NEWS!! Shifting Winds a Finalist in PNWA Nancy Pearl Book Awards

Yay! My historical novel The Shifting Winds has just been named as a finalist in the 2017 Nancy Pearl Book Awards, sponsored by the Pacific Northwest Writers Association.

This award is offered by PNWA for books published in the last year.

Winners will be announced at the July conference in Seattle. Finalists will enjoy excellent visibility throughout that conference.

I’m thrilled to receive such recognition for my book in this highly contested award.

Oregon’s turbulent past comes alive in the story through the eyes of protagonist Jennie Haviland and two men, one British, one American, who vie for Jennie as their nations vie for the rich disputed land of the Oregon country.


Another Book Abloom

I just finished the rough draft of a new novel, a historical to conclude my trilogy set in ancient Ireland. Spring always puts me in mind of things coming to life, so it seems fitting that this book has come to life for me now as my daffodils bloom.

It seems doubly fitting, given the fertile nature of the island of Ireland–or Éire, as I call it in the book.

My friend Tilly Engholm and I visited Ireland a few years ago when I was researching the first in the trilogy. We spent the month of May there, a glorious time. Scenes I came to know then reappear in this new book–and the stones.

The stone circles of the island hold a special place for the clanspeople in my stories, and I needed to visit many circles on our visit. As Tilly and I headed out one day in our rental car, she glanced at me. “We’re going to look at more rocks, aren’t we?”

I laughed. “Yes, we are.”

She took it in good stride, though.

In this book the characters also travel to Iberia, now Portugal, and to Crete and Thera (Santorini), with other stops along the Mediterranean, places of beauty and wonder and peril.

It has been a great ride and I look forward to sharing it with readers.


Oregonian Feature on Shifting Winds

Woo-hoo! The Oregonian, Portland’s longtime newspaper of note, did a terrific feature on The Shifting Winds. The article went up online last week, and is in today’s print version. You can find the online feature here.

And here’s a photo of the print version, below. A nice spread.

Oregonian.Diane.DunasPhoto by Diane Dunas

My daughter Carisa called this morning to tell me my friend Diane Dunas had posted the above picture of the article on Facebook, and Diane kindly sent me a copy of her photo to share here.

The story of The Shifting Winds is set in and around the area where Portland eventually grew up, and I’ll be holding an event next week at Annie Bloom’s Books in Portland. So it’s a great match. And excellent timing. The Oregonian not only covers the Portland area but reaches readers throughout the state. Very exciting!!


UPDATE: Amy Wang, who wrote the article, clarified that it’s a feature, not a review, so I’m editing accordingly. Either way, it’s super.


NEW BOOKS!!! of books came today! What a thrill to actually hold one of these real books in my hands and flip through the pages. My good old story I have loved for so long. Now in print so other people can read it and come to know some of my favorite characters. And the books are beautiful! I love what the publisher did with the cover.

My agent emailed me over the weekend to tell me she had gotten her copies, so I suspected mine might come today. I gave a talk at my Roseburg writers’ group this morning and had to leave home before the books came. But when I got back they were waiting on the porch for me. Ah! What a sight!

Checking an old blog post, I see that boxes of my first book came early the month before the release date too. And for those of you who have pre-ordered The Shifting Winds from one of the online outlets, you may actually get your book before March 1. I don’t know, but I think people started getting them earlier last time.

Oh, what fun! This is one of those moments for a writer. Sheer pleasure. I am so looking forward to sharing. 🙂


Website Updated

With new books on the way, the time had come for a website update. And since I was visiting my webmaster, my daughter Christiane, that worked out well. First, we had to change the release date for The Shifting Winds from April to March, since it’s coming out a month earlier than planned. And we had to show it’s availability for pre-orders. With that done, we added an Excerpt so you can read a few paragraphs of the story. Then there were new books to talk about. Today we added a description.stonehenge 3_00001

The above photo I took some years ago shows Britain’s famous Stonehenge, which figures in the newest writing project, Book Five of the Golden Isles Series. The book is called Webs of Stone. You’ll find a description on the newly revised Books page. Up until now I’ve shown only five books for the series because I wasn’t sure if I had ideas enough for a book for this 16-year period in Ireland between the end of Book One and the beginning of the final book. That gap parallels events in the Mediterranean at that time, events shown in Book Four, but what was going on in Ireland then? [Note: The Books page has been updated yet again since the writing of this blog post, so the series in late 2022 has eleven titles.]

