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Thursday, July 7, 2016

To Describe Or Not To Describe


In reading newsletters this week, I came across a couple that addressed the same topic...but each expressing the opposite point of view. So, I'll share it with you, my readers, as see if a consensus can be reached.

Do you think your reader needs a detailed description of your characters? Now, I'm not talking about an information dump...or the obvious self-description as a character views him/herself in a mirror kind-of-writing. I'm referring to telling the reader what color hair, the color of the eyes, the shape of the body, etc.

I found lots of great sites on the subject when I went googling. Here are a few quotes to tease and links to read for yourself.

"Description doesn’t have to be direct to be effective." Rachel Scheller
http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/there-are-no-rules/11-secrets-to-writing-effective-character-description

Writers Stack Exchange - "I think that you should define your main characters, and especially the love interest, only as much as absolutely necessary."
http://writers.stackexchange.com/questions/12717/is-it-better-to-describe-the-main-characters-physical-appearance-early-on-in-th

Jami Gold -  "As with many elements of writing, we need to decide what impression we want readers to have." http://jamigold.com/2014/10/ask-jami-how-do-we-describe-characters/

My personal choice? I grew up listening to radio, a great imagination stimulator. Rather than a description of physical attributes, I rely more on mannerisms and emotional reactions to define my characters. My motto? Let the reader envision their own concept of the character.

Now I'd like to hear your opinion.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

What's A One Sheet?

  How many of you have completed your one-sheet? A one-sheet is a quick way to introduce your novel (and yourself) to interested parties. It's a visual and concrete selling tool to give an agent or editor that contains the vital information about the novel you're wanting to get published. A one-sheet will make a lasting impression weeks after the meeting.

It can be two-sided, but keep all the information to one sheet of paper. Don't get fancy with the text, color or images and leave lots of white space. You want something that will allow the reader to capture the information in a glance.

Start with a catchy title. Add a brief (100-150 words) blurb about your story. Be sure to include genre, length, and degree of completion. If you're pitching a series, include a brief capsule of each book in the series.

A photo of yourself, name, and a bio will help the agent/publisher make the connection at a later date. Be sure to include all contact information, including any website they can go to that will share more about you and your body of work.

If you have a publishing history, include that information. Include anything that will help you and your work stand out  from the crowd. One final note - keep a .pdf of your one-sheet    handy on your computer. It's a great way to transmit asked-for information.      



Here are a couple sites to check out if you have unanswered questions:
http://communicateskills.com/2013/01/07/how-to-create-a-strong-one-sheet-for-yourself-or-your-business/
http://towriteastory.com/whats-in-a-one-sheet/

Friday, June 24, 2016

A Blog About Blogging

Thought I'd do a bit about blogs and blogging. Hope you find the posting helpful and thought-provoking.

BLOG:  a piece of software which allows you to write an online diary on a website. A blog is used to communicate with the billions of web users throughout the world. The modern blog evolved from the online diary, where people would keep a running account of their personal lives.  A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, web pages, and other media related to its topic.Readers can access the archives, previous posts, leave comments, and even message each other.

If you’re serious about blogging,  purchase a domain name and hosting account. A few places to check out are: WordPress.com

      Wix.Com
      Weebly.com
      Blogspot.com

The Blogger's Code of Conduct is a proposal by Tim O'Reilly (http://www.oreilly.com/tim/bio.html) for bloggers to enforce civility on their blogs .

  1. Take responsibility not just for your own words, but for the comments you allow on your blog.
  2. Label your tolerance level for abusive comments.
  3. Consider eliminating anonymous comments.
  4. Don't feed the trolls.
  5. Take the conversation offline, and talk directly, or find an intermediary who can do so.
  6. If you know someone who is behaving badly, tell them so.
  7. Don't say anything online that you wouldn't say in person.

Maintaining a blog has proved to be a profitable venture for some folks. Every published or soon-to-be-published is encouraged to create a blog and update it frequently. It's a great way to give your prospective readers teasers or background information about your book. 


Here are a couple blogs that have made it big time. Julie Powell's blog, Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen together with Julia Child's autobiography, My Life in France, eventually evolved into the hugely successful movie, Julia & Julie.
Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/), founded on May 9, 2005, has an active community, with over one million comments made on the site each month.


Sunday, June 19, 2016

Ever Heard of a CTA?

