Friday, January 31, 2014

52 Author Dates ~ Week 5



Daydream
Photo Source ~ Murmuring Cottage


Sit in reverie and watch the changing color of the waves that break upon the idle seashore of the mind. 
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Ok, I'm not going to tell you fibs. 

I chose Daydream this week for my author date, for two strategic reasons. My energy levels didn't allow for much activity, and my friends in the US taunted me with too many snow pics, I just couldn't help myself. 

I became the victim of severe snow envy. And I loved every minute. 

Melbourne's delivered our second heatwave for the summer. Landscapers continue to call my yard home (and have since November), and a mini trip to the hospital for a quick procedure have left me parched for something I've never tasted. The kind of winter many of my northern friends have endured this week. 

I'm one of those Aussies who's never seen a snowflake fall. If I could, I'd LOVE to be housebound with a drift of snow at my door, and a winter wonderland at my windows.  I see it all...the fire, the coffee pot, warm blankets and warmer slippers... and the promise of more snowfall tomorrow. I want the whole wintery daydream. (But not the stranded on the highway part. Even I know that's not part of the dream. I'm only dreaming of the Disney version.) 

I also know this is a case of 'grass is greener' syndrome. Each night we swelter, fighting to sleep under what's left of the day's heat, knowing it's going to get worse tomorrow. Fried hydrangeas and burnt grass don't thrill me when they compete with Facebook posts and photos of frozen landscapes. How can they, when I close my eyes and imagine how a snowflake might feel when it lands on my tongue? 

Photo Source ~ Murmuring Cottage
If you're one of these dear ones shovelling snow and keeping your kids home 'one more snow day,' you will no doubt reprimand my daydream foolishness. But that's how daydreaming happens. In the absence of what the heart truly longs for. 

My heart longs for June/July, when the heater warms my toes and my fingers fly over the keyboard. When storytelling comes draped in my writing shawl, and wait for it... fingerless gloves. (I know. Squeal!) 

Lovingly knitted by my darling Mum, these gloves are made for readers who can't put their book down, and writers who can't stop scribbling even when the chill takes over. I'm sure they'll appeal to my northern friends, or perhaps an Aussie or NZ kindred spirit, happy to squirrel them away for when it's our turn to shiver.

Or, you may dream like me and care to wear them... just because. In some idle corner of your mind, where fingerless gloves suit the mood and set the scene for wherever you long to be. 

Fingerless gloves ~ Crabapple House
I have two pair of these fingerless gloves for two Ink Dots friends. I don't normally offer a Friday giveaway, but a girl's allowed to drift and dream and under this heat, snow envy and daydreaming's about all I could manage this week. 

So, dream with me. And enter to win. Tell me how hot or cold it reached where you live this week. 

I'll announce the winners next Friday. Stay cool or warm, dear friends and have a wonderful weekend. 

Blessings, 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Susan Diane Johnson ~ True North



Last year at the ACFW conference I met the beautiful Susan Diane Johnson, and it's my pleasure to welcome her to Ink Dots this week. Susan's the author of two contemporary novels, True North, and No Substitute. Her first historical novel, Sweet Mountain Music, will be available in May. Susan is a regular contributor to the Inkwell Inspirations blog, a group blog by Christian woman and for Christian women. She is also member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America, and National Cancer Registrars’ Association. During the day, Susan is a cancer registrar at her local hospital and lives in northwest Washington with her husband and their naughty little cat. They are the parents of a wonderful grown son, and hope to one day become grandparents. You can contact Susan through her website (below), or at glorybooks@yahoo.com.



True North

Desperate to save her marriage after tragedy has torn them apart, Lisa Kendall hopes to restore it by unexpectedly showing up on an Alaskan cruise ship where her husband, Joe, hoped he'd be alone. What she doesn’t know is that Joe has already decided the best thing for Lisa is for him to be out of her life.

As Lisa tries to get through to Joe, she realizes God has been trying to get through to her.


If I could explore anywhere in the world tomorrow, it would be…Oh, Dotti, do I have to choose? I’m so torn because there’re so many places I would like to go. I wish I could go somewhere every month. I’ll try to narrow it down.

