Posts Tagged ‘New Week New Fact’





Recently I was asked to name my favorite mother character in literature. I mentally went through the zillions of books I’d read, sure that the very best mother would be difficult to single out. Imagine my surprise when I was unable to recall a single one that shone. From the evil stepmothers of fairytales, to the cold, negligent woman who dropped Heidi on the Alp Uncle’s doorstep, to the drug-addicted bring-the-bad-boyfriends-home sort of woman who impacts so many modern novels, it struck me how many mothers were portrayed as villainous.

The second most common thing I found was the missing mother. This is different from the nasty ones. She is gone due to circumstances, personal sacrifice, or death. Those of us who have lost a mother know that emptiness doesn’t end. So it’s no wonder authors choose that route.


No one has such an impact on our personal development as a mother does. If we have a close mother-child bond we will develop differently than if it is distant or critical. A character-building motif in stories often revolves around a difficult parental relationship or a wonderful relationship cut short. Either creates a mother shaped hole the character periodically falls into.

There are, however, some stories with great mothers. In Jojo Moyes’s One plus One, Jess is a single mother trying to make her little girl’s dream of attending a top “maths” school come true. She has collected a goth teenage son whom neither her ex-husband nor the boy’s mother wants. Her generosity (though impoverished) honesty (though cheated and deceived) and compassion (though mistreated) are a beautiful example of a mother’s heart. When she fails in one of these it becomes a lesson to her loved ones and together they make it right.

In The Monk Downstairs / The Monk Upstairs by Tim Farrington, the mother character named Phoebe sees through people’s outer clutter of faults and insecurities to the soul within. Her love is unconditional. She also has a zest for life and delights in the absurd. You can’t read her and not want to be like that.

What stands out for both these characters is their acceptance of their offspring’s natures, desires, fears, and wounds—whether children or adults. Their willingness to protect and develop without forcing their own will and desires resonates in characters like Marmee in Little Women—the Proverbs 31 idealized mother. My tomboy self preferred the story of Jo March in Little Men and her creative parenting. 😊

Charlotte Mason, a 19th century educator said, “Maternal love is the first agent in education.” I love her concept that each child is born a person, equally good and bad, full of wonder, curiosity, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Mothers should be a loving authority in the same way that our Heavenly Father is a loving authority over us.

She advocated that it was the job of especially the mother to develop the child’s will to long for the right and good and just and to train them in habits to achieve that goal. “Every day, every hour, the parents are either passively or actively forming those habits in their children upon which, more than anything else, future character and conduct depend.”

As in the stories referenced above, mothers are to walk beside, not forcing an action, but allowing room for the Spirit to work in the ones God placed in her care. What an awesome, precarious, and fragile responsibility. Given all that, mothers must also tend themselves.


Kristen Heitzmann is the bestselling author of contemporary romantic suspense, psychological suspense, and historical novels, including Colorado Book Award finalist The Still of Night, Christy Award finalists Indivisible and The Tender Vine, and Christy Award winners Secrets and The Breath of Dawn that won both a Christy Award and Inspirational Readers Choice Award and was a finalist for a people’s choice award in the Netherlands. She is a fiction track and workshop teacher at writers conferences. An artist and musician, she’ll also be found hiking the Colorado Rocky Mountain trails near her home where she lives with her husband, pets, extended family, and wildlife.








#Blogwords, New Week New Fact, #NWNF, Guest Post, Kristen Heitzmann, Mothers in Literature

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Mother’s Day has come and gone now.

And if you’re like me, the day is always a little bittersweet.


On the one hand, I love the chance to celebrate my Mom because a) she’s awesome and b) we’re great friends as well as being mother and daughter. This year, we attended a high tea just for something girly and fun!

On the other hand, I’ve been married for nearly 17 years and have no children. Given my age and my health issues, it is almost a certainty that no one will ever call me “Mom”. Except my dog Zuzu, of course, but she doesn’t really count 😉

I adore my nieces and nephews (a total of almost 10 now between my husband’s side of the family and my own) and I have fully embraced the “cool aunt” title, promising to always have gum. (To date, none of them have asked me for a piece of gum. But when they do, by golly, I’ll be ready!)