(Obeee53)

Call To Action

Seems this is the latest 'buzz word' connected to promoting your brand. I first heard it expressed at the NETWO conference I attended a couple months ago, One of the presenters, Ken Tumlinson (http://www.kevintumlinson.com), tossed it around frequently.

Basically, it's another tool you add to your promoting bag of tricks to create connection with future readers. When I went looking for more information about what this involved, I found a lot of help on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/business/help/1626883224209011.

Of course, Facebook's talking about adding it to your page but you can include a CTA in any situation where you are reaching out to your reading public.

At the conference, we were encouraged to include it in our published books,  include a link to our Amazon page, asking the satisfied readers to go there and post a review.

Since I had a new novel coming out in May, I contacted my publisher to ask that it be added to the book. Unfortunately, the proof copy had already gone to the printer and I was told there would be a charge for any changes I wanted done.

My solution? A quick visit to Vistaprints http://www.vistaprint.com/ where I designed some inexpensive stickers that I applied at the back of the pre-release copies I soon ordered.

Here's another website that explains the importance of a Call To Action: https://www.truconversion.com/blog/conversion-rate-optimization/want-to-increase-sales-10-powerful-tactics-to-write-a-hard-hitting-call-to-action/

Now to get busy and add a CTA to my social media accounts.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Love From a Book Club


It's a gratifying feeling to be loved by a book club.

Last weekend my friend Carole Crow invited me to come meet with her bookclub, the Summit View Lake Book Club. They had chosen my latest release, Not Bound By Blood,
as their recent book-of-the-month read.This was a new experience for me and I didn't know what to expect.

I walked into her living room and found myself surrounded by interested readers, eager to share their pleasurable experience and loaded with questions. From their comments and questions, I learned just how successfully I had accomplished my goal to write this particular story.

Questions about the fate of a couple minor characters told me I had failed to satisfy my readers adequately. But the comments about how they were able to step into my story's timeline and remarks about the details I included really helped them feel the authenticity of what they were reading.

They wanted to know how I came to be an author and some about the path my writing life has taken. I shared my experiences and gave them a glimpse into my world of writing and publishing. There was even an opportunity over Clay's (Carole's husband) delicious snacks to chat with on who kept referring to herself as a newbie. She shared the road her writing had taken her and I encouraged her to keep in touch, let me know her progress to publication.

It was so rewarding to hear complete strangers express the pleasure they'd gotten from reading my book. If any of my author friends ever receive an invitation to meet with a book club, I urge you to jump at the chance to sit down with some of your readers and become better acquainted.



Saturday, June 11, 2016

Sidelining a Stall


Every writer gets stuck from time to time. My latest release, Not Bound By Blood (http://amzn.to/1NpgmhH), had a long road of bumps, halts, and starts. I recently came across a journal posting from 2012. At the time, I had reached the middle of the story, knew where I wanted to get, but not how to get there.

I agonized for weeks -- distracted myself by fleshing out scenes for later in the story -- but was at a loss on how to fill in the gap. I was stuck.

My solution was to push myself away from the torture of a silent keyboard and turn to an entirely different creative activity. My particular choice of escape at that time was to take on a quilting project. There is something about choosing scraps of fabric and shuffle them about to see how they complement each other that soothes me.

All the while, my subconsciouscontinued working at sorting out that story's plot, without my even being aware. As I worked at the repetitious activity of feeding tiny pieces of material past the machine's needle, images and scenes would pop uninvited into my head. I allowed them to float past, knowing they would find a lodging spot in the recesses of my brain and await my future invitation to see the light of day on my computer screen.

When the words and pictures inside my head felt ready to coalesce into a solution to my dilemma, I returned to the writing, refreshed and ready to pound the keys and shape the rest of the novel into shape.

It took several vacations-on-the-shelf before I finally wrote 'the end' to Not Bound By Blood.  It was released in May 2016 and I'm now anticipating the excitement of reading several promised reviews from faithful readers.

Thank you to all who enjoy the tales I write.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Considering Indie Publishing?


Now that print-on-demand has simplified the publishing process, there are small independent publishing houses popping up like multiplying rabbits, While the advances are minimal and sometimes non-existent, there are other advantages to going with a POD publisher.

Working with a small independent publisher allows the author more creative control over his/her book. Small publishers tend to work more intimately with their authors, including them in many of the decisions. Also, a small publishing house may be more willing to take a risk on non-commercial work as long as the writing meets their standards.