  • I would like to ride a burro down the Grand Canyon.
  • I would like to bicycle through the South of France (and of course see the Eiffel Tower on my way to Provence).
  • I would like to go to Japan. I lived there when I was little, and I’d dearly love to go back and revisit some of the places that stand out in my mind. 

The best thing I did today is…Well, I haven’t eaten any chocolate yet, so I can’t count that. But I’m sure I’ll manage to find some at some point today. ;)  So, since I haven’t, I’m listening to 70s music while I work, with a little bit of the 50s thrown in to mix things up.

A secret pleasure of mine is……animated films. I watched Dumbo yesterday. And yes, I cried when Dumbo visited his mother in jail and she sang to him and then watched him leave. I knew it was coming, knew I would cry, and sure enough, I did. Oh, goodness. Here I am getting all teary-eyed again. You're making me tear up now, Suzie. Animated films are dear favourites in this home, too. 

I wish I could relive the day when I... hiked the gardens and then around the lake with my son, near the museum in Indianapolis. We had such a special time that day.

When I was a child I dreamed I would...float around London with my umbrella, like Mary Poppins. 

I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but…I’m super shy and introverted. I’m petrified and tongue-tied when I get around more than three or four people at a time…even if I know them all. 

Thank you for having me, Dotti. I would like to give a copy of True North to one of your visitors today.  Thanks for visiting with us, Suzie and for your book offer. 

*****

If you'd like to join Lisa and Jo on their Alaskan cruise, leave a comment below. One lucky Ink Dots friend will win Suzie's book. 

Tell us which animated film is your favourite, or which one you can't watch anymore because it makes you cry too much. 

I can't watch Disney's Tarzan. The song where the mama gorilla sings You'll be in my heart, is my undoing.

How about you? What's your favourite animated film? Which one tips you over? The winner will be announced on Friday. 

Good luck and happy reading, 

Friday, January 24, 2014

52 Author Dates ~ Week 4

Watch A Busker Perform 

This week I doubled my 52 Dates for Writers instructions and watched TWO buskers entertain the streets of Melbourne on a cool Sunday afternoon. 

Charged to heighten my awareness of physical descriptions, I wondered how street performers might fit into my olde worlde blog and photos. 

But I had no reason to worry. Drawn to the corner of Swanston and Burke by the smooth notes of a trumpeter and his guitar playing partner, we were entertained by Newsie style musicians in suspenders, vest and caps. Yes, my buskers came dressed worthy of an Ink Dots photo. 

Soon enough, I found my spot on a bench, and under a Melbourne lamp post and flurry of scorched leaves from our recent heatwave... I sat to watch. 

I watched the way these musicians wordlessly worked their syncopation and showered the street in toe tapping beats.

With hardly a pause, they moved from set to set, sometimes lost in their music, other times focused on the growing crowd.

Passersby stalled and then stopped to enjoy the polished performance, the unexpected gift of something splendid to savour on their way to some other place. Many stood still. Others, with less inhibitions, let the music take hold. 

Captured by the rhythms, the very young, and the most disadvantaged, danced as far as their mothers' arm or wheelchairs allowed. In return, the buskers bounced in time with their tune and nodded their thanks for every spinning coin that landed in the open lid of their guitar case. 

It may have ended there, if I'd not stayed to hear more. If I'd not allowed my author eyes and ears to roam further along the road. I heard it, before I saw it. The ding of the tram's bell on its way across the busy intersection. Its whoosh, its cheery clatter. Iconic Melbourne sounds against another fresh gust of yesterday's dead leaves. 

video

And then the change in tempo, when our busking friends noticed a man grab one of their cds without the exchange of coins. The way they protected their endeavours, the way they didn't let someone walk away with their art. The way another man in the crowd turned his back and admonished them over his shoulder, 'Let him have one, ya mugs.' 

But the buskers didn't miss a beat. They'd already given us something for nothing. A taste of their creation. And while their eyes sparkled when a new fan paid for their music, their eyes snapped a warning to those who thought they might help themselves. 

I arrived on my author date thinking I'd observe the strict physical description of my busking challenge. But I saw more than I expected. 

