Saturday, March 28, 2020

Huckleberries and Ice Caves

I have just finished writing a short novella for a summer release where ice cream must be used somewhere in the story line. Although Huckleberry Happiness will stand alone, it will be part of the One Scoop or Two collection published by the Wild Rose Press. 
Wild Huckleberries

Huckleberry Happiness was fun to write because I wandered back to 1885 when refrigeration consisted of ice boxes, sometimes called ice closets. I also used huckleberries as the flavor, because in Pennsylvania, these little dark berries were picked and used in recipes like cultivated blueberries. The heroine, Emelia Stone, makes huckleberry pie for her bakery, but also plans to make a special ice cream dessert for a contest the Pennsylvania Railroad is having. 

An ice cave
I’ve always been interested in ice caves since one exists in Coudersport, Sweden Township, Pennsylvania. Originally, ice caves were used to store meat and for ice harvesting. So naturally, Joe Sawicki, my hero, has to own an ice company with his brother. He stores some of his ice in an ice cave and regularly delivers ice to Emelia Stone’s bakery to keep her perishable goods fresh.

How do ice caves work? Heavy cold air from outside cascades into the cave and warmer air inside the cave rise up and escapes, lowering the temperatures. The ice that forms inside makes it harder to warm the space and acts as a buffer that stabilizes the temperatures to freezing.

Although Huckleberry Happiness is still
in the production stage, here is the blurb:

In 1885, Emelia Stone and her sister must learn to operate their deceased parents’ bakery in the small town of Pennsylvania. A large mortgage looms on their family home. When her sister leaves town, Emelia is forced to handle the bakery and burden alone.

The Pennsylvania Railroad is searching for the perfect dessert for its passengers. Joe Sawicki, owner of Sawicki Brothers Ice Company, is certain Emelia can win the contest and the hundred- dollar bonus if she creates a special ice cream to accompany her popular huckleberry pies. He has loved her since they played hooky in grade school to explore the company’s ice cave.

Can Emelia find the courage to stand up to the town’s bully to win the competition? And will Joe have the mettle to express his undying love and win first place in Emelia’s heart? 

Link for Willie My, Love

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Creative Writing as an Art and Craft

Creative writing is both an art and craft. It’s a set of intellectual skills that we, as writers, must possess. We are always searching out new ideas for stories. How do we do that? Through exploring our memories, using imagination, following and researching our curiosities, and observing our world.

Creative writing is also an art of self-expression and requires that writers share their thoughts and feelings. We must write imaginatively with similes, metaphors, sensory imagery, and more. And, we must also possess a perspective about ourselves, others, and the world around us.

Lastly, all writers must have a command of the language. They must be able to learn the rules, use grammar properly, and be aware of the guidelines and techniques of the genres they have chosen to create.

This has been a busy five months for me personally. I’ve been juggling three different works at one time. I was part of the Australia Burns, three-volume anthology series, where Wild Rose Press authors submitted stories with all the proceeds targeted for the Australia Red Cross to help victims affected by the wild fires. This was a wonderful project. I’m included in the second volume with a very short story titled, The Season of Withered Corn. For readers who like a variety of short stories, check out the various volumes.

Currently, I’m working on edits, cover art ideas, a tagline, and the blurb (short description) for the digital version only of Huckleberry Happiness, to be published by the Wild Rose Press this summer. It’s a short novella with ice cream woven into the story line and reflecting the overall theme, “One Scoop or Two.” It will be released, along with other authors’ works, for summer reading. All stories will be published as single digital novellas or short stories, not as an anthology. Please stay tuned.

And of course, I want to finish the last Christmas novella which will end my Musical Christmas trilogy series. It’s titled, Lucy ~ The Clarinetist.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Why do Writers Write?

Every time, when I meet people and they know I’m a writer, they always ask me how long it takes to write a novel. Most are surprised when I tell them it takes me a year to write a work of about 70,000 to 80,000 words. I am not a fast writer. Others write much more quickly than I do.

But there are many facets to writing that deplete your time, including rewriting the draft, editing, and allowing the manuscript to sit for a length of time so the writer can take a second look with a refreshed, erased mind, and a different outlook.

Writers don’t just write. We have to advertise, blog for ourselves, maintain websites, appear on other blogs, read, belong to chat rooms, have a presence on social media, and follow the latest industry trends. I also belong to a book club. These all infringe on writing time.

When I start a story, I hate to play with more than one draft, so I try to get the story line and plot fairly correct the first time. I write each chapter as a separate unit/document before bringing them all together in a complete manuscript and into one final document. This makes it easier to delete a chapter or rearrange all of them.

My biggest failing in writing is that I used to keep a sketchy log or bible of my characters, noting specifics about them, but I quit. Now, I often have to go back to the original manuscripts or print book and search for things like eye color, hair color, and other physical descriptions. I try to be sure I’m not overusing some characteristics or repeating names.

This month, I am showcasing Four White Roses for just $0.99 while I work on special advertising for it. This is the time to tell your friends with eBooks and Kindles to grab it. It’s still my favorite of all the contemporary books and novellas.

By the way, the best thing you can do to help a writer is to leave a review if you’ve read his/her book. And it doesn’t have to be a long one—just a sentence or two.

I’ll leave you with this question? Why do writer’s write?

