Tag Archives: books

Vital References

Writers read books. I think I’ve mentioned the fact several times over the years.

Writers do research. I’ve touched on this topic. Sometimes, depending upon topic, this can be the most interesting part of writing. After all, unless I already had the idea in hand, why would I visit a Christmas tree farm, or interview an apple orchard owner, or attend dog agility trials, or visit three Missouri state parks and historic sites in one day?

Use the computer search engine? Yes, it comes in handy. I depend on computer information when getting background places difficult or impossible for me to visit. Or looking for historical treatment of a disease. Or what sort of fabric was popular in the United States in 1851? Lots of useful and interesting information — best to double check before you put specifics in your manuscript. (When you have a character use an invention two years before the patent was granted — you risk creditability.)

This writer — and my writer friends — also depend on books. You know, the hold-in-your-hand bound paper volumes.

Popular, and useful, references for the writer in the house. Some, like the almanac and atlas are found in many homes. The use is wide-ranging — who was vice-president of the United States in 1852 or can you drive direct from Point A to B. Others, the human body atlas and gun guide are more specialized. Specialized thesauruses aid the writer to create a better character and present them well on the page. Dictionary? Thesaurus? When you can’t find the right word they can come to your rescue. (Also a great help when your spelling leaves word-check programs scratching their electronic brains.) Are these all? Absolutely not! Books on the craft of writing fill a good sized shelf in my office. Other books — special dictionaries, travel guides, non-fiction history — are scattered from one end of the house to the other. After all — a person never knows when they’ll have the need to find the directions for making soap in the 1830’s — or the name of that particle smaller than an electron.

Cozy Cabin

In a cabin by the lake,

Mr. Moose watched you make

A copy of the view

Without me or you.

Hey! I never claimed to be a poet. My use of meter and rhyme stalled out about age nine.

Can you imagine having a quiet afternoon in this room? The light looks good to curl up beside the dog on the couch and enjoy a book. What would you read? Adventure? History? Romance? Or how about — a historical romance full of adventure?

I think you can find a volume to your liking at any public library. And the writing should be better than my poetry.

Stack O’ Books

One of my habits, familiar to those who know me in person, is making lists.

Grocery lists, shopping list for home improvement store, or Big Box store. A list of errands when making the rounds of library, bank, post office and other places. Scribbles on the calendar in my purse. (Only recently have I started using the electronic calendar connected to by email account. — What can I say: I was an adult before the current millennium?)

For years, at least a decade before the above millennium change, I recorded books read. Later, after a few computer classes, I transferred the record to electronic form. However, this old-fashioned person keeps a printed copy.

I can’t remember the occasion — but something prompted me to take a photo of a portion of my reading in the spring of 2013.

Hmmm. I remember a few of these well. I do hope I inserted a non-fiction or two during this reading span. Yes, my favorite is romance — with an emphasis on romantic suspense according to this stack o’ books. What’s your favorite?

Visiting an Orchard?

Have you visited an orchard this year? Last year? Ever?

Commercial orchards offer more than apples these days. Depending on size or location — you can get a ride on a wagon behind a tractor, get lost in a straw or corn maze, pick a pumpkin, or attend a lecture about apple varieties.

When I was a child, we visited a small, commercial orchard each year. No fancy rides or entertainment. A shed full of the sweet, welcome scent of apples and bushel after bushel set out with names for each type. Fresh cider if you went to the largest. Mother had a list — either written or mental — of which varieties she wanted. Cooking apples found their way into pie and cobbler. Eating apples offered dad a nutritious evening snack. We bought them by the bushel (sometimes a peck) and stored them in the basement. With luck, and planning, we didn’t need to buy apples at the grocer until well into the summer.

Have you ever thought an orchard at the other seasons? Spring brings the blossoms– and maybe a little more if you are reading about Hilltop Orchard near Crystal Springs, WI. (Don’t look on a map — the village is fictitious.)

Ebook on sale for limited time — try a sweet romance for .99

Kindle= https://amzn.to/2Jm26GQ

Nook = http://bit.ly/2Aw1gnY

Craft Show Season

Welcome to October!

Let the gift buying for the end-of-year Holiday Season begin!!!

No — this non-enthusiastic shopper has not been hijacked. I do experience positive emotion at both the purchase and receiving of gifts. However, I do try to accomplish my seasonal shopping in a small number of excursions.

Are you looking for something unusual? Perhaps a handmade item you don’t have the talent or time to create. Do you want to support some local, very small business persons?

Perhaps you should take a look at local ads and attend a craft show. Many are sponsored by organizations associated with churches and schools. Give them a little boast — even if they don’t charge an attendance fee, they often operate the snack bar. How about a drink and snack during your stay?

