Monday, September 08, 2014

Pre-Conference Mix and Mingle

So, we're just over 2 weeks away from the 2014 ACFW Conference. YIKES! And YAY! I love conference. I love getting to see so many people and celebrate and learn and laugh and catch up. This will be my 8th ACFW Conference, and I'm excited. 

And I'm not the only one. The lovely Laurie Tomlinson has organized a pre-conference mix and mingle blog hop so that we can get to know each other a little better before we all descend on St. Louis. 

I've posted a few pictures of my favorite conference memories, then we'll get to the mix and mingle part.

Michelle Ule, Rebecca Germany, Me, Liz Johnson - the day we found out Log Cabin Christmas had made the New York Times Bestseller list! #CelebratingAtTheACFWBanquet!

Tina Radcliffe and Mary Connealy. Tina and I were Carol Award Finalists in 2012

Me and my lovely agent, Rachelle Gardner
Mary Connealy and I in 2009 with our Carol and Genesis Category Winner Awards

Here are the questions and my answers!

Name: Erica Vetsch
Location: Rochester, MN
What you write/tagline/trademark: Historical Romance / Stories that Testify to Love 
Place in the book world: Multi-published. Represented by the lovely Rachelle Gardner at Books & Such Literary Management. 
On a scale of hugger to 10-foot-pole, please rate your personal space:  ACFW is about the only place I hug people not related to me by birth or marriage. Rachel McMillian kinda nailed it on her blog by saying she's not much of a hugger, but at ACFW you don't have much choice. :D
The unique talking point that will get you going for hours: Books, writing, sports, particularly college basketball and my beloved Jayhawks. Rock Chalk!
Loved ones at home you’ll be missing: My husband is coming with me, as is his custom, so I'll be missing my daughter and son and my psychotically dependent cat who is pretty sure I've died every time I leave my house.
Conference goals we can pray for? That I can be an encouragement to others. 
Anything we can celebrate with you? Books 14-18 will release between 12/15 and 7/15. SQUEE!
One or two ways we can help you build your platform? Yes! You can like my author page on Facebook and check out the group blog I contribute to: Coffee Cups & Camisoles 


- Copy/paste and fill out your own answers (you don’t have to answer all of them!) in a post on your own website and paste the URL to that post (not your home page) using the handy link-up tool you will find on Laurie Tomlinson's Blog. Just click on the blue button below that says “Add your link”. If you don’t have a website, feel free to answer the questions in the comments below!
- Make sure to link back to this post after you fill out your answers so any of your readers who are conference attendees can participate, too! The more, the merrier.
- Click through the links below to get to know other conference attendees before St. Louis!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Good news to celebrate!

I shared some exciting news over at Coffee Cups & Camisoles last week. Click on the link below to read about some upcoming titles that are in the works! 

Monday, June 16, 2014

A Church Lady

Our Church, Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church in Rochester, MN

Last week I asked my kids what they hoped they saw when they looked back at the end of their lives. Some things they said were things I expected.

But one thing my daughter said surprised me. She said she hoped to be a wife, a mom, a good teacher...then she said she hoped she would be a 'church lady.'

When I asked her to explain, she said she had always wanted to grow up to be a church lady, helping in the kitchen, helping in the nursery and Sunday School, always in church, a part of a congregation.

This made my heart happy.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Tweaking the routine

 I love my routine. I love the rhythm of my days. I love that things are fairly predictable around here.

And when I get thrown out of my routine, or there is a significant change, I feel out of sorts and uncomfortable.

Recent changes include a college graduate moving back home, and a child graduating from high school and no longer being formally home-schooled. 

We've also finally transitioned from winter to summer here in MN, with more daylight, warmer temps, and an overall uptick in my outlook on life.

All these are good things, but they've created a need to change my routine a bit. I've found I've got more time and energy than I've had in quite awhile. 

I'm not sure that this will translate into more writing time. I've added gardening to my activities list during the warmer months, both to enjoy and to get me outside more. And I've rediscovered my love of cross-stitching, which is time-consuming.

How about you? Are you a creature of routine, or do you thrive on spontaneity? Do you find yourself better able to focus during the long, sunny days of summer, or during the shorter days of winter? 