Still … being called “Aunt” doesn’t quite complete the heart like “Mom”, does it? And so Mother’s Day for me is always a bit painful in spite of the sweet. Maybe it’s the same for you. Or maybe your children are grown and gone and never with you on Mother’s Day. The ache is still there, either way, isn’t it?


Maybe what makes Mother’s Day bittersweet for you is instead the loss of your mother. Whether too soon or after a life long-lived, I’m told that ache never quite goes away either. Especially on days where everyone is treating their moms to special dinners and flowers and hugs. You would give anything to give (and receive) one more hug from your own mother, and so – while you enjoy the accolades from your children on Mother’s Day – you feel like something is missing. Like someone is missing.


If at least one of these scenarios applies to you, then today you may still be feeling the sting of the bittersweet. The emptiness of wanting to belong – to a mother or to a child – and having no one to belong to. Our hearts were created to never say goodbye (to people or to dreams), so it’s no wonder they break with every cruel reminder of this broken world.


May I encourage you, my sweet girlfriends?

God sees. And He cares. He loves you so tenderly.

You already belong to Someone.

Did you see those last few words? “You are mine.”


I can hear you though. The words forming right now on your lips. “Yeah, that’s great and all… but belonging to God isn’t the same as having my mother back. Belonging to God isn’t the same as having a child of my own.”

I know. I get it. I do.


But Isaiah wants you to know that God knew you would be missing your mother, missing her hugs, wanting the kind of relationship other daughters have with their mothers.

And He wants to draw you close and whisper these words to you –

He has not left you alone, my sweet friend. He longs to bless you beyond your imagination.  He takes great delight in you.


And Isaiah wants you to know that God knew you would be longing for a baby, for a child to call you “mom”, for a prodigal son or daughter to return home.


Listen, dear kindred heart. He is whispering words of purpose to you –

You may not have children that are physically or legally your own. But He longs to fill your heart – and your arms – to overflowing all the same.

And sometimes… in His great graciousness … He brings together someone who needs a mother’s hug with someone who longs to be a mom. As empty arms slip around empty hearts, both become curiously full.

A portrait of grace. A reminder of belonging. A glimpse of heaven.

A promise that one day all the sad things will come untrue.

And all hearts will be full forever.



Carrie Schmidt is an avid reader, book reviewer, story addict, KissingBooks fan, book boyfriend collector, and cool aunt. She loves Jesus and THE Story a whole lot. Carrie lives in Kentucky with her husband Eric and their quirky dog Zuzu and is a co-founder of the Christian Fiction Readers’ Retreat. She blogs at http://readingismysuperpower.org








#Blogwords, New Week New Fact, #NWNF, Guest Post, Carrie Schmidt, Zuzu, Cool Aunt, Mother’s Day, You are Mine, Portrait of Grace


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Hi Robin, thanks for featuring me on your blog today. With Mother’s Day just six days away I think a post about Mom’s or Motherhood is in order.


In 1966 I was born to a teenage mother who decided that given her age I would be better off given up for adoption. Three days after I was born my mom and dad took me home from the hospital. They were unable to have children and adoption was the way they could have a family. My brother and I always knew we were adopted, it wasn’t a secret. We knew how wanted we were. In fact my mom told me as a child that kids who were born to their parents, their parents were stuck with them, Sean and I were chosen out of a nursery full of babies.


My dad was active duty Navy and stationed in Guam when my mom got the call that her mother, my granny was really sick. My mom flew home to Denver to be with her and on her way she stopped in San Francisco and was greeted by my God-Parents. My God-mother, Pat, was a receptionist at a doctor’s office. The day my mom arrived a young pregnant teen had come into the office and filled out paperwork to give up the baby for adoption. My mom went to the office and filled out all the paperwork to adopt this baby who was due in April, and my mom flew on to Denver. A few weeks later Pat called my mom and told her that a young teen had just come into the office and her profile fit her and my dad better, so back to California she went. My dad wasn’t scheduled to transfer from Guam for eighteen months, but with a baby on the way it took an act of congress, letters from commanding officers and friends from their church friends to get him back stateside. While they were in Guam they had been saving to go on vacation in the Orient. Little did they know that the money they had saved would be used in a different fashion, to pay for a baby they so desperately wanted.