I've had the satisfying experience of working with White Bird Publishing  http://whitebirdpublications.com/ since its beginning days. Over the years, I've developed a personal relationship with key people in the company. Their acceptance standards are high and every book accepted for publication goes through a rigid process.

I am kept informed of my manuscript's process every step of the way. Even though I am one of their multi-published authors, I still have to give final approval each step of the way, say in the formatting,  cover design, and proofing. Only when I give my approval does the process go forward. I really appreciate being closely involved in the publication process.

So. if you're considering using a small press, be sure to do your homework. Check out their website, look over what they publish, contact their published authors and ask questions. Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Inc.'s article on the subject  (http://www.sfwa.org/other-resources/for-authors/writer-beware/small/) will get you started.

Listed below are some other resources to get you started in the right direction.

Publishers Marketing Association (http://pma.com.pk/) is a trade association of independent publishers organized to advance the professional interest of independent publishers.

Small Press United (http://smallpressunited.com/) seeks to draw awareness to and provide information about small presses. It sponsors an annual book fair, holds regular workshops, and features readings by small press authors.

Small Press Association of North Amrica (www.spannet.org) forms a strategic alliance among small publishers and independent booksellers. It helps to create entrepreneurial opportunities for new small publishers.


Thursday, June 2, 2016

What's Your Platform?


Ever been urged to build your platform as a writer/author? Do you have any idea what that person was talking about? An author's platform has come to be the most important factor in determining whether or not a project will be accepted for publication.

Editors and agents typically look for someone with visibility and authority who has proven reach to a target audience. Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Google+ are only small pieces of the author platform. Other pieces of the pie include contacts, previous books, ability to execute, personality, and readership. 

Some novelists kick off their own careers by indie publishing, manage social media to advantage, build a readership and then offer their following books to a traditional publisher or small press. Platform building will be different for every single author.

Growing your own platform isn't difficult, but it does take time...time most of us would rather spend writing. Remember just by being you comprises a large part of the pie: expertise, personality, and ability to execute. You can keep growing it, a day at a time. Push yourself outside your comfort zone as much as you can, but not to the place you are overwhelmed with what needs to be kept up.  

There's lots of online advice on some of the slices of the pie you can incorporate to create your own unique platform. Here are a couple sites to get you started: 

Just keep in mind, it's a marathon, not a sprint.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Responding to Changing Reading Habits


Received a query from a writer friend recently. In it she asked why a publishing house we both are connected with are asking her to write tighter. Seems like the manuscript she sent them to consider publishing was way, way over in word count.

Now, I could come up with the reasons that resonate among the experts these days: email and Twitter are training folks to read short and quick. No longer do readers, especially the younger generations, want to take the time to savor the words, immerse themselves in the word pictures we create. Books being published these days have to grab the reader with the first line or paragraph, open with an action-packed scene, and keep the reader totally engrossed in the story from beginning to end.

The explanation given is that readers don't have the time to allow the story to grow in their imaginations; they want something that gives them instant gratification.

I just read a blog posting by an experienced writer/author who's been in the words-producing business a long time. In it, he gives the lowdown on why the changing taste of readers has impacted his style of writing. He says it a whole lot better than I can so go to http://venturegalleries.com/blog/why-readers-want-to-read-a-lot-of-white-space/ and read it for yourself.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Finding My Way


This world of internet promotion & marketing is a constant learning process. Recently came across some new, to me, terms. The first is "opt in" and refers to a procedure that you make available via a click-on button installed on your website or blog page. This allows the visitor to share and give permission for you to send emails to them. In the world of book-selling on the internet, the constant word is to build your email mailing list. This 'opt-in' feature is a valuable asset to accomplish that project.

I found out recently that unless you collect your mailing list addresses using this feature, sites such as the popular Mailchimp will reject your list.

Over the years I've spent attending book events, speaking to groups, and holding book signings, I collected many email addresses as people would hand me a card or write them out in our face-to-face contact. When I loaded this carefully-acquired list into a campaign I intended to promote the newly released Not Bound By Blood ( http://amzn.to/1V4OKQx,) Mailchimp disabled my account because it violated its requirements.

