The Keweenaw Peninsula: Quincy Copper Mine and Copper Harbor

Love this story about copper mine in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. This is a bucket list item (along with touring all of the UP)!

Erin Bartels

One of the coolest places my son and I went on our UP road trip back in June was the Keweenaw Peninsula, that bit of land you see jutting out of the Upper Peninsula (peninsulas within peninsulas!) and into Lake Superior on the map.

My son has long been interested in geology and rocks (as long as a child can have been interested in anything) and so I knew that our trip would have to include a visit to a mine up in copper country. The geologic history of the Keweenaw (pronounced KEE-wah-naw, not ke-WEE-naw) is such that rich deposits of copper (and also lots of silver) were pushed up by lava flows some millions of years ago and glaciers from various ice ages scraped away. Thousands of years ago at the end of the last ice age, ancient Native Americans were already mining for copper in the region.


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This Site has Moved!

Please note:  I am no longer blogging at this website. My new website is Check it out!

If you have been following this blog and want to continue to follow it, you will need to sign up on my new website. Unfortunately I’m not able to transfer followers so if you don’t sign up, I will lose you! 😦 I don’t want that to happen.

Hope to see you at my new site. Wishing everyone a Blessed Thanksgiving!

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Moving Day!


My website is moving! My 60th birthday gift to myself was to hire a web designer to upgrade my website.  Six months later, that website is now ready to go live. My new website will have the same web address as this one,, however to continue to receive blog posts, you need to move with me and sign up on my new and improved website.

I hope you will move with me. It just wouldn’t be the same without all of you! Looking forward to continuing our relationship!

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Uncle Already! NaNoWriMo Update


NaNoWriMo has got me beat! As I wrote last week, I needed to revise one book before going on to the next. I worked hard last week at needed structure and plot revisions, enough so that I felt I was ready to move on.

I started this week with big goals. I would write 20,000 words in order to make up for last week. So far I may have 5,000, if that many. The writing has been slow-going and I’m not happy with what I’ve written.

You see, I’m getting a new website. After months in preparation, we are hoping  to go live next week. That means this week I spent a lot of time going over the new site, making changes, making sure I knew how to do everything I needed to do, before accepting it from the designers. I also spent two hours meeting with the developer going over the site.

And then, I had posted some books on ACX (Amazon’s audiobooks) looking for narrators. I received a number of auditions, which meant I had to listen to the auditions, send messages to the narrators, and compare the tapes in order to find the right narrator for my project.

And finally, there was that . . . that election on Tuesday. All plenty of good reasons for not having the creative energy to write.

The good news is that I love my new website. I hope you will too when we unveil it. It’s professional looking and user friendly – something very important to me as  I’m no web-designer.

The other good news is that I have my narrator for my book, Land of Deep Water. And, some of the women who sent in auditions for that book are considering my other books.

All good for me, but not for NaNoWriMo. Maybe next week . . .?


As I mentioned, I will have a new website soon. Unfortunately I’m not able to transfer followers to the new site. This means you will have to sign up again. The new website will still be under the same name, I will place a link to it once the move is final. After you sign up you will have the option of receiving my newsletter, blog posts and/or book promotions.

So if you have been following my blog and  stop receiving posts, that’s what happened. I appreciate all of my followers so much. Please follow me to the new website next week!

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What do you do when your Dreams are Shattered?


Hilary Clinton certainly knows about broken dreams. The dream of being the first woman president, one I suspect she held throughout her life, has been shattered after a brutal campaign.

And then there are all of those women and girls who dreamed of a woman president and role model. Those dreams aren’t gone for good as some day it will be realized, just not this year. Hilary has helped to pave the way for a future generation, just as Moses led the Israelites to the Promised Land but didn’t cross into that land himself.

But what do you do when your dreams have been shattered? You grieve. It is a painful loss, all the more painful depending on how long you have held the dream and how close you came to achieving it only to have it taken from your grasp.

As with all situations of grief, it takes as long as it takes. There is no prescribed time table for grief. You don’t magically get over a loss in three days or three years. Grief is personal and unique to the individual.

But after grieving, you pick yourself up, look among the wreckage of your dream and find new dreams, even better dreams, dreams rooted in your reality.

I pray that Hilary may find new dreams to sustain her and give her life meaning and purpose from within the ruins of this dream.