In 1992, when I was pregnant with last child I located and found my birth mother. I never met her face to face. We exchanged letters and pictures. She never forgot about me, she celebrated my birthday every January, and my younger half siblings knew about me. In 2013 I found out more about my birth family, my great grandparents came over from Bologna, Italy. I actually have a ship’s manifest with their names on it. My biological father’s family is of Cajun French decent and are responsible for building the Steel Magnolia house that was in the movie and is now a bed and breakfast.

I have given birth to three amazing daughters, and while I definitely understand the love that caused my birth mother, Angelina, to give me up for adoption, I can’t even imagine doing that, especially at the young age of fourteen.


God ordained my birth, and the adoption to my parents, which saved my life. My birth mother was being pressured by her mother to have me aborted. Abortion wasn’t legal in 1966, but she wanted the family doctor to take my life, and my very young mom said No! I am giving this baby life. I am a blessed woman to know my story and to be able to see God’s hand in my life even before I was born.


Happy Mother’s Day!

Hi, I’m Andi. I am first and foremost a follower of Christ. I am married to my best friend, who is great father to all of our children and grandchildren. Together we have 6 kids, and 12 grandchildren. I am an avid bookworm have been since I was 3, and I believe God has allowed certain things to happen in my life to show His steadfast love and faith.








#Blogwords, New Week New Fact, #NWNF, Guest Post, Andi Tubbs, Mothers, Mother’s Day, Adoption

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Movie Adaptations by Rachel Dixon


Hi Robin! Thank you so much for having me here to today. I am honored to share with your readers.


Today I want to talk about my long and arduous journey of the dreaded “Movie Adaptions”. There will always be a place in my heart that dreads watching the movie adaption of a book that I really enjoy. You name it….The Chronicles of Narnia, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Divergent, The Help, The Hunger Games….The list goes on.


Because no matter HOW good the movies are, how high tech, or innovative they are…Our bookish hearts have a hard time watching our favorite stories get cut up and changed until sometimes, they are hardly recognizable anymore.


EVERY time a new movie comes out of a book/series that I have read, I always set my expectations unrealistically high. And then I had what I like to call an “apostrophe”…Wait..I mean epiphany.


“I’ve just had an apostrophe.” “I think you mean an epiphany.” – Hook


It all happened one blustery spring day almost exactly 5 years ago. I had just heard about this new movie coming out called The Hunger Games. Naturally, being the bookish sort of person that I am…I decided to read the book first. And I read it in just a couple of days. After I finished it, we went and saw the movie…The VERY next day. OH, I was so disappointed with several aspects of the movie. I had a hard time truly enjoying it. And it was then that I realized the awful truth…I have put an expectation on the production team that they will NEVER meet. That day I learned, that if I EVER want to enjoy a movie adaption of a book…That I MUST learn to appreciate the movie for the movie…and the book for the book.


The beauty about books is that every reader interprets it differently. Different phrases and characteristics will stand out to each of us. And it just so happens that those in charge of putting these books on screen…See things differently than I do. And there are some things that just can’t be described on the silver screen, no matter how talented the actors are, or how beautiful the setting. Some emotions that the reader goes though are too deep to be translated.


NOW, there are some stories out there that really needed to be changed. Such as The Little Mermaid. I don’t know about you, but I am really glad that Ariel and Eric really do end up together…Instead of him married to someone else and Ariel dying.


I also think that J.K. Rowling has the right idea with her new series about Newt Scamander and the Fantastic Beasts series. She is writing the screenplays, instead of the books. This way, we have nothing to compare it too. Granted the screenplays are being published as books which is super fun to read. But it is the same. She gets a story told and shown how she wants it…and the readers, have nothing to compare it to.