It's taken a couple days of digging on my part to correct the situation. First I had to own a domain name and create an email address at that site. Then I had to add an 'opt-in' button to my blog page. Only those addresses from contacts who click the 'opt-in' button and agree to receive future correspondence  from me will be admissable to include in a future campaign or mass mailing through Mailchimp.

Consequently, all the time and effort I spent gathering email addresses in the past was wasted effort.

The whole situation reminds me of a form of entertainment I recently discovered available on the computer thanks to friend, Becca Anderson. She introduced me to a site that features jigsaw puzzles. I think I have all the pieces of this puzzle of using Mailchimp - just need to put the pieces together.

One last caveat: read the instructions first. Oh yeah, I'd appreciate if you'd submit your email at the top of the page...and add a comment...I love comments!

Friday, May 20, 2016

A Little Known Heroine


I love the way you can discover interesting individuals when doing research. I don’t even recall what I was seeking when I came across this bit about someone called Sybil Ludington.

She was the daughter of Colonel Henry Ludington and lived near the town of Danbury, Connecticut, in 1777. The same evening of the famous Paul Revere ride,  a rider came to the Ludington household to warn them that British troops and British loyalists had attacked the nearby town. Since Colonel Ludington had to prepare for battle, he asked his sixteen-year-old daughter Sybil to ride through the night, alerting his men of the danger and urging them to come together to fight back.

At 9 pm the night of April 26, the young girl set out to recruit the Colonel’s disbanded regiment.   Ludington rode all night through the dark woods, covering forty miles through Kent to Farmers Mills. She covered forty miles, damp from the rain and exhausted, before returning home just before dawn.

When she got home, more than 400 men were ready to march. Statesman Alexander Hamilton wrote to her, praising her deed and she was later commended by George Washington for her heroism. A statue of her was erected along her route in Carmel, New York, along with many other markers of her historic ride.

You can read a detailed account in her own words at:http://ludingtonsride.com/history.htm.

Monday, May 16, 2016

It's National Flash Fiction Day


Wednesday, May 16th  is National Flash Fiction Day . Flash fiction is also referred to as micro-fiction or sudden fiction or short-short stories. It consists of a beginning, a middle, and an end with character development and descriptions, all within 150 to 500 words.  The story must have structure, plot, point, and dialogue.

How can writing flash fiction help us become better writers? Flash fiction banks on action and an active voice. Avoid passive voice; have the action immediate and now. Adjectives and adverbs need to be banished from the page. Be precise and use words that really matter.

You don’t need more than one or two characters. By limiting your characters, you don’t have to waste words as tags. Focus on one main conflict; don’t try from a complicated plot. Start at the beginning of the conflict. Choose a powerful moment in a character’s life and place your story there.

1.       1.Start in the middle
2.       2. Don't use too many characters
3.       3. Make sure the ending isn't at the end
4.   Your title, make it work
5.     Leave the reader with something
6.       6. And try ending in a different emotional place than where you start

Reduce, condense, and write like a poet—lyrical, dense passages that grab the reader from the first sentence. Remember Hemingway’s famous iceberg dictum: only show the top 10 percent of your story, and leave the other 90 percent below water to be conjured.


Saturday, May 14, 2016

Listening To My Characters


Someone once asked: where do your books come from? Lots of times, a character will make itself known to me in my head, and as we communicate, I begin to learn where and when that character lived and what the story is about.

Inspiration for another book came out of a dinner conversation. My husband asked me once if I knew that our first president, George Washington, was a surveyor. I did not. Curious, I did some research and found out the event of his father’s death (who had been a surveyor) became the catalyst for a major change in George’s life. Upon discovering his father's surveying instruments, George taught himself the trade and began to earn a living from surveying. My research motivated me to write a biography for Young Readers about those momentous ten years between his father’s death and his first Army commission; years that influenced the direction of his life. As yet unpublished, I have high hopes for an eventual publication of George Washington; From Surveyor to Soldier.

One of my earlier novels, Troubled Times, is set in the years before, during, and after the Civil War. I included incidents portraying historically important people at the time. This led me to look deeper into the life of a barely-mentioned character, Harriet Tubman. As I did more research, I discovered what an amazing person she was and felt compelled to share her life's story. I have since written a fictionalized biography for Young Readers about her unusual life.