And I pray that Donald Trump proves to be a better man than what he showed us during this campaign. I pray that he will be able to put aside his ego and lead our country well over the next four years.

In response to the election results, I’ve decided to offer two of my books for free this weekend through Amazon Kindle, Dreamweavers and Buying Time

Dreamweavers explores how our dreams change over the course of our life through the story of five individuals of differing ages.

Buying Time – set during the Cold War days of Ronald Reagan, Buying Time shows how a small group of individuals stepped out in faith to do their part to stop the Nuclear Weapons build-up in the world. With the election of Donald Trump, the specter of Nuclear War has come back onto the horizon. That’s why I’m offering this book now.

Both books will be free from Friday, November 11 through Monday, November 14. Just click on the links.

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Next week I will be moving to my new website. Unfortunately I’m not able to simply transfer followers to the site. I hope all of you will follow me there. I value each of you and don’t want to lose a single follower. Details to follow.



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Fall Color Report from Falling Waters Trail


As a much needed diversion on this cloudy election day, I’m sending you the fall color report from my bike ride along Falling Waters Trail yesterday. There’s still plenty of color around. Get out and vote then enjoy the leaves.






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Ready, Set, Stop! NaNoWriMo Is What You Make It


The main criticism I’ve heard of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is that it encourages quantity over quality in writing. Writers are spurred on to spew out words as quickly as possible without regard for the value behind the words. And then, thanks to the ease of self-publishing, there is a glut of poorly written books with little to no copy editing, flooding the already crowded book market.

While there is some truth in this, that is not what NaNoWriMo is about. Writers are encouraged to write quickly as a means to quiet the inner editor/critic that sometimes gets in the way between us and our muse. What we do with these words once we get them on paper is up to us. Participants are also encouraged to revise and edit their work before sending them to an agent or publisher or self-publishing.

Ultimately, NaNoWriMo is what you make it. It is set up to challenge writers to create 50,000 words of fiction or non-fiction, but many writers use this time to revise and edit a previously written work, or may not aspire to a 50,000 word count, settling on a more manageable goal. They use the momentum of NaNoWriMo to help them achieve these goals. What’s important is that you are writing in some shape or form.

For me, my participation in NaNoWriMo this year has taken an unexpected turn. I had planned on writing the first draft of the sequel to the book I wrote in the summer of 2015. There were problems with this first book, but I hoped that through the process of writing the sequel, it would become clearer to me how to address those problems. An unexpected gift of a developmental edit of the first fifteen pages of the book gave me the insight I needed to fix the first book.

Rather than flying ahead with the sequel, I’m finding myself revising the first. If the revisions go quickly, I just may be able to catch the NaNoWriMo wave to start the second, but better to have a solid foundation from which to write the second by correcting the first.

So for me, it has been ready, set, stop.

There are no NaNoWriMo police to chastise me or give me a ticket for failing to do what I had originally set out to do. Instead there are words of encouragement from other writers who know all too well the vagaries of the craft. NaNoWriMo truly is what you make it!

How might you use NaNoWriMo to further your writing goals this year?

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What Is Your Greatest Fear?


A Creepy Crawler!

Halloween, the celebration of all things that go bump in the night and make our stomachs jump into our throats, is over and gone for another year.

On Monday, as we celebrated the day, I found myself thinking, “What is my greatest fear?”

This is a good question to ask ourselves now and then. Our fears change over the course of our life. My answer to this question was, “I fear I may be wasting my time writing when I could be doing something else more effective to better the world.”

As I age, I realize just how precious this time we have on earth is and how limited. I don’t want to waste a minute of it. The needs in the world are so great. I want to do my part to alleviate the pain and suffering I see. So it can be hard to justify the countless hours I spend writing, thinking about writing, editing and revising, when I see so little results for my efforts.

I can’t help but wonder now and then, whether my time might be better spent elsewhere: spending time with lonely seniors in nursing homes or hospitals, working in a foodbank, tutoring children, lobbying for change of social policies. These are hard questions, ones I wrestle with on a regular basis.

This is also a good question to ask about the characters in your books. Fears can reveal important aspects of our characters. It can let us know what they value, what motivates them, and give us a glimpse into their childhood where fears often originate.

