Writing Journals: An Author’s Guide

A. R. Silverberry, Author of The Stream

A. R. Silverberry, Author of The Stream

Using a Writing Journal


When I heard that John Steinbeck kept a writer’s journal I thought I’d better give it a whirl. It’s turned out to be one of the most useful tools in my arsenal. It helps me stay focused on whatever project I’m working on, experiment with different passages, brainstorm ideas, and sort out story- doubts and self-doubts. It helps me keep going, even when I’ve stalled and I’m ready to abandon the whole vocation and take up golf. It’s also useful to go back through the journals and re-read what I was thinking about at various points in time.


For each piece I’m working on, whether it’s a short story or a novel, I start a journal in a separate folder for that project. This helps me stay focused on that project and find within its pages ideas, explorations, or solutions as needed. I recently validated this approach. I had been working intensely on book three of a sci-fi trilogy but set it aside mid-May to work on three short stories. These got completed in 7/31. When I went back to the trilogy I felt quite distant from it. I knew I was just starting Act II in the plot, but the thousands of ideas and questions that were percolating in my head had long since flown away like a flock of migrating birds. A quick review of the journal helped me get back on track. By reading earlier entries, I was able to find where I was planning to go with a particular character or conflict.


My father, who penned plays and screenplays, used to talk about the tyranny of the paper. Of course, this was in the days of typewriters or writing longhand. What he meant was that there was something intimidating about the stark, white, unblemished page. It begs us not to mar it. And if you have a few lines or a passage written there, it can also be difficult to add anything. It’s almost as if the words are set in stone or are sacred—anything else you add better be good, or pack it up. My father’s solution was to crumple a paper bag or something else that didn’t matter and write on that. (I once saw a poem he wrote on a cocktail napkin.) You can even scribble on it first. The crumpling and scribbling sends a great message to your brain: Relax, there’s nothing at stake here; this is something you can toss in the trash.


Even on a computer screen, I often experience the tyranny of the “page.” One of my favorite ways to deal with it is to go to my journal and experiment there. I feel totally liberated to write whatever I want, and to write badly. No one ever sees it, so what does it matter? Freed up mentally, I often come up with just what I need.


Every novel has one or two sections that I call my Waterloo passages. Gnarly, messy, scary, these sections torture me because I’m not sure how to write them or make them work. Reading in prior journals helps. I can quickly see that this is a normal part of the creative process and that I always get to the other side it!


Someday I’ll share some real life examples from my journals. But I thought I’d post this as an introduction. A final thought. Sometimes I use journals to capture something I’ve seen or heard. Here’s an entry from the journal I kept while writing my novel, The Stream.



8:08 PM:

Saw this quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air.”


Leave a Comment! I’d love to hear how you use a writing journal.


Happy writing everyone!

Writing to Music, by Alina Sayre

The Illuminator Rising, by Alina Sayre

The Illuminator Rising, by Alina Sayre

Welcome fantasy author, Alina Sayre, who’s just released The Illuminator Rising, Book 3 of The Voyages of the Legend. Alina stops by today with a guest post on writing to music, a topic dear to my heart! More about Alina, The Illuminator Rising, and a chance to win the book below. But first . . . And a one, and a two, take it away, Alina!

Writing to Music

Growing up, I was one of those people who needed complete silence to get anything done. Obviously, that’s not the most practical habit, and I credit my younger brother with expanding my ability to focus in the midst of noise. Now, I actually enjoy—sometimes even need—music in order to get anything done. But to keep a clear line between cranking up creativity and cranking up procrastination, I have a few rules about how to write to music.

Rule #1: To be productive, I have to choose the music playing while I work. I find Starbucks soundtracks more distracting than helpful—usually because I don’t know the songs and start listening to them instead of writing.

Rule #2: Make a playlist. Each of the books I’ve written has its own dedicated soundtrack. I pick out some of the songs ahead of time, but most I collect as the book’s tone takes shape. It’s really fun to see what’s come together for each book. Book 1, The Illuminator’s Gift, used a lot of soundtracks and some Celtic music. Book 2, The Illuminator’s Test, used more choral songs. The Illuminator Rising, my just-released third book, is a really eclectic mixture, including a smattering of Middle Eastern and Spanish sounds. My all-time favorite writing composer is Ludovico Einaudi, whose instrumental compositions are classical enough to help me focus, but enough like a soundtrack to provide imaginative spark. With a play count of over 300 on my iTunes, the song “Ora” now gives me a Pavlovian impulse to write!

