Monday, July 21, 2014

Kristy Cambron ~ The Butterfly And The Violin


It's a great pleasure to welcome debut author, Kristy Cambron, to Ink Dots today. Kristy's been fascinated with the WWII Era since hearing her grandfather's stories of his experiences as a B-17 co-pilot in the war. She writes WWII and Regency Era Christian fiction titles.

Kristy's a proud Hoosier, living in Indiana with her husband and three football-loving sons, where she can probably be bribed with a coconut mocha latte and a good Christian fiction read.

The Butterfly And The Violin ~ A mysterious painting breathes hope and beauty into the darkest corners of Auschwitz—and the loneliest hearts of Manhattan. Manhattan art dealer Sera James watched her world crumble at the altar two years ago, and her heart is still fragile. Her desire for distraction reignites a passion for a mysterious portrait she first saw as a young girl—a painting of a young violinist with piercing blue eyes.
In her search for the painting, Sera crosses paths with William Hanover, the grandson of a wealthy California real estate mogul, who may be the key to uncovering the hidden masterpiece. Together, Sera and William slowly unravel the story behind the painting's subject: Austrian violinist Adele Von Bron.
A darling of the Austrian aristocracy, talented violinist, and daughter to a high-ranking member of the Third Reich, Adele risks everything when she begins smuggling Jews out of Vienna. In a heartbeat, her life of prosperity and privilege dissolves into a world of starvation and barbed wire.
As Sera untangles the secrets behind the painting, she finds beauty in the most unlikely of places: in the grim camps of Auschwitz and in the inner recesses of her own troubled heart.
"In her historical series debut, Cambron expertly weaves together multiple plotlines, time lines, and perspectives to produce a poignant tale of the power of love and faith in difficult circumstances. Those interested in stories of survival and the Holocaust, such as Eli Weisel’sNight, will want to read." —Library Journal, starred review
". . . debut novelist Cambron vividly recounts interwoven sagas of heartache and recovery through courage, love, art, and faith." —Publishers Weekly. 

Kristy Says...

If I could explore anywhere in the world tomorrow, it would be... Two places: London and Paris - la ville de mon coeur! I confess that I’m one of those dreamers who writes about places she longs to go. And after years of studying art history, I just may be a little Paris obsessed… My friends and family know this; every Christmas and birthday that rolls around, I open vintage-inspired gifts with an Eiffel Tower theme. So of course, my first book just had to include Paris. And book two in The Hidden Masterpiece series? You guessed it. Readers will take a journey to London. 

The best thing I did today is...Wake up in a loving home. My husband and I have three young sons and for the life of me, I can’t think of anything better than waking up to the sound of children’s laughter. It reminds me of what’s really important in this life. Despite the trying year we've had I still feel blessings through it. Joshua 1:9 talks about having strength and courage, for the Lord will be with us wherever we go. I feel His strength through the smiles of my children. 


A secret pleasure of mine is... Classic films! Comedies, dramas, film noir, mysteries, even old westerns… I love films from the 1930s and 40s. I recently watched The Best Years of our Lives (1946) for the first time and - wow! I was so moved by the portrait of GIs coming home to a different life after fighting in WWII. These classic films are packed with history, emotion and some of the best stars to ever grace the screen. 

I wish I could relive the day when...Years ago, my family visited an orchard in the rolling hills outside our hometown. It was shortly before I was married, so it felt like a last outing as our little family. My parents took my sister and I out to a local orchard and we had a glorious autumn day together – mums were in bloom, we picked apples, walked in the sunshine, ate good food…laughed and smiled. I have several photographs from that day and now that my Dad is gone, I cherish those memories. I revisit them in my heart daily. It was a good day. 

When I was a child I dreamed I would... become a Disney animator! Isn’t that wild? My Mom used to take my sister and me to the library each week. Instead of going for the fiction section (as my sister was the real reader in the family), I went straight to the art section and sat in the aisles, falling in love with the Disney animation books. I remember being captured with the visual aspect of story at a very young age. And since I can only draw exceptionally poor stick figures, I don’t expect the Disney Company to track me down for a job. : ) I’ll keep on writing Christian fiction– happily.