If as an adult, your character is deathly afraid of spiders, perhaps there was an incident in childhood where a spider ran over your character’s body and he/she was unable to move. Or perhaps being chased by a dog left your character with a disabling fear of dogs. If they fear failure, is it because of a demanding parent who never admitted to mistakes and demanded perfection of them as a child? If they fear abandonment, were they abandoned as a child?

In our greatest fears lie areas for growth. Maybe I need to learn how to see value in wasting time.

What is your greatest fear?


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Kindle Scout Program

irish-shoes-cover-2-resizedNominate Me! I promise I won’t raise taxes or bore you with endless TV campaign ads. However, I will entertain you with a delightful story! I have entered my latest novel, An Irish Slip Step, in the Kindle Scout Program.

Kindle Scout program gives readers  a chance to look at and nominate books for publication. If the book you nominate is selected, you will receive a free  e-copy when it is published.

If I get enough nominations, Amazon Kindle will publish my book. To nominate, just follow the link. Thank you in advance for your support! And if you like what you read, share the link with others. 🙂

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Riding on Under Inflated Tires!


My bike parked along Falling Waters Trail.

It had been a beautiful fall day and I was determined to get in a bike ride along Falling Waters Trail to Lime Lake before going to New York to babysit my new grandson later that week. When I noticed my back tire was pretty soft, I thought, “No problem. I’ll use the pump at the beginning of the trail.”

I pulled up to the pump, put the clamp on my tire and started to pump air. No luck, not only did the tire not gain air, it got softer.

Air pumps and I do not get along. I’ve been known to take a slightly soft car tire and drain it down to where it cannot be driven.

I asked some passing dog walkers if they could help. They tried but were equally unsuccessful at getting my bike to the desired level of inflation. I got on my bike and decided it wasn’t that bad, so I continued on my bike ride. I wasn’t even one third of the way to Lime Lake when I was puffing. But I really wanted to get to the lake.

So I decided to call upon a higher power to help me decide what to do. I thought about telling God, “If you are real, send me someone to fix my bike,” but decided that wasn’t a good idea. So then I thought, “If you love me, fix my bike,” but that was also a bit ridiculous.

So then I decided on:  “God, if no-one comes along to help me inflate my tire by Robinson Road, I’ll turn around and go back.” That seemed like a reasonable request. I had a small tire pump attached to my bike to be used for such emergency situations. I just needed someone who could make it work.

Sure enough, I got to Robinson Road without seeing anyone, but the sun was shining on the path ahead and I really wanted to make it to the lake, so I kept going, ignoring my earlier plan.

Finally on the third leg of the journey, I flagged down an unsuspecting man riding in the opposite direction and asked him if he could help me. This he did. He wasn’t able to inflate the tire all of the way, but it was definitely better than it was and enabled me to make it to the lake and back home again.

It was worth it, I told myself as I saw the sun glistening on the lake, turning it multiple shades of blue. I questioned this later when struggling to make it home, and again when I realized the bike ride had taken an hour longer than usual, leaving me short on time to complete other tasks I wanted to do that day.

Now my bike tire didn’t get this flat overnight. I had noticed it for several weeks, but it wasn’t bad enough to keep me from riding the bike. I kept telling myself I would pump up my tire when I got home, only to forget about it once I reached my destination.

When I got back from my trip to New York, I looked forward to riding my bike again, forgetting about the problem with the tire until I got the bike out. I struggled to blow up the tire using the pump with a broken handle I had at home. I opted to ride around the neighborhood, after spending a half an hour trying to pump the tire up. At least I knew enough not to attempt the ride to Lime Lake again.

This past weekend, while looking for tools at Harbor Freight, I bought a new bike pump. I pumped up my tire to full inflation and was on my way. This was the first time in weeks that the tires were properly inflated. And I thought, “Why did it take me so long to fix this?”

It seems that for the past few months my life has been like those under inflated tires. Enough energy to keep going, but not optimal. Sometimes God took pity on me and sent help, like the bike rider on the path. I made it to my destination, but it took longer than if I were running at top form.

It has only been this past week that my life has returned to some semblance of normalcy, whatever that is. I feel like, just maybe, I’m back to full energy but I need to keep my physical, emotional and spiritual tires inflated.

If only it were as easy to do this as it is to buy a tire pump.

How do you keep your tires inflated?

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