Three Ways I Relax After A Book Release

Three Ways I Relax After A Book Release

I absolutely love writing, but I have to confess: releasing a book is hard work! Somewhere in the middle of my 11 book releases, I finally learned that post book-launch I need some serious TLC. So, in order to make sure I’m fully rested and recharged, I’ve developed my own relaxation routine that I always follow after the first rush of book launch activities. As of May 5th, Tiffany Girl was released into the book stores. Before and after that date I’ve been doing book tours, online events, live events, social media parties and all kinds of things. But now I’m back home and have officially started my post-release routine.

1. Have A "Read-Fest" 

First thing on my agenda: Get some alone time and recharge. I do this by gathering up my to-be-read pile of books, order out for pizza with extra tomato sauce, a chocolate molten dessert, and a real Coke. Then I curl up in a quiet corner of the house with our sweet border collie and read, read, read. Everyone knows that Mom is refueling and they are so sweet to honor this quiet time for me. This time around, the first book in my pile is The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle..

2. Spend Quality Time with Family

Collin Hauser performing at The Kessler in Dallas, Texas ... From L to R: Collin, Deeanne, youngest daughter, oldest daughter, son-in-law. (Missing is my husband and our two sons who were not able to make the concert because they were not in town.)

Collin Hauser performing at The Kessler in Dallas, Texas ... From L to R: Collin, Deeanne, youngest daughter, oldest daughter, son-in-law. (Missing is my husband and our two sons who were not able to make the concert because they were not in town.)

Between writing next year’s book and all the promotion involved in releasing this year’s book, the six months leading to launch is really intense and requires a lot of attention and energy. I think it’s safe to say that by the time the book comes out, my family feels a little neglected and I crave some quality time with them, as well. Catching up with them is such a joy-filled time. It can be as simple as dinner or as elaborate as a full-on vacation. This time, I went with my daughters and son-in-law to a concert where the youngest daughter’s young man was performing. So, so special! As an additional treat, my husband has arranged it so that in a few weeks we’ll get to see not only the girls, but our sons too as we take them all to Hawaii. I CANNOT wait!

3. Girl Time

My friends get just as neglected as my family during my book releases. Lunch dates and girls nights are very few and far between. So we’ve a lot of catching up to do right about now.

How do you relax after a busy few months? You can share your suggestions with me by posting on my Facebook page or tweeting me @DeeanneGist. I just might incorporate your ideas into my routine next time!

A Family Full of Entrepreneurs

A Family Full of Entrepreneurs

Some of you may have read my article on Maria Schriver’s website about how I struggled to turn my passions into a real career. It’s been a tough journey, but it’s been worth it!

Well, entrepreneurship must run in the family, because my wonderful niece, Hannah, is starting on the same adventure herself! She has an amazing idea for a fun new children's’ toy called Snapdragons, stuffed animals that have mix-and-matchable parts. I thought I’d find out more and share her story with you. 

 

Deeanne: How did you come up with the idea for Snapdragons?

Hannah: The idea for Snapdragons came from a book I used to read with my grandma when I was a kid. It was called Croc-Gu-Phant, and it was a spiral-bound picture book. Each page had a picture of a different animal standing on its hind legs. The pages were cut into thirds, and they all flipped independently, so you could have a crocodile head on a jaguar body with elephant legs. There were so many different combinations you could make, and my grandma and I never got tired of playing with it!

Well, I took that idea and thought, "Why couldn't we make that 3-dimensional?"

Deeanne: Starting a business, even as a side project, is usually considered a risky move. What motivated you to start your own business?

Hannah Alvarez. Inventor of SNAPDRAGONS.

Hannah Alvarez. Inventor of SNAPDRAGONS.

Hannah: I'd been dreaming up the idea for Snapdragons for a few years, but for some reason, I had just never gotten up the nerve to go out and make it happen. Last fall, though, it hit me: if I don't get going now, I may never do it. I have this idea, and the only thing stopping me is my own doubts. I thought it would be so sad if one day I woke up and realized I never even tried to make my dream come to life. So I got to work!

Deeanne: Did you have a favorite stuffed animal as a child that inspired Snapdragons?

Hannah: I loved stuffed animals so much as a kid... and I still do! I was an only child, so my stuffed animals were some of my best friends! I had plush rabbits and dogs and tigers and every animal you could think of. But I could never pick a favorite, which is part of the idea with Snapdragons. Kids don't have to stick with one favorite; they can keep mixing them up and rearranging them whenever they want.