Rule #3: I (almost) only work to instrumental songs or lyrics in a foreign language. If there are English words, I’m almost guaranteed to get distracted, or maybe even start typing the lyrics of the song instead of the scene I’m supposed to be writing! Instrumental music creates a space for me to imagine without putting words in my head.

Rule #4: Turn up the music louder than the distractions. Especially when it’s late in the day, or late in the writing process, or I’m just having one of those days when every squirrel is a welcome distraction, cranking up the music can help get me back on task.

Rule #5: Sometimes, no music. When it comes down to tasks that take deep focus—writing a hundred-word summary of my book, for instance—sometimes I just need to stay home, shut the door, and turn off the music for an atmosphere of complete concentration. I can turn it on again when I come up for air J

Do you write to music? What are some of your personal rules?

Synopsis of The Illuminator Rising, Book 3 of The Voyages of the Legend:

Driven from their home island of Rhynlyr, Ellie and her friends must solve a riddle to find the survivors of the Vestigia Roi. But instead of a safe haven, they discover a hopeless band of refugees paralyzed by fear. Strengthened by new allies and new gifts, the crew of the Legend faces dangers like never before. Can they escape being shot out of the sky, falling over the Edge of the world, or being engulfed by urken armies long enough to rally the Vestigia Roi? And can they rekindle a fire from the ashes of the One Kingdom before Draaken takes over the world? 

Advance praise for The Illuminator Rising

“A thrilling read…[Sayre] has a flair for being able to capture the interest of a reader and hold onto it.”

-Readers’ Favorite, 5-star review

For a chance to win a copy of The Illuminator Rising, leave a comment below! I’ll randomly draw a winner for Alina to contact with the book.

About Alina Sayre:

Alina Sayre began her literary career chewing on board books and has been in love with words ever since. Now she gets to work with them every day as an author, educator, editor, and speaker. Her first novel, The Illuminator’s Gift, won a silver medal in the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards, and all three books in The Voyages of the Legend series have received 5-star reviews from Readers’ Favorite. When she’s not writing, Alina enjoys hiking, crazy socks, and reading under blankets. She does not enjoy algebra or wasabi. When she grows up, she would like to live in a castle with a large library.

Follow Alina and her writing here!

Website: http://www.alinasayre.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/alinasayreauthor

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/AlinaSayre

Amazon: amazon.com/author/alinasayre

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7469870.Alina_Sayre

Readers who want to follow Alina on her Illuminator Rising blog tour, here are the other stops!

June 8: Jenn Castro (jenncastro.com)-Book 3 announcement with synopsis and cover

June 9: Margaret Bloom (webloomhere.blogspot.com)-Book 1 review, Book 3 announcement with synopsis and cover, giveaway

June 10: Publication day!!! Announcement on alinasayre.com

June 11: Angela Wallace (angelawallace.wordpress.com)-guest post

June 12: W.R. Gingell (wrgingell.com)-guest post

June 13: Rabia Gale (rabiagale.com/blog)-Book 1 review, Book 3 announcement with synopsis and cover

June 15: D.M. Stoddard (kingdomoftorrence.com/wordpress)-guest post

June 16: Intisar Khanani (booksbyintisar.com/blog)-interview

June 18: Caleb Fong (geekosupremo.wordpress.com)-radio interview

Alina Sayre, author of The Illuminator Rising

Alina Sayre, author of The Illuminator Rising

Beach Reads Bonanza!

Get out the sunscreen and umbrellas, I’m taking part in the Beach Reads Bonanza, which runs from 6/7 – 6/13. Come and celebrate your love of reading and find exciting new books to read this summer! There will be author takeovers where you can chat with new-to-you authors or old favorites, enter giveaways, a chance to play some beach/summer-themed games, and more!

There will also be a HUGE event long giveaway for a giant prize pack of e-books, paperbacks, gift cards, swag, and more that you will gain entries for with every post you participate in. My time slot to host is June 10th at 12 PM CDT (10 AM PST) Follow the link to join and share with your friends!

Beach Reads Bonanza

Here’s the truth about writing: it’s all in the prompt. That proved the case here, as I found my funny bone in this interview by fantasy author, Heidi L Burke. Here’s the link!

Random Interview Saturday

In an interview from the League of Scribes on June 9th, I reveal my code name and what sci-fi creatures I would recruit into my army if I wished to conquer the world. What world will I want to conquer? I’ll send the link soon.