Outdoor author table at craft show.

The season for outdoor events is drawing to a close in Missouri. See you inside, with mask, at my next event. November 6, Mary Queen of Peace, Webster Grove, MO. (Reasons to give a book as a gift: easy to wrap, quiet, no batteries required.)

Read a good book?

Have you read a book in the last week? Month? Six months?

Did you like it? Did you laugh? Learn something? Do you want to find another that’s similar?

If you answered any of the above questions with “yes” –I urge you to write and post a review.

You don’t need to be fancy. Forget about the paragraphs or columns you find from professional reviewers in your local newspaper or popular internet feed. Can you string a couple sentences together? That’s all it takes.

Where to post? Reviews are generally welcome on any internet site where books are sold. You can post to the large retailers (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple) or find author oriented sites like Goodreads or Bookbub. Post on your favorite social media site — remember, short is okay!

Reviews welcome by authors with the initial “B”.

And authors who write blogs twice a week.

Dreams in the Field

When I grow up — I want to be a Christmas Tree.

Can you picture me — tall, trunk straight, branches full — I’ll hold your precious, antique ornaments of glass, wood, paper, or fabric. My green fingers have room for new ones too — gifts, crafts assembled by children, strings of beads, popcorn, or cranberries.

Do I look fine? Am I ready?

The workers have done a fine job shearing me into shape each year.

Want to make me a good house guest in December? Keep my water dish filled — some days I’ll drink more than others — the better to keep my needles firm on the twigs.

When the gifts have been exchanged and the wrapping paper discarded — don’t forget about me. Many towns and cities have special collection sites and will turn me into mulch for spring gardens. (Or check with the local zoo — elephants think I’m a special snack.)

Thinking Christmas trees? Check out Starr Tree Farm — a sweet romance with a touch of suspense. You never know what will have on a Christmas tree farm in January.

Kindle readers: https://amzn.to/2zqIQEw

Nook readers: http://bit.ly/2zpVt2X

Classic Location

A Midwest story which opens in a church basement.

Oh — the tales the walls could tell — but gossiping is wrong — so they will stay silent.

Let’s take a tour. Kitchen with commercial stove and two refrigerators. A nice island counter with storage for all the cooks and helpers to gather around. A deep sink – double or triple. Don’t forget the serving counter. A piano in the main area — you’ll hear it during Sunday school opening and at other events. Restrooms — a necessity and so welcome. And the ever-popular smooth, round support posts. (Great fun for children of all ages to swing around until dizzy.)

Upstairs you’ll find the cloakroom — no cloaks but plenty of jackets, coats, and boots in the winter — an entry and the worship area.

Let’s return to the basement — and the party. Yes, in the fictional village of Crystal Springs — the church hosts a New Year’s Eve party — with music, food, and games. Don’t forget the midnight toast!

The model for Springs Community Church

The first of the three Crystal Spring Romances is currently available for 0.99 — this is the perfect time to sample some sweet romance with a touch of suspense.

Available at all major on-line retailers.

http://bit.ly/2zpVt2X

https://amzn.to/2zqIQEw

Wildfire!

Following an drought which extended into the fall, a series of small fires were wind-whipped out of control and soon merged into a deadly mass. The area was filled with a wildfire of historic proportions. An estimated 2,400 square miles burned.

All of this happened on October 8, 1871 in the Northeastern portion of Wisconsin.

Isolated farms, small communities, and the thriving town of Peshtigo were consumed as the flames spread across the forest. Everything was build of wood — this was lumber country. Lumber and wood products equaled jobs and money.

The author of this eyewitness account was a priest. He and others survived only by fleeing into the river and repeatedly dousing each other with cold, river water (Oct in northern Wisconsin is not know for warm rivers.) He was in the river for five and a half hours. The number of the dead will never be known — 1,152 is one accepted number but other estimates are slightly higher. Few bodies were identified unless a belt buckle, pin, or some other possession with them survived. One of the mass graves is located in a cemetery adjacent to the local museum and fire memorial.

October 8, 1871 — does the date sound familiar?

Another fire of note raged in the Midwest that same night — in Chicago.

Pretty Pair

Some things pair well — bread and butter, salt and pepper, or cat and dog — often come into our minds as a duo.

Glancing around my home recently, I discovered a few book and mug pairs that I wish to share.

When curiosity about one of my favorite insects strikes, the book comes in handy. Perhaps I saw one on a walk. Or I’m writing and my character would know the correct name. That’s the purpose of Field Guides.

Taking a little time and enjoying tea or coffee with my reading? The mug from the Butterfly House makes the ideal companion.

Do you have any special book and mug pairs?