Deeanne: Mix-and-match stuffed animals are such an interesting idea! You have to tell us, which creative creature combination do you like best?

Hannah: I've been having a ton of fun playing with the Snapdragons prototypes at home, and I thought I had made some pretty cute combinations, but I didn't even realize how fun they could be until I actually watched kids playing with them. They're way more creative than us grownups! One of the little girls who playtested the prototypes made a lion with six legs, a tail on its head, and horns on the side like spikes. I had never thought of that combination, so that's got to be my favorite!

I love this! Such a neat idea! If you want to learn more about Snapdragons, or see them in action -- CLICK HERE

 What Would They Wear in 2015: Reeve Wilder

What Would They Wear in 2015: Reeve Wilder

I’ve been having the best time with our “What Would They Wear in 2015” blogs. It’s just so much fun to imagine what my characters might be like if they were around today. I’ve done this before with a few of my leading ladies, Flossie Jayne and Constance Morrow, but never with one of my leading men. So today, to change things up a bit, I’m going to tell you a bit about Reeve Wilder—Tiffany Girl’s leading man—and show you what I think he might wear if he were around in 2015. Then, you can head over to my group Pinterest board and show me how YOU think he would dress. Ok, let’s get started!

Men’s clothing was very formal in the 1890s. Sometimes, I wish today’s guys appreciated dressing up as much as men did back at the turn of the century. I totally get that comfort is key, but baggy jeans and an old sweatshirt just don’t have it goin’ on the way a double-breasted suit does!

Since Reeve was quite the ambitious, career-minded young fellow, he would want to dress nicely, but not to appear overdressed. His job as a reporter sent him all over the city, so he would want to be able to move around easily while still looking professional. On most days, he would wear a frock coat, with one row of buttons over a vest, a pair of trousers and of course, a hat. 

For Reeve, my celebrity inspiration was a young Jude Law. I love that he’s so totally, classically handsome, but also looks like he would be a warm-hearted man when you get to know him --  just like Reeve! 

Since Reeve was an ambitious young working professional, I think if he were living in 2015, he would have the business casual style down pat. He would shop at stores like J.Crew and Banana Republic and pair dress pants with crisp shirts, sweaters and vests. Don’t these young men look so dapper? 

Now it's your turn! Find an outfit you think Reeve would wear today, and add it to my Group Pinterest Board. Just comment here or send me a message with your email address and I’ll add you to the group board so you can pin away!  Or, you can simply leave your outfit ideas here or on my Facebook page and I’ll make sure they get pinned!

Inside Flossie’s Childhood Home

Inside Flossie’s Childhood Home

Visiting New York City as a novelist verses a tourist changes the entire experience. The first time I ever went to the city, I was a tourist in every sense of the word and hit all the not-to-be-missed places (Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Times Square, Central Park, Broadway, etc.). But when I visited to research Tiffany Girl, I looked at the city through a whole different lens. One of the things I fell in love with was the beautiful brownstone homes on the city’s Upper West Side.

As soon as I walked past a row of those charming buildings, I knew I would have to make one of them the fictional childhood home of my heroine Flossie Jayne. The Upper West Side was quite the swanky neighborhood and too expensive for her family, so I put them on the very fringes of it and made it so her father was living beyond his means. The beautiful artistry and design that goes into these buildings makes them feel like the perfect place for a budding young artist to grow up. See what I mean?

New York City brownstone homes were (and still are) usually quite long and narrow, with the biggest rooms in the very front and very back of the house. Because they were built upward, not outward, these homes usually had 2-4 levels, with bedrooms, parlors and sitting rooms spread across several different floors. Could you imagine walking up and down those flights stairs all day long? Yikes!

Since Flossie was an only child, the Jayne family didn’t need to have quite as much space as their friends with big families, so a home with two levels provided more than enough room for all of them.

Flossie would have spent the majority of her childhood in the sitting room, where she and her mother sewed fancy dresses for the upper class ladies of New York City. While she was hard at work, Flossie could look out the window and watch the people strolling through the north end of Stuyvesant Park. Not a bad view, right? 

I like to imagine that Flossie’s childhood bedroom would have been tasteful and elegant, just like her. She would have had a four poster bed with white lace detailing on her bedding and a big, colorful rug on the floor. Remember how she decorated her room at the boardinghouse with her paintings? They would have been all over the walls in her childhood room too, along with prints of other artists she admired. I think Flossie would have had a dressing room table with a mirror where she would sit when she got ready in the mornings, and a rocking chair in the corner perfect for painting and reading.

