CREATIVE TRAVELS: SATURDAY SNAPSHOTS

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Welcome to our regular feature, Saturday Snapshot, our opportunity to showcase photos we or friends and family have captured.  The event is now hosted by West Metro Mommy.

This week, I am thinking of getaways.  The kind that various family members are enjoying now, even though it is not yet spring.

A couple of hours away, we can find California’s Central Coast, with wonderful moments to enjoy.  Here’s where my daughter, her fiance, and her son enjoy spending time.  Sometimes the days are dark and cloudy, however.

 

An Ominous Day at the Beach

An Ominous Day at the Beach

 

A Mother/Son Moment

A Mother/Son Moment

 

Occasionally, one can find one of these photo ops:

 

Bee-ing Cool

Bee-ing Cool

 

Up to the northern regions of California, you can travel by car…or by train, as my granddaughter Fiona did this week.  Here she is, ready to go to the train station for her trip to San Jose.

 

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I am not traveling anywhere this week.  Instead I am close to home, focused on bringing my newest novel to life.   I am now awaiting the possibilities for my cover (from the design team), soon to be revealed.  Maybe next week!  The image below is the one I’ve been using to “stand in” for the cover that will be on the book.

 

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Enjoy the weekend!  I hope you’ll stop by and share some comments and links.

CREATIVE UPDATES: AMBLING ALONG — JAN. 27

Welcome to another Sunday Check-In Post.

It’s been a week of cozy reading, a bit of blogging, and time spent with family.  My youngest grandson was sick, so I hung out with him and nursed him through a day of fever and tummy upset.

Here’s my Sunday Salon post, in which I link to my blogging and reviewing.  In one of the blog posts, I excerpted from Interior Designs.  I’m almost finished with the snippets from that WIP…and then I’ll start sharing from Defining Moments.  Which means I’ll need to finish those edits…pronto!

What was your week like?

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CREATING A NEW WEBSITE — A BIG PROJECT — FEB. 8

NEW WEBSITE

 

Today I’ve been working really hard to change a lot of links on my various blogs:  redirecting them to my new website that I’ve been working on since Monday.

Yes, that’s right.  A totally new site.

What brought this on?  Well, my old site was at Microsoft Office Live, and there are big changes coming there; changes that felt too frustrating and complex for me to deal with.  Besides that, I was not that happy with the site itself.

So I took the opportunity to create something at Word Press, with my own domain:  http://laurelrainsnowauthor.com/

At first I worked on the site without buying the domain, but then, once I was happy at how it was shaping up, I went ahead and did it.

Have you ever thought of how many places where your website is listed?  Places you need to go to make the changes?

I’m glad that I’m a list maker, as it made the process a lot less aggravating.

Of course, it would be easier if I didn’t have so many blogs!  lol

Next item on the agenda:  check out the various social networking sites that I’m not using and delete them!  And then remember to delete the links to them….

Do you ever make a decision to launch a time-consuming project without realizing just how much effort will be involved?  Do you make some big decisions afterwards?  Like…to simplify?

I know that I could learn a lesson or two from this project!

 

SURROUNDED BY COZINESS — JAN. 27

MY OFFICE BULLETIN BOARD

When I am in my office—my creative hub!—I like to surround myself with favorite vignettes and sentimental objects that spark my creativity.

Like this bulletin board above (and in the blog header).  On it are a collection of family photos, business cards, a notice of a gallery opening (for my son’s Ireland photos), and even a snapshot of a couple of soap opera stars.  Yes, my second son, who worked for Dick Clark Productions at the time, snapped it in Hawaii (with the cooperation of the stars, of course!), and it has pride of place along with other favorites.  At the top of the bulletin board is a sign (LORRE), which was a birthday card created by my younger brother in the 1980s, when I was called “Lorre.”  He has a sign-painting business, so the birthday sign seemed unique and appropriate.

My office walls are covered with photos, too.  Like these that surround my desk.

CREATIVE HUB

All four walls are literally layered with photos.  A bit much?  Maybe, but I feel snug and cozy in this room.