My muse was slow to visit, but when I took a Thanksgiving trip to Kansas City to visit Christiane and my granddaughter Calliope, inspiration struck. My muse talked to me. It happens in odd ways sometimes. I was searching for a hideout for my outlaw character somewhere north of Stonehenge (which I call the Great Stone Circle of Wessex in the book). And I wanted mountains. Where would I find mountains in England? Would I have to go as far as the Scottish Highlands? That’s a long way from Wessex when you’re walking or riding a pony. And I’d been in the Scottish Highlands. When you’re used to the Cascades and Rockies they seem like rolling hills. Maybe Wales? I’d seen some real mountains there. I clicked the “terrain” figure on Google maps and found the Lakes District in northern England. Then with a click on “street view” I found myself in rugged, craggy, stone-strewn mountains with steep dropoffs down to lovely lakes. Perfect! I could see myself there, my characters. And the story took off in my mind.

bohonagh with clouds_00001

The photo above shows another stone circle in near silhouette. This is the circle I chose for the home circle of the Golden Eagle Clan, the central clan for both Book One and Book Five. It’s the Bohonagh Circle near Rosscarbery in Ireland. For me it’s the Golden Eagle Circle. I was lucky enough to spend several days traipsing around these pillars and the vicinity back in 2004 when I traveled to Ireland with my good friend Tilly Engholm. She was my next-door neighbor in Portland then, an avid traveler, and we had a great time on this trip–although as I wandered from circle to circle, she began to weary of stones. Once she sighed and asked, “We’re going to go see more rocks, aren’t we, Janet?” And I had to admit we were. I do love the stone circles and the power I feel in them. Fortunately, Tilly was agreeable.

I wrote Book One, Whisper of Wings, that year. Since then, I’ve spent most of my time focused on Crete, where Books Two through Four are centered. It’s lovely to be experiencing Ireland again–and England, with a few scenes on the coast of Brittany and in what is now Portugal.

I’m excited that a new story is taking off and look forward to immersing myself in it. If you don’t hear from me as often in the next few weeks, that’s where I’ll be–Ireland and the High Lakes and the plains of Wessex and those other places–from roughly 1406 B.C. to 1390 B.C., exploring the mysterious circles and other rocks scattered over the British Isles and Western Europe like interlaced webs of stone.

Check out the revisions on my website. Cheers!


The Shifting Winds Online

ShiftingWinds cover jpegUpdate: The release date has changed, as some of you may have noticed. The book is now set to come out on March 1, 2016, one month earlier than planned. And the publisher has slightly tweaked the cover art, making the “F” in the author’s name more readable.

My upcoming book, historical novel The Shifting Winds, has appeared on the online sites like Amazon and Barnes & Noble for pre-order.

You’ll also find it listed on Indie Bound. That’s a cool site where you can put in your zip code and find a list of nearby independent bookstores that will offer the book for sale. I always like to support the local stores whenever possible.

Powell’s in Portland has it listed but no photo yet. That’s almost local for us Oregonians.

And if we’re talking Portland, there’s my once-upon-a-time neighborhood store from when I lived in Portland, Annie Bloom’s Books in Multnomah Village, and they have it listed too. Yay!

Other sites include Books-A-Million and of course the publisher, Globe Pequot Press, TwoDot imprint, under the Rowman & Littlefield banner.

It’s always exciting to see the book go online. That’s when the dreams begin to whisper of a tangible, holdable bit of substance.


New Book Cover

ShiftingWinds_EcoverMy editor at Globe Pequot Press just sent the cover art for my new novel which is coming out next April, and here it is. Very evocative, as she said. I like it. Looks like a typical Oregon timbered mountain, appropriate for the story of a young Oregon pioneer woman caught in the changing winds of her time.

ShiftingWinds_EcoverHere’s a smaller view for the overall effect. It’s exciting to see the book’s face. Makes it feel more real, like something I’ll be able to hold in my hands one day soon.