What kind of picture of Flossie’s childhood home do you get in your head while reading the first scenes of Tiffany Girl? Have you ever been in a brownstone? Share your thoughts with me on my Facebook page, or on Twitter

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Before the Thanksgiving turkey is even off the table, my Christmas wish list is in the works, but I’ve never really made one for Mother’s Day. Yet I have to tell you, I’ve found the COOLEST thing: tin plates—the same tin you see in decorative cans people put cookies in, but these plates have replicas of museum-quality designs on them. Think outdoor BBQ meets English high tea. They come in all different designs based on patterns the royals chose and are perfect for when you want things to look pretty, but you don’t want to worry about anything breaking. Anyway, I told the kids that for the next several years, this is what I’d like every Christmas, Mother’s Day, and birthday until I have a complete collection (or two).

Do you make a Mother’s Day wish list? What would you put on it?

Tiffany Girl is Here!

Tiffany Girl is Here!

After months and months of waiting, Tiffany Girl is finally hitting the shelves TODAY! My eleventh book. Whodathunk? Especially since I have dyslexia. Yep. Up until my junior year in high school, my dad and I would sit on the couch as he read my textbooks to me. Then, my senior year, something magical happened. Whatever needed to fuse in my brain, fused (which sometimes happens with dyslexic adolescents). All of a sudden, I could read by myself. I was very slow at reading (still am), but I could definitely do it without help.

It opened up a whole new world for me—including reading for pleasure (because before, reading had been a torturous process). It is for that reason that I am particularly thrilled and honored that Givington’s is doing a 30% off sale on Tiffany Girl and with every purchase, a portion of the sales will be donated to Dore—a nonprofit whose mission is to help children with learning disabilities become better students and athletes.

To sweeten the pot even more, we’re doing a Bubbles, Baths & Books giveaway ($100 value) for any who order Tiffany Girl during the first week of this promotion.

I’ve had the best time going on this journey with you--from coming up with the idea for Tiffany Girl to my research process, to writing and developing the characters. Once you’ve started reading it, I’d LOVE to hear from you! You can send all of your questions and comments my way by writing on my Facebook wall, or tweeting me at @DeeanneGist. I’m so excited to hear what you think! 

Get To Know The Heroine and Hero in Tiffany Girl

Get To Know The Heroine and Hero in Tiffany Girl

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The heroes and heroines of my books spend a lot of time inside my head, and by the time each manuscript is done, I feel like I know them almost as well as I know my own family members. Some writers like to call their characters their “imaginary friends,” and I think that’s a pretty accurate description!

As I’ve prepared to send Tiffany Girl out into the world, I’ve tried to help you get to know the main characters from the book. That’s why I’ve shared things like my character quiz and bookmarks these last few weeks. But somehow, it felt like something was still missing. I can’t duplicate what it’s like for characters to live inside your head, so I thought I'd do the next best thing: I'll give you a little bit deeper peek at Flossie Jayne and Reeve Wilder, the main characters from Tiffany Girl

Flossie Jayne drawn by artist Monica Bruenjes who rendered artwork on Flossie's behalf for Tiffany Girl and signed it as such.

Flossie Jayne drawn by artist Monica Bruenjes who rendered artwork on Flossie's behalf for Tiffany Girl and signed it as such.

Flossie Jayne

Though Flossie was born in Newport Beach, Virginia in 1871, she only lived there for four years before her packed their bags and headed out to the Big Apple. 

Once in New York, Flossie’s father quickly established his barbershop and her mother found success by making the most beautiful, elaborate dresses for the wealthy women in New York’s high society circles. Because they had some extra money coming in from the sewing business (and because Flossie was an only child), Flossie’s parents were able to dote on her and allow her to enjoy lots of luxuries that her friends could only dream of. She visited art galleries, went on fun day trips with her parents, took up art as a hobby and wore beautiful clothes designed by her mother. Flossie was the apple of her parents’ eye. Because of that, she thought of herself as a “special snowflake” -- something that challenges her quite a bit on her journey through Tiffany Girl.


Reeve Wilder

Reeve, unfortunately, didn’t have the same kind of upbringing that Flossie did. When he was just four years old, his mother came down with tuberculosis and passed away soon after. He was then raised by his grandparents, who were lacking in the affection department (hard to imagine, right? I always expect grandparents to be full of love and hugs, but not these two). Despite his tough childhood, he grows up and begins to want a home of his own -- somewhere he knows he finally belongs. This makes him an advocate for traditional family structures, and he’s pretty skeptical of “New Women” in general, and Flossie in particular. To say she irks him is an understatement!