They write--because they can’t not write. If they are away from their craft for too long, they get antsy and need to fill the hollow creative space in their brain with ideas and words.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020


Coffee anyone?

I enjoy coffee. I drink coffee when I write. In fact, my morning is not complete without a cup, and my night ends with a decaffeinated cup. Although I don’t enjoy many flavored coffees, I do like to add a splash of a flavored liquid creamer to give my coffee a slightly different taste. Right now, our grocery store has come out with a new flavor, Marshmallow, with colorful bunnies on the container. I’m assuming it’s been released in preparation for Easter.

I personally salute goat herder Kaldi who, centuries ago in Ethiopia, discovered the wonderful coffee berries when his goats ate them, became energetic, and wouldn’t sleep at night. He shared his findings with the local monastery, and in turn, the local abbot helped spread the word east to the Arabian Peninsula.

By the 15th century, coffee was being grown in Arabia, and by the 16th century it was known in Persia, Egypt, Syria, and Turkey where it was enjoyed in homes, but also public coffee houses.

In the mid-1600s, it was brought to New Amsterdam, later called New York, and replaced tea in the New World when the colonists revolted against the heavy tax on tea imposed by King George III.

Most interesting to me is a quote from Thomas Jefferson: “Coffee…the favorite drink of the civilized world.” After learning Jefferson wrote that quote—and knowing he wrote The Declaration of Independence, I wonder how many cups of coffee was consumed by him as he created such an important document that changed our lives forever?

By the 17th century, European travelers brought the beans to Europe, and coffee became a breakfast drink, replacing beer and wine. It was said the people who drank coffee, instead of alcohol, began the day energized and the quality of their work improved. <Who knew??? Just kidding! :) >
Missionaries, travelers, traders, and colonists continued to carry coffee seeds to new lands, and coffee trees were planted worldwide. By the end of the 18th century, coffee had become one of the world’s most profitable export crops. After crude oil, it is the most sought commodity in the world.

What is your favorite drink in the morning or when working or when relaxing?

Sunday, December 29, 2019

TIME Waits for No One!

As the old year ends and a new one begins, I often look back and silently chide myself over the time I might have squandered and should have used more wisely.
The New Year is always a great time to say good-bye to all our yesterdays and give a hearty, forward-looking hello to a new start in a new year. It’s a feeling that invades our thinking and whispers, “Your slate is now wiped clean of all the troubles and missteps you’ve experienced. Let’s begin anew.”

So, how will you use this unbiased fellow we call TIME--who credits you every morning with 86,400 seconds in the day? (Or 31,536,000 seconds in the new year?)

Imagine a bank that credits your account with $86,400 each day. It carries no balance over from day to day, and every evening it deletes whatever part of the balance you failed to use. What would you do? I believe everyone would agree we’d be foolish not to draw out every cent.

Each of us has such a bank. It’s called TIME. And every morning we are offered 86,400 seconds. Every night, TIME writes off, as a loss, whatever seconds, minutes or hours you have failed to invest in good purposes. There is no balance. There are no overdrafts. Each day TIME opens a new account. If you fail to use the day’s deposits, the loss is yours.

What am I really saying? I’m telling you the clock is running and you must live in the present of today’s deposits. Invest your time so you get the utmost in health, happiness and success. Make the most of today. Treasure and use wisely each moment in both work and play.

To realize the value of one year, ask a student who failed a grade.
To realize the value of one month, ask a returned soldier how he felt during his last four weeks of deployment 
To realize the value of one hour, ask lovers who are waiting to meet.
To realize the value of one minute, ask the person who just missed his plane flight, train or bus.
To realize the value of one second, ask a person who just avoided an accident.
To realize the value of one millisecond, ask the person who won a silver medal in the Olympics.

Treasure every moment you have. Remember, TIME waits for no one!

Saturday, December 7, 2019

SILVER BELLS - A Favorite Christmas Song

It's December--and the time when radio stations are belting out Christmas songs in an attempt to get people in the holiday and spending spirit. There are many wonderful old-fashioned songs that have survived the ages and are performed by various artists in a multitude of versions each year. My favorite of all the carols is Silver Bells. It regularly ranks in the top Christmas songs heard on the airwaves.

The words, the melody, and the Christmas images it invokes are traditional and unforgettable. This Christmas classic was written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans for the 1951 Bob Hope movie The Lemon Drop Kid. Livingston provided the melody, Evans the words. It was sung by Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell; and the first recorded version was sung by Bing Crosby and Carol Richards with John Scott Trotter and his orchestra and was released by Decca Records.

According the American Songwriter Magazine in its July/August issue, Livingston originally had the title of Tinkle Bell, referring to the tinkly bells you hear at Christmas from the Santa Clauses and the Salvation Army people. But once he took it home and played it for his wife, she informed him that the word had a bathroom connotation.

Livingston then went back to Ray Evans and told him they would have to throw the song out. However, as they continued to work on the Christmas song needed for The Lemon Drop Kid, they found themselves taking many of the lines and part of the melody from their "Tinkle Bell" song. In the end, they used the original song, except for substituting the word silver for tinkle, and the song became Silver Bells.

The song, now timeless, has been sung by famous artists like Elvis Presley, Andy Williams, Frank Sinatra, Karen Carpenter, Michael Buble, and The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, to name a few. 

What is your favorite song during the Christmas season?

JUNE~ The Pianist   ADELENE ~ The Violinist


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