I also love those words “A NOVEL,” because I’ve been writing novels for a while, and I’m so happy to see this favorite leading the way for me in fiction. It feels as if the winds are shifting in the right direction. Cheers!!! 🙂



Society208-Photo courtesy of Clackamas County Historical Society, All Rights Reserved

Woo-hoo!! Another book!

I’m thrilled to announce I sold my second book, this one a historical novel of early Oregon. My agent Rita Rosenkranz just closed the deal with the editor of my previous book, Erin Turner of Globe Pequot Press. It will come out in April 2016 under the TwoDot imprint, the same as A Place of Her Own. The photo above is a lithograph by J. H. Richardson showing Oregon City in the 1840s, the primary setting of the new book, tentatively entitled The Shifting Winds.

It’s the story of reluctant Oregon pioneer Jennie Haviland whose father decides, against her wishes, to take the family west to the wilderness of 1842 Oregon. Two men there vie for Jennie, one British, one American, as their two countries vie for the contested Oregon land. But Jennie wants choices of her own.

The Oregon City shown in the lithograph is the hometown Jennie would have known soon after her family arrived at the end of the long Oregon Trail.

I wrote this book some years ago when my focus first turned to stories of Oregon pioneers. After succeeding in selling the story of my pioneer great-great-grandmother, released in 2014, I brought this one out and gave it a polish, hoping my editor would like it too. And yay! She did! It has always been one of my favorites. I had such fun reworking it and look forward to sharing it now with readers.

Although A Place of Her Own reads like fiction it was sold as non-fiction. This new one brings me over to the world of fiction, in this case, fiction set in the midst of historic events with some real people, like legendary mountain man Joe Meek and Hudson’s Bay Company Chief Factor John McLoughlin. It falls solidly into the category of historical fiction.

Please join me in a cheer for book number two!! 🙂 🙂 🙂


Birthing a Book

Martha’s book is in production now and I’ve found a rare break in this busy fall to give a progress report. Since last I posted on this blog, I’ve had two more deadlines. And we renamed the book, yet again, with new wording on the subtitle. I really like this one. As the sales department suggests, it shows this book is more than just another biography. There’s a strong link to the present. This title should be the keeper. It’s in the publisher’s catalog and on It is now:

A Place of Her Own: The Legacy of Oregon Pioneer Martha Poindexter Maupin

Late in September I received the manuscript back from the copyeditor for my review. My friends from my old Montana critique groups would smile to see all the changes made on my commas. They used to call me the comma queen. Ha! Looks as if I know nothing of commas. Actually, I think much of it has to do with style. I have a journalism degree and journalism style is open, the fewer commas the better. The publisher’s style is more closed. But I don’t pretend to have it all figured out. Other than that, the edits were fairly light, but the review took me awhile. I cannot read the book without seeing something that needs tweaked.

Then about  a week ago I received first pages, pdf files showing how the book will actually look, both text and photo pages. How exciting! It really begins to feel real. And it’s beautiful. I love the font on the text. Photos look great. Even the old photos will be in color, which means those lovely brown tones for most of the digitized originals. Assuming the old pictures would be black and white I had turned in a black and white version of Martha’s old house, which I acquired from the local museum. Seeing the beauty in the brown tones, I wished I’d submitted a digitized version of the original—which I have. I suggested that to my production editor Lauren Brancato, in case it might not be too late. She assured me it wasn’t too late and they’ll just swap it out. I won’t go into detail on my trials at finding that photo—like locking myself out of the pickup on my way down the hill to pull it out of a file box I knew was in a safe place at my kids’ house. And it wasn’t there. A lot of scrambling and throwing boxes and voila. We found it. But nowhere near the place I was so sure it was. Anyway, another deadline met.

I must say the people at Globe Pequot Press are wonderful to work with. It’s been a delightful process.

Meanwhile, I’m doing a major redraft of one of my earlier books, and hope to move it onto the viable list soon. And the farm has had its share of challenges, with sudden fall rains threatening the logging operation I needed to pay my bills for the year. Luckily we got the Indian summer I was hoping for and we managed to get the last logs off the mountain. I could identify with the struggles my ancestors faced in salvaging their crops and getting them to market.

So, all that is why there’s been a large gap in my blog posts. Today I am not hurrying to do anything. 🙂