Do you know anyone in real life who reminds you of Flossie or Reeve? Give me the scoop over on Facebook!

 

 

Reeve Wilder drawn by Flossie (aka artist Monica Bruenjes).

Reeve Wilder drawn by Flossie (aka artist Monica Bruenjes).

It Started in an Attic--My inspiration for Tiffany Girl

It Started in an Attic--My inspiration for Tiffany Girl

A rendering of Clara Driscoll by artist Monica Bruenjes (taking on the role of my heroine Flossie Jayne--who "signed" the piece.)

A rendering of Clara Driscoll by artist Monica Bruenjes (taking on the role of my heroine Flossie Jayne--who "signed" the piece.)

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I’ll bet you’d never guess where I found my inspiration for Tiffany Girl and its leading lady, Flossie Jayne. My mom! Yup. She’s been responsible for giving me ideas for books I’ve written in the past—and some I have yet to write. So, how did she find out about the Tiffany Girls? A History Detective PBS show she was watching mentioned them and she knew right away I’d be interested in those girls. Boy, was she ever right! What I didn’t expect, was to find myself going through boxes and boxes of handwritten letters from the 1890s by the head of Tiffany’s Women’s Department.

The manager's name was Clara Driscoll and during her tenure there, she exchanged “round robin” letters with her family. The way these worked is, Mother would write a letter to Clara. Clara would add on to her mom’s letter and send the whole thing to her sister. Then, her sister would add on to those and send it to their Aunt Jo. Aunt Jo would do the same and send it back to Mom. Then they’d start all over again. Fun, right? I like to think of it as the turn of the century version of group texting.

Several generations later, a distant relative found the letters in an attic and donated them to a local historical society. It was there, in 2005, that scholars discovered the truth about who actually designed some of Tiffany’s work, and boy, were they shocked. 

For in Clara’s letters, she not only chit-chatted about life in NYC, but she also revealed snippets about her work and where her ideas came from. One letter even describes how she got the idea for the famous dragonfly Tiffany lamp while on a bike ride. She saw a dragonfly and suddenly, her creative wheels were turning just as fast as her bicycle wheels were!

From what Clara wrote to her family, it was clear that the Women’s Glass Cutting Department was responsible for designing not just the Dragonfly Lamp, but a number of Tiffany's most iconic designs -- designs that Louis Comfort Tiffany himself took credit for. His justification for this was to preserve the Tiffany brand and he evidently didn’t want any interference on that from his employees. I’ve often wondered what the girls felt about it. If they were unhappy over it, though, I never saw anything in Clara’s letters to indicate it. Still, I’d have been pretty exasperated if some man tried to take credit for my work like that!

One of their most important projects was the Tiffany Chapel for the Chicago World’s Fair—it’s what got them hired in the first place. You’ll see the Tiffany Girls spending a lot of time on that chapel in my new book.

So that’s how did I found out about all of this and now, here we are! Just a week away from the launch of Tiffany Girl. The episode on PBS’s History Detectives that my mom watched is right here! The portion on the Tiffany Girls starts at marker 37:46. I wish I’d discovered it before I wrote the book. If I had, I would have included the Tiffany Girl their segment features.

What would you do if you knew a man was taking credit for your work? Head on over to my Facebook page -- we’ll chat about it there!

Which Tiffany Girl Are You?

I heard from so many of you after you took our quiz—you know, the one that helped you figure out which of my books you should read next. Wasn’t it fun? I just LOVED it when you posted which book you’d been matched to—especially when it was your favorite one! Even I took the quiz. Can you guess which book I was matched with? (Hint: The heroine is a bloomer-wearing, independent woman who hikes up her skirts when bike riding through town.)


Since the last quiz was so much fun, I thought we’d do another one, except this one features the characters from my new book, Tiffany Girl! By answering a handful of questions about things like your favorite hobbies and how you relax after a long day, you’ll find out which Tiffany Girl character is most like you! Are you artistic like Flossie? Hardworking like Clara? Stern like Nan? Or strong-willed like Aggie? I think I might have a touch of all four. Maybe what they say about us authors putting a little bit of ourselves into each of our characters really is true!

