S is for Steamboats

I never realized how much I loved steamboats until I started studying them in earnest for my work in progress, River Moon Don’t Cry. I did have the pleasure of cruising aboard the Branson Belle (pictured above) for dinner and a show twice. The only part I didn’t like was how it didn’t last longer! I’d love to go on a week-long cruise. Of course, the excursions are much nicer today than there were in the early 1800s. In the 1800s only the high-paying customers got a nice room on the upper decks of the steamboat on major United States rivers. Regular folks had to board with the animals and cargo. And from the diaries and letters I’ve read from the era, the aromas that emanated from these quarters made for a miserable trip. Those who could afford it, had much nicer accommodations. During the steamboat boom, boats competed for dock space. These ships lined up side by side in major ports. Steamboats hauled everything on the Mississippi River from cows to sugar cane to cotton. They were also used to haul slaves and prisoners. It was a dangerous time on the Mississippi in those days. Fights on the docks were everyday occurrences.  Pirates were a constant threat. I think I’d love to know what it’s like to live aboard a steamboat. What say...

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Bronner’s part 2: The Joy of Christmas Decorations

Last week I posted about my trip to Frankenmuth, Michigan to Bronner’s. I promised to share what we bought there back in 2007 to commemorate our 25th wedding anniversary. (We were married Dec. 3, 1982.) We had such fun shopping for our silver anniversary. I wish my pictures were better. My camera wasn’t working and I took these with my phone. Phone cameras have come a long way in the past seven years! (Click pics to enlarge.) Naturally the first thing we looked for was an ornament that said “25” somewhere on it. So we bought the above one and had it personalized (below). We bought a few bells (pictured above) but also some much bigger silver bells to put on our wedding canopy. You can sort of see the bells below in the background on the canopy arch. They were so pretty.  (This is my daughter and her husband walking down the aisle when we renewed our vows.) I also bought a few sets of silver pine cones (pictured above). And a set of doves (bel0w). I couldn’t resist the baby penguins sitting side by side. They all came together to create a very special Christmas tree that year. Do you have any favorite Christmas tree ornaments? I’d love to read about them! Leave me a comment below! <!– end LinkyTools script...

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Who knows who you may inspire!

It’s really amazing how things work out in history. As I was doing research for my book about Marco Polo, I learned that Columbus read Polo’s book and it may have spurred him on to look for the far east himself. Is that cool or what? What if Marco Polo had never written about his travels? (Okay, so he didn’t actually write it himself, he had a ghost writer, Rustichello, from Pisa.) What do you think Columbus was thinking when he read about such travels? I don’t know, of course, and we can only speculate. But it reinforces why writing history is important to me. We must pass on these stories so they won’t be forgotten. Who knows who or what they may inspire! One of my favorite resources for writing history is a book entitled, Annals of the World by John Usher. It’s a $50.00 book in hardback (that’s the copy I have) but right now it’s on sale on kindle for only $9.99! A STEAL if you want to write about ancient history and need to know what was going on and when. It takes you all the way through Biblical history using scriptures. It’s not an in-depth book, but more of a timeline type of book. I absolutely love my copy. Click to Tweet: We must pass on these stories so they won’t be forgotten. Who knows who or what they may inspire! What are some of your favorite reference...

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Introducing pre-published author, Tom Threadgill!

I’m extremely excited to introduce you to one of the best writers I know: Tom Threadgill. When I first read Tom’s work, I was blown away by his talent. When you read his book, you’ll see why. His writing is seamless and spell-binding. Usually when I read a break-out author’s first work, I find myself editing. When I read Tom’s, I got caught up in the story. It gave me the creeps. And that’s a good thing, because he writes creepy Christian fiction! I see big things in this man’s future! If you want to be among the first to get to know the next John Grisham/Dean Koontz/Ted Dekker, here’s your chance! Take it away Tom! Karla:  Tell us a little about yourself. Tom: I worked for a large corporation and moved all over the southeastern U.S. for almost thirty years before retiring to a small rural community in west Tennessee. My wife and dog tolerate me as much as possible, though I sometimes catch them conspiring. We have two sons, two beautiful daughters-in-law, three grandsons, and were recently blessed by the birth of our first granddaughter! Karla: How precious! Nothing like a new baby granddaughter. I have four of them! We’re blessed, aren’t we? It’s hard to tear yourself away! But back to writing. As a new author, it’s important to develop a solid online presence. Where can we find you online? Tom: The best place to start is on my website, aptly named tomthreadgill.com. I’m also on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter. Karla: When you’re not cuddling your grandchildren, where do you write? Tom: Usually I’m in a leather recliner in the living room with a laptop. I’m easily distracted so I use earphones to play music and coffitivity.com. My co-writer/dog is usually somewhere nearby offering advice. Karla: Sounds like my “office,” too. What is your process? (Spreadsheets, Snowflake, Lists/Outlines, Seat of the pants?) Tom: Definitely a seat-of-the-pantser, although I prefer the term “organic writer.” I’m pretty much making it up as I go! I started with the vaguest of notions about the story, and fleshed it out as I went. The downside is that at several points in the story my characters surprised me and I had to rework some of my previous work. Karla: I know how that is. I do the same. Tell us about your book. Tom: Hollow Target is a suspense/thriller novel about FBI agent Jacob Thomas as he pursues a serial killer. The murderer is using the Old Testament as his instruction manual, and Jacob is “spiritually scarred” due to an event in his past. It’s written so that the reader sees the world through each of their eyes. Karla: Why should...

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