I took in the crowd. The smiles. The street. The breeze. The leaf on my shoe. And then beyond. To emotions, and threats and altercations. The way faces darkened, even while chords continued to strum. The way crowds moved away when the fiddle made way for voices. The softening in the buskers' shoulders when I stopped to thank them for their music. 

I saw beyond what we think musicians sharing their passion looks like. To artists who aren't afraid to put a price to their art. Who demand a price for their work. And that's something the writer in me mulled over on my walk away from the corner where the music still echoed in major and minor keys. 





Monday, January 20, 2014

Mary Connealy ~ A Match Made in Texas


I'm thrilled to welcome Mary Connealy to Ink Dots this week. Mary writes romantic comedy with cowboys. She is a Rita and Christy and IRCA Award finalist and a two time Carol Award winner. She is the bestselling author of the recently released A Match Made in Texas, the Trouble in Texas series, and the Kincaid Brides series. She lives on a ranch in eastern Nebraska with her very own romantic cowboy husband and has four grown daughters. 


A Match Made In Texas
A Match Made In Texas
There's a secret matchmaker at work in frontier Texas!

In the small town of Dry Gulch, Texas, a good-hearted busybody just can't keep herself from surreptitiously trying to match up women in dire straits with men of good character she hopes can help them. How is she to know she's also giving each couple a little nudge toward love?


A Cowboy Unmatched
Neill isn't sure who hired him to repair Clara's roof--he only knows Clara desperately needs his help. Can he convince this stubborn widow to let down her guard and take another chance on love?

An Unforeseen Match
Hoping to earn an honest wage on his way to the land rush, Clayton ends up on Grace's doorstep, lured by a classified ad. He may have signed on for more than he expected though--and he may have found the one woman who can keep him from moving on.

No Match for Love
Andrew can't fathom how refined Lucy ended up as the caretaker to his dotty aunt, and somehow her arrival has prompted even more bizarre occurrences around the ranch. When they join forces to unearth the truth, will the attraction between Andrew and Lucy develop into more?

Meeting Her Match ~ Mary’s book in the collection
When the tables are turned and a tenderhearted meddler becomes the beneficiary of a matchmaking scheme, her world is turned upside down. As her entire life changes, will she finally be able to tell the banker's son how much she cares for him?


Mary says...
If I could explore anywhere in the world tomorrow, it would be...wow, I’m such a homebody, Dorothy, this question is hard. Let’s say the Coliseum in Rome. I’m fascinated by really ancient things. Wow, for a homebody you sure chose something far from your comfort zone. I hope you get to visit there sometime soon. :) 

Mary Connealy
The best thing I did today is... play with my grandchildren. You caught me on a good day because My Cowboy is out of town at a stock show in Denver and I’m spending the weekend with my children in Omaha, Nebraska and hanging out with my two precious grandchildren, plus I’ve seen all four of my adult daughters yesterday and today. It’s been great. Sounds delightful. 

A secret pleasure of mine is... you know, the word secret is supposed to mean something, Dorothy. You may not fully get the concept. I suppose the potato chips I sneak and eat, that’s a secret pleasure, but the shape of my body…well, let’s face it, the secret is OUT. Lol, ok...I get it. I'm trying to lure something goofy from you. But you're not going to play. Ok... I'll try again later. 

I wish I could relive ... April 15, 2001, the day I messed up filing my daughter’s FAFSA forms for college and we ended up having to pay for most of that year ourselves. Wow, I wish I could do that over again and get it right. Oh, I'm sorry. That was pretty goofy. I can see why you'd want to go back and 'fix' that one. 

When I was a child I dreamed I would... the first job I wanted kind of goes with the Roman Coliseum. I think we were studying ancient Rome and talking about the Apian Way and how it still existed, those old rode had survived. And about that time I, who lived WAAAAAAY out in the country saw my first interstate highway with overpassed for the first time. And I was fascinated. I wanted to build roads. I remember thinking it was cool and complex and almost eternal. I loved the idea. And now I write books and in their own, far less cement-y way, they’re kind of eternal, so I sort of managed it, I think. You most certainly did. Congratulations.