My present work-in-progress is about another individual who lived during the Civil War era. Belle Boyd was a Southern lady in the truest sense. Only sixteen but her patriotism to the southern cause was so keen, she used her interactions with Federal soldiers of her acquaintance to gather vital information for Andrew Jackson. She even went to prison for a short period abefore being forced to flee to England where she lived for several years and wrote of her experiences there.

My stories normally begin with a character, someone living an ordinary life but experiencing extraordinary circumstances. Some way or other, a comment regarding a person of little regard will catch my attention and with a whole lot of research, I’m off and running to share the story about this fascinating person I’ve just learned about.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Survey Results Authors Find Interesting


Books Go Social (http://booksgosocial.com/) is an online site designed to get more books read and to help authors find a new audience. I came across an interesting survey they recently conducted and thought I’d share the statistics it revealed.

In mid April of 2016, they asked 10,236 English-speaking readers to participate. Only 546 completed the survey. When asked if they owned or used a Kindle or e-reader device, 85.3% said yes.

When asked how important social media was in helping to find new books, 77% gave it a 5 or more out of 10 rating. Newspaper reviews received a 46% rating of 5 or more and bookstores gained a 69% rating or 5 or more. Interestingly enough, 46% of those surveyed responded they preferred Ebooks and 53.8% preferred print books.

54% said they read 4 or more Ebooks a month and 32% read the same number of print books in a month’s time. When asked to list their genre preference, fantasy/sci-fi came in #1, literary #2, romance #3, mystery #4, historical #5 and Young Adult #6.

71% stated they read self-published books. When asked what they considered the right price for an ebook, 70.3% answered $3.99 & under. 49% admitted e-reading has impacted their print book buying and reduced the number of print books they buy.

I was really interested in the results revealed in the remaining questions. When asked, what makes you stop reading a book, the response was that quality was critical. 80% said that the cover impacted their buying decision with 78% saying Amazon reviews influenced their buying decision.
  
Books GoSocial’s conclusions:
Ebook reading is gathering pace. More ebooks are purchased by those who use an ereader than people who read print books. Social media is more important than book stores or newspaper reviews as a way to find new books. Most readers will read self published books. Amazon book reviews and covers are hugely important, as is quality editing.


A final question: where are you most likely to find book recommendations online if you exclude Amazon? 29.7% indicated Facebook. 

Friday, May 6, 2016

Did You Really Want To Know?


How long does it take to write a novel?
It depends. Since my preference is to place my characters in a historical setting, research for authentic details consumes a considerable period of time. I can spend a year or more writing a novel from start to the end, and that's before any editing or rewrites.

Not Bound By Blood did not follow the usual pattern. From the time of its inception to publication was almost ten years. In fact, this story spent just as much time 'on the shelf' as being worked on.

Why was that?
A couple of reasons. I began with the concept of writing about a friendship forged in high school by two girls which continued throughtout their lives. But, I kept running into roadblocks.

What do you call a roadblock?
That's when the story-writing comes to a halt because something isn't working out according to your expectations of what the plotline should do.

What happened with Not Bound By Blood?
My first mistake was to conceive of a story that encompassed too many years when there were only two main characters involved. The ending scene was written early on. I envisioned the two friends living together in a nursing home.I found myself running into 'dry periods', stretches  of time with nothing major was happening in their lives to fill the gaps. I had to scrap that ending and come up with a satisfactory closing acene happening earlier in their lives.

What did you do when the writing came to a stop?
If no immediate solution presented itself, my reaction was to set it aside and work on a different project. In the case of Not Bound By Blood, it sometimes could spend years 'on the shelf' before I picked it up again.

Can you give an example?
When my actress character, Blanche, found herself in Europe just as Hitler invaded Europe, I needed to stop and do a lot of research and imagining to find a way to get her out of there before the German army arrived.

Why was that important?
 To be honest, I didn't want the story to include any warfare. Because I strive for accurate portrayal of historical settings and details, I felt it would detract from the theme of my story.

How did you make yourself finish?
The day came when I told myself I couldn't start another project until I wrote 'the end' to this story. Then as I read through what was already written, possibly three-quarters of the story by that time, I realized the story was written from the wrong character's point of view. But that's a blog for another day.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

And The Winner Is......


