hidden pictures

July 17, 2009 | 4 Comments

Barkis lying low
Barkis lying low
smells like summer
smells like summer

(click the photo for a bigger view)

(Reminder: You can instantly share your pics right here–http://share4pic.com/en/ Show us your part of the world…post a link in Comments.)

the bride and her maid of honor

July 14, 2009 | 2 Comments

I am so ready for the WEDDING to be here. In the meantime, here’s something to share. It’s Elizabeth and her cousin Joelle, circa 1989. It’s almost as if they knew what the future would hold:

cute overload
cute overload

summer reading

July 10, 2009 | 20 Comments

What’s on your list? Mine is ever-changing, but here are a few of the latest and greatest. Reminder: books are free from your local library.

  • Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay. See my earlier post about the cover art on this one. It’s now a bestseller. ­čÖé
  • South of Broad by Pat Conroy. I’m also a huge fan of his wife, Cassandra King, who is fun to hang out with at festivals.
  • Lisa Tucker’s The Promised World
  • Barbara Bretton, Laced with Magic
  • The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder by Rebecca Wells, and Sherrie, Carol and I will be at her book launch event next week, 7/14!
  • While My Sister Sleeps by Barbara Delinsky (plus I want the top she’s wearing in her author photo)
  • Alice Hoffman, The Story Sisters
  • Luanne Rice, The Geometry of Sisters (whoa–are “sister” books the next big thing?)
  • Home Safe by Elizabeth Berg
  • new untitled books by the members of my writers’ group: Anjali Banerjee, Carol Cassella, Sheila Roberts, Suzanne Selfors, Elsa Watson
  • Very Valentine by Adriana Trigiani
  • Don’t Tempt Me by Loretta Chase
  • Russell Banks, The Reserve
  • Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult
  • Dark of Night by Suzanne Brockmann
  • Re-read a classic – Peyton Place by Grace Metalious. Prepare to be surprised. It’s shockingly excellent. The prudish attitudes remind me of the…of the former administration.
Sound off! What’s on your list?

talking hands

July 08, 2009 | 2 Comments

talking hands (blog post)
Everyone can make music! Be patient; you’ll recognize this song by about the 2:30 mark.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjbpwlqp5Qw
Toto’s Africa by Perpetuum Jazzile, performed live at Vokal Xtravaganzza 2008 (October 2008) – arranger Toma┼ż Kozlev─Źar.
!!! PERPETUUM JAZZILE + THE REAL GROUP @ Vokal Xtravaganzza 2009 (Ljubljana, Slovenia, November 2009) !!! Don’t miss it!
For more information check out www.perpetuumjazzile.si/en
Thunderstorm simulation effects inspired by Kearsney choir (South Africa).

Everyone can make music! Be patient; you’ll recognize this song by about the 2:30 mark.

info: Toto’s Africa by Perpetuum Jazzile, performed live at Vokal Xtravaganzza 2008 (October 2008) – arranger Toma┼ż Kozlev─Źar.┬áPERPETUUM JAZZILE + THE REAL GROUP @ Vokal Xtravaganzza 2009 (Ljubljana, Slovenia, November 2009)

For more information check out www.perpetuumjazzile.si/en

Thunderstorm simulation effects inspired by Kearsney choir (South Africa).

a blessing

July 07, 2009 | 5 Comments

I have a hard time with forwarded e-mails. There are just so many of them, and while they all offer a joke, word of wisdom or link to something interesting, there’s not enough time in the day to deal with them all. The ones that ask me to forward to 12 or 17 or 4 other friends/colleagues/phenomenal women/people in my address book don’t really work for me, even though they’re harmless. And the ones that promise me a stroke of luck or warn me of something dire if I fail to do so…those are the chain letters of the new millennium.

