CREATING SPACES…AND BLOG HEADERS…

Today I’m playing around with the blog header here, and combining some images from Pinterest…and my own writing spaces.

Back in the early 2000s, I wrote on an old desktop computer in the corner of my dining room…in my house in the foothills. Lots of my favorite dolls and mugs cluttered up the space.

When I moved here, I set up shop near the window of my office/guest room, with lots of clutter around me.

Then I cleared out a closet, and draped it with a curtain…where my laptop found a coziness reminiscent of that original dining room space.

***

My bookshelves have gone through some purges over the years that I’ve been here. 

My current shelves are also filled with dolls, framed photos, and trinkets.

 

***

The books on my current header are messy and cluttered…a reminder of days gone by.

***

 

REVIEW: VERITY, BY COLLEEN HOOVER

 

Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin when she accepts the job offer of a lifetime. Jeremy Crawford, husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford, has hired Lowen to complete the remaining books in a successful series his injured wife is unable to finish.

Lowen arrives at the Crawford home, ready to sort through years of Verity’s notes and outlines, hoping to find enough material to get her started. What Lowen doesn’t expect to uncover in the chaotic office is an unfinished autobiography Verity never intended for anyone to read. Page after page of bone-chilling admissions, including Verity’s recollection of the night their family was forever altered.

Lowen decides to keep the manuscript hidden from Jeremy, knowing its contents would devastate the already grieving father. But as Lowen’s feelings for Jeremy begin to intensify, she recognizes all the ways she could benefit if he were to read his wife’s words. After all, no matter how devoted Jeremy is to his injured wife, a truth this horrifying would make it impossible for him to continue to love her.

My Thoughts: Verity began with a stunning accident on a Manhattan street, which Lowen witnesses and is almost caught up in. Covered with blood, she is assisted by a kind man, who helps her sort herself out, even lending her his shirt.

Cleaned up and headed to her scheduled meeting across the street, Lowen finds herself once again in the presence of the kind man, who turns out to be a part of her meeting. Thus begins a serendipitous leap into her new writing job which takes her to Vermont to stay with that same man and his family. For he is Verity’s husband.

Jeremy Crawford and his son become part of Lowen’s new world, but as she sorts through Verity’s office and tries to organize her thoughts to write the next books in the series, the manuscript Lowen finds and can’t resist reading—just to get into Verity’s head space—changes her perspective, her life, and everything afterwards.

Can we say “bumps in the night”? Is she imagining the very strange happenings in the gorgeous house, or is something very frightening going on? Just when Lowen begins to put together the pieces of her new life, she is also finding herself drawn more and more to Jeremy. At the same time, she is terrified of Verity. Narrated in Lowen’s first person perspective, we are thrust into her head and feeling the moments with her.

What disturbing secrets will be revealed? Is someone a Master Manipulator? Is the truth a flip of a coin that on one side, tells a truth, but on the other, shows a different truth? My head was spinning by the end.

A book I couldn’t put down, I finished it in one day…and then wanted to reread it. 5 brilliant stars.

***

SHAKING UP MY INTERIOR WORLD: NEW BEGINNINGS

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Today I sprang out of bed with a new energy…shower, coffee, computer.  And checking out various sites, including Dropbox, where I store documents and photos.  What sparked this energy?

A few days ago, I wrote about organizing my interior world, and that story included the discovery of new storage and an old manuscript.

Years ago, I started writing about a time in my life when I belonged to a very strange book club—we called it a gourmet/book club, because we met for gourmet dinners before discussing the books.  What happened afterwards became the main story…and how foolish choices made in the past can change lives forever.  But along the way, sometimes one can take the lessons from the past and make changes in the present…for the future.

 

540_293_resize_20121201_f14f958c451db88c59c9099bdf8e4c91_jpg

The manuscript is a fictionalized version of a very real time in my life, and while the core of it is based on true events, I took the usual liberties of an author by embellishing and changing things up.

I tossed it aside back then to start working on Interior Designs, which I recently published, and which I started during NaNoWriMo in 2010.  At that time, I wrote the first 52,000+ words.