I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but... Again, Dotti, please, consult a dictionary. No, it's too much fun pressing you to tell your secrets, Mary. :)

'Probably shouldn’t...' I guess the thing is, in this day and age when we all tell almost every stupid thing we do publicly, on Facebook or where ever, when you say 'I probably shouldn’t…’ you’re going really, really deep to find anything ‘I probably already haven’t…’ you know what I mean? So if I probably shouldn’t then … I guess I won’t. You are a true Roman fortress. Stand proud. :) 

*****

A Match Made in Texas sounds great, doesn't it? Don't you want to read the whole collection? Well, you can. 

Mary's generously offered a giveaway copy for one Ink Dots visitor. To be in the running, tell us if you've forgotten to post an important document... or lost important mail, and I'll announce the winner on Friday. I accidentally threw a tax return cheque into the rubbish one time. I know... I threw MONEY away. Thankfully, I realised before garbage collection day and disaster was averted. But my Beloved hasn't let me forget it. 

How about you? Leave a comment below and I'll announce the winner on Friday. 

Good luck, happy reading, 
and many thanks to Mary Connealy for her generous offer. 

Friday, January 17, 2014

52 Author Dates - Week 3

Photo Albums ~ Crabapple House
Week three broke all weather records in Melbourne. Four days of blistering heat reaching 44C, which our Northern friends know as 111F. Awful in anyone's language. 

One of my Ink Dots readers, Jenny, suggested I might try Swim In Cold Water which is on the writer date list. But even the water in the pool was not really cold. More lukewarm, and I'm sure that would've been cheating, somehow. 

So I chose a date which took me no further than my stack of photo albums. Browse Old Photographs. Perfect for the kind of week where even moving our eyes from page to page had the potential to send us into a sweat. 

Browsing Old Photographs is like facebook. Just one more photo. One more album. Ok... just one more. By the time you've put them back on the shelf, the clock is shaking it's head at you. Hours can pass in the moments it takes to revisit life as we once knew it. 

My writer date instructions told me to ponder what a photo of one of my characters might look like. To consider the folklore passed down by generation to generation. To puzzle over a face I don't recognise in my own photo stash, and create their story. 

Finding photos of people I don't know was easy. A dear aunt gave me one of her albums when my uncle passed away, and it's full of people I've never met. So I peered at the unknown and wondered. But only for a bit. 

Right there on the next page, I saw myself. A speck of a kid dressed in my best party frock, poised to blow out my 2nd birthday candles. I know from other photos of that day, my parents and grandparents were there, aunts and uncles and even my one and only cousin (at the time) from Adelaide was there, too. 

But in this shot I stood alone, probably waiting to be told when I could mess with the cake. 

I forgot about my characters and their stories. I forgot about their histories. I found a piece of mine, and that's the photo I wanted to share with you. 

Me, in my ruby slippers. Yes, even at two... (thanks to my mother's keen fashion eye) I had a pair of red shoes to play with. And I'm not too different, now. 


Ruby Slippers for my second birthday 

I still like to wear red shoes. I still look at cake like that... with fondness and longing... and although the hair ribbons have long gone, I still live to write stories threaded with romance and tied up with the flame of God's love. 

So what did I learn from my author date this week? 

Sometimes the heat will keep you in, but the tiniest detail can let you loose and take you to memories hidden in someone else's treasures. 

So I challenge you... to escape for a half hour. Dip into the albums and see for yourself. I can't promise you won't feel sadness, regret, or even grief. You will see people no longer a part of your life, for many different reasons. And you'll celebrate the little details which became the best memories. 

Blessings for a wonderful weekend, 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Mary Ellis ~ The Quaker And The Rebel


I'm welcoming Mary Ellis to Ink Dots, today. Mary's begun the year in spectacular fashion, releasing The Quaker And The Rebel on January 1. Congratulations, Mary! 

Mary's written ten bestselling novels set in the Amish community. Before "retiring" to write full-time, Mary taught school and worked as a sales rep for Hershey Chocolate. An Amish Miracle, a collection of novellas, released in December from Harper Collins. She is currently working on a three-book series of historical romances set during the Civil War. 