I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but... I’ve worked in the city for nearly fifteen years, but I’m a true country girl at heart. (I’ll take a rocker on the front porch and glass of iced tea over a night on the town anytime.) We live in rural Indiana– quite literally. There is a horse farm behind our house and on occasion, I’ll even get stuck behind a tractor on my drive to work. When we take our boys for a drive out to visit my husband’s family in the country, my heart truly sings! Someday we’ll move further out there, where the stars glow in God’s great big night sky, and fireflies light up the fields as far as the eye can see.  Like you, Kristy, I'm more of a country girl at heart. Thanks for visiting with us, this week. I'm SO excited to read The Butterfly And The Violin. :) 

*****

If you'd like the chance to win a signed copy of The Butterfly And The Violin, please leave a message below. Tell us if your heart sings for the country or if it's the buzz of the city that draws you. I'll announce the winner on Friday. 

Good luck and happy reading, 

Friday, July 18, 2014

52 Author Dates ~ Week 29


Go To The Beach

“Sometimes in the waves of change, we find our new direction.”

Oh, how I love that quote. It’s the reason why I write. 

To see God’s purpose in new directions.

Kerferd Rd Pier, Melbourne

Change comes in waves and alters life for all of us. Some can even say for them, this change came on the crest of real waves.

My parents arrived in Australia on a tide which not only delivered them into each other’s lives, but washed new life into their souls when they discovered the tender mercies of God.

Kerferd Rd Pier, Melbourne
As the daughter of post war immigrants, I'm wrapped in a deep longing for the stories of those displaced and replanted in a new homeland. Australia has welcomed new settlers for centuries. Some came by choice, others ... not so willing. All fashioned identities to match the upside-down landing place they came to call home. 

In doing so, many left a piece of themselves behind. 

But nothing is ever lost. We thread our history through life by the things we hold onto. The memories, the tokens and values. And the new discoveries which transform our destiny. 

Two weeks ago, my Beloved and I visited the beach down the cove from the landing docks where my parents arrived in Melbourne. Hobson’s Bay has been welcoming immigrants since the days when convict ships swayed onto our shores. It’s the stage for reinventions, a letting go of the past and the place where first footfalls declare chapter one in newly written lives.

It’s also the landing place for many of my heroes and heroines.

Kerferd Rd Pier, Melbourne
Displaced and washed up on a shore they know little about, they set foot on boards which will lead them into waters deeper than the ones they’ve just travelled. Waves of trouble will knock them over and just when they think they’re sunk… they’ll find the treasures they longed for… right under their feet. 

My 'go to the beach' challenge allowed me a glimpse at the horizon. The one which separates my characters from their old world and their new one. I normally ponder the beaches of Phillip Island where many of my stories are set.

This time, I watched the waves roll in as a reminder of why I'm writing these stories in the first place. To explore God's direction on the waves of change. 

Is there a significant beach or landmark in your family's history?

Blessings for a wonderful weekend, 
I'll be posting next week from beyond the Pacific Ocean. I'll be in San Antonio, Texas for the 2014 RWA conference. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Laurie Alice Eakes ~ A Lady's Honor


It's my pleasure to welcome Laurie Alice Eackes back to Ink Dots. 

“Eakes has a charming way of making her novels come to life without being over the top,” writes Romantic times of  bestselling, award-winning author Laurie Alice Eakes. Since she lay in bed as a child telling herself stories, she has fulfilled her dream of becoming a published author, with a degree in English and French from Asbury University and a master’s degree in writing fiction from Seton Hill University contributing to her career path. Now she has nearly two dozen books in print and more under contract.

After enough moves in the past five years to make U-Haul’s stock rise, she now lives in Houston, Texas with her husband, Himalayan and Exotic felines, and golden retriever and black lab canines. If the carpet is relatively free of animal fur, then she is either frustrated with the current manuscript, or brainstorming another, the only two times she genuinely enjoys housekeeping.