All in all, everyone is going to have likes and dislikes of their favorite book to movie adaptions. Are they ever going to produce a movie that contains all the detail and emotions that your favorite book evokes? Probably not. Can we still enjoy seeing our favorite characters come to life on the silver screen? I sure hope so! And there are several books that I would ADORE to see on film. Pepper Basham’s Penned in Time Series and Just the Way You Are, Joanne Bischoff’s The Lady and the Lionheart, Sarah Sundin’s Waves of Freedom Series, and all of Jen Turano and Jody Hedlund’s books…Just to name a few!


What about you? What is your favorite book to movie adaption?


Rachel is a stay at home mom who LOVES to read. She enjoys good (clean) books of all kinds. However, she has a soft spot for historical fiction. There is something magical that can only be found between the covers a book and her desire is to share that piece of magic with you. Rachel has been reviewing books since 2014 and simply adores being immersed in the bookish world. Her husband and 2 beautiful children are her life and joy. Among the 500 things she does a day, she somehow still find time to read.

















#Blogwords, New Week New Fact, #NWNF, Guest Post, Rachel Dixon


Links to all movies and books mentioned:

The Hunger Games – IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1392170/

The Hunger Games – Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Hunger-Games-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B002MQYOFW/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1489898061&sr=8-2

The Chronicles of Narnia – Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Chronicles-Narnia-Complete-7-Book-Collection-ebook/dp/B008LUYSAE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1489898110&sr=8-1&keywords=the+chronicles+of+narnia

The Help – Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Help-Kathryn-Stockett-ebook/dp/B002YKOXB6/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1489898143&sr=8-3&keywords=the+help

The Lord of the Rings – Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Hobbit-Lord-Rings/dp/B011AE735O/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1489898171&sr=8-1&keywords=the+lord+of+the+rings

Divergent – Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Divergent-Ultimate-Four-Book-Collection-Insurgent-ebook/dp/B00IRCZH3I/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1489898198&sr=8-1&keywords=divergent+series

Harry Potter – Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Harry-Potter-Complete-Collection-1-7-ebook/dp/B01B3DIPMW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1489898228&sr=8-1&keywords=harry+potter+books

Fantastic Beasts – IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3183660/?ref_=nv_sr_1

Fantastic Beasts – Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Fantastic-Beasts-Where-Find-Them-ebook/dp/B01ETJABQK/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1489898260&sr=1-3&keywords=fantastic+beasts+and+where+to+find+them

Pepper Basham – Website: https://pepperdbasham.com/

Penned in Time – Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Penned-Time-3-Book/dp/B01N3U01VL/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1489898288&sr=1-5&keywords=penned+in+time+series

Just the Way You Are – Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Just-Way-Pleasant-Romance-Book-ebook/dp/B06W54FJM3/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1489898424&sr=1-1&keywords=just+the+way+you+are+pepper+basham

Joanne Bischof – Website: http://www.joannebischof.com/

The Lady and the Lionheart – Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Lady-Lionheart-Joanne-Bischof-ebook/dp/B01FL8C9DG/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1489898493&sr=1-1&keywords=the+lady+and+the+lionheart

Sarah Sundin – Website:http://www.sarahsundin.com/

Waves of Freedom – Amazon:https://www.amazon.com/Through-Waters-Deep-Waves-Freedom-ebook/dp/B00QMSCM7I/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1489898677&sr=1-3&keywords=waves+of+freedom+series

Jen Turano – Website: http://jenturano.com/

Jody Hedlund – Website: http://jodyhedlund.com/


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So You Want to See Your Book on the Silver Screen, or Adapting a Novel for the Movies

by Mark David Gerson


It’s March 1995, a chilly spring morning in rural Nova Scotia. With notepad on my lap, pen in hand and a fire crackling in the wood stove, I begin the day’s work on my MoonQuest novel, grateful that this first draft is nearly finished. To my surprise, what emerges onto the page is not the usual third-person narrative. Instead, I find myself writing in the first person as Toshar, the main character.


It doesn’t take me long to realize that Toshar’s voice is the story’s voice and that I will have to rewrite the MoonQuest from scratch, from his perspective. To do it, I know I will have to delete many scenes, add many new ones and subject those that survive to wholesale revision.


