May 21, 2012


Big Stone Heart now available in both e-book format and as a print paperback. 

 Seventeen year old Carrie Smith knows everything about baby boys, but nothing about grown men. Raised in an orphanage, unloved and unwanted, her only joy is the care she gives to the abandoned babies. When a letter arrives from a man in Dakota Territory who is looking for a wife, Carrie must choose between her lonely life in the orphanage or take a risk on an unknown man in a world about which she knows very little. Summoning all of her courage, she travels to Big Stone City, Dakota Territory, only to encounter heartbreak, deceit and betrayal. Bruised in body and spirit, Carrie flees to a small prairie town. When a shy farmer, Christopher Bachman, enters her life, Carrie must learn to trust again.  Faced with a shattering secret, she must find a way to open her heart to forgiveness and love.

May 18, 2012

TEEN LIFE WAY BACK WHEN: No Smart Phones, No Cell Phones, No Phones at All. Say What?

One ringy dingy, two ringy dingy. Check out this video of Lily Thomlin doing Ernestine, the telephone operator, from Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-in.  Once being a not-so-cute blond myself (talk about way back when and with the help of a bottle of peroxide), it might surprise you to know that I, yes, I, your earnest blog host, was once a long distance telephone operator.   It was the most fun I ever had… at a job.

Picture this:  it’s New Year’s Eve and you’ve had a few too many libations and decided you’d like to have a chat with the Pope.  No problem.  Just dial “0” for operator and I’ll put you right through to the Vatican.  Want to talk to the President and let him know what you think of his latest war?    One minute, I’ll connect you to the White House.  Just like this picture, I sat at a long switchboard in a long narrow room.  My hair was more of a flower power, love-in kind of ‘do but, like Ernestine, I did have a pesky bra strap that kept slipping off my shoulder.

Okay, I digress.  We’re supposed to be talking about what life was like for teens before the invention of the telephone.  However did one communicate with one’s friends?  Mostly face- to -face.  I know this seems like a radical concept in this age of texting, but there you have it.  In urban areas, there was always some sort of messenger who could make a delivery.  And then there was the telegraph, which was for very short, very urgent messages.  Letter writing was the communication method of choice but, depending on where you were writing, it could take weeks or even months to arrive.  Imagine sending an announcement of your upcoming nuptials to a distant cousin, only to have said cousin receive it three months later.  Then another three months goes by before you receive her congratulations and her gift, which turns out to be a delicate fan when what you could use right now is a warm pair of mittens.

May 16, 2012

Carol's Quaint Quotes

"Vary your toilet as much as possible, for fear idlers and malignant wits, who are always a majority in the world, should amuse themselves by making your dress the description of your person."

Etiquette for Ladies; with hints on the preservation, improvement and display of female beauty.  Philadelphia:  Lindsay and Blakiston, 1843.

May 13, 2012

On Writer's Block

So it’s Mother’s Day in the good old US of A (ha!  I made a rhyme) and the festivities were celebrated on Friday with my son, daughter-in-law and grandson so as to avoid the restaurant crush which inevitably occurs on the real day, that is - today.  And I promised myself, now that I have the whole day free, that I would roll up my sleeves and get to work on my third novel. Today. Absolutely without fail.

I’m at that stage in the book where a big black void miraculously appears out of nowhere and threatens to swallow the plot whole.  Or you realize with a start, that this part of the book has turned into a real snooze.  You know the part where the reader skips a few pages ahead in the hope that something, anything, is about to happen?  There I was staring at a blank computer screen save for “Chapter” typed neatly and centered precisely at the top of the page.  What to do?  What to do?                         
Five hours later: the patio has been swept, flowers planted, dog groomed, recycling wheeled to the curb, dandelions sprayed. You get the picture. What I needed was inspiration. I grabbed a stack of research articles I’ve been meaning to read, poured a glass of Pinot Noir (hey, it’s Mother’s Day! A girl’s entitled to a treat) and headed outside. The sun was warm on my face, the cardinals were chirping happily away at the feeder and the hammock beckoned. Yawn. Time for a nap.



May 9, 2012

Carol's Quaint Quotes

Ladies - Perk Up!
"The bosom which should be prominent, by a lounging attitude, sinks into slovenly flatness, rounding the back, and projecting the shoulders."
Etiquette for Ladies; with hints on the preservation, improvement and display of female beauty.  Philadelphia:  Lindsay and Blakiston, 1843.

May 7, 2012

TEEN LIFE WAY BACK WHEN: No Cars, No Planes, No Motorcycles - No Kidding!

So what are we talking about here – some futuristic, post- apocalyptic world brought about by a cataclysmic event in which all modern conveniences are reduced to dust and man must get about by – gasp! - walking?  No…we are talking about life in the nineteenth century.
If we were to be plunked down in say, 1880, we would get around mostly by walking.  And we wouldn’t get very far.  The average walking speed for an adult is about three miles per hour.  So it would take over three hours to go ten miles.  Of course, some folks had a horse or a horse and buggy.  Still, on average, a horse and rider or a horse pulling a buggy could only go about four miles per hour, so things had to be close to home.  That’s why just about every neighborhood in the city had a small store within walking distance that carried most of the items needed for daily use.  For rural dwellers, going to town for supplies was a major event undertaken only a few times a year.  There were no big box stores in the burbs and no shopping malls on the edge of town.

There’s an old building in downtown Minneapolis.  If you look high up on the brick wall, you will see a faded sign advertising “LIVERY”.  This building was once a stable for the care and boarding of horses.  Back then, instead of service stations on every corner, there were livery stables, blacksmith shops and shops for harness and tackle.  Instead of automobile showrooms, there were showrooms for shiny new buggies, carriages and wagons.
Imagine a world in which the only sounds coming from the sky are from birds, not jet engines.  Imagine a world in which the sounds of traffic consist of the clop, clop of horse’s hooves, the jingle of harnesses or the tinkle of sleigh bells.  Imagine a world where a man’s job consists of cleaning up horse manure from the streets!  When you think about it, life in the nineteenth century might seem as strange to us today as any future world we could imagine.

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