Monday, June 02, 2014

Planning a trip

My husband and I are planning a little road trip to Florida in a few weeks. The vast majority of Civil War sites lie between me in Minnesota and the Sunshine State, so many that it's hard to pinpoint where we should stop and what we should see.

I'd love some help. If you have a favorite Civil War site or museum, share it with me here. Our schedule is wide open for some adventure!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Happy Memorial Day!

Have a safe and happy Memorial Day.

Thank you to all who have served and are serving.

God Bless!

Monday, May 19, 2014

75% Frustration

Our patio project last summer. It's about 85% finished. :)

This past weekend, my husband was a little out of sorts, which is not at all like my even-keeled spouse. Though we got many things accomplished, including planting the last of the flowers in the new flowerbed,  and laying the last few blocks to complete that flowerbed, he seemed to be feeling the pressure to get stuff done.

When I asked what was wrong, he said it was because he had so many projects that seemed to be about 75% done, but none were finished. 

Which got me to thinking...I can totally relate! I hate not getting things DONE, having half-finished projects lying around. 

The current pebble in my mental shoe is a manuscript I started last fall that is sitting at about 2/3 of the way finished. I quit working on it to start a new project for NaNoWriMo, one that an editor was interested in, and I've never gotten back to it. So, my goal is to replot, rework, and to FINISH this story. It's entitled Trouble's Brewing (though the title will probably change) and it's set in a tea shop on St. Paul's historic Grand Avenue.

How are you with unfinished projects? Do they bother you, or are you okay with them? What is your current project?

Monday, May 12, 2014

Mother's Day Memories

Yesterday was Mother's Day, and it was a lovely one here, in spite of the rain. The ladies of our church were treated to a Mother's Day breakfast cooked by the men of the church. It's an annual tradition, and we love it. Pancakes, eggs, sausage, juice, doughnuts, muffins, laughter, and fellowship.

The picture above is of President Woodrow Wilson, who is the man who signed the proclamation to make the second Sunday in May officially recognized as Mother's Day, 100 years ago. So, happy birthday, Mother's Day? 

What did you do for Mother's Day? Do you have any traditions?

Sunday, May 04, 2014

My Phone is Smarter than I

 So, I finally joined the ranks of those who own a smart phone. 

I'll let that sink in a bit. 

After being practically the last person on this orb to get a cell phone at all, I've finally made the jump to a smart phone.

And it is kicking my heiny. I am all thumbs, especially when it comes to the TINY keypad. I'm deep into the how-tos, getting my contacts transferred over, figuring out the bookmarks, widgets, apps, and the like. And undoing all the things I inadvertently do wrong. 

Ah, technology, the balm and the bane. :)

So, since the rest of mankind pretty much already has this stuff figured out, I'm taking advice. What's your favorite widget/app/thingy?  

Monday, April 28, 2014

I nearly died...

As an FYI...if you see some odd grass clippings piled up in your garden, don't stick your hand in there to clean it out.

Yeah, this happened to me this weekend. I stuck my hand into a nest of mice. MICE! EEEEEK! I hate mice! I'm scared of mice! And I stuck my hand into a nest!!!!!!

When was the last time you freaked yourself out, scared yourself to death, or otherwise shortened your life by a few years??

Monday, April 21, 2014

Rag Quilts!

Pinterest. Are you on Pinterest? I browse the pictures of food and crafts and decor, and while I'm wowed and often times inspired, I also know that a lot of what I see is beyond both my budget and my capabilities. Still, it's fun to see what's out there.

This past week, a lovely friend of mine, Kelly Prosch, introduced me to rag quilts by posting a tutorial on her Facebook page. I quickly went to Pinterest to see some other examples of rag quilts. It's so counter-intuitive, and yet brilliant!

I was intrigued. I had never heard of this kind of a quilt. I have done some quilting before. I made a Red Cross Signature Quilt embroidered with all the names of the Dodge County MN World War One Veterans. (You can find out more about that project by reading some of my blog posts on the subject by clicking HERE.) And I like quilting, as much as I've done of it.

And I've had a hankering to make some baby quilts. Smaller projects, fun fabrics, relaxing work. And here is a great pattern/plan that I can do. :)

I'm psyched to get started! :)

Here's the tutorial I liked the best from Pinterest. Click on over and see how to make these cool quilts.