She loves to interact on social media, so do, please follow her at https://facebook.com/authorlauriealiceeakes or on Twitter @LaurieAaEkes

A  Lady’s Honor ~ On the cliffs of 19th-century Cornwall, a spirited, impetuous young woman is torn between the honor of her family and the longing of her heart.
England, 1811
A tarnished reputation. A distant home. A forced engagement to a dangerous man. When Elizabeth Trelawny flees London, she has more than one reason to run. And when her carriage, pursued by her would-be fiancé, is caught in a storm, she quickly accepts the help of a dark stranger. Anything to get back to Cornwall.
But Rowan Curnow is not exactly a stranger. He’s not quite a gentleman either. Class disparity once kept him from courting Elizabeth . . . even if it didn’t keep him from kissing her.
The couple elude their pursuers and reach Bastion Point, Elizabeth’s future inheritance and the one place she calls home. But in the very act of spiriting her to safety, Rowan has jeopardized Elizabeth’s inheritance—if her grandfather ever learns she spent the night, however innocently, in the company of a man.
When smugglers unite the pair in a reckless, flirtatious alliance—an alliance that both challenges the social norms Elizabeth has been raised to revere and rattles Rowan’s fledgling faith in God, Elizabeth must choose between the obedience of a child and the desires of a woman: cling to the safety of her home or follow the man she loves.

Laurie Alice Says...

If I could explore anywhere in the world tomorrow, it would be... the Scottish Highlands. I feel this urge to walk those ancient hills. The call of my ancestors? Or maybe the Welsh hills, the other side of my ancestry. No place too remote or uncivilized for me. 

The best thing I did today is... Hmm. Make dinner from scratch (I don’t know if you all use this term for something not made from a package, but the raw ingredients) for my long-suffering husband. Oh yes, we use the term from scratch. I've just popped an apple crumble in the oven for afternoon tea. I hope my kids enjoy it. :)

A secret pleasure of mine is... If I told, it wouldn’t be a secret, now is it?  In truth, I don’t know if I have secrets like that.

I wish I could relive the day when I... Met my husband. I had flown across the country--the direction that makes days longer--and had taken some medication, so I was pretty loopy and exhausted... Ah, well, he married me anyway.

When I was a child I dreamed I would... Be an author. Seriously. That was my ambition from at least fifth grade—around age 10.

I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but... I am terribly shy. I can be in a crowded room and, if no one talks to me first, go all evening without speaking to anyone. I’m not unfriendly; I just find starting conversations difficult.

Thanks for joining us this week, Laurie Alice. I'm looking forward to chatting with you some more at the RWA conference in San Antonio, next week. 
I'll come find you if you're too shy to find me. :)

*****

To celebrate the release of Laurie Alice's A Lady's Honor, we have a fun giveaway this week. Your choice of one book from her list of e-books. To be in the running tell us what you like to make from scratch for your table. Something sweet like I've done today, or something savoury? 

Good luck in the draw and happy reading, 


Friday, July 11, 2014

52 Author Dates ~ Week 28


Flea market find I wish I hadn't left behind. 
Visit A Flea Market

Not much would stand between me and a good fossick through a flea market or car boot sale. One of my favourite junk spots, and I use the term junk with deep fondness, is the Phillip Island Bazaar.



For many years it’s been one of those portals to yesteryear a history nut like me cannot ignore. While the rest of the family are clambering for ice-cream, I’m the one searching through the echoey heartbeat of yesteryear on shelves cluttered with all manner of junk.


Old clothes, furniture and books aplenty fill this many-roomed display of everything you could image. And then some. 

If it’s dusty, faded, ripped and /or tarnished, it’s all there. Most times I head straight to the musty book corner for old journals and love letters. Sometimes I hit the jackpot. 

