Monday, April 30, 2018

Color Book Art

So excited! I was blessed to part of this fun project spearheaded by my writer/poet friend Dean Miller. Dean asked me to illustrate his Haiku alphabet color book. I had a blast creating these coloring pages. Check out this brand new book on amazon:

Color Me with Haiku ABC

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Mouse Stories

Mouse on Rock, watercolor by Luana Krause
I've been doing some fun art projects. I'm currently working on some mouse illustrations to inspire a new series of stories about a mouse. 

All this has made me think of literary mice. Reepicheep (The Chronicles of Narnia), The Lion and the Mouse, Stuart Little, Tales of Beatrix Potter, (The Tailor of Gloucestser, The Tale of Mrs. Tittlemouse), the Mouse and the Motorcycle, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. Mole Meets Rat (Wind in the Willows).

Of Mice and Men (well, that's a bit of a stretch but it is one of my favorite novels). 

And let's not forget rat stories like Ratatouille!

Do you have any favorite mouse stories?

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Timothy's Discovery

I finished the first book of the Mitford series by Jan Karon, "At Home in Mitford," and am continuing the saga with "A Light in the Window." The stories tell of the adventures of Father Timothy, an  Episcopalian priest in the town of Mitford.

Sweet, funny and at times heart-wrenching. This passage captured my attention. Father Timothy had been courting his next door neighbor, Cynthia Coppersmith, a writer and illustrator of children's stories. He had gone on a trip to Ireland and was away for two months. Upon his return, he had tried to meet up with Cynthia, but they hadn't had a chance to get together because of their work schedules. 

In this passage, Father Timothy had just found out that Cynthia has moved to New York City. 

He was struck by the endless number of things he hadn't thought about concerning Cynthia. Why had he never been more curious about her life, about her work? Where had she gone to school, for heaven's sake? And why hadn't he found out why she nearly died in a hospital? He'd even lacked the courtesy to ask lately about her nephew who was as cherished as a son. It seemed a small thing to wonder, but what was his last name? He didn't even know what kind of work he did.

She had asked him to pose for a wise man in "The Mouse in the Manger," yet he'd never inquired about the finished book. Worse, he'd never even read anything she had written. 

He had treated her, he realized, as if she didn't really exist.

That realization was overwhelming to him. He'd believed what his parishioners had told him, that he was caring and nurturing. Yet, it was a lie. He wasn't really either of those things. The truth was, he was unutterably selfish and self-seeking, going his own way, doing his own pious thing. It was disgusting to him.

How had he come this far without seeing himself for what he really was? How had God let him get away with this loathsome deception for so long?

He believed he had never married because he was married to his calling. The truth was, he had a complete lack of the equipment demanded for truly loving. 

Yet underneath all that show of sop and decency was a man utterly fixed on himself, on his own concerns. And underneath some shallow layer of seeming warmth and caring was a cold stratum of granite. 

The very last place he wanted to be day after tomorrow was in the pulpit. It was all a joke, and the joke was on him.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

A New Perspective on Mondays

While reading the book, "At Home in Mitford" by Jan Karon, I came across a passage that delighted my soul and gave me a new perspective about Mondays:

How could he have considered taking Monday off? Monday was the diving board poised over the rest of the week. One walked over the board, reviewed the situation, planned one's strategy, bounced a few times to get the feel of things, and then made a clean dive. Without Monday, one simply bombed into the water, belly first, and hoped for the best.

What is your favorite day of the week? For me, I have an office job where I work business hours Monday through Friday. I like Thursdays best. I am still engaged in the work for the day but know that very soon the weekend will be here. Unlike Fridays where I am just trying to get through the day so I can start the weekend. As a result, the Friday workday usually passes very slowly.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

At Home in Mitford

My latest book adventure is the Mitford series by Jan Karon. I heard about it from some friends and thought I'd give it a try.

I've only just begun, I'm about six chapters in the first book "At Home in Mitford" and it's such a delight!

Here's the blurb on amazon:

It's easy to feel at home in Mitford. In these high, green hills, the air is pure, the village is charming, and the people are generally lovable. Yet, Father Tim, the bachelor rector, wants something more. Enter a dog the size of a sofa who moves in and won't go away. Add an attractive neighbor who begins wearing a path through the hedge. Now, stir in a lovable but unloved boy, a mystifying jewel theft, and a secret that's sixty years old. Suddenly, Father Tim gets more than he bargained for. And readers get a rich comedy about ordinary people and their ordinary lives.

I can relate to Father Tim in some interesting ways. He started jogging for his health (I've been a jogger/runner most of my adult life). He turned 60 on his birthday (I am 60). He also quotes Bible verses to go with what's happening in his life (me, too!) 

Here's to learning all about this intriguing town of Mitford and the interesting characters created by Jan Karon!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Secret Garden

One of my favorite children's stories is The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett. 

The story tells of Mary Lennox who discovers a secret garden and a secret cousin named Colin. They are both 10 years old and never knew about the other. Their mothers were twin sisters, and both had died.

Mary was a sour child, rebellious and alone. Colin was a sickly boy whose wanted his father's attention. Both needed "new life."

The 1993 film version is captivating. The cinematography is breathtaking and captures the magic of this delightful story.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Novel Suspense

I'm writing my first novel. I would describe the process as Fun, Frenzied and Fearful, not necessarily in that order. 

For the last couple of years I've been writing bits and pieces of a suspense thriller located in a fictional Wyoming town, set in the present day. 

As with most stories I write, there are supernatural elements. In this case, the heroine discovers that her family had been cursed by an evil Medicine woman from Oklahoma many years ago.

This is my first novel and I need all the help I can get, so I'm reading K. M. Weiland's "Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success." 

It has been helpful in organizing this gargantuan project.

I'm excited doing research on Native American cultures, Wyoming history, and spiritual warfare. Unlike my flash fiction and comedy sketches, this project is not a sprint, it's a marathon. I have to pace myself and get all my horses in a row. It's all about telling a good story, and that's what I hope to do.