Anyway, to find out which Tiffany Girl you would be, you can take the quiz here! After you’re done, head over to my Facebook page and tell me about your results. I’m so excited to hear who you end up matched with! If you have any questions about the characters, feel free to post those as well. I’ll try my best to answer them without giving anything away! 

A Fun Way to Mark Your Page

When you’re about to put down a book, are you the kind of person who reaches for a bookmark, or are you more likely to dog-ear your page? I’m totally a bookmark girl myself! And though I tend to use random slips of paper as bookmarks, lately I’ve been nostalgic for those colorful bookmarks that my kids used to collect when they were in elementary school. They’re a far cry from the crumpled coffee receipt I usually use!

This got me thinking: wouldn’t it be fun to create Tiffany Girl-themed bookmarks that you could download, print out and mark your page with when you read the new book? Then I had another idea: Since Tiffany Girl’s main character, Flossie Jayne, is an aspiring artist, what if illustrator Monica Bruenjes “played Flossie” and drew up sketches of the four main characters from the book? Then I could add a few must-know details about each of them to help you get to know the main players in the story before you start reading. So that’s just what we did.

FlossieJayne

When you print them out, be sure to take a close look at the portraits and you’ll see that Monica signed the illustrations with Flossie’s name. Pretty cool that Flossie made a few bookmarks for us, right? ;-)

To get your set, just head on over to the bookmarks page where you can find instructions for downloading and printing out your copies. When you’re done, let’s meet up on my Facebook page. I’d love to chat with you more over there about Flossie Jayne and the rest of the Tiffany Girl crew!



Heroes and Heartthrobs: Four Traits of the Men I Love Writing (and Reading) About

Heroes and Heartthrobs: Four Traits of the Men I Love Writing (and Reading) About

Okay, I’ll admit it -- I have a “type.”  You can probably tell from my tall jock of a husband and from the leading men that always find their way into my books. What can I say, I just fancy a certain kind of hero. Tall, handsome and respectful -- it’s hard for any girl to resist that combination, isn’t it?!

While I was creating Reeve Wilder, (my newest guy who you’ll get to know in Tiffany Girl) I noticed that my male heroes tend to share a few qualities, like these:

They’re Alpha Males

Ohhhh how I love a good Alpha Male! Alpha Males are masculine, strong, driven, and oh-so-irresistible. They like to be in control and always want to appear like they have it all together. An Alpha Male hero tends to take himself way too seriously, so it’s great fun when the heroine asserts herself or teases him.  As much as the alpha male hates that, he can’t help but secretly respect her gumption—which is what ultimately draws him to her.

They’re Respectful

My heroes MUST be respectful, especially with women. They’re the kind of guys you’d see helping a little old lady across the street or picking up a glove that someone dropped on the sidewalk. Some people might say chivalry is dead, but not in my book. I love that my man still opens my car door for me—every single time. And our son opens doors and pulls out chairs when he’s out on dates. Is that so sweet? Gotta love it.

They’re Handsome

I know, I know, looks aren’t everything! But my smart and strong heroines need equally good looking men to fall in love with, so my heroes are almost always that classic combo: tall, dark and handsome. I’m a sucker for a guy who has to duck to get through the doorway. Good thing I married one!

They're Flawed

My heroes absolutely must have a flaw or two. That’s what makes stories interesting, I think—watching how the characters overcome their own worst enemy … themselves!

So there you have it: the top traits of the men I love to write (and read) about.  Are yours any different? You can share the things you love about the literary heroes and heartthrobs in your favorite books with me on Twitter or on my Facebook page. I can’t wait to hear whether you go for the tall, dark and handsome type too!

Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt: Stop #17 (Pink Team)

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Welcome to the Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt! To find a summary of all of the workings of the hunt, visit this page on Lisa Tawn Bergren’s site

I am a part of TEAM PINK, and this is Stop 17.

If you’re just joining us, there are two loops—pink and purple—and they begin at Lisa Bergren’s site and Robin Lee Hatcher’s site for stop #1 for either stream. If you complete either the pink loop or purple loop, you can enter for a Kindle Paperwhite and the 17 autographed books from that loop. If you complete BOTH loops, you can enter for the Grand Prize of a Kindle Fire HDX and ALL 34 autographed books.

The Hunt begins at NOON Mountain time on April 16 and ends at midnight Mountain on April 19, 2015, so you have a long weekend to complete all 34 stops and maximize your chances at prizes!

BE SURE to keep track of the clues at the bottom of every post in the loop and the favorite number mentioned. You’ll need those clues to enter for the loop prize and every number mentioned in order to enter for the grand prize.

