Not quite an epiphany… but definitely a moment of self-discovery. I don’t know why it surprised me. Except for a few years in Europe, a few in Missouri and then out in Eastern Washington, I’ve always been a midwesterner. Snow is in my blood. (Does that make me an ice queen? Princess Elsa from Frozen? Just cold-blooded, like a frog?) When I’m not writing, I’m usually sewing or quilting or doing some other kind of creative work that engages my hands but leaves my mind free to wander. Those are my opportunities to listen to audiobooks, which I enjoy very much, or to listen to trainings and podcasts for writers. Yesterday, I was listening to a speaker talk about finding the “theme” of your writing. She said that we all have a theme, not only to our lives but also throughout our writing. She wasn’t talking about the big picture, like “I am a Christian”, but about smaller things. What do all of my books have in common? My Great Lakes books (and all of my works-in-progress) feature a “restoring the years the locusts have eaten” sort of theme. My Glory Quilts books are about family and finding our place Read More
This week, I’m finishing up my Christmas novella, The Christmas Glory Quilt. It will be my contribution to the 2018 Christmas Lights novella collection: Comfort & Joy. This year’s collection is going to be bigger and better than ever before, with contemporary Christian Christmas stories from Alana Terry, April Hayman, Toni Shiloh, Chautona Havig and me. Isn’t it a beautiful cover? Frost Heaves by Alana Terry The Trouble with Christmas Cheer by April Hayman Deck the Shelves by Toni Shiloh The Christmas Glory Quilt by Cathe Swanson The Ghosts of New Cheltenham by Chautona Havig The Christmas Glory Quilt The Christmas Glory Quilt will be the first in a series with a seasonal quilt theme – Autumn Glory Quilt, Easter Glory Quilt, etc. (I still need to work on those titles!) Being an overachiever, I designed a quilt to go with the book and plan to offer the pattern as a bonus for early purchasers of the book. It was a busy summer – and I had to write the book! – so it took a long time just to get it pieced. Yesterday morning, my good friend and book cover designer, the multi-talented Chautona Havig, said, “I Read More
This year, my biggest Christmas gift is coming in October. It’s very exciting to be anticipating the release of my first published book, Snow Angels, as part of the Christmas Lights novella collection. Things got pretty wild here for a while – nine days before my editor’s deadline, I ended up in the hospital having an emergency appendectomy! Laparoscopic surgery is amazing, and it all went smoothly, but the nurse and some of my friends were right when they cautioned me to go slowly. I feel great, but I get tired out quickly. I finished the Snow Angels manuscript, revised it, and sent it off to the editor with ten minutes to spare before the deadline – and then I immediately wanted it back again, because I thought of so many things that needed to be changed. She wouldn’t give it back, so now I have to wait for her first round of corrections and revisions. I keep pestering her: “Are you finding many typos?” “What do you think of the sweater scene?” “Do you like Pete?” “Do you think Lisa’s reaction to the sick child is realistic?” She’s very patient with me. 🙂 Christmas Read More
What qualifies a book as Christian Fiction? We all know that our first responsibility in this world is to glorify God. Whether we eat or drink or whatever we do – including writing! – we should do it all to the glory of God. Therefore, all “Christian fiction” in every genre should glorify God. That is true and simple, right? No, it’s true and it’s complex. Ever since the Christian market grew beyond Amish romances and sweet prairie mail order brides, there is an ever-cycling argument about what kinds of language and situations are permissible in Christian fiction. Although I occasionally enjoy an Amish romance, I am mostly interested in police mysteries/political thrillers and romantic suspense, and those genres are more likely to be set “in the world.” I live in that world, but I am still a Christian reader. Personal convictions vary, and personally, I lean toward prudery – I do not want to be shown the nakedness or sexual activities, conversation and thoughts of other people. A skilled writer can write (ahem) physically-charged scenes without gloating over the details or making me a voyeur. I don’t want to read blasphemous or vulgar dialog. A good writer can show Read More
I recently published an article – Quitting Quilting – on my GloryQuilts blog, explaining why I was restructuring my business. It explained the quitting part, but it didn’t really address the “art as career” aspect of the change. Through this experience, I am persuaded that if I am ever forced to support myself financially, I must not do it by making a career from the things I love doing. It sounds good, but it can end up sucking the joy from the creative heart and leaving only resentment. For more than 20 years, I have been teaching quiltmaking as well as sewing and quilting professionally as GloryQuilts. At first, I sold class samples and pattern prototypes as well as some things I made just for fun. I did some juried art shows, and then some that were less selective. I had to make quantities of items for the shows, on a strict deadline, and be ready to set up displays and manage sales. I started selling things on eBay and then Etsy. Instead of selling unique and creative quilts, I began creating quilts specifically to sell, in trendy fabrics and styles. As my reputation grew, I was offered and accepted Read More
Author Catherine Castle, of The Writer’s Block, invited me to write an article about quilting in community for her blog. I shared about the GloryQuilts Bridal Quilting Bees and the Baby Bees. Check it out!