But here’s one I read. Why? It came as plain text. It was brief. The header wasn’t cluttered with the e-mail addresses of 794 strangers. It was just a simple note, with no blinking graphics, no rows of >>>>, no questionable claims for me to verify on www.snopes.com. I was told to copy and paste it to friends, but see above. I don’t forward things. I do, however, post stuff on my blog. If it’s lovely stuff. If it’s thoughtful. If it’s worth reading:

May today there be peace within.  May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that
are born of faith in yourself and others. May you use the gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be
content with yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and
love. It is there for each and every one of us.

May today there be peace within.  May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others. May you use the gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content with yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us.

Question: What do you do with forwarded e-mails–read, pass on, discard, decide on a case-by-case basis?

Seal of Disapproval.

July 06, 2009 | 10 Comments

This is a re-post of a bit from 2007. I’m sorry to say, the hunt is still going on: I can’t imagine anything good coming of clubbing baby seals over the head. It’s not nice to slaughter Mother Nature, eh?

baby seal from Perfect Image Graphics

[Photo Source: Perfect Vision Graphics 513.233.7993]

Please help stop the seal hunt. There’s a simple online form at this site, which you can use to e-sign a petition. The thing that mystifies me is…who wears this stuff? Has anyone, anywhere, actually seen someone (other than a Disney villain) wearing a coat made from the hides of baby seals? I don’t get it. But then again, unprovoked brutality always mystifies me.

all-American cherries

July 04, 2009 | 7 Comments

They look nice in my pottery from Ravello.
They look nice in my pottery from Ravello.

Do you get Rainier cherries in your part of the world? Maybe they’re called something else. Here in Washington state, we call them delicious. They are only in season for a few weeks a year. They’re very delicate and probably don’t travel well. But they are the best treat of the summer.

cover art debate

July 02, 2009 | 44 Comments

So as you well know by now, I am obsessed by book covers. It’s all part of my obsession with books. Now I need your opinion on an upcoming cover. Just Breathe has a strong, sophisticated cover, clean and light, with a single evocative image:

it was a bestseller
it was a bestseller

Next hardcover is Lakeshore Christmas. Marketing-wise, this cover has a big job to do. It needs to straddle the line between a hardcover and the Lakeshore paperbacks. It needs to attract readers who have never heard of me but who might want to give it a try. It needs to be memorable. It currently looks like this:

it wants to be a bestseller
it wants to be a bestseller

The shot above is an early mockup that was sent. The title is wrong (no “A”) but the general idea is there. Next we saw the full jacket. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you what I think of Barkis’s star turn:

book jacket laid flat
book jacket laid flat

There are a couple of tweaks. The title script is nicer, I think, though my agent wanted my name bigger. There’s a #1 in front of “New York Times” which makes me proud and could be a selling point. I don’t love the text at the very top and hope they’ll move that. It looks cluttered, and remember, we want this to appeal to people who haven’t yet discovered the series, so it’s not much of a hook and might be off-putting to people who don’t want to read a book out of order.

The Lakeshore Chronicles have a “look”–small-town charm in miniature. In that sense, this cover works. It’s a pretty image, too. Reminds me of those little collectible Christmas villages. No complaints about that. The question is, will it stand out? When you view Just Breathe from across the bookstore, the image grabs your attention. The Christmas cover…maybe not. ┬áMy concern–the eye doesn’t know where to go. To the couple on the bench? The gazebo? There isn’t something strong, standing out. Up against all the other books on the shelf, it might end up looking like wallpaper. At this point, it probably can’t be radically changed, but there could be some tweaking. My thought is maybe they could bring up the light around part of the image–maybe the gazebo and tree?–to give book browsers something to focus on. Better yet, it needs to look like something they want to take home with them. C’mon, put on your art-director hat and chime in.

hostage report: Day Two

July 02, 2009 | 3 Comments

My writers’ group held Michael Hauge hostage to brainstorm our upcoming books. Food and drink were consumed, ideas were bandied about, arrows were slung, and we are bloodied but unbowed.

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