Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Googlie!

Besides writing and reading, I have many other interests. One of which is making porcelain dolls. I have been making porcelain dolls for over 20 years. I have made dolls ranging from baby dolls to lady dolls from 1” to 38”. I prefer making lady dolls because I love the beautiful dresses you can make for them. I also really like making fairies and 6” dollhouse size dolls. I’ll tell you more about some of those another time.

I am really good at getting the porcelain part of the doll cleaned, polished, & painted. Where I run into trouble is putting the dolls together and dressing them. I never seem to find the time to finish them. I have many “dollies in waiting” as a friend of mine calls them.

I am trying to get better at finishing dolls. I have recently dressed one called a Googlie. I have never been a fan of Googlies, and never thought I’d make one. But several years ago when my daughter was young and very much a fan of the Power Puff Girls, I made her a porcelain doll that looked like Bubbles. It was a bit scary looking, but my daughter loved it. She is older now and recently changed rooms and did some cleaning out of her things. She was ready for the scary Bubbles to go away . . . forever.

So I made a new head for the body, because I hated to waste the perfectly good all-porcelain body. When I attached the head and put on the wig, I fell in love with her. She is soooooo cute. I had to dress her right away.

Her name is Sweet Pea. Take a look.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Snow

I woke this morning to an inch of snow. And it's snowing again. Fortunately the pavement is warm enough to melt what hits it so the roads are just wet.

I thought we were done with snow for the school year. I was hoping so. We had a big storm a week ago Friday. It was a snow-day for the schools. But the roads weren't too bad. We had over a foot of snow and when I drove twenty minutes to the south end of town, they had no snow, dry roads, and the sun was shining.

Some times it seems like my end of town is in an alternate dimension.

I'm so ready for spring. But what can you do when you live int he mountains.

So I'll snuggle up with a cup of tea and do a little sewing or reading.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Writing Journey Story, part 2

BEYOND THE MIDDLE:
It’s not right putting “the end” for this last part, because the end doesn’t come until the Lord takes her home. Her story is an ongoing one.

Anyway . . .

So the grownup little girl started writing fiction for adults; prairie romance, contemporary romance mystery, even a futuristic adventure romance. She joined a writing group and started attending writer’s conferences. She submitted novel proposals and got no thank you letters in return.

She submitted a couple of sample chapters at a conference for an author to review. A new editor had come to that publishing house and assumed the slot that the author was going have, including the chapters she had to review. The grownup girl was mortified. It was hard enough to have a favorite author of hers read her chapters, but an editor, and particularly this editor. She was scared witless. She wanted her chapters back.

A friend of hers sat at this editor’s table at lunch because she knew the grownup little girl needed to talk to this editor. The editor wasn’t there yet. Her “friend” finished her lunch in a hurry and left. The editor arrived and sat . . . right next to the girl. The editor kindly asked each person around the table what they were working on. Lunch was almost over and there wasn’t going to be time for the grownup girl. Yes! She had succeeded at being invisible.

But the editor turned to her and asked what she was working on. Immediately every thought, story idea, and all words fled her brain.

Uh . . .

She did manage to get out a word or two about the editor having a couple of her sample chapters. The editor said she had them in her bag but hadn’t read them yet, but the grownup little girl should make an appointment with her. “Sure,” she said, while wondering if she could snatch her chapters from the editor’s bag. It was right there on the floor between them. She could drop her napkin and when she bent to pick it up, she could slip the pages from the bag. Well, it was more like she would have to rifle through the editor’s bag and search for them. She didn’t know how to do that all while looking like she was picking up her napkin. The editor walked away with her bag and the grownup little girl’s chapters.

The grownup little girl walked into their meeting with fear and trepidation. She figured if she could get through the meeting without fainting or throwing up, it would be a raging success.

She didn’t embarrass herself too bad, even found a word or two in her empty brain, and the editor liked one of her story ideas. The editor was willing to work with her. It took a few years to go through the process, but finally her first book was born. Someone had finally chosen something she had written. Since then, she has been chosen many more times.

