Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Visualizing My Worlds

Otto and Hazel's world.
When I started my first novel I would get a picture in my head of a character or scene. I don’t think that’s too unusual for a story writer, however, I would (and still do) get “stuck” in my writing.

I discovered that if I find an image on the internet to use as a focus, I am able to continue writing. For example, I needed a picture of a red-headed kind of scruffy young man. I Googled ‘red hair on a man’ and came up with lots of images. The beautiful Ewan McGregor became the image of my character Otto Daniel in THE INK OF TIME.

Kat Von D, along with an Asian and an African American young woman became the amalgamation of my character, tattoo shop owner Hazel Himmel.

Nate's science fair project
from junior high.
Then I went a step further. I printed out all of the images that helped me visualize my story and attached them to the back side of a display board we had jammed in a closet from a science project years ago. (Sorry Nate!)

I was happily creating my own world when one day I ran across a board on Pinterest by Author Katie Ganshert. Apparently, either, she and I A) think alike or B) writers creating visuals to help them along is a real thing… because there it was! A whole board dedicated to her debut novel Wildflowers From Winter. (Now she has several more boards for her other novels- yay for her!)

I decided to create my own Pinterest board for THE INK OF TIME. It was pretty easy because I already had so many of the pictures saved on my computer. The Pinterest board gave me the freedom to simply “click” on an addition to my work. I’ve created a link right here. Click the colored word  Pinterest.

I have another world- and a previously abandoned display board- that’s become my anchor for another novel. This new story is about a group of six people trapped in an elevator during a horrific earthquake. Think San Fran 1989 World Series Earthquake. That kind of earthquake. The kind that destroys infrastructure and greatly limits contact with the outside world.

Mel, Webb, Morris, Tanya, Irena, and Birdman
live in this small, small world.

Six people. Oh, and did a mention, a bird? A Hyacinth Macaw, to be exact. Six people and a bird.Trapped. No outside support. All six of these people have their own baggage and their own agendas. It’s a microcosm of society. The weak die. The strong live. Some are givers and some are takers. People find out what they’re made of. This story does not have a title yet. I’m only about 6,200 words in so a title hasn’t come to me yet. I’m just calling it the elevator story or the earthquake story. (Even my working title isn’t solid!!)

I’m a member of a Face Book writers’ group. Just this week someone in the group posted a question about characters having favorite/important songs. Forty-some people, including myself, responded and shared their character’s song.  All the comments were written as if the author was answering for the character. By the way, Hazel’s song is Nothin’ from Nothin’ by Billy Preston. J

Welcome to my world(s)…..

Until next time,

Be Good to Yourself.


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

I like big books and I cannot lie.

I like big books and I cannot lie.
You other readers can’t deny,
that when a book on your shelf has an itty bitty spine,
you think a big book instead would be so fine.
Baby got book!
Dial 1-900-BIGBOOK
Baby got book!

My apologies to Sir Mix-A-Lot … (not really)
A while back I posted this picture on my FB timeline. Several people noticed, so I decided to write a little bit about the books on this shelf.

On the top of the table, by the little lamp are two piles. I’ll start with the one on the left. The spiral notebook is a journal I’m keeping for the book Resisting Happiness by Matthew Kelly. You can’t see the book, but it’s there. It’s half tucked into the journal and half the journal is tucked into the book. They’re being a book mark for each other.

Each year during Lent, ourchurch gives us a free book. During this season of the year I always try to DO more rather than give up something. Reading a spiritual book is always a priority. This year’s book, oddly enough*, Resisting Happiness, fell squarely into my New Year’s resolution of time management.

The next book down is The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. It’s a young adult book, which in my opinion, is an exciting and entertaining genre. This book has gotten a lot of press and I can’t wait to read it.

Next in line, Memoirs of a Geisha, by Arthur Golden, has been on my to-read list for a long time. I picked this one up for next to nothing at a book sale. Finally, the last one in the stack, also picked up at a book sale, is by Diana Gabaldon. Need I say more? Yes???? O.K. She’s the author of the Outlander series and the creator of my literary crush, Jamie Frasier. (BTW my friend Debbie T. in Omaha thinks he is her boyfriend, but he’s not.) I can’t wait to read The Scottish Prisoner.

Are you still with me? Good! 

The pile on the right has the book I’m reading right now on  the top.  I’m reading The Book That Matters Most, by Ann Hood for a couple of reasons. First, I found her book The Red Thread,which I wrote a post about, and fell in love with it. Secondly, The Book That Matters Most was released around that same time. I plan to read all of her books. Maggie, the daughter in this story, at one point in her life works in a weird book store where the owner expects the employees to arrange/group the books any way they’d like. Maggie makes a shelf she entitles ‘her mom’s books.’ I’d need more than a shelf. Just sayin’.

Under that book is a movie….wait for it…. based on a book. (Surprise!) Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins was a good book and a good movie. I’m glad I read the book first though, because I know I would have gotten lost in the story if I’d seen the movie first.

And under that movie is my Nook. I'm an equal opportunity reader. I read e-books, books on cd and good ol' fashion paper books. Under my Nook is our son Nathan’s first communion Bible that I try to read regularly. 

O.K. The first shelf. Easy-peasy. That’s our family Bible. It was given to us by Tim’s sister Jane and her husband Denny. This is the Bible Tim likes to read from.

