Creative Madness of Historical Author Karen Witemeyer!

Genres: Christian Fiction, Christian Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Romance

Coming Soon from the Pen… Full Steam Ahead by Karen Witemeyer!

20140510-095512.jpgInstead of the usual author interview, Margaret gave me the option of discussing some of my own “Creative Madness” and sharing one of my favorite hobbies with you. I couldn’t resist. Especially when I saw that Margaret herself shares my passion not only for reading Christian historical fiction but for cross-stitch.

I am an avid cross-stitcher. When I can find time, that is. A tricky thing to do while writing on deadline, but I try to find a way to keep a project going anyway. My best friend in high school is the one who got me hooked. Solvang She and I both worked in a little California tourist town called Solvang one summer, and we found part-time jobs in needlework stores. I might have been forced to wear a peasant blouse and a red Danish corset covered in flowers, but I found a hobby there that has given me years of enjoyment.

Most of the large artwork on the walls of my home consists of cross-stitched designs. However, during Christmas, the living room is fairly overrun. Cross-stitched stockings, wall hangings, Christmas tree skirt, ornaments . . . it can get a bit out of hand.

Celtic Christmas

When each of my children was born, instead of doing a birth announcement that they would soon outgrow, I found unique alphabet patters and stitched their names. They are 12-16 now and still have those names hanging in their rooms, along with other more detailed pictures that came later. My sister-in-law liked the idea so much, that when her girls were born, she asked me to do the same for them. By then I was more confident in my design ability, and was able to add teddy bears playing dress up to one and delicate fairies to the other. I ended up liking those better than the ones I made for my own kids. Ha! Just imagine what I might be able to do when grandchildren start arriving. If I can still see the fabric holes by then.

Noah's Ark

This Noah’s Ark design hangs in the bedroom my two boys share.

I also enjoy making small projects as gifts. The last few years, I have cross-stitched gifts for my editors at Bethany House. I did ornaments one year, standing figures stitched on perforated paper another time, and this past year I gave them cameo-esque designs that fit my historical fiction leanings. They have done so much for me and my books, that it just feels right to take the time to give them something hand-crafted.


What are your favorite hobbies? Are any of you cross-stitches as well?


Karen will be giving away an autographed copy of her newest book, Full Steam Ahead to one lucky reader today, so please leave a comment to be entered.

(Giveaway open to US residents only.)

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Full Steam Ahead by Karen Witemeyer20140510-095213.jpg
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction
Pages: 352 Trade Paperback
Date published: June 3rd, 2014
Publisher: Bethany House

The dagger cuts both ways–her family legacy or the man she loves. Claiming one means forfeiting the other.

Nicole Renard returns home to Galveston and finds her father deathly ill. Though she loves him, he’s only ever focused on what she’s not. Not male. Not married. Not able to run Renard Shipping.

Vowing to secure a suitable husband to give her father the heir he desires before it’s too late, Nicole sets out with the Renard family’s greatest treasure as her dowry: the highly coveted Lafitte Dagger. But when her father’s rivals come after the dagger, she’s forced to change her destination.

Darius Thornton has been a man obsessed since the fatal boiler explosion aboard the Louisiana that nearly took his life. He will do anything to stop such disasters. Even hire a female secretary. Sure he can ignore the distraction of her pretty face, he’s not sure how to proceed when drawn to her clever mind.

Nicole is determined not to let her odd employer scare her off with his explosive experiments, yet when respect and mutual attraction grows between them, a new fear arises. How can she acquire an heir for her father when her heart belongs to an unsuitable candidate? And worse, when her father’s rivals discover her hiding place, she will have to choose between that love and her family’s legacy.

Find Karen online at:

Website –
Facebook – or
Blogs – Inspired by Life … and Fiction – and
Petticoats & Pistols –

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(No spam, I promise. Just creative madness ramblings, reviews and life-stories, with quilting and cross stitch inspiration in between!)


  1. I did some cross stitch when I was a teen, but I haven’t lately… this post makes me want to, though! : ) I especially love the silhouettes. I do sew and crochet some now, so I’m a crafty girl. : )

    • Karen Witemeyer

      Hi, Lindsey. So glad you enjoyed those crazy Archer brothers in Short-Straw. I had so much fun with that one. And yes, sewing and crochet DEFINITELY count as crafty. I can sew a little but I never caught on to knitting or crochet the summer my grandmother tried to teach me. I guess I’m not coordinated enough to handle the needles. 😉

      • My problem is that I can never figure out how to quilt, cross stitch, and knit at the same time… Plus I have to have a book in one hand you know? 😉

      • My problem is being able to read while cross stitching or quilting or learning to knit or crochet. I’ve always wanted to do the others, but the one I know always takes over my desire! I was in a prayer shawl knitting group for a while until it got too dark to drive out there at night (and kept the girls from bed too late) but for a bit I was learning again….