Defining Moments was another novel I had begun around this same time, and zeroes in on the aftermath of a woman’s failed marriage:

Blurb:  What moments in our lives define us? Do our choices determine our future?  When unexpected events derail her life, Jillian McAvoy realizes that she now has an opportunity to carve out a whole new beginning.  But something happens to her along the way that threatens everything she hoped and dreamed about.  How can the obsessions and compulsions that seemingly take over her life lead to her newly redesigned world?

 

 

defining moments logo

***

In my excitement over rereading and changing some things as I begin the rewriting process for this resurrected manuscript, which I’m tentatively calling Echoes of the Past.…I am once again excited and reborn.  Yes, reborn is how I feel!

The kind of excitement I recognize from the writing of all of my novels: six of them published, and now two manuscripts to play with.

Here’s an excerpt from the Prologue, which may go through some changes:

     But at moments throughout the day, her thoughts slid backwards, despite her best efforts, and she could almost see that younger, idealistic version of herself. That girl who had believed in endless possibilities, who had fought the system hell-bent on winning. That young woman who had ignored her ideals in one summer of foolish choices, transforming herself from a fresh young thing with her whole life ahead of her into this woman of today, who often longed for yesterday and a clean slate with fresh options.

***

Nothing gets my juices flowing more than a new journey, which often is a new manuscript.  And blogging is another way to keep the excitement levels high…connecting with other bloggers and finding that immediate satisfaction from comments and conversations.

What’s not to love?  What rejuvenates you on a Hump Day…or any day?

 

polar-bears-reflecting-21

***

 

WEEKEND THOUGHTS FROM THE INTERIOR — DEC. 3

Thoughts From the Interior

This past week seemingly flew by, as so many have lately.

What did I accomplish?  I guess I did some reading; I even reviewed the notes from the Beta reader for Defining Moments; and I did a little Christmas decorating.

Last weekend’s get-together with family left me nostalgic, though; as I unpacked the decorations, my thoughts took me to the moments when I had collected each item.

Many of them I acquired during recent years, but there was that one Santa sleigh that I have had since the 1980s, when my kids were young, and we were living in that cute little apartment surrounded by wicker.

Santa Sleigh on the Left -- A Reminder of Times Past

 

Here’s a shot of the kids, amongst the wicker:

 

That shot, of course, was not taken during the Christmas season.

Do you ever think about the clothes, decor, and other remnants of a particular time in your life?  Sometimes I even wonder what possessed us to dress or decorate that way.  But those were the times.

Then, I guess, we thought it was cool.

I drove a little VW Bug back then, and recall stashing many a “find” in the car and driving home.  Sometimes with the ends sticking out the side windows.

We probably couldn’t get away with something like that now!

I am trying to stay in the moment, though, and enjoy the life that surrounds me now.  Like grandchildren.  Here’s a shot taken just last weekend.

 

Does the holiday season stir up memories for you?  What do you like to remember, laugh about, or even sigh about?

WEEKEND THOUGHTS FROM THE INTERIOR — OCT. 15

Grab Some Coffee and Let's Chat!

With October half over, my thoughts are scrambling ahead to the upcoming holidays.

First Halloween, of course; then Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I’m not ready for these events!  But I do enjoy them.  Perhaps my reluctance for their coming has more to do with what comes afterwards.  The New Year and then tax time.

Worry and Frustration Rob Our Days of Joy

I don’t know anyone who likes tax time, and I’m no exception.  I dread it with the same kind of angst that many dread anything that takes away that sense of control.  Because, no matter what we try to do to grab some kind of control, the ultimate power lies outside us.

Knowing what to expect and being prepared helps a bit.  But there’s always something that can blindside us.

But I don’t want to get ahead of myself, because “worrying” or pondering what we cannot change just grabs the joy right out of today.  So I’m going to try to enjoy the weekend; plan a little something special to bring pleasure; and continue reading a delightful book about small town life in Minnesota, called The Tall Pine Polka.

