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Living Other Lives
The beauty of the world of literature is that it allows you to live other lives. I’ve been an attractive 17-year-old red-head whose many adventures include solving the mystery of who’s trying to harm Fortune, the racehorse on my aunt’s ranch. In the same story, I had the chance to brood (as only a teenager can brood) then choose between one of the two young men who drew my eye. Now that’s living. I’ve also been nine years old again, trying to earn enough money to go to Adventureland, and discovering, after a thief breaks in and steals Mom’s electronics,…
Interview with Author Kathleen Ernst
Kathleen Ernst, a Madison native, is a social historian, educator, environmentalist, and the award winning novelist of 24 books. Her historical fiction for children and young adults include American girl mysteries. Her long anticipated American girl six-book Caroline Abbott series will debut September 4th. The third book in her adult Chloe Ellefson mystery series, THE LIGHT KEEPER’S LEGACY, will become available October 8th. What an exciting fall you’re about to have. Two new projects! The third book in your adult Chloe Ellefson mystery series, THE LIGHT KEEPER’S LEGACY, as well as the long anticipated Caroline books for younger readers. Will…
The Artist’s Spirit
Greetings fellow story lovers, A friend who wrote and illustrated children’s books, Marsha Dunlap, died after a long battle with cancer. One of the first times I met Marsha was during a blinding snowstorm. A small group of us had rented a bed and breakfast and hired an award winning author, Marion Dane Bauer, to critique our work and share writing techniques. Despite the weather, we were not going to miss this opportunity. My friend Eileen and I drove together, peering through the whiteout at the unfamiliar roads. We shook our heads. We’re crazy, we both agreed. Schools had closed…
Silent Rock
Greetings fellow story lovers, I felt it again yesterday while hiking–the heartbeat of the woods. Does the pulse I feel come from all the creatures watching as I walk down their sun-dappled trails, or from all the past creatures that have lived here? Did they, too, enjoy watching the woods change with the seasons? In the winter, icicles hang frozen as if time stopped the instant they formed. I imagine Ho-Chunk villagers gathered in a crude cave near the fire telling stories. Two sisters huddle together to stay warm and laugh as a boisterous man animately tells about nearly stepping…
Moth Tears
Greetings fellow story lovers, Poet Ted Kooser inspired my muse with the following poem. Lobocraspis Griseifusa     This is the tiny moth who lives on tears, who drinks like a deer at the gleaming pool at the edge of the sleeper’s eyes, the touch of its mouth as light as a cloud’s reflection.  –Ted Kooser I have seen many wondrous sights in nature.  My first occurred when I was a teenager rabbit hunting with my father.  I glanced up at a nearby snow-covered hill and saw a brilliant red fox.  I took in every strand of his bright fur, his…
Writing is Like Hatching an Egg
Greetings fellow story lovers, Two ducklings hatched out of my incubator this spring. I love this project. Although it demands hard work and patience, it can produce joyous results.  The same is true of the writing process. Stories begin with ideas. The fertile mind incubates a nucleus of an inspirational thought, rotating it in the mind so it’s warmed thoroughly. The shell is fragile and the wise writer doesn’t open herself up to criticism by speaking of her project until it’s fully formed. The project needs to be turned several times a day (28 days for ducks) until the last…
Inspiration
Inspiration Greetings fellow story lovers, What gets your creative juices flowing? Where are you when inspiration strikes? Among my favorite times in life are those moments when I’m driving along on a long quiet stretch of highway and my mind starts whirling with ideas. It also happens in the bathtub, upon wakening, at my computer early in the morning, and while walking my dog in the woods or horseback riding. I keep paper and pen or my mini-recorder handy because even though I think it’s such a brilliant thought I couldn’t possibly forget it, I will. Do you ever get…
Painting Word Pictures
wall Greetings fellow story lovers, Even though there are times when I wish my imagination wasn’t so active, it is a great tool for storytelling. Ever since I began trail riding in isolated woods, I’ve been terrified that my horse and I will be attacked by dogs. My imagination paints a vivid picture of the horse rearing up, unseating me and sending me crashing to the ground in the midst of viscous Rottweilers. While I’d rather not dwell on that scenario, I drew upon it while writing the fifth Kayla Montgomery mystery series, WOLVES IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING. Kayla becomes lost…
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