Sunday, February 19, 2017

Flitting and Waiting

As I watch my 2- and 3-year-old grandchildren play, I marvel at their differences. They are opposites in many ways and yet each represent their own parent well and still show sides of their parent's sibling. They're quite the mix and match of my own babies. (Of course they each have traits of their other parent, as well, but I saw my babies grow up and naturally find it easier to pick up on what I remember.)

The elder toddler by 3 months is like his mom now: matter-of-fact and highly organized, he puts one thing away before he moves on to something else, after playing with that one thing for some time. He likes to line up his toys in lines or recently in circles, enjoying the design of it, the orderliness and heaven forbid anything interfere with his planned order. Like his uncle, when he focuses on something, he is intently focused on it. Also like his uncle, he's socially wary and watchful but very kind-hearted and sweet-natured. He appreciates and welcomes help when he wants to do something that isn't quite working out.

The other one is like her dad in that she's very artsy and musical. She's also like her aunt and her dad both as young children, swirling about from one thing to another and back and forth, leaving a wake in her trail of blocks and crayons and puzzle pieces she likes to dump but not put together and she's always moving on to the next thing. Now and then something will catch and hold her attention and heaven forbid you take her away from it. Like her aunt as a child, she loves people and talks to everyone, whether or not they're willing to talk. She will give them "that look" if they ignore her. Also like her aunt, she is very much I Can Do It Myself (which she calls "me-self" currently).

It's interesting to watch them develop their innate personalities regardless of what goes on around them. The world can do as it wishes, and their parents can guide them, but they are who they are and they know inside this is perfectly okay.

I see myself in both little ones. I want things as they are supposed to be, in order and organized, and I don't appreciate anyone else interfering with the way I have things, but this often doesn't come out externally since I also jump from interest to interest and disorder naturally follows, which drives me nuts, but it doesn't change, no matter how I try.

Some things just are as they are and it's okay.

The photo above is my newest project, or newest part of a new project, a series of yellow flower based paintings on 8 x 10 canvas. I'm far better at drawing than at painting because I've done far more of it, but I've had the urge to paint lately, in between my urge to work on clay, so although I have one yellow flower painting in progress already, partly painted and waiting, I had to sketch this one because I saw the idea for it and wanted it in progress. Eventually, I'll add paint. For now, it waits because this weekend, I'm back to the rewrite of the novel that was "done" other than edits which is now getting a makeover with a changed, expanded ending. I also have the next Thoughts & Sketches journal underway that I work on when I feel like it.

In retrospect, that novel in progress needed to wait a bit. Ideas from day to day life and inspirations have infiltrated the story and by now I realize it wouldn't have been right if I'd pushed to just get it done. You have to listen to your instincts. It wasn't ready, so it had to sit and wait while I flitted around with other things.

Sometimes you have to Do It and get it done and other times you need to sit back and wait. Some call it procrastination. I call it all in due time.

Those two little toddlers are exactly right. They are perfect just as they are and I hope they can hold onto that belief regardless of what the world tries to tell them. Grandma will be standing by ready to argue back with the world.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Sale After The Big Day

⇐ Hey, I'd be just as happy with it for 50% off. Who doesn't love a good deal?

AKA I didn't do the Valentine's Day Romance Books push this year. I'm not sure I've ever bothered, actually. Probably, I have. After all, I've been at this a while.

I'm not a big Valentine's Day fan. It's fine. I don't mind it at all and I'm glad people, at least some people, have a lot of fun with it, but it's personally not a big deal. (That doesn't mean I'm not enjoying my dark chocolates with no creme fillings from our local independent candy store. I am, trust me. But I wouldn't have held it against my husband for not doing so. He does plenty on other days without being told to do so by a calendar.)

Anyway, I write romance, kind of. Not what many would call romance since it's not genre fitting. It's lit fic meshed romantic artsy love stories with up endings. Women's fiction, more or less but not precisely.

It is relationship based, but even action adventures feature romance in some way.

Since I buck the trend in my writing, I figure I can do the same with the whole Love For Sale thing.