So, have you heard of a rag quilt done in this fashion before?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Words Make Us Feel

Words make us feel. As a word-lover, the thrill of a beautifully composed sentence, stanza, verse, satisfies something deep in my soul. This weekend, I was watching an episode of the tv show Numb3rs, and at the end, one of the characters quoted a few lines from the poem below. I had to look it up again and read it again and savor once more the beautiful picture painted by Siegfried Sassoon in his 1918 poem The Death Bed.

I especially love the last two stanzas. 

Would that I had this same power of words.

34. The Death-Bed 

HE drowsed and was aware of silence heaped
Round him, unshaken as the steadfast walls;
Aqueous like floating rays of amber light,
Soaring and quivering in the wings of sleep
Silence and safety; and his mortal shore
Lipped by the inward, moonless waves of death.

Someone was holding water to his mouth.
He swallowed, unresisting; moaned and dropped
Through crimson gloom to darkness; and forgot
The opiate throb and ache that was his wound.
Water—calm, sliding green above the weir.
Water—a sky-lit alley for his boat,
Bird-voiced, and bordered with reflected flower
And shaken hues of summer; drifting down,
He dipped contented oars, and sighed, and slept.

Night, with a gust of wind, was in the ward,
Blowing the curtain to a glimmering curve.
Night. He was blind; he could not see the stars
Glinting among the wraiths of wandering cloud;
Queer blots of colour, purple, scarlet, green,
Flickered and faded in his drowning eyes.
Rain—he could hear it rustling through the dark;
Fragrance and passionless music woven as one;
Warm rain on drooping roses; pattering showers
That soak the woods; not the harsh rain that sweeps
Behind the thunder, but a trickling peace,
Gently and slowly washing life away.
    .    .    .    .
He stirred, shifting his body; then the pain
Leapt like a prowling beast, and gripped and tore
His groping dreams with grinding claws and fangs.
But someone was beside him; soon he lay
Shuddering because that evil thing had passed.
And death, who’d stepped toward him, paused and stared.

Light many lamps and gather round his bed.
Lend him your eyes, warm blood, and will to live.
Speak to him; rouse him; you may save him yet.
He’s young; he hated War; how should he die
When cruel old campaigners win safe through?

But death replied: ‘I choose him.’So he went,
And there was silence in the summer night;
Silence and safety; and the veils of sleep.
Then, far away, the thudding of the guns.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Running on Empty

One of the things we've taught our kids as they became drivers is that in Minnesota, especially in the winter, they need to keep the gas tank full. When the gauge gets near the half-full mark, head to the gas station.

This works great with the gas tank. There are dozens of gas stations in our city. A fill up is not far away.

But what about when your energy tank, or your creativity tank, or your spiritual tank is running low? It's not like you can pull up to a Sinclair station and fill up your energy tank. (Wouldn't that be nice?)

Here are a few things that I do to recharge the batteries:

  1. Get some sleep. I operate best when I manage my sleep time.
  2. Read a good book. Remind myself of the beauty of language, and how much I love words.
  3. Alone time. I enjoy being with people, but I need time to be alone, time spent in my head, in order to be 'right.'
  4. Remind myself to be grateful. Gratitude lifts the spirits.
How about you? What do you do to recharge your batteries?

Today I'm guest blogging at  Please stop on by and join the conversation! 

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Blowing off the Dust

In honor of spring, I'm doing a little cleaning up around here on the blog, sprucing things up to begin posting again. The hiatus was needed and enjoyed, but I'm ready to get back into the swing of blogging. 

It's been a long winter of a lot of writing, though at the moment, I've nothing to report re any more contracts. I've got manuscripts in with various publishers, and lots of story ideas brewing, but for the moment I can only write and wait.

In other news, I've been asked to be a contributing blogger over at Coffee Cups & Camisoles, the place for Historical Romance, Friendship, Book Reviews, Devotionals, and Coffee. (They're allowing me entrance even though I don't drink coffee. I'll bring tea for those of you who don't care to imbibe the java.) You can find Coffee Cups & Camisoles at I'll be posting on Wednesdays and the occasional Throwback Thursdays. I hope you'll hop on over there tomorrow for my first post. 

As for here, the goal is to post on Mondays. 

For today, since it's April, and I'm dreaming of spring and green and new flowers, I'd love to know your favorite color or kind of flower.