The grownup little girl’s writing journey is far from over, so this is not “the end” either. The Lord has been with her through it all, guiding her and teaching her. If not for Him, she’s sure she would have given up a long time ago. She’s a better reader now than she has ever been, even if she still reads slow, still has difficultly writing, and her spelling still couldn’t save her life, but she’s so thankful for Spellchecker, even if it doesn’t know what she’s trying to spell half the time.

And the journey continues . . . . . . . . .

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Writing Journey Story

THE BEGINNING:
Once upon a time there was a little girl who couldn’t write well, could hardly read, and couldn’t spell her way out of a wet paper bag to save her life, but she was creative and had people running around in her head with whole lives of their own.

The little girl thought she was stupid and people told her so. But not the people in her head. They liked her and told her she was smart. When other kids were reading chapter books by the armloads, she struggled through a simple picture book.

The little girl loved creative writing in school. The teacher would give a prompt and a story would immediately start swirling in the little girl’s head. She would start scratching out words with her stubby little hands. The letters were crude and the spelling atrocious, but her story was fun and adventurous. She couldn’t wait for the teacher to choose those few stories that would be read aloud in class. She was sure hers would be chosen this time. She had a great story and everyone would see that she was not stupid.

The stories were chosen and the little girl sat disappointed while others read their stories aloud. No one would know that she wasn’t stupid.

She continued to make the space between her ears a haven for characters to live out their lives.

THE MIDDLE:
The little girl grew up and married. She decided to write a special story for her new husband, a picture book. She typed it, edited it, rewrote it, typed it up again. When she had it perfect, She typed up each page, leaving room for the planned pictures. Since her typing ability wasn’t any better than her spelling, she had to type some of the short pages several times before she had one good enough to use.

When the pages were all typed, she sat down to do the artwork. (FYI: She was not artist. Not by a long shot. But she loved her hubby and would do the best she could.) She first drew rough drafts then held them up to the window to trace them onto her finished pages and colored them in, afraid of making a mistake that she would have to type the page over again.

Finally all the pages were complete. She bound them together and created a fabric covered cover. She even made a teddy bear to accompany the book. Her hubby loved it. Her family loved it. Her mother had the audacity to say, “You should get this published.”

She almost laughed out loud. Her? A published author? That was about as likely as getting oil and water to mix on their own. Maybe her mother needed helped. Don’t worry her mother is perfectly sane, but she got the grownup little girl thinking. Eventually, the grownup girl enrolled in a correspondence course.

She started writing children’s stories for magazines. But like with her teachers, her stories weren’t chosen to be published.

This is too long for one blog post, sooooo . . .

TO BE CONTINUED

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Humming Birds, Camera Lenses, & Clutter

Today I feel like a humming bird. You know how those little birds look like they are hovering in the air and dart to and fro but never really land anywhere. That’s how I have felt lately. I have so many things I need to do but can’t seem to land on any one project. I want to do them all and none of them all at the same time.

I dart over there and look at that then hover over here and gaze at this, but I don’t know if I’m accomplishing very much. I can see it all, but I have a hard time focusing on any one single thing. I think I’ve always been this way. There are too many things I like.

It’s like looking through a camera and having it out of focus. I can see everything, but nothing is clear and I can’t tell what anything is. Until you turn the lens to make everything clear, you can’t pick one thing to focus on and enjoy.

So what am I trying to say here? I haven’t a clue. Maybe it’s to get rid of some of the clutter, both physical and mental, so I can see things more clearly. So I can focus on what I really want to do and enjoy it.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Springtime in the Rockies

I woke up Easter morning to 4” of snow. I wasn’t expecting that. The weatherman said it was supposed to be in the 40s on Sunday and therefore the precipitation we were expecting should have been rain. Imagine that, the weatherman was wrong.