I have a good stock of print books sitting on my shelves (and in boxes) and they're not doing any good sitting around here. So, an after Valentine's Day romantic literary women's relationship books sale. In print. (My ebooks are already marked as low as makes any sense. My prints are in line with bookstore prices, but when I order bulk, I get a good discount. So...)

Prices include media mail shipping within U.S. and matching bookmarks.
They will be personally signed!

This is the first published original edition. I only have a handful of these left, but if you want one signed:
Original price $14.95, 220 pg trade paperback
Sale price $10.00 (Limited quantity with no re-order, so what I have is what I have.)

This is Finishing Touches (2003) combined with its sequel Final Strokes (2013) in one edition.
Original price $15.95 420 pg trade paperback
Sale price $12.00

These two novels are related but can be read separately. OTM was written first, but M&T is set 9 years earlier.
Original price $14.95 each 360/372 pg trade paperbacks
Sale price $12 each or both for $22

I only have a handful of these left, as well, and it's not much of a discount because the original price is already very low.
Original price $7.95 196 pg trade paperback
Sale price $7  (I can reorder this, so if I run out, the wait may be a bit longer but at the same price.)

Not a romance, a picture book that has a lot of adult fans.
Paperback Original Price $8.95  Sale price $6
Hardcover Original Price $14.99  Sale price $12
(comes with a coloring page instead of a bookmark)

These prices are good through February 2017 only. After that, they go back to retail price when ordering through me directly (with free shipping in US). Information about each book, with excerpts, can be found on my website:

To order, I accept and prefer Paypal. Please email Loraine [at] (no spaces, no caps needed) for Paypal address.

If you're outside the U.S. shipping costs make it unviable to mail books at prices lower than you can get them through your own bookstores. If you order any of my books and would like a signed bookplate, email your mailing address.

I haven't forgotten my other books! Stay tuned for Rehearsal news and sales.

Questions? Ask here or email.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

I Think I Can...

The novel I'm working on right now (most often working on, since I always have at least a couple in progress) deals with a clay artist. The problem with writing books about different arts in different places is that I always want to do that kind of art and go to those places. Not exactly a problem, but, well, all different forms of art take different skills and techniques, not to mention the time factor. Yes, some of your learned techniques will carry over, but basically, you're starting back at the beginning with each new art form.

The photo above shows a failed attempt at a basket weave project.

Yes, I've been working with clay while working on the novel -- okay, not at the same time since my keyboard would be unhappy -- and so far it's more support research for the story than anything approaching actual art.

Back in high school, our art teacher was wonderful about instruction (real instruction, not just try this and see what happens) in different media. Thank you, Ms. Kruzan! I learned a heck of a lot in those four years, even though I'd already had a good bit of art training via relatives. One of the things I loved most was working on the wheel. We had very limited time with it and I came up with a very small uneven little bowl, but I loved that little bowl for the memory of playing with the wet clay on the wheel.

In college, I took a ceramics class and was excited about getting my hands dirty and creating vases and bowls and such. However, the young male professor was too focused on his pet students and the rest of us were just there and he made me very uncomfortable. Plus, we never got to use the wheel. It was all hand work. The wheel was ceramics 2 which I didn't take because of the teacher. I do still have the vase I made using coils.

Fast forward....  So I'm writing about a bipolar artist who uses clay as therapy, as something she can control and keep to herself. It has seriously refueled my interest in pottery. When a local winter fest advertised a local potter would be demonstrating Raku Firing for pottery in which you do not need a kiln to turn dry clay into ceramics. I couldn't turn that down. Yesterday I got all geared up to actually talk to him about it and hubby and I took off to the park, only to find out it wasn't yesterday. It was today. But today it's rained all day and the Firing was cancelled. Kind of hard to burn wood in rain. Sigh.

Never mind, I figured. I'll just do more experimenting myself. Well, that turned out a huge failure because the strips I so carefully measured and cut and covered in plastic started to dry as soon as I started to use them and they broke right off. Hm. That's okay, as Holli would say. It's just clay and I can start again.