Sometimes my creative sparks fly and take me off to create another blog.  Yes, I’ve gone up and down with the numbers, having as many as twenty at one time.

I’ve held firm at eleven for awhile.  But yesterday, I had to create another writing blog:  a journal, if you will, about getting enmeshed in the minutia of life and losing sight of the big picture.  Like not seeing the forest for the trees…so it’s called My Forest Journey.

I also had to use this great blog header I created over at Picnik.com, which is closing down in April.  Last chance to use premium features free!

I have a couple of alternates, too.  Just in case.

Wouldn’t want to miss the chance to have a whole potpourri of available photos.

Meanwhile, I’m enjoying my reading this week, too.  I’ve finished a couple of great books and will be posting links to the reviews on Sunday.

Today I’m finishing this book about Diana, published in 2004.

Great photos and personal snippets that I hadn’t known….

So what are you up to today?  Enjoying your creative moments? 

THE CREATIVE JOURNEY — BLOGS, BOOKS, & PHOTOS — JAN. 22

Do you ever have the kind of day that takes you on a meandering pathway of creativity?  One in which something strikes you as an opportunity, and you take off, just to see where it might lead?

Today was a day like that, beginning with an e-mail.

A bad news/good news kind of notification.  The site where I have been doing my photo editing/blog header creating for the past couple of years is now closing down (Picnik.com).  That’s the bad news.

The good news part was that the premium features would be free until the site closes.

Of course, I had to immediately go there to create a lot of blog header collages with more than two photos.  Like the one you see here today.  I created some for several other blogs as well.

That won’t take away from the sadness I feel at losing a great go-to place for photo editing.

If anyone knows of another site that works, please feel free to contact me.  The e-mail mentioned Google +, but I’m not crazy about that site in general…however, I’m willing to explore it if there are some possibilities there.

Meanwhile, after “spiffing” up some sites, I excerpted another passage from Interior Designs over at Snow Chronicles.  Check out that new header, too!  In the excerpt, two men converse over beers and shots, trying to figure out who could have framed Zach, who has been charged with murder.

What was your Sunday like?  Any progress on your WIPs?  Creative thoughts or impressions?  I’d love to hear your thoughts….

CONTINUING THE JOURNEY — JAN. 11

As many of you continue with the ROW 80 Challenge for 2012, I’m taking a break…sitting on the sidelines.

I’ll still be working on my WIPs, which are just about ready.  Interior Designs has been tweaked, polished, and is heading out the door.  Soon.

Defining Moments needs a little more work.  A read-through is almost finished (again!), and as I polish this one a bit more, I’ll be thinking about other projects.

I hope to visit some of you as you “row” your works; I have enjoyed the community.

Don’t be surprised if I jump onboard later in the year.

Have a great round!

 

12-18 CHECK-IN: ROW 80

LOTS OF READING!

 

Good morning, and welcome, Row Participants!

This past week, I did lots of reading, a few blog posts, and some editing/rewriting of Defining Moments.

I expect to be finished (or close to it) by the end of this round.

I also did a little blog tweaking, changing the theme here and over at Curl up and Read.

I like the larger space for the header, along with the neater sidebars.

I posted about my changes at Playing Around, where I also added an excerpt from Interior Designs; then another post yesterday, Saturday Musings: Holiday Moments, with another excerpt.

You can check out my reading here at Serendipity, in my Sunday Salon post.

Otherwise, the week has sped by with very little to remark about, except that I’m starting to really look forward to the end of this round. 

Looking back at the year in totality, I am impressed with how much we have all accomplished.  I had only rudimentary WIPs at the beginning; now I am pretty much ready to go with Interior Designs, and Defining Moments is not far behind.

Thanks to all the support of the ROW-80 team and participants!  I cannot thank you enough!

Hope some of you will stop by and share your own links and thoughts.

SATURDAY MUSINGS: HOLIDAY MOMENTS — DEC. 17

 

I love waking up on a cold morning in the days before Christmas.  My thoughts catapult back to times and places of celebration.