Mary Ellis is the bestselling author of many books, including A Widow's Hope and A Little Bit of Charm. She is an active member of the local historical society and Civil War Roundtable, where she served as secretary for several years. She has enjoyed a lifelong passion for American history.

The Quaker And The Rebel  ~ Emily Harrison’s life has turned upside down. At the beginning of the Civil War, she bravely attempts to continue her parents’ work in the Underground Railroad until their Ohio farm is sold in foreclosure. Now alone and without a home, she accepts a position as a governess with a doctor’s family in slave-holding Virginia. Though it’s dangerous, she decides to continue her rescue efforts from there.

Alexander Hunt, the doctor’s handsome nephew, does not deny a growing attraction to his uncle’s newest employee. But he cannot take time to pursue Emily, for Alexander isn’t what he seems—rich, spoiled, and indolent. He has a secret identity. He is the elusive Gray Wraith, a fearless man who fights the war from the shadows, stealing Union supplies and diverting them to the Southern cause.

The path before Alexander and Emily is complicated. The war brings betrayal, entrapment, and danger. Amid their growing feelings for each other, can they trust God with the challenges they face to provide them with a bright future?

Mary Ellis is the bestselling author of many books, including A Widow's Hope and A Little Bit of Charm. She is an active member of the local historical society and Civil War Roundtable, where she served as secretary for several years. She has enjoyed a lifelong passion for American history.

*****

Mary says... Thanks so much for inviting me to Ink Dots blog.
What fun to "appear" in Australia! It's my pleasure, Mary. Welcome. 

If I could explore anywhere in the world tomorrow, it would be...
I suppose it would be Europe first since I've never been there and I love history. So many romantic castles and charming country inns. But since I can't speak any language other than English, perhaps I should come to Australia and search out your oldest cities and villages. Traveling without being able to communicate might not be much fun. You'd find some beautiful early homes and buildings in Tasmania where our penal colony settled. I've never been to Tasmania, but it's on my bucket list, too. 

The best thing I did today is... As soon as I finish this interview I am meeting an old college chum for lunch and a movie. I don't care what we see as long as we catch up on news and relax. This past year had been hectic-busy for me, so I made a new year's resolution to spend more time doing things that I enjoy besides writing.

A secret pleasure of mine is... I love eating popcorn while watching sappy movies, walking my dog by the lake, watching Downton Abbey on television, giving myself manicures, and sleeping late under heavy quilts. But none of those are secret pleasures since I'm incapable of keeping anything I do in life a secret.

I wish I could relive the day when I... married my college sweetheart, who's still my husband of many years. We were both so nervous; the day was blisteringly hot; and  everything that could go wrong did. It all went by in a complete blur. I would love to relive the day so could enjoy myself, now that I know how life will turn out.

When I was a child I dreamed I would... become a mother of many children. But that never came to be, so I taught school for many years. Now that I write books for a living, I "adopt" everyone I meet who's younger than me by a generation. And yes, I freely give out advice to those who stick around long enough to listen. I love it that you share your mother's heart with those around you, Mary. There's always someone who needs a kind and wise word of counsel. 

I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but...Writing books is the best job a woman can have. And the reason I shouldn't tell you is because I don't want everyone in the world to switch over to my chosen career. I truly wished I would have started writing books when I was younger. Too late. Lots of us have 'switched' too! Sorry, wink! 


Thanks so much for inviting me to your blog.
and I hope you readers will look for me on the web at:  

*****

Thanks for joining us, Mary. If you'd like the chance to win a copy of Mary's The Quaker and The Rebel, leave a comment below. Tell us what you like to snack on when you watch a sappy movie. Mary loves popcorn. I love a good coffee. How about you? I'll announce the winner on Friday. 

Good luck and happy reading, 

Friday, January 10, 2014

52 Author Dates ~ Week 2

Visit A Crematorium or Graveyard. 

Not the top of my list.

On any day.  Especially at the end of a hot summer's day. 