Other times, I just wander and ponder who the original owners were and why their ‘stuff’ ended up behind glass in an island store in this corner of Australia.  

When I introduced my dear writing sister, Narelle Atkins, to the Phillip Island Bazaar, we spied this darling pair of shoes. I like to think they could be Edwardian… what do you think? 

Edwardian shoes...?
Spotted with age, they look well cared for and only now, are the stains someone probably worked hard to scrub away... appearing again. I’m guessing they were someone's good shoes. The toes are not as scuffed as working shoes or boots might be. The heels look in good order, too.

Could they be a bride’s wedding shoes? Worn only a few times and wrapped in tissue as keepsakes of a beautiful day?

What if the bride pulled out of her wedding at the last minute, and ran through wet grass for air when her parents insisted she return to remedy the disgrace?

Or, what if...?

Yes, I could go on. I’m sure you could join me in wondering how these shoes remain in reasonable condition long after they were worn. For good reason, the bazaar owners have preserved them behind glass. And authors like me love them for it. 

Vintage Cup and Saucer

Making a trip to the flea market is a challenge I not only enjoyed, but one which has delivered inspiration for another story. 


Thanks to my beautiful island and the little worn bridal shoes in the sea-side bazaar. 

So what does you imagination suggest about these shoes?
Do you have a special treasure you found on the shelf of a junk shop?

Blessings for a wonderful weekend, 

Friday, July 04, 2014

52 Author Dates ~ Week 27


Running Track
RUN

Otherwise known as...You have to be kidding me, right?

It’s been a long time since I made it to the cross country finish line and the ribbons I won for my efforts back then are long lost. 

Those who know, say running is nothing more than a series of arguments between the part of your brain that wants to stop and the part that wants to keep going. 

I ignored those arguments and laced up my running shoes, this week. My mission...to accept the one word challenge from my 52 Dates for Writers book ~ RUN.

Did I want to kickstart a running routine? No. 
Did I want to improve my fitness through running? No.
Did I want to kill my lungs on a lonely road where only the crazies go? No, no, no!

But I did want to know why some writers fit running into their writing regime. And so I pushed at the part of my brain that told me I had no hope of running a full lap of the football oval. Oh, I would run, and gulp down all the oxygen my brain needed to knock off a few stellar chapters when I got home. I pondered words like endorphin and rush, and other such nonsense. 

Water Stop
Surprise, surprise, on day one I didn’t even run the whole way. I stopped to die in an upright position so the poor couple walking their dog behind me wouldn’t have to peel me off the running track.

Barely recovered from the fire in my throat, I carried on. I ran over another stretch of concrete until my lungs gave out. But I resumed my run as soon as I told myself it could be done. I had no choice. I’d left my water bottle at my starting point in a sneaky move to ensure I'd at least clock up ONE lap.

But my brain was even sneakier. Even better than completing one lap was the crazy whisper I could manage a second one. So I pushed on. I listened to the rhythm of my feet, my laboured breathing, making note of the changes in speed when I slowed and when I found the energy to pick up the pace. 

On day two of my challenge, I added an extra lap. Not because I was enjoying it. Don’t get me wrong. It’s because I wanted to come home with more than I’d achieved the day before. And with my brain awakening to the possibilities, I talked myself into it. 

Just keep running to the communal bbq, then you can stop. 
Just until you reach the change in colour in the concrete path.
You can stop when you’ve passed the footy goals. 

And on it went. The slow, painful convincing I could go further.

And that’s when it hit me. Running is another way of going beyond what I believe I’m capable of. Another stretching of my mind (never mind the poor legs and lungs) which changes my default position.

And how does this translate to the writer in me, other then the desire to kill off the emergent runner?

Taking the lane home 
If yesterday's attempt saw three laps, could today's equal four? If I can do this, maybe when I get home I can knock off the synopsis writing I’m putting off. Maybe, there’s an unwritten limit under my feet, and when I find it... it’s possible to exceed it. And apply it to my writing.

Golden moment. This is when I started humming Chariots of Fire. 