Last but not least, children’s fantasy author, Alina Sayre, will stop by my blog on June 14th with a guest post on writing to music. She’ll also be revealing the cover for her third middle-grade fantasy, The Illuminator Rising! Link coming soon.

Wishing everyone a fabulous summer,

A.R. Silverberry

A contemplative A. R. Silverberry

A contemplative A. R. Silverberry

Spring Into Fantasy Facebook Party!

Silverberry, Man or Hoax?

Silverberry, Man or Hoax?

Spring Into Fantasy Facebook Party!


Here ye, here ye! It’s time for the Spring Into Fantasy Facebook Party, hosted by the Fellowship of Fantasy, a merry band of fantasy authors who’ve come together for two days of fun, games, prizes, and a chance to meet our authors! I’ll be hosting something special for the event on Saturday at 2 PM EDT (11 AM PST). But you don’t have to wait for the event to find out what I’m going to do! You can find my two games below! First, here’s the link to the party, which runs from Friday, May 6, 3PM (EDT), to Saturday May 7, 8 PM (EDT). Click here to get to the party!


Spread the word to family and friends! Hope to see you all there!


Silverberry Contest One: Man or Hoax?!


Is the photo above a rare sighting of the Silverberry caught in his habitat? Or is it a hoax, cleverly perpetrated by fame seekers? No matter, the best caption for the photo wins a copy of Wyndano’s Cloak, eBook edition! Here’s how to enter:


  1. Like my Facebook page
  2. Post your caption in the comment below
  3. Share the post with your friends!


Silverberry Contest Two:


My second novel, The Stream, utilizes a most unusual setting for the story. In fact, the Stream is a not just a most unusual world, I think of it as a character!


Below is an almost excerpt from the book. I say almost excerpt because as much as I love the passage, it didn’t fit into the book, and I found other ways of communicating the same information. But it will give you an idea of just how unusual the Stream is. Here’s the setup: Wend, a five-year-old boy trying to understand the workings of his world, is talking to his father on their boat. Here’s the passage, followed by the rules to contest:


Almost Excerpt:


If Wend had stopped to think about it, he would have realized that his family, searching for fruit, nuts, and roots, never ventured far from either shore, that travelers never sailed upstream to tell tales of what lay ahead. Except for tacking and voyages of a few miles, his family never ventured upstream either. When he’d asked his father why, he was told, “It’s a law.” Wend must have looked blank because his father told him to jump as high as he could. Wend jumped, and after his feet landed on the ground his father said, “Now jump as high as the top of the mast.” Wend had laughed, but declared that no one could do that.

“Why not?” his father asked.

“We come down first,” Wend replied.

“It’s a law,” said his father. “And it’s a law that we go that way.”

His father pointed downstream.

If Wend had thought of these things, he would have understood that everyone was tethered to the stream and could only go in one direction. People stopped from time to time, working at abandoned foundries to smelt metal for anchors, chains, and knives, cutting trees to build or repair boats, living in villages, taking over deserted houses like creatures that move into another animal’s shell. They never stayed long, always returning to their boats, always going with the current, always traveling downstream.


Contest Rules


To win a free copy of The Stream, eBook edition, Like my Facebook page, leave a comment, on the post about the Fellowship of Fantasy Facebook event, about what intrigued you about the world of the Stream, and share the post!


That’s it for both contests! I may award more than one prize for each contest, so be sure to enter!


The Fellowship of Fantasy is a group of indie writers offering novels and books that are at a low PG-13 level. Readers who enjoy fiction without a lot of graphic violence, sex, or language will enjoy our reads. Check out the Fellowship of Fantasy Website and learn about the Fan Art Contest! Categories include audio, video, costume, cosplay, visual art, and writing! Let your creative juices flow!

Spring into Fantasy Giveaway!

Spring into Fantasy Giveaway!

Wyndano's Cloak, By A. R. Silverberry

Wyndano’s Cloak, By A. R. Silverberry

The Stream, by A. R. Silverberry

The Stream, by A. R. Silverberry

Transported out of Aerdem to another universe!

Transported out of Aerdem to another universe!

Fellowship of Fantasy Giveaway!

Spring into Fantasy Giveaway!

Spring into Fantasy Giveaway!

Here ye, here ye: announcing the Fellowship of Fantasy, a merry band of amazing fantasy authors who’ve come together to share their work, and I’m super thrilled to be part of it! To celebrate, we’re hosting the Spring Into Fantasy Giveaway!

