again, to find such joy in simple things like a $2 lollipop! Maybe life is like a giant Whirly Pop with concentric circles of colorful experiences swirling through the years. Maybe these are the things that we, as writers, as human beings, need to remember. Maybe we need to take the time to really see life through the eyes of a child...

Stay tuned - and please stay in touch!

Janet Kay

Thursday, May 20, 2010


"There is a land of the living and a land of the dead - and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning." Thornton Wilder

After my mother passed away in 2008, we began the long process of sorting through the many things she had saved in her 84 years on this earth. We were anxious to find "the story of her life." For years, she'd talked about the family history she was working on. It would include stories about her life and those of our ancestors.

We searched every nook and cranny. Finally we located the large leather-bound journal that we'd given her years ago to record the stories of her life. Holding my breath, I carefully opened the book... It was blank - not a word! What had happened to all the stories she told us over the years? There was nothing left, nobody to ask anymore...

While we found detailed geneological records (Thanks, Mother!)- names, birth,and death dates going back several hundered years - the stories were gone.

This was a wake-up call for me, hopefully for all of us. How many of you plan to write your life - someday? Sometimes it's too late by the time we get around to it. Important pieces of our lives disappear into misty memories that change over time.

I decided to complete my mother's final goal in life - writing our family history. Of course, there will be missing pieces. The stories will be told from my point of view. It will be MY story, my legacy for my children, grandchildren, and on down the family tree.

I encourage you to write the story of your life. I am fortunate to have thousands of pages of my old journals to jog my memory as I write.You may have old letters, old photos, and other mementos to jog your memory. If not, there are some great resources out there to help you recall childhood memories and family stories:

"Writing Your Life, Putting your Past on Paper" by Lou Willett Stanek

"My Life, A Collection of Memories" by Alison Bing (includes thousands of memory-jogging questions - and space for you to write your answers, to write your life)

Stay tuned - and please stay in touch!

Janet Kay

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Writer's Journey...

It can be a lonely life at times...sitting here staring at my computer, waiting for the words to magically flow onto the blank screen. Maybe it's time to check my email again...or even harvest my farm on Farmville! Nobody else will ever know, right?

I do cherish the solitude here on my lake in the northwoods of Wisconsin. I thrive on having time to think, write, and read - and the ability to set my own schedule. However, it takes discipline to write. It's easy to get distracted... as a black bear casually saunters across my deck. Seriously, that's exactly what happened today. In fact, two cubs tumbled playfully behind Mama Bear. So much for my walk today. I don't like to encounter bears on my treks through the woods. They tend to be a tad ornery and defensive when their offspring are scampering about.

So, I'm back at my computer, finally at work. Tomorrow I will attend my St. Croix Writers group meeting in Solon Springs. I've found that writers need connections with other writers. We share our works in progress, our accomplishments, and our rejection letters! We support each other and offer feedback. Writing groups can be a wonderful way to connect with other writers who have similar interests.

Writing is a journey of lifelong learning, and there are so many resources out there for us. I highly recommend writers conferences. I just returned from the Wisconsin Regional Writers Association( conference in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. I came home inspired and refreshed after networking with other writers and listening to excellent speakers.

Writers read! We read books in our own genres or areas of interest, but we also read books and magazines to help us improve our craft. Some of my favorite magazines include The Writer, Writer's Digest, and Poets & Writers.

There are also many excellent books on the art of writing. One of my all-time favorites is "The Writer's Journey, Mythic Structure for Writers" by Christopher Vogler. Based upon the depth psychology of Carl G. Jung and the mythic studies of Joseph Campbell, this book provides guidelines for structuring plots and creating realistic characters. Whether you are writing movie scripts or novels, it is important to understand that "all stories consist of a few common structural elements found universally in myths, fairy tales, dreams and movies. These ancient tools of the storyteller's craft still have tremendous power to heal our people and make the world a better place." (Christopher Vogler)

Stay tuned, and please stay in touch!

Janet Kay

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

And the winners are...

I'm pleased to announce the winners of my book promotion contest! They are:

Joanne Weister of Washburn, Wisconsin - $100 gift certificate to The Thunderbird Lodge, Rainy Lake, MN (

Penny Thompson of Albert Lea, Minnesota - $100 gift certificate to Kettle Falls Hotel, Rainy Lake, MN (

David Lawrence of Greenville, Alabama - $50 gift certificate for a cruise on Rainy Lake with Voyageur's National Park Service (

Michelle Dry of Cordova, Tennessee - autographed copy of my novel, Waters of the Dancing Sky

Theresa Hawn of Seeley Lake, Montana - $25 gift certificate to The Grizzly Claw Trading Post in Seeley Lake

Most of my prizes relate to Rainy Lake. This is where my novel is set, a place that I fell in love with while doing my research there.

Congratulations to you all, and thanks to all who submitted entries. I found that this contest was also a great way to drive traffic to my website ( I highly recommend this to other writers. Another tip for anyone sponsoring a contest - enter your contest at You will find that the hits on your website will increase greatly.

I had so much fun with this contest that I've decided to start another one. Prizes in my new contest include:

An autographed copy of my novel, Waters of the Dancing Sky, to be awarded each month

$100 gift certificate to The Lakeview, A Summer Residence on Rainy Lake. Prize to be awarded May 1, 2011

$25 gift certificate to Ronnings ( in International Falls, MN (the place for Northwoods books, moccasins, wild rice, Hudson Bay blankets, etc. Check out their wild rice recipes on line)Prize to be awarded May 1, 2011

$25 gift certificate to Grandma's Pantry restaurant in Ranier, MN. Prize to be awarded May 1, 2011 sure to sign up for my NEW contest at Good luck!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

On the Road Again...

My SUV is packed to the brim. Barely found enough room for me to wiggle into the driver's seat to begin my 1,500 mile trek back to Northwest Wisconsin from my winter stomping grounds in Western Montana.

It's always sad to say good-bye to Montana family and friends...but it's also good to get back to my family and friends in the Midwest. Today's drive through Montana was spectacular as always - driving through lush valleys filled with ranches and meandering rivers, surrounded by velvet green gently rolling hills that are framed by snow-capped mountain peaks piercing the endless blue sky. Climbing up into the sky, winding through steep mountain passes.I'm always in awe of the massive boulders that are perched precariously on top of each other, changing color as the day ends.

On the way, I stop to take more photos of the remnants of old log cabins - windowless, moss-covered roofs caving in. My writer's mind can't help but wonder about the pioneers who once lived there, what their lives were like. As always, I try to absorb these impressions, knowing that they may well show up in one of my future novels.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Haunted by Waters

"I am haunted by waters..." - Norman Maclean

I, too, am haunted by waters...That's why I had to set my novel, Waters of the Dancing Sky, on Rainy Lake along the Minnesota/Ontario international border. This remote wilderness lake is a place for reflection, renewal, and connection with spirits of the past.

One of my favorite places here is Kettle Falls, now a part of Voyageur's National Park. From the United States side, you look south across the roaring falls - into Canada! This erratic international boundary line was created to honor the historic route of the French-Canadian voyageurs. Colorful brigades of birch bark canoes, loaded with fur pelts, paddled along this river of commerce over 200 years ago.

Rainy Lake is also rich in Native American history and artifacts. The Ojibwe lived beside these waters, gathering berries, harvesting wild rice, hunting, and fishing for great sturgeon beside the falls.

Man has been drawn to water since the beginning of time. Sitting on an island in the middle of Rainy Lake, I become a part of the lake itself. The gentle waves sooth my soul. Perhaps we are all haunted by waters, by a primitive longing for a simpler time...