ALSO, please don’t use Internet Explorer to navigate through the loops. Some websites won’t show up using IE. Please use Chrome or Firefox—thanks!

So now, without further ado, it’s my pleasure to introduce you to my special guest for the Scavenger Hunt:

ROBIN LEE HATCHER

Though I’d seen Robin’s books on the shelves for many years, I didn’t actually meet her until we were both nominated for a RITA award. I was instantly struck by her genuineness and warmth. I was so excited to find out that I get to host her as part of the spring Scavenger Hunt!

Now for the official bio:

Best-selling novelist Robin Lee Hatcher is known for her heartwarming and emotionally charged stories of faith, courage, and love. The recipient of Lifetime Achievement Awards from both Romance Writers of America and American Christian Fiction Writers, Robin has authored over 75 books. She and her husband make their home in Idaho where she enjoys spending time with her family, her high-maintenance Papillon, Poppet, and Princess Pinky, the DC (demon cat).

 

And here is the summary of her latest book:

Will writing a romance help this author find a real-life hero?

Charity Anderson turned her back on Kings Meadow years ago, with good reason, and has avoided visits to her hometown whenever possible. But with her house in Boise damaged by floodwaters and a book deadline bearing down, staying in her parents’ empty home seems her only option. However, being in Kings Meadow dredges up a painful secret, and old fears threaten to overwhelm her.

Charity’s former high school classmate Buck Malone never left town, instead sacrificing his dreams to take care of his family. Now he enjoys an uncomplicated life as a wilderness guide and confirmed bachelor. The last thing on his mind is settling down.

When Charity’s dog causes an accident that leaves Buck with a broken ankle and wrist at the start of prime tourist season, Charity has little choice but to render aid while he recuperates.  Soon Buck becomes the inspiration for Charity’s hero, both on the page and off. Can he also help her face and overcome her fears so they might find their own happily ever after?

  • RT Book Reviews TOP PICK
  • Library Journal STARRED REVIEW
  • Buy Robin's Book: Amazon | B&N | CBD

And now here is Robin's exclusive content just for the scavenger hunt:

If you’ve read my novels or my Facebook page, you probably already know that I passionately love my native state of Idaho. I love it from its high desert country in the south to its pine covered mountains just about everywhere else.

Most people outside of Idaho think of potatoes when you mention the state. And it’s true. We grow great potatoes in soil made rich by volcanic ash. But did you know there is more wilderness area in Idaho than in any other state except Alaska? Did you know Idaho’s nickname is the “Gem State” because nearly every known type of gemstone has been found there? Did you know that Shoshone Falls is higher than Niagara Falls? Did you know that the deepest river gorge in North America is Hells Canyon, carved through a portion of western Idaho by the Snake River? Did you know that we have award-winning wineries and beautiful orchards? Did you know that National Geographic named one of our lakes (Lake Pend Orielle) one of the five most beautiful in the world? Did you know that more gold came out of Idaho’s gold rush than from either the California gold rush or the Klondike gold rush?

 

And those facts are only the tip of the iceberg.

"I have set my books in locations all over the state, but most often, I set them in the southwest section, within about a hundred miles of the capital city of Boise, places that have been my stomping grounds (and horseback riding grounds) all of my life.

When I was in elementary school, we often sang Idaho’s state song, And Here We Have Idaho. The music was copyrighted in 1915, and a University of Idaho student wrote the chorus in 1917. Here are those words from the chorus:

And here we have Idaho,

Winning her way to fame.

Silver and gold in the sunlight blaze,

And romance lies in her name.

Singing, we’re singing of you,

Ah, proudly too. All our lives thru,

We’ll go singing, singing of you,

Singing of Idaho.

"It’s a beautiful state song that represents the beauties of the state I call home. If you’d like to hear it preformed, you can click HERE for a YouTube video."

 

THE SCAVENGER HUNT SKINNY

Thanks for stopping by the hunt! Before you go, make sure you write down these clues:

Secret Word(s):

Secret Number:

5.jpg

I chose the number 5 because it's the day (in May) when Tiffany Girl comes out! Woot!

Got 'em down?? Great! Your next stop is #18, Robin Lee Hatcher's site. Click on over there now. And if you get lost, a complete list of the loop with links can be found at our mother host’s site.

WAIT!! Before you go,

you should enter my Bonus Giveaway!

10 lucky winners will receive an autographed hardback copy of It Happened at the Fair from my World's Fair series. To qualify, just head over to the landing page and fill out the form. We'll let you know if you won!