Anderson Creek Cemetery - Victoria

But yesterday, my Beloved AND our two boys agreed to visit the graves of my grandparents, buried more than 20 years ago in one of the oldest cemeteries in Victoria, the Anderson Creek Cemetery. 

Tomorrow is the anniversary of my grandfather's passing, so I chose this author date to coincide with a day I wanted to mark with flowers and a reverent stop to remember them both. 

52 Dates For Writers reminds me the barest detail on a gravestone can move or intrigue us, or send a shiver down the spine. And from that inspiration, I am charged to turn my thoughts to my characters and the losses they've endured. The long held resentments and regrets which find voice on a death bed. How they grieve. How they recover. 

My grandparents are buried in the lawn cemetery at Anderson Creek. It doesn't look any different from year to year. But all around them, there's evidence of death and burials since the gates first opened in 1858. It was originally a monumental cemetery, but it's since expanded with dedicated lawn and bushland themes. 

The earliest graves are dotted along the boundaries. Long forgotten by family, I guess, but still present for those who care to linger and wonder. 

Who are the people forever lost behind a short wrought iron fence, under a weathered stone marker? Pioneers, who forged into the bush? Early gold seekers who fell to untimely disease or injury? 

And who stood at the foot of each grave to mourn, as we did when my grandparents died in the early 1990s? 

Did the first mourners return, year after year to dig away the weeds? To oversee the placement of headstones, carved with one final farewell? Did a mother's hem snag in the ornamental railing around the grave of her child, as surely as her heart snagged to leave it after each visit? 

And did they stand, like me, with the setting sun at their back, and draw deep eucalpyt scented breaths while the dust settled another layer over the graveyard? 

Wrapped beneath the remembrance of dearly loved grandparents, is the loss I ponder each year on this day. The loss of a tiny baby due to be mine, but lost too soon on January 10th, 1991. It doesn't have a grave, and so my Beloved and I have, on occasion, laid a flower on the grassy slope where the man who would have been its great grandfather lays... lost to us the very next day that same year. 

Did my author date tap into inspiration and emotion? More than I care to carry. But it's part of life as I know it, and part of life as I care to share it, as I shape my characters and their responses to the sorrows around them. 

When is the last time you visited a cemetery? Next week, you can be sure... I'll be searching the 52 author date list for a 'visit with a brass band and parade.'

Blessings for a wonderful weekend, 

Monday, January 06, 2014

Amanda Cabot ~ With Autumn's Return


It's my pleasure to welcome Amanda Cabot to Ink Dots this week for my first author interview for 2014, and congratulate her on the release of her latest book, With Autumn's Return. 

From the time that she was seven, Amanda dreamed of becoming a published author, but it was only when she set herself the goal of selling a book by her thirtieth birthday that the dream came true. 

A former director of Information Technology, Amanda has written everything from technical books and articles for IT professionals to mysteries for teenagers and romances for all ages. She’s delighted to now be a fulltime writer of Christian historical romances.  Her Texas Dreams trilogy received critical acclaim; Christmas Roses was a CBA bestseller; and a number of her books have been finalists for national awards, including ACFW’s Carol award.  




With Autumn's Return ~ She’s planning on instant success. What she didn’t plan on was love.

When Elizabeth Harding arrives in Cheyenne to open a medical practice, she is confident that the future is as bright as the warm Wyoming sun. Certain she’ll have a line of patients eager for her services, she soon discovers the town may not welcome a new physician—especially a female one. Even Jason Nordling, the handsome young attorney next door, seems to disapprove of her chosen profession.

When a web of deceit among Cheyenne’s wealthiest residents threatens to catch Elizabeth and Jason in its snare, they must risk working together to save one of Elizabeth’s patients, even if it means falling in love.

Amanda says...

If I could explore anywhere in the world tomorrow... it would be the Barrier Reef.  My husband and I visited it for a few days as part of our 25th anniversary trip to Australia, and it was so wonderful that I’d like to return for at least a week.

The best thing I did today is... take time off from writing to share a pot of cocoa with my husband.  It’s cold and snowy, the perfect day for hot chocolate with marshmallows. Oh, I'm up to my neck in snow envy. To this Aussie girl, snow and pots of cocoa sound delightful. :)

A secret pleasure of mine is... making doll clothes. I love turning scraps of fabric into garments and accessories for American Girl-type dolls and then giving the dolls and their wardrobes to the local women’s shelter.

