Know a Woman Who Loves Outlander? Gift Ideas for Valentine’s Day!

It’s that time of year again. Valentine’s Day is nearly here. Some may found a gift for our significant others right after Christmas. I fall into the majority of those who procrastinated and now am brainstorming for that perfect gift that says “I love you.” Continue reading “Know a Woman Who Loves Outlander? Gift Ideas for Valentine’s Day!”

Places I hope to Visit in Scotland

I have always had a desire to visit Scotland. It’s beauty and intrigue have fueled the many books I have read over the course of my life (mostly romances). Additionally, the Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon has only strengthened my desire to see Scotland.

Continue reading “Places I hope to Visit in Scotland”




Today I sent the last of the manuscript for book three in the Knights of Kismera series to my editor.

I can breathe a sigh of relief now. I had begun to wonder if I was ever going to finish The Dragon’s Tear.

I was about halfway through when the dreaded writer’s block happened—two months of nothing. Usually, I couldn’t write more than a line or two. Then the next day I would read over it and reject it.

I couldn’t even come up with blog posts or my newsletter. It was torture. UGH!!!!!Screen Shot 2017-08-14 at 11.19.04 AM.png

Then, one day it was as if the fog just blew away. The characters had things to say, and when I had time to write I couldn’t get it down fast enough. I still didn’t get the other writing responsibilities done, but it was because I was putting all of my energy into the manuscript.

I was discussing the progress of my writing and how I hated writer’s block with my family one day. My daughter looked at me and very calmly said, “But Mom, you get it at some point with every book.”

I thought it over and she was right. I lock up with every project. No clue why, but it happens with each novel.

Now I’m sitting here with mixed emotions. Is it just a normal part of my process? Do I have this issue to look forward to for any future work? Does that involuntary break make my writing better? Is being a frustrated writer “cool”?

The good news is that I have no shortage of ideas for future novels. I have at least four more in the file box in the back of my brain, as well as a few ideas that could become novellas.

So the plan of action is this: decide on the next project, sit down, start writing, and don’t sweat something that may or may not happen.

Read more from Tamara Hartl!

Pitchfork & Pen—Cherry Hill House—If a House Could Talk


I love architecture. I have no desire to be an actual architect, I just have a love of the art behind it. Or rather the product of an architect’s work.

I enjoy viewing all old buildings, including businesses and houses (my favorite). The older the better.

There are a few in my neighborhood that are well over 75 years old. Some I remember Cherry Hill 2
from my youth are well over one hundred.  The windows are long gone, and the doors (if they exist) hang crookedly. One house I pass on a regular basis has upper story windows you can see through from one end of the house to the other.

A few months ago, a friend on Facebook remarked on a picture posted by one of his friends of an old home in Virginia. When I lived there I passed by that house regularly. I commented on the post and soon a conversation was going. Stories were told about the people who had lived there and what the inside looked like. This house had seven porches. It was rumored to have a chandelier in the front entry made of ruby-colored crystals.

I think the thing that fascinates me the most about these old homes are the events that happened in the house. It sparks my imagination when I think of the stories the house itself could tell.

The old, weathered abandoned house sits idle; the history of births, deaths, and love still live within the walls. Children grew and played, grandparents told stories of their own youth over coffee at the kitchen table. Meals were cooked and consumed, holidays were celebrated. These houses are not living beings, but life flowed through them.

I love watching HGTV and seeing older homes renovated. Even if the house loses a lot of the original fixtures, life will continue to fill the rooms. A new home is brick, board, nails, and screws. It waits for its history to begin. Older homes continue to add to their history every day. They are the lucky ones.

The next time you ride down a country road and see an old house, abandoned and decaying, don’t think of it as an eyesore. Imagine a young woman waiting for her husband who was away fighting in a great war, or the man who sat anxiously in the parlor while his son or daughter came into the world in a bedroom above.

Can you see them? Open your mind and imagination. You will.


Read more from Tamara Hartl!

Pitchfork & Pen—The Voices Aren’t Always Nice


I did a post recently about how writer’s “hear” characters and their “voices.”

I’m at a point in the creation of my third novel, The Dragon’s Tear, where I’m working with an antagonistic character that at first didn’t really have a voice. Continue reading “Pitchfork & Pen—The Voices Aren’t Always Nice”