march-farmI COME FROM A FAMILY OF PACK RATS. History stirs on the shelves in teapots and in boxes full of letters and journals as long ago as 1830. The family story goes back to 1638. But it’s been the stories of my Nana, her mother Martha Parker March and my own mother who have nourished me. There are strong women in the family. Ansenith Parker, Quaker missionary to the Shawnee and Kaw. Martha March, teacher of ex-slaves and Kiowa children and president of the Idaho Womans’ Relief Corps. Mysterious Judith March who was fined for wearing a lace cap above her station in the 1600s. Writing about them has helped me examine my own life and upbringing.

Then there was my great-grandfather William F. Osborn. I was seven years old when my mother put into my hand his small, leather-bound pocket journal.  He was a Union surgeon in the Civil War writing under the thunder of guns and duress at Gettysburg and many more horrendous places. He wrote quick notes in pencil and pen, sometimes only a few lines at a time.

Wednesday, July 1st

Found a part of our corps engaging the enemy, about 20,000 strong.  A severe engagement followed.  Our forces were driven back by superior numbers.

I wrote my first historical fiction story in fifth grade. I haven’t stopped.

Today, I write historical fiction that spans the mid-19th century to WW II with characters standing up for something in their own time and place. I’m proud that my writing has been recognized with a 2013 Bellingham Mayor’s Arts Award, the 2013 Chanticleer Grand Prize, the 2014 First Place Chaucer Award,  an Everybody Reads and Bellingham Read pick and the 2015 WILLA Silver Award, Pulpwood Queen Book Club 2016 backlist pick for February 2016.

When not writing, I demonstrate 19th-century folkways in the schools and at San Juan english-camp-cookingIsland National Park. And I have a cat who thinks she’s editing.


34 thoughts on “About

  1. Janet,
    thanks for the link to your site. I loved the photos of the sewing apparatus. At first glance, I might have mistaken them for barbaric surgical instruments! Intriguing blog. Best to you on your fiction endeavors.

    From one Amazon/ABNA alumnus of ’09 to another,
    Kathleen Maher

    • Are they wonderful? I brought them back from my mom’s just a month ago. They belonged to her grandmother, born in 1850. My mom just turned 94.

  2. Your historical blog is informative and the blog from Hawaii had great descriptions of the place as well as its past. My best wishes for your novel.
    Hema Vasavada

  3. Hi Janet,

    Your blog is interesting and informative. The quotes from Mrs. Hale are delightful. I’m looking forward to reading more.

    Congratulations on publishing your essay!

    I enjoy hearing you read excerpts from your novel at Village Books. Good luck with your novel!

    Best wishes, and sincerely, Andy

  4. Hi Janet,

    I just read about your sleuthing of the Ann Parry in the recent PSMHS Newsletter and sent an email to Larry Henderson asking him to forward my email to you. I think I may have found some new Ann Parry stuff for you in an old newspaper database.

    Mike Burwell
    Shipwrecks Off Alaska’s Coast

    • Did I ever get back in touch with you? I’ve been busy reading 1858 Alta CA newspaper and not paying attention here.

  5. Nice blog Janet, and thanks for visiting mine at mindyhalleck.blogspot.com and commenting about Robert Ray’s class; and yes, he has had a huge impact on my writing. Best of luck. Mindy

  6. Hi, Janet,

    I recently read Tree Soldier and enjoyed it very much – congratulations on its publication! I knew very little about CCC camps in the Northwest, and your descriptions are so clear and intriguing. I think I could make my own cedar shakes after reading your explanation! I’m looking forward to your Norwegian book.

    • Thank you so much, Jo! Your compliment made my day. I’ll be at Village Books this July 6th. My big night.

  7. Janet – I’d appreciate if you could email me. My parents were Andy and Marie Inglis, who were good friends of your parents. I have several letters from your parents to mine and will mail them to you if you would like them, but I do not have your address, email, etc.


    • Hi Elizabeth, how neat to contact me. I loved your parents so much. I was lucky to have grownup friends from a very early age. My mom is still living. 96 years old.

  8. Hi JL-

    Thanks for your comment in December to my piece on what authors need to do themselves. You asked about how to get on Library Thing. You may have already figured this out, but authors have to request to be an Official LT Author after they input or augment their own page on LT. That how you get the big yellow button on your page.

    Sorry to leave this answer as a blog comment, but your email address appears to be a well-kept secret.

    If you’re going to WWW in Albuquerque this October, I look forward to sharing more book marketing tips with you at my presentation there.