I don't have a wheel, but that may come soon, after I've had more time for handwork in order to get the feel of the clay and it's intricacies. It's actually not a failure unless you give up, and I haven't. I'm keeping that clay wet and will go at it again, maybe after a bit more research.

If you're interested, I do have a Pinterest board for the story in progress with plenty of examples of gorgeous clay work done by those who know what they're doing. And hubby and I are talking about going to take a 6-week class with the potter who was going to do the firing today. You never know, I may have to revisit the clay art in a future book.

Shadows of Rust & Reels Pinterest board

Watch for a video trailer to come, not made by me.

(The little painting below was done by me and will be a puzzle once hubby gets to it.
This was and is one of my all-time favorite children's books.)

After all, attitude and determination define success every bit as much as any finished project. Everything takes practice...

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Wrong story? Leave it.

“If you ever find yourself in the wrong story, leave.”
Mo Willems
Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs

We use the library often. When you have a little one in the house, even when you have a good supply of books for them at home (which is a must!), you can quickly get tired of reading the same books over and over and over and... At least I do. Besides, there is a huge treasure trove of incredible stories out there waiting to be discovered and it's a lot of fun picking out a bunch and finding which your own little ones like best and which they don't ask for more than once.

The quote above is from one of the "read to me 'gain" picks in our current stack of borrowed books. It is a funny book. Even if you don't have a little one, it might amuse you. It amused me. The quote at the end was the kicker. What great advice!

Also, this week, I ran across a comment that a child fearful of interacting in a group needed a social story. What, I asked, is a "social story"? Instead of waiting for an answer, I looked it up. I'm glad I did. Developed by autism consultant and speaker Carol Gray, a social story is intended to assist those with autism fill in missing information most of us already have and take for granted. While the aforementioned child is not autistic, he does have a certain social situation fear. This social story idea would, I think, also be wonderful for social anxiety whether or not it's at the disorder level.

You can find more detailed info here: Carol Gray

In short, social stories help someone be more comfortable going into an unfamiliar situation. (My non-professional-but-with-psych-training interpretation.)

We all have fears. How nice would it be to have someone at our side who understands the fear and knows the situation well enough to explain what's about to happen before it does? Of course that option is not always available. We don't all have that person who can do both of those for us. As a parent, you can watch for nervousness and fear and use words and your knowledge/experience to calmly explain to your child what you're about to do and what can be expected from a situation.

For yourself: what about writing it out?

I know fear and anxiety. I know how terrifying it can be. What if, before we walk into a feared situation, we write 1) what we expect will happen, 2) what scares us about it, and 3) how likely is it the situation will actually be as frightening as we expect? Also, 4) if it is actually that frightening, what measures will we take to control the fear/anxiety?

The stories we tell ourselves are pivotal in shaping our lives, actions, and attitudes. [For more on that check out Narrative Therapy that emphasizes the person is not the problem, the problem is the problem.]  What if, after writing out our fear/anxiety, we focus on telling ourselves a new story? Instead of saying, "I can't do that because of my fear," try saying, "Okay, I acknowledge the fear, but I can handle it."

It might take many repetitions before it starts to sink in. After all, how often has the "I'm afraid" story circulated through your thoughts? You can rewrite your story if you refuse to give up, if it matters enough to you, if you're willing to take your own reins and pull them onto another path. Too much of what we believe has come from what we've heard about ourselves (Narrative Therapy). Much of that has come from others, often from way back when we were children and we don't consciously remember hearing those stories, but they have become part of who we are. Much of it, though, is what we've told ourselves too often.

Don't like your current story? Rewrite it. Leave it behind.

Simple idea, not easy to do. Still, it is doable. First, like the Little Engine That Could, you must think you can.

I've added a new page here on my blog to include favorite reads by my grandchildren. The lists are barely started and will grow as they find more favorites.

I just finished this book yesterday and highly recommend it:

Watership Down
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A book about a bunch of rabbits making a journey is generally about the last thing I'd pick up, but when Richard Adams stopped running in December 2016, I decided to buy this book since I knew the name of it well but not more than that...