And I ran all the way home. 

Did you read that? 

I ran home. 

I added the uphill lane for good measure because, maybe, some of those endorphins were playing happy music and my brain said it could be done.

Are you a runner? 
Do you hate the idea of running... anywhere? 

Whether you lace up the running shoes or not, blessings for a wonderful weekend,  

Monday, June 30, 2014

Carla Stewart ~ The Hatmaker's Heart


I'm thrilled to welcome Carla Stewart to Ink Dots this week. Carla's the award-winning author of five novels. With a passion for times gone by, it is her desire to take readers back to that warm, familiar place in their hearts called “home.”
Carla was the 2011 trophy winner of the Oklahoma Writers Federation Inc. “Best Book of Fiction”, an Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award (Faith, Hope, and Love) finalist in 2011 and winner in 2012, a two-time Genesis winner, and an Oklahoma Book Award finalist four times. She and her husband live in Tulsa and have four adult sons and six grandchildren (with one on the way!). Learn more about Carla at www.carlastewart.com
The Hatmaker's Heart ~ For Nell Marchwold, bliss is seeing the transformation when someone gets a glimpse in the mirror while wearing one of her creations and feels beautiful. Nell has always strived to create hats that bring out a woman's best qualities. She knows she's fortunate to have landed a job as an apprentice designer at the prominent Oscar Fields Millinery in New York City. Yet when Nell's fresh designs begin to catch on, her boss holds her back from the limelight, claiming the stutter she's had since childhood reflects poorly on her and his salon. 
But it seems Nell's gift won't be hidden by Oscar's efforts. Soon an up-and-coming fashion designer is seeking her out as a partner of his 1922 collection. The publicity leads to an opportunity for Nell to make hats in London for a royal wedding. There, she sees her childhood friend, Quentin, and an unexpected spark kindles between them. But thanks to her success, Oscar is determined to keep her. As her heart tugs in two directions, Nell must decide what she is willing to sacrifice for her dream, and what her dream truly is. 
Carla says...
If I could explore anywhere in the world tomorrow, it would be... Cornwall, England. We went to England years ago but didn’t get to Cornwall. I’ve read so many wonderful books set there and have been enjoying Doc Martin on Netflix, so the bug to go there and explore those craggy shores is nagging me. Oh, Carla, I've been bitten by that same bug. Take me to England, and I'll be your best buddy for life. 
The best thing I did today is... spend time with my grandsons who are staying with us for the annual “fun at Mimi and Papa Max’s house.” 
A secret pleasure of mine is...sipping a glass of Chardonnay while my hubby and I sit on the patio and talk about what we did that day. 
I wish I could relive the day when I... got married. I can barely remember anything about the day, and I would love to be more observant and take the time to capture the mood and remember what was said and who came to the wedding. Looking back (forty-two years!), I know it was the day that was pivotal for the remainder of my life (as wedding days should be), and I would like to cherish it more. 
When I was a child I dreamed I would... be famous. Sometimes a radio disc jockey, sometimes an actress on a stage, sometimes an author who wrote books that carried readers on journeys. Obviously, I never became famous, but I do have a treasure trove of wonderful memories as a wife, a mom, a nurse, a traveler, and yes . . . as a writer. Dreams do come true, but they’re not always exactly as we envisioned. And for me, I’m just grateful to be able to share my stories with others. I love it that your dreams have come true, even if they look a little different to the ones you held as a child. 

I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but... someday I want to write a really good mystery. It was the genre I preferred to read for half of my life, and I sort of gravitate toward those that have psychological twists. Any ideas?? Oh... I'm not the best one to ask. I don't naturally gravitate to mysteries, but I'm sure your readers will tell you. :)  
*****
If you'd like to win a copy of Carla's The Hatmaker's Heart, please leave a comment below. Tell us about the best/worst hat you've ever worn. I wore an 1850s bonnet on a school camp with my son when we visited the historic Sovereign Hill. BEST fun ever and a day I was sorry to see end. 
How about you? I'll announce the winner in the comment thread on Friday. 
Good luck and happy reading, 

Friday, June 27, 2014

52 Author Dates ~ Week 26

Where I thought I'd take a vow of silence

Take A Vow Of Silence

When I read ahead in my 52 Dates For Writers to this week’s challenge, I figured I might have to sneak off to a distant leafy monastery. Somewhere city folks escape to collect their thoughts in the absence of voices.