We don’t have snow here, but we’re very close to the snow…less than an hour sometimes.

A few years ago, I remember winter days (usually after Christmas) at my son’s cabin, which always had snow around it.  (Pictured above).

I love reading about Christmas and holiday moments; therefore, I’ve written a few in my books.  Like this one in my WIP Interior Designs, in which the MC and her new love gather at a cabin with their children.

A few flakes of snow fell softly on our faces as we stood in front of the cabin at Shaver Lake, throwing snowballs.  The children were gathered around us, looking happy and full of the joy of the holiday season.

After several conversations, Duane and I had finally decided to try a winter vacation with our respective children, instead of Disneyland.  We thought that my cabin at Shaver Lake lent itself to the magical holiday feeling we hoped would give the children a glorious backdrop to begin building connections with each other, and to see us as being in a relationship.

When Duane had arrived on my doorstep with Jason, his thirteen-year-old son, and Jennifer, aged eleven, I’d felt a momentary panic.  Was this a big mistake?

I was quite pleased that the older of the two was a boy.  I didn’t think I would have been ready for a teenaged girl who might be over-protective of her daddy.

Both children were gorgeous, with dark hair and eyes.  They must look like their mother, I thought, as I greeted them warmly.

Meadow seemed a little shy with them at first, but we smoothed the way with pizza and a movie that they would all enjoy.

After that first evening, we’d loaded the car early in the morning and started toward the cabin.

By the time we’d unpacked, had some lunch, and changed into our snow clothes, the kids seemed to be ready to enjoy themselves.  They had brought snowboards, and after our little snow fight, we planned to look for some good slopes.

Meadow and I had managed to get through Christmas, and while I’d longed to share that special time with Duane, I knew that our plan to meet the children and spend time together at the cabin was a better one.

And now we were here and things were unfolding in a very comfortable way.

After an afternoon of snowboarding, the kids were ready to warm up, so we returned to the cabin.  Duane built a fire while I put finishing touches on the chili I had made, to be served with cornbread.  The kind of comfort food I’d always enjoyed in the snow.  The scent of the food, along with the brisk snowy day, took me back to some of my favorite holiday moments as a child. Those were the times that my parents had seemingly really focused on us kids.  As I briefly pondered how I had felt back then, I realized that creating this kind of setting for Meadow and for Duane’s kids had been no accident.  I had taken a page from a book of my happiest childhood memories, hoping to inspire good feelings in them all.

Were we beginning to build a family together?

Time would definitely tell about that one.  I shoved aside the thoughts as I served up bowls of chili, and asked everyone what they wanted to drink.

We sat down at the old pine table, eating and drinking and sharing about the day.

A wonderful glow suffused my whole body, and I glanced over at Duane.  He was gazing at me with that look that set my body tingling.  I smiled back at him.  “It’s been a wonderful day,” I spoke, as though the moment needed to be memorialized in this way.

He nodded, and then lifted his glass to mine.  “May we have many more.”

***

 

What memorable moments in your life—or in your reading and writing—take you back to special times and special people?

PLAYING AROUND — DEC. 15

As most of you know, I tend to play around with themes, backgrounds, headers, etc.

It’s sort of like editing a work-in-progress.

Do you ever get that little itch that takes you over to the themes pages here at Word Press—just to see what new offerings are available?

I like this one I discovered today.  It allows me to have a larger space for my header; it has the three-column option; and better yet—all my previous widgets remained in place!  I didn’t have to reinvent the wheel here.

Now for another experiment.  Seeing if this theme allows me to post without incident.  If you’ve been following things here, that has been an issue lately.

But before we try this out, I’d like to share another excerpt from Interior Designs, one of my two WIPs.

In this excerpt, Maeve is contemplating her newly single fate.

After her conversation with Martha, Maeve finished up her home visits for the day and circled back to the office.  Now that she was considering her options, she realized that she’d overlooked one very obvious possibility:  Brody Emerson!