My old editor-self would have approached the task as an exercise in left-brain mechanics. My new Muse Stream-self recognizes the need for a more right-brain approach.


(“Writing on the Muse Stream” is my technique for making writing easier than you can ever imagine it being! I write about it in all my books for writers. Look for them on my website, http://www.books4writers.com, on Amazon, http://www.amazon.com/author/markdavidgerson, or from major online booksellers in paperback or ebook. In short, Writing on the Muse Stream means writing with stopping—without stopping to correct, edit…or even think.)


Instead of forcing The MoonQuest into this new, first-person form, I decide to treat the story as its own sentient entity and let it tell me what is necessary and what is expendable. Instead of trying to figure out which scenes to retain and which to cut, I choose to let the story find its own telling.


If my early experiences with The MoonQuest helped me to trust in the wisdom of the story, I now allow myself to trust it even more. The result? The rewrite streams out of me with an ease and speed I never expected or could have imagined.


Why am I telling you this story when it has nothing to do with screenwriting? Because more than a decade later, I would use the identical strategy to adapt my MoonQuest and StarQuest novels into screenplays.



What does that strategy involve?

  • Getting out of your own way.
  • Silencing your critical and judgmental selves.
  • Trusting that your story is smarter than you are, and surrendering to that superior wisdom.
  • Listening to your characters. After all, it’s their story you’re telling!
  • Focusing on story, not structure.
  • Heeding the voice of your Muse and your intuition.
  • Practicing discernment.
  • Writing on the Muse Stream.


Yes, writing on the Muse Stream. Even though you are not writing an original screenplay, the Muse Stream remains your most effective conduit to the story’s essence. If you let it, it is that essence that will guide you as you translate the story from one form to another.
What follows are some basic craft considerations to bear in mind as you read and reread the novel and move forward with your adaptation.
Bear them in mind, but don’t worry about them as you write. Don’t even focus on them. Let them hover on the fringes of your awareness as you listen to the story and as you listen for the story’s best expression as a screenplay. Later, when it’s time for a new draft, you can add them to your revision checklist.



Adapting a novel involves more than stripping out all the novel’s description and copying-and-pasting its dialogue into Final Draft or your preferred screenwriting software. Not all the book’s dialogue will have a place in the film. Some speeches, for example, may run too long. With others, their point might be more eloquently expressed visually. Talk to your characters and and out from them what is necessary and what is superfluous.



In fiction, the presence of a narrator or narrative voice can reveal much to the reader about the story and its characters. Most films have neither a narrator nor a single narrative voice. As screenwriter, you will need to find alternative ways — visually and/or through dialogue — to give viewers the information they need.


Action & Description

You have limited space in your screenplay to paint the scenes and settings your novel can do at its leisure. Evocative, concise writing is critical.


Plot & Theme

Even a simple novel may have multiple themes and subplots. A complex novel will have even more. Unless you are writing a modern-day version of Erich von Stroheim’s Greed (a silent film that originally clocked in at close to eight hours), you may have to streamline your original story to focus on a core plot and theme. In doing so, you may find yourself eliminating subplots, characters and settings that are superfluous and altering or merging others.


One final note. If the novel you want to adapt is not your own, always make sure that there are no legal impediments to your screenplay version, even if the novel you want to adapt is in the public domain. Unless you are the novel’s author, secure the necessary rights before you start writing. If you don’t, chances are your script will never be produced — either because the rights are already spoken for or because the author has no interest in a film adaption.


Adapted from Organic Screenwriting: Writing for Film, Naturally. © 2014 Mark David Gerson. Look for Organic Screenwriting in paperback or ebook from major online booksellers or signed to you by author from http://www.organicscreenwriting.com


Author of more than a dozen books whose readers span the globe, Mark David Gerson electrifies groups and individuals around the world with his inspiring stories and motivational talks and seminars. Mark David’s books include critically acclaimed titles for writers, award-winning fiction and compelling memoirs. His screenplay adaptations of his Q’ntana fantasy novels are on their way to theaters as a trio of epic feature films, he is currently at work on a third book in his popular Sara Stories series, and his latest book for writers is Engage! Winning Social Media Strategies for Authors.


