Category Archives: Personal

Revisiting Old Friends

I’ve never understood those who read a novel and never return to it. If a novel moves your heart or soul then it’s worth reading again. And maybe yet again. Sound odd? Not really. I have a small collection of novels that I’ve re-read time and again. Small—well, I’m not counting but it’s less than a library! Small—such a relative word. *grin* The point being, I just re-read the final book in Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series AND re-read the final book in her Infernal Devices series. In the near future I’ll re-read Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Those are only three books that I revisit now and then. You see, those books speak to me. As a writer, I like knowing how all the loose ends of a series of novels are tied up in the final book. I enjoy the clever way authors like Morgenstern entwine the stories of two couples who are actually years apart yet come together in the end. To be honest, in Night Circus, I didn’t catch the timeline thing until I read the book the second time! I’ve read it a third time and so many things now make more sense. You see, if a book is well-written, with intriguing characters and fascinating plot twists then you just have to read it more than once to get the sense of the whole. Nothing against those who read once then move on. But I applaud those who move on yet take a step aside at times to revisit old friends in the world of books.

blog.cass clare.

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Any Day Now

My new Young Adult novel—Until I’m Safe by Jane Grace (my YA pen name)—is headed to the publisher! Yea! Due out any day now from Melange-books.com under their Fire and Ice Young Adult section.

Does she stay and possibly get shot by her crazed father or run into the storm of the century, Hurricane Katrina? Marguerite has no choice. Run! Like the fiction heroine she writes about, a teen named Toots Gentry, Marguerite must be brave, despite the fact she’s lost both hearing aids and is virtually deaf.

Amand rescues a girl from swirling bayou waters. At his home she awakes but doesn’t speak, writing her name–Toots Gentry. With time he learns her secrets. And discovers someone’s trying to kill her!

Keeping Busy!

How can one calendar fill up so fast? My 2015 desk calendar is getting full! Which is a good thing! I’d rather have something to do—even working toward an editing deadline—than have a blank space for each day. We not only have big trips away from home planned but visits with our sons and their families. Both families live within thirty minutes of our home so there’s always coming and going. What a blessing that is!

Check your calendar and see if you’re doing for others but not taking care of yourself. Do you have activities built in that you enjoy? Lunch with friends? A museum? A movie? A short trip? A long trip? Husband will come up to me now and then and say: Time to get out of W—. And that’s when we pack our bags and hit the road. Another day on my calendar filled with something interesting.

Far-flung Friends

For years now I’ve had close friends nearby. But my best friends are those who live far, far away…from the west to the mid states and the Deep South. One lady I’ve known for almost forty years! The others I’ve known ten and fifteen years, yet the profound depth of bonding is there despite the distances.

Think back on those you hold dear. Distance makes no difference. I don’t think it ever did. Letters used to flood the postal service. My mom, her sister, aunt and mother used to buy a regular supply of stamps because they all wrote letters.

Today we use email and texts. Many call instead. Husband calls; I text. He dislikes texts; I dislike talking on the phone. He’s an auditory person; I’m a visual person. Makes sense.

If you have friends, hold tight to them. They don’t last forever.

Expectations and Anticipation

I eagerly await the release of my Young Adult novel, Toots Gentry. It’s still in the editing stage but should be here soon. Ever have that tingly feeling of something coming? I remember the first time I had a book published. The wait for my copy to arrive in the mail about killed me. And when the paperback book arrived, I opened it with trembling hands and just sat looking at it for the longest time. How could words I wrote become alive in print form that anyone could purchase? The concept was mind-boggling. I still have that copy with the awesome cover a friend designed. Though I’ve written stories for anthologies since and a novel that’s been published, this will be my first Young Adult novel. I have high expectations for it. I anticipate holding that book in my hand with as much excitement and wonder as I did the first one. There should never be a time in a writer’s life when that marvel of holding something he or she creates doesn’t stir the blood.

Hand Quilting

I make quilts as well as dabble in other creative endeavors. I love creating the top of the quilt—therein lies the challenge. Once the top is made and the material chosen for the quilt’s back, then it’s time to ‘quilt’ the top, middle batting or stuffing and back. (Ever notice that it’s hard to speak of quilts and quilting when you use the same word for the thing and the process?)

Anyway, I like quilting by hand if there’s no rush. But using a round quilt frame tends to distort the piece you’re working on. The only time I hand quilted a lap quilt, I discovered it was tipsy at one end. How embarrassing.

So now I’m on the hunt for a large quilt frame that I can set up and put my quilt pieces on so I can ‘quilt’ at my leisure. However quilt frames ain’t cheap! And I have no intentions of hand quilting all the time, just now and then. For big projects a lovely lady not far from me has a wonderful machine to sew the pieces together.

No, I want something simple that can be torn down when I’m not using it but will allow me to quilt in comfort. You can make one if you’re handy with tools. After looking at lots of plans and designs, I’m inclined to the idea of some saw horse type of stands with two round poles—one to roll the top of the quilt onto and one to roll the bottom onto. Then you roll both poles toward the middle, clamp them to the saw horses and hand stitch to your heart’s content. I’ll keep you posted on what I finally come up with. I really should finish the quilt first. 🙂

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Harsh Winter

Me and Google—no wait!

I was going to say ‘me and Google’ but in truth I have to back up and say ‘me and my Smartphone’. One of the handiest things I’ve ever encountered—and the list is short—is the Smartphone. In my case it’s an Apple iPhone. Back in the day if I had a question I opened an Encyclopedia Britannica at home. Or the library. If I was somewhere else I had to wait ‘til I got home to find the answer—if I even remembered the question by then!

These days I whip out my cell phone and hit the ol’ Safari icon and wam bam thank you ma’am, I’m on the net. With this device I can cruise anywhere!

In the kitchen I Google an lemon bar recipe. During a TV commercial I Google whatever I just saw or hear that I’m not familiar with. While preparing to do a quilting project requiring an Appliqué Pressing Sheet, I discovered via the Smartphone/Internet that there’s something I can substitute for the expensive sheet and it’s right in my own home! Wonders upon wonders!

I complain every month about the high bill but then I use the phone to instantly discover answers to my questions. THAT in itself is worth a ton of satisfaction.

So Many Books/So Little Time!

Ever read a book series and discover there are a LOT of books in the set and you’re only half way through? And it’s a GREAT story! Daughter-in-law and I are reading Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series. I’m on book 3 and just bought book 6, the last one, for D.in.law today (late Christmas present). The last book is over 700 pages long! Boy, I need to get busy ’cause this is a set you can’t put down once you get started on a book. Six books—all long with complicated plots though the character list remains fairly stable. That’s a lot of work and lots of words. I am sooo jealous!

Toots Gentry coming soon…

My newest novel, Toots Gentry, comes out in the next two months at Melange-books.com. I got the cover last week and really love it. This is a Young Adult novel but anyone will enjoy reading it. Below is what writers and publishers call a blurb—that snip on the cover intended to grab your attention and hopefully urge you to buy the book.

Does she stay and possibly get shot by her crazed father or run into the storm of the century, Hurricane Katrina? Marguerite has no choice. Run! Like the fiction heroine she writes about, a teen named Toots Gentry, Marguerite must be brave, despite the fact she’s lost both hearing aids and is virtually deaf.

Amand rescues a girl from swirling bayou waters. At his home she awakes but doesn’t speak, writing her name Toots Gentry. With time he learns her secrets. And discovers someone’s trying to kill her!