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Shopping for an escape

Because I’m a senior and I cannot drive, I’ve had to find other ways to get out. I watch a lot of television, and in the last few years, I’ve done most of my shopping with QVC. I don’t mean to be a commercial, but I must say I am very happy with most of what I get; once in a while I send something back, but the quality of their goods has been excellent. As with any shopping bag with bookskind of shopping, I have lots of days when I can force myself to be practical and not give in to the many temptations I see.  Then there are those days I like everything I see and finally give in and purchase something.  That’s the kind of day I’m having today.  I vowed I wouldn’t spend any money unless I found a Christmas present; but I gave in and bought something for myself!  It’s practical and something I will really use, but I spent some money when I vowed I wouldn’t.  Such is the life of those who love to shop. Everything looks so good on the models, even the larger ones. Shopping is a way we use our imagination, put those clothes on us and dream.

We do the same thing when we shop for a good book.  We look for the color (which is the cover); we notice the style (the print of the book) and we often seek out the design company or the designer (the author).

When you come across the books Genilee and I have written, you’ll see vivid covers, not bright or gaudy, but rich in color and hinting at what is in the book (the way lace might hint at what’s beneath); the style of our books is appealing (Spectacle has chosen easy to read and large type). As for the designers (us), we are still getting to the point where you might recognize us by name. We hope what you’ll learn to associate with that name is entertaining reading. In no way do we consider what we do coming up with deep, provoking or controversial literature.  We see ourselves as writers of “moments of escape,” which we both have shopped for when we read.  Our books are the kind you love to curl up with in a chair in front of the fireplace to lose yourself fully for a few hours in someone else’s life.

Genilee is working hard at getting the third book polished for the publisher’s last reading, while I am trying to produce book four in the Sam Osborne series. The book Genilee’s immersed in—Fate of the Violet Eyes—sees Sam, our detective, falling in love.  I hope you become as absorbed in the characters of the kidnapper and his victim as I was in writing this book.  Meanwhile, I am almost done writing book four, which includes some suggestions made by audiences in a series of book talks we held at various communities.  I already wrote a fifth book, but I put it aside for a while because it doesn’t satisfy me.  Sometimes you just have to put aside something that bothers you—like that dress or that shirt that’s almost good enough. And when you’re shopping QVC, sometimes you have to send it back for a different one or one that fits better.

We hope, of course, that you come across our engaging Fate series in your shopping and decide to try us on. But in the meantime, let me give you a little exercise we do in our book talks (the same exercise that has resulted in including details from communities where we talk into book four).

I often start a book with just a name, then I begin visualizing details for the character and go on to what actions the person might take and end up formulating plots around those details. I thought I’d give you a new name and see what you come up with. I’m looking for things such as age, appearance, personality, job, desires, motivation—give me anything that comes to mind.  If we get some replies as comments, I’ll share with you what I have come up with myself.

Here goes, close your eyes and visualize this person: CHRISTELLA CORTEZ

Have some fun with it!

F. Sharon Swope

 
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Posted by on October 3, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Stretching the brain

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dreamstime

One of the most common questions Mom and I get at book functions is: where do you get your ideas

The answer to that question is just about as easy to find as the answer to another question we ask each other frequently: where the heck did that dream come from? Mom and I both have vivid imaginations that create wild dreams. Last week, for example, I dreamed my sister Monya lived in a mansion so huge she had one, double-gymnasium-sized room where she held a yoga class with 40 of her closest women friends. It isn’t that the concept was so far out; if she had a house that large she might indeed set aside a room just for her friends and exercise. The dream was amazing because of the detail my brain created. I still see the green fronds of plants everywhere, gold archways decorated with Roman-themed crown moulding, the wheat-colored weaved mat I exercised upon. I can hear the gently falling sound of water that filled that room, and I feel my envy that so many of the women looked toned and relaxed in the white robed gym outfits my mind created.

I went over and over details of the day before that dream and could find no hints where the gym or white robes came from.

I will say, however, that my dreams are even more vivid since I started writing frequently, which tells me something about the nature of creativity and how it feeds upon itself. For me personally, I believe my ideas spring from mental agility that comes with practice. The more I sit down and write, the easier ideas come. In a way, it’s like a yoga class for the brain—by practicing, I’m flexing my thinking and the next time I get on the mat, the ideas move more smoothly.

But ideas also come from stimulation, and you have to recognize and acknowledge what’s happening to you to be stimulated by it. When you walk, do you stare at the pavement in front of you? Or do you look around and see? Our world is made of millions of microcosms and if you raise your head you’ll spot them. My dog Laney has given me lessons in this wonder. We’ll be walking along a path and suddenly, she’ll stop dead in her tracks. If I didn’t see her nose twitching, I’d think she’d turned to stone, she’s so still. While Laney is a hound-mix, she’s a site-hound, not a scent hound. Whatever she’s smelling is only backup to what she’s seeing. I thought the first few times it happened she was nuts. Then one time, I stopped walking and just waited. And waited and waited some more, not making a sound, just telling myself I was nuts right alongside her. After what seemed like five minutes, a young adolescent deer stepped right out in front of us. We were in a field and the deer had been on a hill below us, eating its way upward. I guess it couldn’t smell us because of the direction of the wind. There it was in all its male teenage glory, small antlers beginning to show, not yet old enough that the site of us brought instant fear. The deer stared at us and we stared back for several more minutes. The deer didn’t move until Laney’s dog-ness took over, and she couldn’t contain her excitement. She made a move towards the deer, and it turned and white-tailed it out of there.

For a brief few minutes, our microcosms intertwined, but only because Laney and I stopped our world long enough to let the deer walk into it. And none of us―Laney, the young deer or I―would have had the experience if we’d kept our noses to the ground.DSCN0457

 

Genilee Swope Parente

 
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Posted by on July 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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