Happy hunting!
Deeanne

How I Plan My Writing Research Trips

How I Plan My Writing Research Trips

I spend six months researching each book I write. I gave you a little glimpse at what that process looked like for Tiffany Girl in my interview post a few weeks ago, but today, I thought it would be fun to go deeper into one of my very favorite parts of my research: travel!

Just arrived, on the steps of the New York City Library

Just arrived, on the steps of the New York City Library

It’s so exciting to see all the places my characters might have visited and imagine how they would have lived their lives. From the outside looking in, I’m sure touring exciting places like New York City and soaking up historical details hardly sounds like work, right?! But trust me, it is. Each day I hit the pavement early and don’t get back to the hotel until after dark.

The minimum amount of time I need to get a good feel for the setting and to make it to all the stops I have on my list is ten days. Before I leave my house in Texas, I like to do as much reading about the history of the city I’m visiting as I possibly can so that I know where to go and what to look out for. I’ve gotta be a woman with a plan because once I arrive, there are too many places to visit and too little time. It’s always a total whirlwind!

Here’s the Museum of the City of New York, where I discovered the Old Maid board game my characters played in Tiffany Girl.

Here’s the Museum of the City of New York, where I discovered the Old Maid board game my characters played in Tiffany Girl.

Historical societies, local libraries, museums and the local section of a used bookstore always make it onto my must-stop list. There are lots of hidden gems to be found at places like those. In my case, hidden gems usually take the form of two boxes full of used, dusty books to take back home with me. Sometimes, I get really lucky, and find a book that was written at the turn of the century!

On my latest research trip to New York, I spent tons of time at the Historical Society taking photos of all the Tiffany Lamps they had on display. Aren’t they SO beautiful?

After raiding the local bookstores and the other mainstays, I like to take long walks around the city (and go on a bus tour if they have one) to get a taste of the local culture. I try to stick as much as I can to the same streets and neighborhoods where my characters would have spent their time. That helps so much down the road when I have a lot of descriptive writing to tackle! 

Next up, I pay a visit to a local historic home from the time period that my book is set in. Sometimes, it’s tough to find one that’s still standing, but I usually manage. During my Tiffany Girl research trip, I got to tour the Rockefeller estate in Kykuit, and I had a blast! It was so neat to imagine the Rockefellers walking through the halls and playing in the gardens.

These trips may seem like a great opportunity for a vacation, but I always go alone and they’re not at all relaxing. I’m paying attention to all the nitty-gritty details so that when it comes time to sit down and write, I don’t leave out a single detail. I do have one confession, though. I did make just a little time for a  show during my New York trip. I simply couldn’t resist and managed to snag some tickets to Cinderella on Broadway during opening week.

Ohmygosh, it was soooooo good!

Three Essentials Every Writer Needs in Her Office

Three Essentials Every Writer Needs in Her Office

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I absolutely adore my job. Sure, there are days when the research can become overwhelming and the words just won’t flow onto the page. But most of the time, I feel so unbelievably lucky that I get to wake up, sit down in my sunny office with a big ol’ cup of coffee and spend the day going back in time.

I’ll tell you something I don’t like about being a writer, though: the deadlines. They’re totally a necessary evil—if it weren’t for them I never would have researched, written and edited a book a year for the last eleven years--but sometimes, deadlines drive me a bit crazy!

Somewhere around my fourth or fifth book, though, I finally figured out a few routines and habits that make my deadline-driven work more bearable. If you ask me, it all starts with what you keep in your office.

So what’s on my desk? Here are three of the most important items. Take one of these away, and there’s a good chance I might miss my daily deadline. You don’t want to run into me on a day when that happens!

Keyboard Wrist Rest (boy, that’s a mouthful!)

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Sometimes I’ll be typing away for hours on end and not realize how long I’ve been holding my wrists in the same position. OUCH! These wrist rests (try saying that three times fast!) are great for, well, resting my tired wrists as I pound out one scene after another. If you’ve never used a wrist rest before, trust me, it could change your life!

A Beverage With Sugar or Caffeine

I’ll take any combination of sugar and caffeine I can get my hands on. Lattes, hot cocoa and sweet tea are constant companions at my desk. I love my beverages for the extra burst of energy they provide, but sometimes, its more about the routine than the caffeine itself. Some days, I’ll pour myself a cup of coffee and then let it sit untouched on my desk while I write. Something about having that steam and aroma in the air just gets my creative juices flowing!