Second shelf: Besides being a mess, it has a book I bought a long time ago and recently dug back out for Woman’s history month, which is March ladies and gentlemen. Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History, by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. It’s a non-fiction book, and if I’m being candid, I have to tell you I have not finished it. Not a big fan of history type reading. But I have ‘read around’ in this book.

Under that book is the book sleeve for Nate’s little blue Bible. Under that, my volunteer binder from Women’s Choice Center. And under that, a beautiful photo book by Mark Hirsch called ThatTree. 

Now, the. Bottom. Shelf! 

The book you see there is a kid’s how-to knitting book by Melani Falick. I find that when I’m teaching myself how to do something, using kid’s books are best. They have easy to follow directions and simple pictures. I used to knit all the time and kinda got away from it. I wanted to pick it up again so I got out my book. You know what? It’s NOT like riding a bike. I’ve forgotten how to do stuff and my knitting is not smooth. My hands and shoulders get stiff. I had to pull this project out four, yes four times!  I’m not sure if I want to get back into knitting again! Geesh!

And finally, under the dreaded knitting book is a photo album. It chronicles our clean up history on our land. Boy, it's changed a lot over the years!

So there it is. My shelf.  A picture of me.

The scary or cool (you decide) thing is I have lots of other stashes of books around this house. Tim is a patient man. (But don’t tell him I said that.)

So, what’s your “deal”? What makes you who you are?

Until next time,
Be Good to Yourself.

*Or maybe not so oddly…

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Librarian Humor

When I think of a librarian, I picture a black and white photo out of the 1950’s. Teased hair, cat eye glasses on a chain and a high-necked ruffed blouse. The queen of uptight guarding the temple of nerdiness.

When I got my job as a circulation clerk, I was teased by my loved ones that I needed to practice my SHHHH!  
One acquaintance actually told me I was too good looking to be a librarian. (Awkward!)

Because of the things I look up, the internet too, now knows that I work at a library. (Creepy how that works, huh?) I’ve been getting some funny memes from Awesome Librarians via Face Book and Twitter that I’d like to share with you.

Yes, they are kinda nerdy. Humor me.

I'm sure you've noticed that Sean Connery says SH for 
his S sounds---or was it a problem with his 
book holding furniture?

645.5 is in the non-fiction (or real stuff) section.
At this decimal number one would find information
on how to install light fixtures.

What goes together better than 
Edgar Allen Poe and Queen?  
Easy come easy go...

Na na na na na na!

I spend a good amount of my time at work
reading the shelves and putting books 
back in correct order!

Lots of occupations have their own jokes. What's yours?

Until next time,

Be Good to Yourself!


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Happy Birthday Willow!

 My sweet baby granddaughter will be one year old tomorrow. This year has just flown by!

Baby Willow came into this world with two big sisters. Four year old Adalyn and two year old Emelia. From the very beginning she was petted, patted, and poked. 

She’s the most laid-back baby ever. She has to be. Emelia, the sister closest in age treats her like a playmate and sometimes a play thing! Adalyn, the oldest in the family mothers Willow.

When Erin, Willow’s mom, was in kindergarten she asked me about the “lacy trees.” I didn’t know what she was talking about but after a while, I figured it out. She was asking about Weeping Willow trees.  In the spring of the year their leaves are small and limey-green. From a distance the trees look like they’re covered with light green lace.  (Take a look this spring!)
Courtesy of Goggle Images.
Baby Willow is like her name-sake. She’s a quiet beauty that is the lacey-ness in our lives.  

Willow, much to my delight, has strawberry blond hair. I’ve always been partial to gingers. My husband and our son are both gingers.

Willow loves to clap her hands and say “hi.”  She says Dada and Mama, too. Willow loves marshmallows. She mostly uses her left hand to pick up food and it seems when I comment about her being a leftie, she switches to her right hand!

She has always been a watcher. She doesn’t miss a thing. Only recently has she started to make a lot of joyful noise regarding her surroundings.

Like her sisters, she is taking her time getting teeth. At this point, she has two little bottom teeth that broke through at the same time.

Willow fills my heart with love and gratitude when she crawls over to me and puts both of her little hands up in the air for me to pick her up. I love knowing that she wants me to hold her.  I am a lucky Grammy!

Happy first birthday to my sweet girl, Willow.
God has blessed our family.

Until next time,
Be Good to Yourself.


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Imagining My Book Cover

A writing group I attend had a presentation on how to create your own book cover. There are many sources out there to use. Some are free. Some are not. Copyright infringement is the biggest issue when creating a cover using images. It’s a no-no, even if you don’t realize you’re infringing on a copyright- you’re wrong and open to a lawsuit!
"The highway of life." Time gets by us.
Otto drawing a tattoo design.

With that being said, I believe most of the images I’ve used are free. If I have inadvertently used a copyrighted image, be assured that it is not being used and will never be used for profit. I am not selling a book. I am merely using my imagination to create, much as an artist uses paints and a sculptor uses clay.

The book covers here were created at a site called Canva at

Time flies.
Northern lights.
I would like your input on which book cover draws your attention and why. Are you more likely to pick a book by its cover image? Or will you pick a book by the colors used to create the cover?

I know that a book’s title is an important draw. I hope that someday this title will have the chance to be critiqued by an agent. I am not stuck on this title, I just seems like a reasonable choice to me, thanks to my friend and beta reader, Bekah’s suggestion. During the writing process, I called this story Tattoo Man.

So, if you could, let me know which of these covers strikes you. Thanks for your input!

Until next time,
Be Good to Yourself.