    Stephanie Barko, Literary Publicist
    2011 Preditors & Editors’ Readers Poll Best Book Promotion Service
    2010 Book Publicist of the Year Nominee
    Founder/Moderator, South Austin Spiritual Book Group

  9. Hello, Janet
    My name is Katie and I am a student at Western. I am working on a project with Sarah in the archaeology lab on Fort Bellingham and wanted to speak to you about it if you are able? You can reach me at katienwiggins@yahoo.com.

    Thank you so much!

    Katie Wiggins

  10. Janet,
    A colleague attended your recent talk and recommended an invitation to speak at the State Capital Museum in Olympia this fall. Would you be interested and available on a Monday at noon?
    Many thanks and hope we can arrange your appearance. I know our community would enjoy the subject of your new book and researching and writing historical fiction.
    Susan Rohrer
    Museum Manager

    • Thanks so much. Just saw this comment. I’d love to come. Right now, I’ve just now been accepted as a speaker for Inquirying Minds on the CCCs (the book talk I gave at Fort Nisqually is just about the same). I haven’t had my orientation so I don’t know how this works. The catalog will be out in August, Monday at noon gives me a nice time to get down from Bellingham. They do pay the fee for me.

  11. Good morning, Janet,
    I am coordinating a Pickett House/Daughters display at Wilson Library for January-February 2013. We would like to include a reproduction of the sketch from the Hutchings California Magazine which appeared in the B’ham Herald in October. If we could have a reproduction made, we would then use it at the PH once the display was over. Please let me know if this is ok with you and also, if so, how to proceed.
    Thank you very much,

    • Leslie, I just saw this. The engraving is at the CA State Library. I got permission to use it at our courthouse. for me doing education and for the Whatcom Historical Society’s Journal. The rules to use it are very strict. I paid to have it taken out of their vault and their photographer vendor photograph it. The use fee was waived in exchange for a copy of the journal. Now thinking about it, I could loan you the picture for the display. But no copies may be made. I’m sure they will allow it for the Picket House.

  12. Pingback: April 3, 2013 – April Meeting | Round Table Readers

  13. Janet,

    I’ve been so busy since I got back from France.
    I finally got to read some of your blog.
    I thought of you today because I just bought a rigid heddle loom.

    Love your blog, especially your reminiscences of your prior France trip.
    What an Audrey-esque “The Truth About Charlie” experience.

    You’ve inspired me to consider writing about some essays about my own parents.
    We’ve have a tumultuous relationship. I guess that’s where the drama lies.

    Glad to have met you on the France trip.
    I will continue to check back to see what’s new.

    • Thanks. I enjoyed going to Moscow very much. So impressed with the 1912 building AND the historical society’s page. And the wonderful librarians. The whole book tour was just amazing. So honored.

    • Hi Luke, I hope all is well with you. I enjoyed being in Moscow. Always wanted to see the town as my mom talked about going there in the 1930s from Boise where she grew up. I was especially impressed with the museum display set up there. I’d never seen coin issued by a CCC camp before. After the book tour, I went to Walla Walla to have Thanksgiving with two of my sons. Since then I’ve been getting the prequel to Tree Soldier out as well as write a one act reader’s theater for Tree Soldier. An audiobook is in the works as well.

  14. Do you have a speaking schedule regarding Tree Soldier? I just learned today of your talk in Burlington and cannot attend this event. I have been researching my father’s year in the CCC (July 1939 to June 1940 in Elma, WA) and would love to learn more.

  15. Pingback: Setting inspiration ablaze | Life In The Realm of Fantasy

  16. Good morning: I was doing a little family (Osborn) research this morning and stumbled across you and your research. Is your William F. Osborn the son of Andrew Gillespie Osborn and Jane “Linn” Osborn of Fayette, Pa.? I believe WF Osborn to be the brother of my great grandfather Joseph Freeman Osborn. I sent you a FB message as well. Thanks.
    Regards, M. Linn Maxwell

    • WF is definitely related to Joseph Freeman. I don’t have the birth order in front of me. The Freemans and the Osborns appear to live around Fair Chance possibly around 1800. My middle name, by the way, is Janet Lynn Osborn. My dad misspelled it on the birth certificate (or someone goofed) They didn’t have the correct spelling at the time and I think it was my mom doing research years later who discovered the mistake.

      I didn’t see your DM on Facebook. Shall I wait? I’ll send you my email once I know.

      • Good to hear from you I have yet to make it to Gettysburg, hopefully this fall. Although, I did find a photo of my mother, the other Jane Linn Osborn, taken there circa 1949. I will send it to you, assuming I can rediscover it-lol.

        I hope you enjoyed your trip to The UK.


        Sent from my iPad


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s