I wish I could relive the day when I... first met my husband-to-be. I remember many of the details, but others have faded.  (After all, it’s been a long time since we were in high school.) It would be fun to relive that day, especially knowing what the next chapters in our lives would bring. I love this answer, Amanda. I would love to relive that day too. My own Beloved... that is. :) 

When I was a child I dreamed I would... become a published author, and I did.  

I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but... I can’t carry a tune. I’ve always wanted to able to sing, but the only time my singing has been praised was when I was lip-syncing. Too funny. At least you can pretend well enough to fool the audience. 

*****

I'm offering a Kindle version of Amanda's With Autumn's Return to one lucky Ink Dots friend this week. To enter, tell us about a day you'd like to relive. I'll announce the winner in the comment thread, on Friday. 

Good luck and happy reading, 

Friday, January 03, 2014

52 Author Dates ~ Week 1

Happy New Year from Crabapple House 
Happy New Year, dear Ink Dots friends. I hope you've settled into 2014, overflowing with inspiration for the days ahead. 

I say inspiration, because the author in me looks for and responds to inspiration all the time. There's a story thread in even the most unlikely place, and I love to sift news reports, old papers and history books for just that ~ inspiration.

In an effort to stray a little from the predictable, I've stumbled upon a book which encourages the author to stretch beyond the every day. Yes, I know... this could already be sounding a little predictable. 

A January post about how to be different in this week of brand new, bright starts. I bet most blog posts this week herald the excited lists of those who want something different. New. Untasted.

Well, here's mine. It's a list, yes, but it's written by someone who doesn't know me, someone I've never met. Her name's Claire Wingfield and she's authored 52 Dates For Writers. 

You may laugh at me now, or week by week, as I tick these 52 stops off on my calendar. Tandem bike rides, ferris wheel rides, visit a castle, swim in cold water. Stops which will take me from my desk and, as promised in the blurb of 52 Dates For the Writer...  return me with 'new ideas, fresh insight, better writing skills, and a renewed passion for my novel.'

Hmmm, well, the passion for my novel writing is in good shape already. But I wouldn't mind fresh insight. New ideas are always welcome, and better writing skills... who doesn't want that?

Some of the tasks won't send shivers down my legs. I look forward to Book Browsing, Riverside Walk and Write Outside. All different, and all designed to show or remind me what's out there... beyond the desktop, and how it might translate into my writing. 

So, armed with my 52 date schedule, I think my Friday posts on Ink Dots may already be taking shape. My apologies up front to Claire Wingfield. I may will change the order a little, but I take on the challenge (together with my Beloved who's agreed to tag along for some of them) and I'll record our adventures here. 

First up... thanks to this week's migraine which clipped my wings before I'd even started, I chose Curl Up With A Favourite Novel from the list.  How did this meet some of my author date aims? 

Curling up with a good book always invigorates, that's a given. And a summer's day could not get sweeter, spent beside a beach with a breeze and a book. My beach of choice is Red Rocks at Phillip Island.
Curl Up With A Favourite Book

This is me, reading a book by LaVyrle Spencer. (Sadly, long retired now)  She's one of my favourite storytellers. And for a number of years I've been hunting down her books in thrift stores and 2nd hand bookshops. I've learned a lot about what  thrills me in a story from LaVyrle Spencer's books. Her use of language and descriptions is a feast of well crafted words and plot twists. 

Here's what I discovered on the dedication page of one of her books, The Fulfilment.


Dedication page from LaVyrle Spencer's The Fulfilment 

Goosebumps right...? One of my favourite authors, just might perch on a far flung branch of my own family tree. Cousin LaVyrle's an Adamek... like me, and one day, God willing, I'll be a Grandma Adamek, too.

How inspiring is that? To me, it's priceless. Are you goosebumping with me? Are you hunting out ways to ramp up your creativity? Are you listing goals for 2014, and listening to God's direction for what comes next? 

What adventures have you scheduled for the new year?