It was one of those really, really wet, mushy snows. Shoveling that kind of snow is really hard. It’s heavy and it sticks to the shovel. It snowed that way all day.

And today? We have sunshine and it’s supposed to get up into the 50s. Most of this snow, if not all, will be gone by the end of the day. This is what is meant by springtime in the Rockies. Snow shovels one day and the next day you may need your shorts.

My daughter is ready for the snowy, cold days to be over. She wants a real spring.

Some real spring weather would be nice but then it would be harder to be indoors at my computer all day. Work, work, work. And all of mine is the indoors kind. Even so, I too look forward to nicer weather. Hopefully it stays.

Hope you had a good Easter.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Upcoming 2009 Releases

In May, A Prairie Romance Collection will be released by Barbour. My novella, Love Notes, will be one of twelve in the collection.

Laurel’s father robs a bank, Ethan accidentally kills him in the hold up. Does love have a chance to blossom between these two?

Love notes won the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year contest in the historical novella category. You can order it through the Barbour Web site. As of this posting, it wasn't listed on the site yet, but should be soon.

In October, Cascades will be released by Barbour as well. Cascades is a compilation of my three historical Washington state novels. I don’t have a cover yet to show you, but when I do, I’ll post it. It will also be available through the Barbour Web site in the fall.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Astrid & Veronika

Book Review
Astrid and Veronika by Linda Olsson is about two hurting women. Astrid is eighty-years old and is a hermit, staying in her own house, having no friends, and socializing with no one. Veronika is thirty and has come to live in the house next door to Astrid. These are the only two houses in the area. Veronika has come to write her book and to recover from the loss of her fiancé.

Astrid is inexplicably drawn to Veronika and the two women head out on the road of friendship. They each tell the other about their life and their hurts and their darkest secrets. Both women heal from their pains.

As I read this book, I didn’t really enjoy it. I couldn’t connect with the characters. I thought the story that was being told was good, but I just couldn’t connect with either Astrid or Veronika.

I read this book for the book club that I’m in. After going to book club and discussing this book, I like it better. This is not a surface book. It is better appreciated when you have time to think about it. Maybe if I wasn’t in a hurry to read it so I could pass it on to the next person in the group to read, I might have found the beauty in it as I read.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Works In Progress, part 2

Now for my fantasy.

It is a three-fold project. I have this fantasy world swirling around in my head and am trying to create three different series from it for three different age groups; early readers, learning disability middle schoolers, and adults. My fantasy world is set around warrior faeries.

The early reader would be for those beginning readers in 1st – 3rd grade. The ones learning to read. Think Flat Stanly, ABC Mysteries, & Berenstain Bears Big Chapter Books with simple black and white line drawings on most pages. Also Junie B. Jones, Hank the Cowdog chapter books, & up to the Animal Ark books that don’t have all the pictures.

My idea for the middle school series I might be most excited about. I want these books for those resouce kids with learning disabilities like dyslexia who don’t want to be embarrassed about carrying around a little kid book because that is all they can read comfortably and enjoy but the stories are below their interest level. I myself am dyslexic and know what it is like to be standing in front of the room giving a book report on a picture book while all your classmates are reading chapter books. My oldest son is dyslexic and was struggling his way through Harry Potter. He eventually made it through the whole book but it took him almost the whole school year. I say bravo to him for keeping at it.

My books would have a very low reading level but with fast paced, high adventure and stories of interest to middle school boys in particular. I want short, short chapters with an occasional line graphic picture to complement the story and help relieve needing to read all the details to make the story read faster. I only have a title for the middle school series: Flying Warriors, book 1: The Outcast.

My adult series starts with a human young woman being taken to the faerie world by a faerie cat. Here is a teaser for the series: In a parallel world, a broken warrior, an old man, and a cat struggle to reinstate the rightful heir before evil forces takeover the land and destroy both worlds.

So that’s what I’m working on at the moment.