Known as “The Birthing Your Book Guru,” Mark David works with an international roster of clients to help them get their stories onto the page and into the world with ease.


Visit Mark David’s website at http://www.markdavidgerson.com and follow him online @markdavidgerson and http://www.facebook.com/markdavidgerson.page.



Blogwords, New Week New Fact, #NWNF, Guest Post, Mark David Gerson, Organic Screenwriting, Sara’s Year, After Sara’s Year

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 How Viewing Movies can Make You a Better Writer


I love movies that display a powerful story with suburb acting. These art forms are entertaining, inspiring, and encouraging—just like writing a dynamic novel.


When movies hold my attention, I’m deepening my insight into the craft. Great acting provides characterization tips and varying ways to show body language and dialogue. Unpredictable plot twists challenges me to keep my readers charged with the story. Movie settings aren’t there to set the stage, but to put the characters in peril.


The following movies and TV shows are good examples of viewing pleasure while learning more about how to strengthen novel writing. These are currently available and easy to find.


The Impossible 2012

A family vacationing in Thailand for Christmas is caught in a tsunami.

I encourage you to watch this more than once. This family demonstrated courage and strength when others would have given up. The emotion and drama are unforgettable. Based on a true story.



The Eagle 2011

A Roman soldier is determined to regain his father’s honor by finding the golden eagle of his father’s lost legion. This is action filled, and honestly fighting is not my fav viewing, but the incredible tenacity, strength, and bravery of the hero is outstanding.




Ordinary people, in an effort to win $250,000, attempt to evade law enforcement The command center features the FBI, US Marshals, Navy Seals and other law enforcement along with behavior analysts working together to bring in the “fugitives.” Every week, I add new ideas and plot points for my current book and future research.



Deepwater Horizon 2016

The 2010 oil rig explosion was the worst in history. This drama shows courage in the midst of danger.



Designated Survivor

When a bomb destroys the President, VP, house and senate, the designated survivor takes over the country.




The following are excellent examples for viewers and writers.


Little Boy



The Book Thief



The Hundred-Foot Journey



Ben Hur






These series, Lord of the Rings, Hunger Games, Jason Bourne, Divergent, and the Hobbits will have you scribbling notes and longing for your own novels to carry the energy.


So many more fine movies and TV help us to be better writers. What are your favorites?


DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels.


Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. Library Journal presented her with a Best Books 2014: Genre Fiction award in the Christian Fiction category for Firewall.


DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She is co-director of The Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference and The Author Roadmap with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country.


DiAnn has been termed a coffee snob and roasts her own coffee beans. She’s an avid reader, loves to cook, and believes her grandchildren are the smartest kids in the universe. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.


DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on any of the social media platforms listed at http://www.diannmills.com.



#Blogwords, New Week New Fact, #NWNF, Guest Post, DiAnn Mills, Viewing Movies, The Impossible, The Eagle, Hunted, Designated Survivor, Little Boy, The Book Thief, The Hundred Foot Journey, Ben Hur, Risen, Lord of the Rings

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Freedom. A true lady in Defiance cries out for it. Refuses to live without it. Pursues it at any cost. Society, propriety—even commonsense won’t stop her from wrapping her slender fingers around it. In the end, she may only have her memories of it, but at least she tasted it. For a time, she lived free.


And it is that refusal to live without living that draws me to writing strong female leads in my books. Now, I write Christian fiction, but I study history with passion and have stumbled upon some fearless women. Though I have pity that they did not in most cases know the Lord, I have to admit to a scandalous admiration for their lust for life.


One of my favorite ladies was one they called Queen of the Klondike.


Kathleen Eloise Rockwell (1873, give or take, to1957) came from an unstable home, growing up in at least four different states. Perhaps the shifting sand beneath her feet contributed to her headstrong ways and desire for adventure. Dubbed a tomboy by the neighborhood kids, Katie played better with the boys than with the frilly little girls. She was a bit sassy and, arguably, incorrigible—at least according to the boarding school that kicked her out.