Instead, the challenge was to pick a place with plenty of conversation and take a vow of silence in the midst of rush hour. 

Listen - making notes of any conversations or lines that intrigue. Ignore the mundane. Catch something beautiful or mysterious... I was told 

So I chose a local restaurant where the breakfast rush hour has kept me busy eavesdropping before. (Please don’t judge. Eavesdropping is in a writer’s DNA.) Only this time, I sat down with the lunch crowd. 

And I wasn’t disappointed. Two young mums came in with a chatty toddler. A young Asian man brought his elegant grandparents in for a quick bite, and a group of suited men took their spot in a shady corner to sort out business. 

Where I ended up taking a vow of silence
Their voices carried across to where I’d been writing for about an hour before they arrived. But I set my words aside to listen to theirs. 

I took my vow of silence. And they filled it. 

The men in the corner gave me nothing. They spoke in hushed tones in a language I figured might be Arabic. When they weren’t talking their guffaws tumbled over the tables. 

The mums relaxed and shared a string of stories interrupted only when they had to corral the toddler. My favourite line from their table... “Keep your mouth and ice-cream off me.” 

But the line which caught my attention over all the chatter and kitchen clatter came from the young Asian man.

“What do you recommend?” he took the menu from the waiter. “I need something soft for grandpa. He’s got broken teeth.” 

Shh... listen
He’s got broken teeth.

I made haste to write that down. 

They ordered their risotto and a pot of tea for grandma and teeth-troubled grandpa. 

But all I wanted to hear was how grandpa’s teeth had crumbled. And I really wanted it to be something exotic. Had he sipped on too many childhood sweet teas from his father’s tea trolley in a busy railway station in Singapore? Had he once been a famous fairy floss maker who made a living touring the streets of Hong Kong with his sugar spinner? 

Just that one detail about the broken teeth lifted the dialogue. A little more detail than what you might hear when patrons order in a restaurant, and I was immediately engaged. As I should be with interesting dialogue. 

And that’s exactly why 52 Dates for Writers encourages a vow of silence

Where do you like to eavesdrop? (Don't pretend you don't.) What interesting conversations have made your ears prick up? 

Blessings for a wonderful weekend,

Monday, June 23, 2014

Karen Barnett ~ Out Of The Ruins


I'm welcoming author, Karen Barnett, to Ink Dots this week. Karen's the author of Mistaken and Out of the Ruins. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, two kids, and a mischievous dachshund named Mystery. When not writing, Karen enjoys photography, hiking, public speaking, decorating crazy birthday cakes, and dragging her family through dusty history museums. Karen’s debut novel earned her the Writer of Promise Award from Oregon Christian Writers in 2013. 

Out Of The Ruins ~ While her sister lies on her deathbed, Abby Fischer prays for a miracle. What Abby doesn’t expect, however, is for God’s answer to come in the form of the handsome Dr. Robert King, whose experimental treatment is risky at best.

As they work together toward a cure, Abby’s feelings for Robert become hopelessly entangled. Separated by the tragedy of the mighty San Francisco earthquake, their relationship suddenly takes a back seat to survival. With fires raging throughout the city, Abby fears for her life as she flees alone through burning streets. Where is God now? Will Robert find Abby, even as the world burns around them? Or has their love fallen with the ruins of the city?

Karen Says...

