Friday, November 25, 2016

Thanksgiving is over, except for the leftover turkey and pie and the warm feeling of being around family and friends that lingers on. It is nice to have a holiday that is all about appreciation and gratitude, and I am so grateful for so many blessings in my own life. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving as well.

In a side note, this morning I finally finished reading Moby Dick. Hurray! The last thrilling chapters proved why it's a contender for the Great American Novel. Like Shakespeare, Melville ranges from comedy to tragedy in one story and creates unforgettable characters. The climax had me biting my fingernails. I also learned more about whales than I really wanted to, but if you can make it through the portions about the different parts of the whale, its history in art and literature, and the various techniques involved in hunting it, it's a rewarding read.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Moby Dick - What a Tale!

Have you ever picked up a book you once read long ago, and found it was like reading a completely different novel? While finishing up a couple of my own projects (which should have been finished a l-o-o-o-n-g time ago, but that's a whole different story) I happened to pick up Moby Dick, the classic by Herman Melville. I slogged through that book as an adolescent, primarily to be able to brag that I had actually read what many claimed to be the Great American Novel. I did find it boring and hard to finish, but I achieved my goal.

This time around--WHOA!

Okay, I'm only twenty-three chapters in, and the Pequod has just set out to sea, but no one told me that the first part of the book could be billed as a comedy! Herman Melville has such a wry, sarcastic humor, and he paints such a comic, vivid image of the colorful characters and setting in the beginning, that I have been cracking up out loud all the way! I guess I have broad enough background now to get tongue-in-cheek allusions, nor am I so intimidated that I believe everything an author says must be deadly serious. 

Yes, I know that the story is about to turn much darker, but so far I've been having a lot of fun with Ishmael and Queequeg. By the way, I even understood what "sons of bachelors" means now! :)

Monday, July 13, 2015

New Blog Site

Thanks to everyone who has viewed this blog! I am moving to Wordpress, so anyone who is interested can find me there. Still trying to get comfortable with the idea of blogging, but it's a great way to get to know people out there! :)

My new blog address is:

Hope to see you there!  - Cathy

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Writing Down the West

Do you have any idea how hard it is writing a western novel? I haven't read a Louis L'Amour book since I was a teenager, and my plots for historicals are usually set in England like the gothic stories I used to love by Phyllis Whitney and Victoria Holt.

On the other hand my interest in pioneers stems from my ancestors who crossed the plains in handcarts and covered wagons. And I love stories about children surviving on their own, like the ones in Seven AloneIsland of the Blue Dolphins, and Hatchet. During family hikes and car drives through the Rockies, I started to imagine a story about an orphaned brother and sister who were forced to take up adult responsibilities. How would they manage? How would it change them?

Next, the research started. It entailed much more than watching old episodes of Bonanza and Rawhide. Many readers are sticklers about what kind of weapons and ammunition were used at what time, how buffalo really react when shot, and so on, so preparing to write the novel took months of work, but it was fascinating as one topic led to another. I hope the final version of the novel recaptures the flavor of a tumultuous chapter in America's history, a time when the West was changed forever.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Colorful California Town Names

One of the things I love about living in Northern California is the colorful names of so many old Gold Rush towns. Yesterday I drove by Missouri Flats and Hangtown, also known as Dry Diggings and now officially named Placerville. Last week, I happened to pass by French Camp and Calaveras, the latter made famous by Mark Twain for its jumping frog contest, which just happens to be taking place this weekend.

Near Folsom lies what is left of Mormon Island (now buried under Folsom Lake), site of the first and richest diggings of the Gold Rush, and Negro Bar—a name that makes passers-by flinch, but by which it was historically known. Calistoga and its mud baths bring back memories of  Sam Brannan, the brash, flamboyantly ambitious first millionaire of the Gold Rush, drunkenly sputtering to his companions that the town would be "the Calistoga of Sarifornia!" (The Saratoga of California.) Wherever you drive in this part of the state, memories of the Gold Rush surround you.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Gold Rush Live

Dressing up for Fun and NonProfit

October 9-12 is Gold Rush Live at the Gold Discovery Site in Coloma, California. I was planning on being there with my friends in bonnet and petticoats, but instead my husband and I will be celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary that weekend.

Veteran's Day Parade, Folsom, CA

Seeing the date on my calendar reminded me of how fun reenacting is. I write historicals (among other genres) because there's nothing like experiencing the way things used to be. It makes it so real!

What hobbies do you have that are satisfying and enriching? Do people think you're a little crazy for indulging in those pastimes? Or do they think it's cool and support you?

Monday, August 11, 2014

Don't Judge a Book by Its Title....



Or should you? I'm looking for a great title for my historical novel with romantic elements about an idealistic young woman who tries to set up a utopian community in mid-1800s England and finds it's not as easy as she expects. Of course, she finds love and learns a few lessons along the way.

Read my previous posts for more background, and send me your ideas via "comments," along with a way for me to contact you (email is best). Winner will win a $25 Amazon gift card, and will be announced on Monday, August 19.