As her thoughts turned in his direction, she wondered why she hadn’t run into him lately.  Had he been avoiding her, since things had been left up in the air between them after their last lunch?

He probably didn’t even know that her marriage had ended.  Would it make a difference?

Almost as if her thoughts had conjured him up, there he stood, at the back door getting ready to sprint toward the parking lot.  “Wow, I was wonderin’ where you’d been lately.  How’re things?”

He halted abruptly and grinned, reminding her again what she found so appealing about him.  That boyish, yet sexy charm, conveyed by a simple smile.  “I was on vacation for awhile, and then my caseload just got out of hand.  I guess that happens when we go away for awhile.”

“I know exactly what you mean,” she replied, falling into step beside him.  She’d decided not to go up to her office after all.

“Are you finding your groove now?”

She laughed at the expression, but nodded.  “Oh, yeah, but there’s always that one case that niggles at the mind…somethin’ that irks me and reminds me that we’re not really in control here.”

They chatted about work for a few minutes, standing next to her car.  Then, almost as if he were considering something, he stared at her.  Finally he said:  “Do you have to get home right away?  Or would you consider having a drink with me?”

She recalled that Buzz would have the kids all weekend, so she nodded.  Casually.  She hoped that he didn’t think she was overeager.

“Okay, then,” he went on.  “How about that Irish pub by Courthouse Plaza?”

“Sounds good,” she purred, and then thought she should tone things down a bit.

When they were seated in the pub, facing each other, Maeve wondered what they would even have to talk about.  Would their conversations be limited to work stuff?

But before she could feel that familiar awkwardness descending, Brody leaned in and said:  “I heard that you’re getting a divorce.  Is that right?”

She nodded.  “I guess I’ve known it was comin’ for awhile, but I was in denial.  Now, except for the part where I’m tryin’ to find my place in the world of singles, I’m actually glad about it.  Shakin’ off old patterns can be a good thing.”

“I guess that would be difficult,” he mused.  “I came close to marriage once, but it just didn’t work out.  Probably for the best, since I wasn’t sure what I wanted in my career yet.  I think it’s important to be who you want to be before becoming a part of a couple.  Oh,” he added, with consternation furrowing his brown, “I didn’t mean you made a mistake.  That’s just how it is for me.”

She laughed.  “Well, maybe I did.  I’m glad I traveled that particular journey, though, since it’s made me who I am now.  And I love the kids.”

“I’ve thought about having kids someday…after I find the right woman, of course.”

She wondered if he was just saying that, but decided not to analyze it too much.

He sipped his beer, and then when the server came back, glanced over and asked:  “Would you like something to eat?  Or do you have to be somewhere?”

“That sounds good,” she murmured, “and no, the kids are with their dad.  I would enjoy windin’ down after my week, like other single folks do.”

Their conversation seemed to flow easily, then, and by the time she glanced at her watch, she realized that a couple of hours had passed.

He noticed her checking the time, and asked the question she knew she’d been waiting for.  “Would you like to see my place?  I think I could show you some etchings, or something,” he laughed.

“Sure, why not?  I’ll follow you in my car.”

12-11 CHECK-IN POST — CLIMBING THAT MOUNTAIN

CLIMBING THE MOUNTAIN!

Good morning, Row 80 Participants!

Today I woke up early after actually dreaming about the changes I would make as I reread (once again!) my WIP Defining Moments.

Now, don’t laugh, but I could see it like a movie playing out in my head.

Too bad I didn’t wake up right then and make notes, huh?

But as I started rereading (earlier in the week, I reviewed the Beta reader notes), suddenly everything looked clear to me.

Like a mountain climber, I was off, scaling the heights and achieving my goals.

This week I’ve met my goal of working three hours.  I may have exceeded it, since after awhile, I stopped counting.

Now I’m determined that this post will not disappear when I try to post it!  (Refer to previous check-in posts!)

But just in case, I’m copying the text so I don’t have to reinvent the wheel here.

Hope the rest of you are climbing to your pinnacles, too!