If I could explore anywhere in the world tomorrow, it would be...Either Denali National Park in Alaska or an old crumbling castle somewhere in northern Europe. Both are on my must-see list. Oh, Alaska and castles are on my list, too! I'm not sure where Denali National Park is, but I'm guessing it's beautiful anyway. :)

The best thing I did today is...It’s only 9 AM for me, so the day is young! So far the best part has been taking a few minutes to cuddle on the sofa with my hubby before the kids got up. 

A secret pleasure of mine is...Staying up late and watching multiple episodes of Doctor Who or Sherlock on Netflix.

I wish I could relive the day when I...First held each of my kids.

When I was a child I dreamed I would...Explore the natural world and film wildlife documentaries like Marty Stouffer or Jacques Cousteau.

I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but...I have long conversations with my characters when I’m trying to get inside their heads. Of course, I only do it when I’m home alone—my family already thinks I’m a little loopy. Ha, that's to be expected, Karen. I think you need to be a little loopy to take on fiction writing. (wink) Thanks so much for being my guest this week. Congratulations on the release of Out Of The Ruins.

***** 
If you'd like to win a copy of Out Of The Ruins, please leave a comment in the message thread below. 

Tell us what you'd pick if you had to choose between a trip to Alaska, or a long explore around a castle. I'd choose a British castle. Maybe a stack of British castles... :)

How about you? I'll announce the winner on Friday. 

Good luck and happy reading, 

Friday, June 20, 2014

52 Author Dates ~ Week 25


Play 

Writing is like walking in a deserted street. 
Out of the dust in the street 
you make a mud pie.
 John el Carre

And when there’s no dusty street (and you need to research book shelves) you can always make a trip to Ikea where the playground is adult sized and the exit’s at the end of the one-way maze. 

My 52 Author Date challenge emphasizes the value of play. “It’s vital to keep a healthy reserve of playfulness, for it is the flow of play - so abundant in early childhood - which allows us to experiment, to push boundaries, to avoid closing down our ideas too early, and to get down to the serious business of completing a novel.”

The willingness to play is crucial to the creative spirit. It’s probably behind some of the psychology of large stores like Ikea where shoppers not only browse the aisles, but are invited to step into tiny homes. Decked out with space saving ideas and solutions, it’s hard not to reach out and see how they work. 

If you’re like me you’ll dawdle through every display on every corner. You'll sit on couches, open drawers, lift lids and slide skillets over stove tops, imagining you’re the ruler of a world slightly different to the one you left behind that day. 

My Beloved and I made such a trip to Ikea, yesterday. For a few minutes we went our separate ways, and like Alice, I slipped into a Wonderland of play in a tiny house, only big enough to suggest how its solitary inhabitant might live.


The open plan bed/kitchen/bathroom/laundry/sitting area wrapped me in a few moments of delicious playtime. 

Could I live here? (Probably.) All alone? (Well, it is kinda cute.) Where would I put my computer? (Over here, on the kitchen table) Would I keep that ugly filing cabinet? (Nope, too tin-can like) Enough bathroom storage? (Possibly - wall space used well) Enough feminine touches to balance the space saving genius? (Yes, oodles of sweetness. Look at the hanging clock!). 

By the time my Beloved found me, I’d played out a day in the life of the person I’d be if I lived in that space. 

It was fun. I played. I imagined myself there. Alone.

Right next door a glossy red kitchen taunted us to play ‘would you ever buy me?’

Too modern for Crabapple House, but maybe...if we lived in an inner city warehouse conversion far removed from the apple trees and hydrangeas I currently tend. And if so...how else might I change? What boundaries would I push to become the woman with the ruby red cupboards instead of the ruby slippers? 

As an author I’m encouraged to not avoid shutting down idea-streams too early, because it’s in that space of play and imagination I get down to the serious business of completing a novel.

Ramping up conflict. Taking a character from a tolerable scenario to an intolerable one. Letting dialogue spill from lips which may never have uttered the unforgivable. 

That's why Einstein said, 'Play is the highest form of research.' It's when we let our mind play, that we begin to solve problems. 

When's the last time you played? 

When's the last time you played... in Ikea? 

Blessings for a wonderful weekend,