We’ve lined up an awesome prize. What prize? Maybe I should’ve said PRIZES!

That’s right, the winner of this giveaway gets a $50 Amazon.com gift certificate AND an ebook bundle of 28 wonderful flinch-free fantasy novels.

Why flinch free? We all subscribe to the Clean Indie Reads guidelines, which means that while not all our books are for children, you won’t find anything more graphic than a low PG-13 rating. So if you’re a parent with active teen readers or just enjoy your fiction without a lot of graphic violence, sex, or language, this is a great giveaway for you to enter.

And every book is a fantasy: magical worlds, mythical creatures, and marvelous adventures, all at your fingertips! The event runs from 4/21 – 5/17!

Enter the Spring into Fantasy Giveaway now with this rafflecopter! –>

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out the Fellowship of Fantasy Website and learn about the Fan Art Contest! Categories include audio, video, costume, cosplay, visual art, and writing! Let your creative juices flow!

That’s not all! We’ve got  a Spring Into Fantasy Facebook Event on Friday, May 6, 3pm EDT – Saturday, May 7, 8pm EDT! Meet our authors and get chance to win more prizes! I’ll be hosting something special for the event on Saturday at 2 PM EDT (11 AM PST). Spread the word to family and friends! Hope to see all there!

Best Wishes,

A. R. Silverberry



The Fellowship of Fantasy is a group of indie writers offering novels and books that are at a low PG-13 level. Readers who enjoy fiction without a lot of graphic violence, sex, or language will enjoy our reads.

Dragon’s Revenge Cover Reveal!

Dragon’s Revenge, by Kandi J Wyatt

I’m pleased to host a cover reveal for Kandi J Wyatt’s latest release, Dragon’s Revenge, Book Three of the Dragon Courage Series.

The Dragon Courage series is a middle grade/young adult fantasy series that has ten-year-olds to grandparents raving. What’s all the fuss? It’s a clean read of adventure and character-quality building set in a new world. According to one reviewer, “Not since reading Christopher Paolini’s Eragon have I read a book about dragons that made me want to be a part of that world.” Each book has a theme skilfully woven into the plot so younger readers won’t even realize they are being taught important life qualities. The series is a “fabulous adventure for younger readers that will fill their minds with the magic of dragons, friendships found and worlds from far, far away”.

Today, I am introducing book three in the Dragon Courage series, Dragon’s Revenge. Book one took the reader to the northern canyon country of Three Spans Canyon where Kyn became a dragon rider. Book two followed Braidyn, a youngling born in the canyon country, who moved to the south along the River Sur. When some nestlings are stolen, Braidyn goes seeking retribution. His search takes him to the sandhills to the east of the inland sea. In book three, our story revolves around Kyn. He travels across the inland sea to a new land of marshes and red dragons.


In search of his place in the world, Kyn visits his new friend, Ben’hyamene. Together, they meet an ailing dragon rider from the marshes of a land called the Carr. The rider recounts a people beset by anger, depression, and despair. After befriending and healing the rider, the group travels to the rider’s home. There they discover a breed of wild dragons, called drakes, which have been at war with humans for four hundred years.

One sleepless night, Ben’hyamene uses his new abilities to communicate with the lead drake. This sets Kyn and Ben’hyamene on a path that could bring peace to a conflict that’s nearly destroyed a whole people. Can revenge be set aside and enemies be called friends?


Find the author:

You can find her on her website, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

And now for the cover!

Dragon's Revenge, By Kandi J Wyatt

Dragon’s Revenge, By Kandi J Wyatt


Kandi J Wyatt, Author of DRAGON'S REVENGE

Kandi J Wyatt, Author of DRAGON’S REVENGE

Manuscript Revision: Clarity Trumps Style!

Wyndano's Cloak, By A. R. Silverberry

Wyndano’s Cloak, By A. R. Silverberry

Manuscript Revision: Clarity Trumps Style!

The beta reads are in, the manuscript is revised, and book one of my YA, sci-fi trilogy is in the hands of a content editor. The responses of the beta readers were positive (I believe the verb love was used three times!). Still, there were spots, and I agonized over them. The novel had gone through five drafts by then. The flow of the prose was pretty well set. It’s hard to integrate new information without disrupting the rhythm and pacing of the story.