  2. (I also wanted to say I read “Short Straw Bride” and LOVED it! And I consider myself hard to please when it comes to books. I would love to win this one! : )

  3. I used to do quite a bit of counted cross-stitch and really enjoyed it. I had to give it up for awhile when I developed cataracts. After they were removed, I could stitch again. However, now I have arthritis in my hands so have pretty much given it up. My favorite hobby now is reading. I’ve read all of Karen’s books except the novella (though I still want to read Neill’s story). I’m looking forward to Full Steam Ahead. Thanks for the chance to win a copy here.

    • Hey Pam! My mom was never into cross stitch like myself, but now she’s discovered machine embroidery after years of not being able to do anything with her osteoarthritis. She’s re-energized!

    • Karen Witemeyer

      Hi, Pam. When I worked in Solvang as a teenager, I splurged and spent what seemed to be a fortune on an imported design kit. I packed it away, thinking I wanted to gain more skill in the craft before I attempted it. That was over 25 years ago, and I still haven’t stitched it yet. Now that I’m getting older and my eyesight is starting to weaken, I think I’m going to have to stop putting it off and stitch the thing already. It’s too bad we have to get old, isn’t it?

      Oh, by the way, if you have an e-reader, you can now get the e-novella, A Cowboy Unmatched (Neill’s story), as a single for only $1.99 on Amazon. Makes it a little more affordable than buying the whole collection, though the other stories in the collection are great reads, too.

      • In both quilting and cross stitch I was warned early on about UFOs (unfinished objects) but never fully believed them. Now that is been nine years and there are still some kits I haven’t started (quilting) and probably 15-20 years on others (cross stitch) I believe them!

    • I wrote you a comment reply a couple days ago, but for some reason I don’t see it here! Oh well. What I was saying is that my mama has never been one much for cross stitch, but she always enjoyed hand work in other areas from crochet to apparel sewing and after her osteoarthritis kicked in that hobby just sort of faded until she discovered machine embroidery (and even cross stitch by machine embroidery) and she loves all that. She can now have her hobby back with results, but without hurting her hands.

  4. I have done quite a bit of cross-stitch in the past. I really enjoy doing the Bread Covers ( for Bread Baskets ) These are pieces of counted cross stitch cloth that you work a design on one ( or more corners ), then you lay that in a Bread Basket, and lay a slightly smaller piece of fabric over the Counted Cross stitch fabric, and then put your Bread in the Basket. =) Your Cross stitch pieces look lovely, and your book sounds really good!

    • Karen Witemeyer

      Thanks, Melissa. I love small projects like those bread covers. I’ve never done those, but I’ve done a few pot holders, hand towels, and bookmarks. Whenever I finish a big project, I want only little ones afterward. I need the immediate gratification of seeing something finished without having to wait a year or more. 🙂

    • I’ve always wanted one of those!

    • I’ve always wanted one of those! My mama has quite a few for different occasions and that was always one of the things that I loved about the big meals.

  5. Stephanie Jenkins

    I don’t cross-stitch. But I do have friends that do it. I enjoy scrapbooking. Love your cross stiches, so nice. My favorite is the Noah and the ark one.

    • Karen Witemeyer

      I have a good friend who is a mast scrapbooker. She’s even won ribbons at the fair. She does gorgeous work. Now that our cameras are digital, all my pictures just sit in a computer file. So shameful!

  6. I have done a lot of cross stitch projects – my favorite is counted cross stitch – I have done birth & wedding announcements, book marks, & wall pictures. As I have gotten older my favorite hobbies are now reading & scrapbooking. I have read most of Karen’s books & I have Full Steam Ahead on my TBR list for 2014 🙂

  7. I love reading and writing, although I get writer’s bloc for long periods of time when it hits. Writing comes in stages for me. Some days I can get a ton done and others I can’t get anything written! And although I don’t cross-stitch, I love your cross-stitched 1800s silhouettes! So neat! 🙂

  8. I loved cross-stitch! I still have a Jesus in Gethsemane I need to finish. Alas, crochet and babies…and reading…have got in the way.
    Karen, I love your books and can’t wait to read this one.
    Thanks, Margaret, for the post!