I’ve been sitting in my new reading corner, enjoying the breeze through the open window, and sipping coffee…and then a mimosa.

Reading Corner by the Window

Of course, Minnie Mouse has to go elsewhere when I sit here.

Here’s the view of the reading corner with my “curl up and read” loveseat.

Later today, I’m picking up Noah for the weekend.  Maybe we’ll go to a pumpkin patch and snap some photos while he checks out the pumpkins.

What are you planning for the weekend?  Anything special?  Whatever you do, enjoy yourself…and try not to think about tax time!

A JOURNEY INTO THE DEPTHS — A CREATIVE EXPLORATION

Photograph by Craig Robinson, Berlin Photographer

THE BEAUTY IN RUINS

Sometimes when we embark on a creative exploration, we find unexpected things. Treasures, maybe; but the possibility always exists that we will stumble upon something dark and even frightening.

Interior journeys are like that, even when they’re not creative ones.  Reflecting on our thoughts; plumbing the depths of memory; and taking those reflections and thoughts to the story we are creating, or even the life we are living, can yield unique gifts for potential readers.

Sharing our true selves on the written page will shine through and strike a chord with someone out there.  If we remain on the superficial plane, without delving deep into the core of our being, that will show, too.

Like the image above (in the post) and on the header, sometimes our journeys will lead us to decadent places; however, there is also a beauty in the ruins. The past, even if it feels dark and forbidding, can tell us how to overcome our obstacles in the here and now.

What unexpected treasures have you discovered lately?

NEW ADVENTURES TO EXPLORE

Welcome to my Blog, and welcome to February!

This month is one of my favorites, for lots of reasons.

First, even though it doesn’t have the same celebratory feeling as it used to have—back when I was working at a full-time career—we have the President’s Day holiday.

Then, my two granddaughters (my only two!) have birthdays this month.  One on the 13th and the other on the 21st.  The same year, too!  Imagine that.  Dedicated to these two, I have a blog called Snow Impressions, which features a photo of them taken in the snow during a vacation at Big Bear (near LA).  The two girls were seven that year (and this year they’ll be thirteen!).

How time flies!

One of the girls lives here in Fresno, and the other lives in LA.  A couple of summers ago, I had the two of them visiting me during the same week.  That was fun!

With their busy lives, there is less and less time for these occasions.  But the blog and the header featuring them helps me remember those special moments.

Oh…and the other thing I like about February is how short the month is…less time between paydays!  LOL.

Because there would be no other reason for me to celebrate the galloping of Time.  Certainly not at my age when I have so much more to do yet!

Another blog here is my go-to site for documenting my progress through my TBR stacks, which is moving right along, BTW.  That blog is CURL UP AND READ.

Now I must get back to reading…and later, I’ll be working on my manuscript.

Hope you’ll stop by and share your own explorations.

A PEEK INTO “THE WEDNESDAY SISTERS,” A BOOK REVIEW

51VLpm-cpKL__SX106_It is the Sixties in the Bay Area.  Ah, this seems so familiar!  As I read along about the five women who meet in the park every Wednesday, with their kiddies, the whole thing feels like it could have happened in my life.

That’s what is wonderfully cozy about this book.  The reader feels the connection between the women and gets a little peek into their lives.  The first-person narrator is one of the women, so the whole thing feels even more intimate.

But then it changes into something more, as the women begin writing.  Then the whole purpose of the meetings is writing and critiquing and finding their own voice as women, as people, in a way that’s different for those times.  Yes, they do go to the occasional peaceful protest, but the crux of their time together is about the writing.

But the book veers off again, as each of the women faces some kind of crisis.  First, the marriage that’s torn asunder by the husband’s cheating; then the cancer scare that turns into more than a scare.  As they each bond together to support each other through the tough times, you see the familiarity again…Women and Sisterhood.

This book felt so real that I couldn’t put it down.  I hoped to discover more about their lives, but alas, the final page came anyway.  The writer makes us care about the characters, which is what good writing is all about.