Clarity trumps style (my new pet phrase), so I gritted my teeth and worked and worked until I had solved the problems that were there. Funny thing, the section I slaved over the most was not something a beta reader pointed out. It was something that jumped out at me as I looked over the manuscript. Bear in mind that I’d pretty much finished it in July, 2014. But I hadn’t looked at it for over a year. It’s actually good to let something sit. You see it with fresh eyes. That’s what happened here. I needed to foreshadow events to come. I came up with dozens of alternative possibilities for how to do that. When I had narrowed them down, I read them to my wife. She hated all of them and liked what I originally had written. We were pretty much done with the conversation. (I could see it on her face!) Almost as an aside, I read her something I’d played with for an earlier spot. As I read it, I felt a chill go through me. It worked. She was stunned and told me it absolutely HAD to be included. So there it is; there it will stay.


In other news, I did my first video interview. Unfortunately, the Giveaway is over, but I introduce the real A. R. Silverberry, share some of my favorite quotes, and read an excerpt from “Wyndano’s Cloak.” Many thanks to Book Nerd Paradise for having me. Here’s the link!


Thank you all for your loyalty! I’ll keep you posted on how the edits are going, and we can collectively cross our fingers that an agent picks up the project. If not, no sweat. I’ll get it to you anyway!

The Stream, a Shelf Unbound Notable Book

The Stream, a Shelf Unbound Notable Book


The Stream, by A. R. Silverberry

The Stream, by A. R. Silverberry

Andy Smithson Book 5, by LRW Lee!

Vision of the Griffin’s Heart, Andy Smithson, Book 5 , by L.R.W. Lee

Vision of the Griffin’s Heart, Andy Smithson, Book 5 , by L.R.W. Lee


Vision of the Griffin’s Heart, Andy Smithson, Book 5

Four years ago, Andy Smithson discovered he is the Chosen one to break a 500-year-old curse plaguing the land of Oomaldee when he unexpectedly and mysteriously found himself there. To do so, he must collect ingredients for a magical potion. Thus far he has gathered the scale of a red dragon, venom from a giant serpent, a unicorn’s horn, and the tail feather of a phoenix. Now he must ask a griffin for one of its talons. There’s just one problem…humans have poached griffin treasure, causing these mythical creatures to attack on sight.


Complicating matters, the evil Abaddon, sovereign of Oomaldee’s northern neighbor, is turning more and more citizens into zolt in his ongoing campaign of terror as he sets in motion the final steps of his plan to conquer the land. Things really start to heat up in book five!


If you loved Harry Potter, you’ll love the Andy Smithson series, chalk full of mythical creatures, newly invented animals like zolt, herewolves, and therewolves, a complex plot with evolving characters, and positive themes including responsibility, diligence, dignity, friendship and more.


Purchase Kindle and Paperback




5 Stars! – “A marvelous book in a great series!” – Erik Weibel (Age 14) This Kid Reviews Books Blog

“Readers of this series have come to anticipate a host of challenges, intense battles, and on an epic scale. In Vision of the Griffin’s Heart, you won’t be disappointed. For lovers of fantasy, I consider it a must read.” – Richard Weatherly, Author

“One of the admirable qualities I like about the entire series is seeing Andy’s growth from a self-absorbed kid to a more thoughtful teen as he learns how to deal with the various crises which face him, all the while knowing that the future may hold unpleasant consequences.  The watchword for Vision of the Griffin’s Heart is “courage.” – Wayne Walker, Home School Book Review



Blast of the Dragon’s Fury(Andy Smithson, Book One) ebook is FREE. Download a copy at Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, Google, B&N.

Listen to the FREE podcast of Book 1 by L. R. W. Lee on Podiobooks


Book one is also available in paperback.

Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning(Andy Smithson, Book Two) is available in Kindle and Paperback.

Download the professionally recorded audiobook at Amazon

It’s only $1.99 if you download the eBook first…Savings of $16!


Disgrace of the Unicorn’s Honor(Andy Smithson, Book Three) is available in Kindle and Paperback.
Resurrection of the Phoenix’s Grace (Andy Smithson, Book Four) is available in Kindle and Paperback.


Power of the Heir’s Passion (Andy Smithson, Prequel Novella) ebook is FREE. Pick up a copy at Amazon, Google,B&N, Smashwords. It’s also available in paperback.

Download the professionally recorded audiobook at Amazon

It’s only $1.99 if you download the eBook for $.99 first…Savings of $1!