    • Karen Witemeyer

      I know what you mean about babies and reading getting in the way. I don’t stitch nearly as much as I would like anymore, but I still have a project in process even now. Sometimes the poor things sits for weeks before I pick it up, though. I have to keep it covered to hold back the dust. Ha!

    • AMY! Oh blaming the ankle biters, for shame. 😉

  9. I used to cross-stitch all the time. I am pretty sure that most of my friends from my younger days have a cross-stitched cheerleader mouse in their favorite school colors unless it went into a yard sale!;) My favorite project was an old mill that was in the town where my Dad grew up. I did it for him for his birthday one year. I haven’t cross-stitched in quite a while. Now I weave baskets. I love the finished product and the great gifts that they make. And even though I never finished the Cross-stictched Christmas stocking I started for my first born (now 21), I did make Easter baskets for all three of my children and the granddaughter of one of my sweet friends.

    • Karen Witemeyer

      Weaving baskets! How cool, Melissa. I cross-stitched stocking for each of my kids, but I have several projects languishing in boxes qat the top of my closet just waiting for me to take them out, so I know only too well how things can get set aside and never taken back up. I love that you made them all their own Easter basket. That’s fabulous!

  10. I am an avid stitcher as well! I find I can’t go to sleep at night as well unless needle, thread and floss have met!

  11. Hi Karen, I use to cross stitch all the time but the busyness of every day life has not aloud me to lately. Thank you for sharing your interview. Right now my biggest hobby is reading. Thank you for this chance to win a copy of your latest book. ~ Blessings ~

    • Karen Witemeyer

      I completely understand, Lisa. I fall into that category far too often. But even when my cross-stitch gets pushed aside, I ALWAYS make time to read. Ha! I can’t imagine not having at least one book going. Lately, I’ve been using Audible books a lot as well. So I have one print book and one audio book going at the same time. Print for leisure time. Audio to listen to while exercising or doing housework. Everything is so much more enjoyable with a story going. 🙂

    • If only we could read and stitch at the same time, right? Audiobooks however are just not the same immersion for me.

  12. Charis L. Zdrojewski

    love all your books!

  13. I used to enjoy cross stitching, but since my 3 little ones arrived, I haven’t did it. Reading it pretty much my only hobby right now. 🙂

    • Karen Witemeyer

      I had 3 little ones of my own, so I know how crazy they can make their mama’s life. 🙂 Maybe someday you’ll get back to stitching.

    • I know the feeling! I’m at 32 weeks now with #3 and I keep carrying my cross stitch bag around with me from chair to chair, hoping that I can pick it up and accomplish some. I mean I’d like to have a birth sampler completed for at least one of them! I’m about 70% finishing with DD1! And I’ve purchased DD2, but haven’t started it yet. I still however haven’t found what I want for this boy…

  14. I’ve tried to dip my toes in scrapbooking, I just cannot seem to do it.

  15. You know the amusing point is the fact that I started this blog to share my quilts and cross stitch projects after I moved more than an hour away from my mom and it just wasn’t practical to wait until seeing her in person to show her. But about the same time I needed some distractions in life and started book reviewing for fun. Now it’s multiplied, but most of the time is on books. I used to read about 3-4 a week, but then started with the babies! Now I’m luck if it’s 3-4 “real books” a month with a bunch of kid’s books in between. I’m reading so much more than I’m reviewing and I really need to work on that! I just cannot sit in this chair much while preggo and the laptops are all dying painfully hot deaths that my lap doesn’t agree with. LOL

    With my new phone I should try to remember to take progress shots on the stuff I do finish…

    Now being on the last weeks of this pregnancy I need to sit down and relax with a good read and/or cross stitching. I’ve been watching my mailbox for a reviewer copy of Full Steam Ahead, but it just hasn’t come yet. So I guess this is one to go on the hopefully purchase wish list!

    • Karen Witemeyer

      At 32 weeks, you need to put those feet up and relax. As much as a mom with two other toddlers can relax. Ha!

      • Yeah that’s a funny story of my life. You want to know how nap time went today? Let’s just say, I couldn’t take the fidgeting and made it to my computer (and boy doesn’t like this chair), the toddler is awake and playing with math manipulative from her sister’s school, and the big sister is asleep (in my bed) after waking up the littlest toddler. *sigh*

  16. Karen Witemeyer

    Reading will always top the hobby list for me, too. Hope you enjoy Full Steam Ahead!

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