Leaf of the Tree

Finding the Divine in the Details


Leaps ahead of thinking


Bernhard Kretschmar’s “Tram”, part of collection of art cache recently uncovered in Munich.


I am often, in my writing, great leaps ahead of where I am in my thinking …

~ Madeleine L’Engle, A Circle of Quiet

This insight is one of the things I love most about creative process.The author shares it in a book that’s a longtime favorite of mine, the first of her Crosswicks Journal works.

I experienced a serendipitous example of what she describes while researching my current novel during a visit to Munich. A portrait of Eva Braun is a key element in the book’s story — a real portrait with a 1936 framer’s label on the back that says “Promenade Platz 7, Muenchen (Munich)”, together with an August date. I’d tried for some time to locate this address without success and figured that whatever building had been there on that day was long gone since the bombing damage from the war.

Spontaneously one afternoon, my ever-patient husband asked whether I’d like to go see the Hotel Bayerischer Hof, one of Munich’s historic hotels. It just so happened that a scene set there had “arrived” on the page that very week, not that I’d told him anything about that.

It was still a bit of a surprise to me, as these often are. It had also somehow “connected itself” with a scene in that framer’s shop whose address I couldn’t find.

When we reached the Bayerischer Hof, I looked up and saw a street sign that said: “Promenade Platz” And there, on a stone building directly across from the hotel, was a blue address sign with the number 7 — !

munichgirl_card_frontBut more, the setting outside it – a long, slender park between it and hotel – was exactly what I had “visualized” as I’d imagined the framer’s shop. So were the two sets of tram tracks on either side of it. Although I hadn’t yet known where Promenade Platz was, the scene that includes it had already taken shape on the page – and here it was right before me, just as my inner eye had seen it. Yet it wasn’t until that scene had been captured down that – without trying – I was led to discover exactly where that address is.

I also learned that day during a tour of the hotel that its dining salon/lounge, where my writing’s process had just sketched a new scene – a huge, elegant space with a beautiful stained-glass dome overhead — is the only part of that massive hotel to survive bombing damage in the war.

These sorts of impromptu research discoveries leave me speechless. Indeed, in creative process, as L’Engle describes, mind lags far behind, like the slowest hiker on the climb.

Find more about The Munich Girl at:


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Where a book tours – all by itself


In the things-I-never-imagined-or saw-coming category:

A kind reader named Tammy Gray from Australia, pictured here, met my New Hampshire friends Jane and Calvin while they were all traveling in Luang Prabang, Laos. That’s how she received her copy of Snow Fence Road.

Tammy tells me that she read it in a day on one of their long, winding bus rides through Laotian mountains. Thanks so much for reading, Tammy – and to Calvin and Jane for bringing it with you half a world away when you already had so much to carry!

I’m also thankful to hear this week from two book clubs whose members are reading the book. I am always happy to “visit” with clubs, as one has invited, either virtually or in-person, as possible. And I love receiving photos of readers with the book.

Meanwhile, over at Goodreads, more than a thousand folks entered a giveaway for three copies of the book, I was astonished to discover. One of the winners, Sarah, kindly posted a 5-star review.goodreadsh

Other news from Goodreads brings a chuckle: Snow Fence Road has been added to a list there, hopefully the first of more to come. It’s called “Sexy Limp”, in reference to character Evan Marston’s gait. Once again I’m reminded that readers will respond in ways writers couldn’t possibly predict or imagine.

The book is 35th on this list of 109 books, so far. Considering that the story contains no sexual activity, and the limp in question is the unavoidable outcome of unpleasant, life-threatening circumstance, it’s a delightful irony.945917_10201346130645907_189855719_n

Through all of publication’s unexpected developments and surprises, I have a heart full of gratitude for the grace of being able to share with others those nagging things that won’t leave me alone until I help them find their way onto pages.

More about Snow Fence Road at:


Yes, that is grass in the photo to the left. Whatever the snow, we’re going to see it again. Thanks for this shot of summer, Chele Hauschildt.