Just had to share. This is me reading at last weekend's NETWO conference. My short story, The Almond Mocha Fishing Tale, won first place in this year's competition. Based on remarks made by the contest co-ordinator, Galand Nuchols, (http://www.amazon.com/Now-Where-That-Come-From/dp/1482088738) I barely managed to squeak ahead of some other fabulous writers. In fact, the scoring was so close, four stories shared third place .

The whole weekend was high energy and information-packed. Although our attendance number was lower than in recent years, the quality of our speakers were top-notched.

With my newest novel, Not Bound By Blood, due to release on May 17th, I've been reading a book written by one of our speakers that I picked up at the conference.  Nick Thacker wrote Welcome Home http://www.amazon.com/Welcome-Home-Authors-Building-marketing/dp/1478333340/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8  to guide other authors through the bewildering world of social media promoting.

So while I scramble to get the word out to as many as possible, I guess I should mention Not Bound By Blood is now available to pre-order. http://www.amazon.com/Not-Bound-Blood-Gay-Ingram-ebook/dp/B01EQIJ7CS/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1462118527&sr=1-4&keywords=gay+ingram

You knew I'd have to add that link, didn't you?

Friday, April 29, 2016

Working To Be Noticed

I recently signed with a group of local authors to have our books available to the public in an unxpected site. Thanks to the efforts of Lisa Simmons, https://www.facebook.com/lira.brannon?fref=ts who writes under the name Lira Brannon, our books can now be found at The Market on 67 http://themarketon67.com/index.php/.

I had an opportunity to stop in and do some browsing some time back. It turned out to be one of those funky places where you are bound to find anything. I especially like how all the items are displayed in eye-catching displays.

If you're ever in the area, give yourself an hour or so to look over all the interesting items, both old and new, they have for sale. I can promise you won't leave empty-handed.

Oh yes, and check out the wide range of reading pleasure our authors have created for your entertainment.


Monday, April 25, 2016

Where Does The Time Go?


Life has a tendency to squeeze out the writing. Thus, long time no blog.

Just wish there were more hours in the day. In between caring for an incapacitated husband, keeping up with all of life's chores that he used to do, trying to get my yard caught up with looking like spring, there doesn't seem to be enough waking hours to fit in writing. I promise to find a way to remedy this.

Especially since I have a new release due out on May 17th. (That's a plug, folks, for Not Bound By Blood.) It's a story about a life-long friendship made in school days. Miriam Meyer loves to run and she's fast. In fact, she's good enough to compete in the Olympics and win gold. Blanche LaRue is determined to become a famous actress. Though their lives take diverse paths, that bond of friendship remains solid. Is that enough to tempt you?

At NETWO'S 30th annual writer's conference this past weekend, we were informed and entertained by three guys who do a podcast...in fact, they recorded for future broadcast the one they did at the conference. http://kevintumlinson.com/podcast  Check it out.

Now, I'm not anywhere near ready to tackle something like that, but it did nudge me to get back into the habit of connecting with my readers. So, restarting my blog is top-of-the-list and for the past week or so, I've been pondering. What could I write about that you readers would find interesting to read?

Anybody got any suggestions? I'd love to hear them in a comment.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Mixing The Arts

Lately my writing has taken a back seat. I've rediscovered (after 40+years) the joy of painting with oils. My first few attempts were exercises in becoming once again familiar with the media. This first was done when attending a group painting party just before Christmas.


After an inventory of brushes and paints, I stopped in this really neat shop I've discovered called How Great Thou Art. (http://www.artworldlongview.com/In-the-Works.html) It's located in the Brookwood Mall on McCann Road and Studio Director Susan L Tanner is just a terrific person. She spent gobs of time with me answering my questions and sharing what tools do what.

Armed with the proper tools, well a beginning of, I've spent pleasant hours these past weeks on the following:
  
I'm first to admit they are quite amateurish in technique, but am so rewarded by the satisfaction derived from the time spent.

Another blessing came as a result of a brother-in-law's fondness for estate sales. He picked up a well-loved painter's box for peanuts just because it was a bargain. When my sister offered to send it to me, I leaped at the offer. Despite the shipping cost, I've already gotten hours of pleasant occupation out of its contents. A little glue, some time spent cleaning leaked paint and I have a marvelous addition to my newest addiction.

So, now I'm getting serious. In my files was a short story for children written years ago that could become a charming book, I think. Just to prove to myself I can do it, I've started painting the needed illustrations to turn the story into a children's book. Already have two completed, but more on that later as the project develops.