Entries to Win Afghan

From now till March 31, pre-order the set of the first three Dubois Files children's mysteries, signed and at a discount. Go to Books Leaving Footprints and look in the left column.
panel of three covers for Dubois Files children's mysteries

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Brown Details, Brilliant Ending

Went for my regular road loop walk today and set out to find some interesting details. See if these fill the bill.

First up is teasel. It's an intriguing plant in any season, and up close does not disappoint.

teasel seed pod in winter

The prickly stems are quite unique as well.

teasel stems with spines in winter

Queen Anne's Lace is another common plant that retains a lot of interest year round.

Queen Anne's lace seed heads in winter

I thought that was it, but the day provided another brilliant sunset, and I'm sure not going to turn down one of those.

Michigan sunset February 18,2018

In other news: I wrote Chapter 4 in The ABZ Affair, and hope to finish Chapter 5 before bed. I finished beta reading a book for a friend, and did a little (very little) cleaning.

See Teasel in the Light
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Saturday, February 17, 2018

Soft Little Footfalls

From time to time we get a stray cat living in one of our decrepit outbuildings. Lookin' very much like there's one around now, although I haven't spotted him/her yet. Cute little prints with no claws.

cat tracks

Took a road walk again today. Not much of interest to see, except that it was almost 6 pm when I got home and there was still light. That's nice.

blue evening

In other news: I think I must have done my crash day yesterday instead of today. Yesterday morning at work was stressful, and I just couldn't get myself in gear between shifts. I was thinking maybe I'd lost my momentum on the Dubois Files books, because I wasn't liking Chapter 1 very much. But I spend as much time pondering as I do writing, and eventually came to realize that the problem was the chapter was too complex and would not entice kids to read farther. So, today I reworked it, and I'm liking the result a lot. This third book will have stronger appeal to kids who like academics and brainy puzzles more than the first two books. I want some of the series to do just that, but even so, they can't be way out of range. Anyway... problem solved, and I'm in the middle of chapter 3. Back to work!

See Concept Cover: ABZ Affair
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Friday, February 16, 2018

The Ordinary Things

Just want to share a great couple of lines from a P.D. James mystery, of all places. Quite profound. A boy asks a priest about his diary "It's just an ordinary diary then, Father? It isn't about your spiritual life?"

The Father answers," This is the spiritual life; the ordinary things one does from hour to hour."

Cattails are pretty ordinary- yet the rhythm in this spray of winter-bent stalks made me smile.

a spray of winter cattails

Today at work we shared a meal of "humble" vegetables (cabbage, carrot, potato, rutabaga) with a bit of sausage. Cornbread for counterpoint. There's a meal that's been ordinary for multiple centuries. But, with friends and the satisfaction of a rather crazy work morning (that stretched till 2 pm) behind us, the ordinary is elevated to something extraordinary.

boiled dinner in a roaster

cornbread in a square pan

Cattails or soup or printer's ink... if you are looking for meaning, you will find it. If you are working for Someone beyond your own fulfillment or paycheck or for praise, you'll always be satisfied.

Work again tonight- and I need to take my own advice.

See Sunlit
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Thursday, February 15, 2018

More Nice Mail

It was another great week for snail mail. I suppose we are so surprised to get anything nice any more, it seems extra special.

Nevertheless, these are real goodies. Remember the Girl Scouts I spoke to about a month ago? They sent me a thank you card, and... a patch! You know I LOVE patches. (I wore my patch jacket, so they figured it right out, too.) This one has the Tolkien quote, "Not all those who wander are lost."

thank you card and embroidered patch with not all those who wander are lost

I also got a cute envelope and Valentine bookmark from my buddy, Ramona.

bookmark with a golden retriever puppy

Little things like this can mean so much! Thanks, friends.

In other news: Worked. Did laundry. Did one simple illustration for The Secret Cellar. Wrote Chapter 1 in The ABZ Affair. I'm feeling productive.

See I've Got Mail
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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Concept Cover- ABZ Affair

Today, I'll show you the concept sketch I gave Linda to work up into the cover for The ABZ Affair. This one has to look a bit scary and dangerous. The main action of the "threat" takes place inside the canning factory after it's closed for the day. The tones will be full of shadows, probably purples. Jimmie and George are hiding behind the conveyor belt when the sinister man opens the door. I promise he'll look more sinister when Linda is done with him.

concept cover for the ABZ Affair

You can preorder a set of all three books at Books Leaving Footprints

concept covers for three Dubois Files books

In other news: I worked, then made a quick stop at Goodwill. Found a cotton flannel shirt that fits (the one I'm using like a sweater is more holes than shirt). Also got a couple other little items- it was Senior discount day! I took my 3-mile road loop walk because the sun was shining and it was 40 degrees! But I wanted to show you this cover today- you've seen lots of clouds and trees. I also finished (except for the digital part) one illustration for The Secret Cellar, and got another one really close. Two to go for that book, I think. However, if I do 4 per book, that's a total of 12, and I can turn out about one a day. Yikes! I still have a whole book to write, too. Need to keep workin'!

See cover for The Hitchhiker
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