R. W. Lee credits her love of fantasy with her introduction to C. S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia. Later on, she enjoyed the complex world of Middle Earth brought to life by J. R. R. Tolkien in Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. The multiple dimensions of the worlds mixed with a layer of meaning, captivated her and made her desire to invent Young Adult Fantasy and Epic Fantasy worlds others could get lost in, but also take meaning away from. More recently, L. R. W. Lee has found inspiration from J. K. Rowling and her Harry Potter series as well as Brandon Mull and his best selling Fablehaven, Beyonders, and Five Kingdoms series.

R. W. Lee writes to teach her readers principles that can transform their lives – overcoming frustration, impatience, fear and more. She also shows why responsibility, diligence, and dignity are the keys to true success in life. She lives in scenic Austin, TX with her husband. Their daughter is a Computer Engineer for Microsoft and their son serves in the Air Force.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | Email

L.R.W. Lee, Author of Vision of the Griffin’s Heart, Andy Smithson, Book 5

L.R.W. Lee, Author of Vision of the Griffin’s Heart, Andy Smithson, Book 5




Fantasy Sci-Fi Net Year’s End Blockbuster Sale!

Fantasy Sci-Fi Network Year's End Blockbuster Sale

Fantasy Sci-Fi Network Year’s End Blockbuster Sale!

Holy cow, the Fantasy Sci-Fi Network is hosting an out of this world, blockbuster sale! December 19 begins an eBook extravaganza: free books, 99-cent deals, and deep discounts on fantasy and science fiction books from award-winning and bestselling authors like Patricia Reding, L.R.W. Lee, J.D. Hallowell, and yours truly; plus up-and-coming authors you won’t want to miss: Charles D. Carpenter/D.W. Jones, Kasper Beaumont, Joshua Grasso, Robin Lythgoe, and many more . . .


My contributions to the sale are my award-winning books, Wyndano’s Cloak and The Stream, both discounted by 80% for the sale!


Keep your winter warm and filled with magic and wonder. Stock your Kindle, iPad, iPhone, and your imagination here -> Fantasy and Science Fiction Network Year Blockbuster Book Sale!

The Fantasy & Science-Fiction Network  (FSF Net) is dedicated to helping fans find the very best fantasy & sci-fi books for children and adults (both young and old) that do not exceed a PG-13 rating. FSF Net seeks to be a primary source for the latest G/PG/PG-13 fantasy/science-fiction (sci-fi) news. Follow them on Facebook.

The Stream, by A. R. Silverberry

The Stream, by A. R. Silverberry

Wyndano's Cloak, By A. R. Silverberry

Wyndano’s Cloak, By A. R. Silverberry

Home Place, by Elisa Adler

Home Place, by Elisa Adler

Home Place, by Elisa Adler

If you liked Elisa Adler’s I’ll Close My Eyes (But I Won’t Be Asleep), the story of unexpected encounters at the edge of a world, you may like a book she wrote years earlier, but just published. Home Place is a love story of place, and the people, spirits, and elements that shape it.


When a damaged and idealistic young woman retreats to a mountain valley with her proud-cut, green broke gelding, the people she meets there tell her stories of how they came to and lost the place where she now lives.

They tell of the sixteen-year-old Welsh boy, John Davies, who in 1863 walks over the ridge looking for gold and finds and marries Mary Yatkin, the Maidu headman’s daughter. They tell how from that union generations of family grew and still grow – ranchers, basket-weavers, loggers, mill-workers, healers, thinkers, and teachers, who plant orchards in the valley coves, raise animals, barns, and children, whom they teach to be careful and to care for the ever-present spirits who inhabit that world.

As the young woman grows old and comes, like they, to belong in that place, she strings their tales along the thread of her twenty-five year journal of watching.

Home Place is that beaded strand of witnessing in time, an account of lost and longed for homes, that ephemeral place in ourselves we try to know or remember. It’s the light left on in the kitchen to guide us when we, like old John Davies, might want to be found or make our ways home through the dark.

About Elisa Adler:

Elisa Adler teaches writing in colleges and prisons, is a translator and interpreter, farms, and lives with her family on a northeastern edge of California’s Sierra Nevada. She and others of the Cunningham, Davis, and Joseph families, whose stories comprise this book, continue to tend and watch over the Home Place.

Visit Elisa Adler on her website, which also provides purchase links and a lyrical, poetic, and powerful excerpt from Home Place.

You can learn more about Elisa Adler in this interview, Delusion, Dimension, or Discourse, which she did with me about her first book, I’ll Close My Eyes (But I Won’t Be Asleep).