Do Not Disturb Sign

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Okay, so this one isn’t technically on my desk, but it’s too important not to include. My cute little cross-stitched “GO AWAY” sign actually lives right outside my office, on my door handle. It’s probably more crucial to my ability to hit deadline than anything else. I sure do love my family, but distractions while I’m “in the zone” can really mess up my groove! A closed office door and a nice little Do Not Disturb sign are great tools for those who stop by know that I mean business today. Too bad Cowboy can’t read… 

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What items do you keep in your office to help you stay on top of your work? And are you as addicted to caffeine as I am? Let’s chat! You can find me on Twitter @DeeanneGist or on my Facebook page! 

Want a Sneak Peek at Tiffany Girl?

Want a Sneak Peek at Tiffany Girl?

Ohmygosh, can you believe we’re under a month away from the release of Tiffany Girl? I’m so excited that sometimes I feel tempted to count down not just the days, but also the hours and minutes until the book hits shelves. Let’s see...we’re 27 days away from May 5th...so that’s something like 648 hours or 38,880 minutes, right? Oh, golly. That took me forever to figure out and I have no idea if it’s even right. I guess there’s a reason I chose to go into writing, not math!

In any event, I realized I simply couldn’t wait another second to share the first few chapters of Tiffany Girl with you. So I asked the publisher if I could, and they said yes! Therefore, beginning this week, I’m sending out one new chapter of the book each week until May 5th, all the way up through the fourth chapter.

Want to get in on the preview?

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All you have to do to get your four chapters via email is pre-order Tiffany Girl, which you can do from almost any online bookseller (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, etc.), and then come back to my website to sign up. You’ll get the first chapter in your email this week, and the new chapters will come out each week on Tuesdays between now and May 5th.

Because we’ll all be reading the same chapters at the same time, I’d love to hear your feedback as you read through them! What are your thoughts on our characters? What questions do you have about what happens next? What are you predicting for our hero Reeve and our heroine Flossie? After you read your chapters, hop over to my Facebook page so we can chat! It’ll be like we’re one big book club!

Do you have any ideas that will help me pass the time until May 5th? If not, I’ll go back to my countdown. Must be something like 38,874 minutes now, right?!

A Trip Down Memory Lane: Women's Fashion (Part Two- 1930's to Today)

A Trip Down Memory Lane: Women's Fashion (Part Two- 1930's to Today)

Tell the truth: Do you have a stockpile of old clothes saved somewhere that you just can’t bare to get rid of despite the fact that you know they’re totally out of fashion? I know I do! And I’m not talking about the vintage gowns I love to collect. Those are worth hanging onto! I’m talking about my washed out old bell bottoms from the 70s and my sweaters with shoulder pads from the 80s (remember my story about those from last week?). I know I’d probably be too embarrassed to step out of the house in any of those outfits (and yes, my kids think my old clothes are just hilarious), but they hold too many memories for me to even consider parting with them. Please tell me I’m not alone here!

Last week, we took a look at how trends evolved from the 1890s to the 1920s, which gave me a chance to use some of the crazy amounts of research I’ve done while writing my books. But this week, we’re looking at trends from the 1930s to today, and let me tell you, writing this post felt way more personal for me. I remember trying out so many of these trends myself and thinking I was the coolest cat in town.

Keep reading to revisit fashions from the 1930s to today and then hop over to my Facebook page and tell me about your best (or most embarrassing) fashion experiments from years past. Bonus points for sharing a picture or two!

1930-1940

Believe it or not, the Great Depression didn’t put a damper on fashion. We can thank the 1930s for giving us synthetic fabrics, costume jewelry like Chanel’s signature faux pearls, and most importantly, zippers, which made their debut at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair! I can’t imagine having to deal every day with those impossible hook-and-eye closures that were popular before the 1930s, can you? Thank goodness we were born in the age of the zipper!

1940-1950

World War II was much harder on fashion than the Great Depression, and even resulted in regulations on how much fabric could be used for civilian clothing. People became very thrifty during this era. Remember Rosie the Riveter? That red headscarf she was wearing was probably a hand-me-down from her mom or her grandmother. So what was the major trend from this decade? One word: pants. As more women joined the workforce (some of them motivated by the image of Rosie!), it became more acceptable for ladies to wear pants instead of skirts and dresses. But Rome wasn’t conquered in a day. When I was a kid in the seventies, I was sent home for wearing pants to school instead of a skirt!

1950-1960