In the early1890’s, Kate’s mother divorced her father and the two girls wound up in New York City. The young girl got involved with the theater scene and learned to sing and dance, but eventually even the Big Apple wasn’t big enough for the free spirit. The siren call of the Alaska Gold Rush reached her ears and Kate headed off for Alaska.


The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, however, denied her entry. Because she was a woman. Alone. On the frontier. Think, McFly. Think.


Can’t you hear the wheels turning in her head? Kate lived to circumvent rules and create her life on her terms.


So she dressed up like a boy and waltzed right into the Klondike. (Well, actually she took a boat.) I can see her waving at the RCMP as she sailed by.


Now, it’s one thing to try to make it on the Great White Way. Lots of competition and all that. Kate had a suspicion that in Alaska she could be a big fish in a little pond. I mean, really, how many pretty girls could there be willing to face the wild frontier? Sub-zero temperatures, knee-deep spring mud, lawless towns. Sounded like her kind of party. Kate just wanted to sing and dance. It didn’t matter if the audience was comprised of desperately hungry, cold, mud-encrusted miners who hadn’t seen a woman, much less a pretty one, in months.


She intended to mesmerize them and had a grand plan. For her “Flame Dance” she came on stage wearing an elaborate gown covered in red sequins and trailing an enormous cape. She took off the cape to reveal a cane that was attached to more than 200 yards of red chiffon. Kate leaped and twirled with the shimmering, floating fabric, spellbinding the hapless men. At the end she would dramatically drop to the floor, as did the men’s jaws.


Yeah. She was a big hit. For three years, she was the belle of the ball. Parisian gowns, gold jewelry, men falling at her feet. They called her Klondike Kate and Queen of the Yukon.


But the gold eventually petered out and Kate drifted around, with a few different husbands. She owned some theaters in the Pacific Northwest, swindled some miners, got swindled by a husband. She made some special appearances in the 1930’s, and even coached starlets in the 40’s. She homesteaded in Oregon and kept the place till her death. Early on, she was often spotted working the place in her sparkling evening gowns. I suspect that was because she didn’t own any work clothes, not because she was showy. She was also recovering from a broken relationship so maybe the glitz and glam had worn off and she didn’t give a fig about her designer-dresses-straight from-Paris.




Either way, in the little town of Bend, Oregon Kate became a valued, appreciated member of the community due to her generous, civic-minded heart and undying audacious spirit. In her later years, she earned the nickname Aunt Kate. Doesn’t quite have the ring of Klondike Kate, but I don’t think she minded.


Time and age catch us all, though. Kate slowed down then finally finished the ride in Oregon in 1957.


By no means an angel, Kate was a woman who defied conventionality, shook her fist at the lack of social mobility for women, and cut her own path through life. You have to kind of admire that. She didn’t let life happen to her. She happened to it! With a vengeance.


While she was a tad over the top, I appreciate her character arc. She went from young and hungry for success at any cost to redefining her idea of success. I know it reads like a sweet romance, but she found happiness in a small town. Even better, she married a miner who had fallen in love with her back when she was still Klondike Kate. It took her a long time to come round to him. But better late than never.




A former journalist, Heather is an avid researcher and skillfully weaves truth in among fictional story lines. She loves exploring the American West, especially ghost towns and museums. She has walked parts of the Oregon Trail, ridden horses through the Rockies, climbed to the top of Independence Rock, and even held an outlaw’s note in her hand. You can learn more about her and her work at https://ladiesindefiance.com/ or https://www.facebook.com/heatherfreyblanton. Sign up for Heather’s email newsletter to receive the latest book release updates, as well as info about contests and giveaways


She writes Westerns because she grew up on a steady diet of Bonanza, Gunsmoke, and John Wayne movies. Her most fond childhood memory is of sitting next to her father, munching on popcorn, and watching Lucas McCain unload that Winchester!

She can be reached several different ways:









#Blogwords, New Week New Fact, #NWNG, Guest Post, Heather Blanton, Klondike Kate, Queen of the Klondike

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