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Monday, November 24, 2014

Cozy Mystery Bucket List - Part 2

So far, I've come up with a character, but she is not fully developed yet. The plot is beginning to weave its way through my brain - very slowly - inch by inch. I'm not going to tell you what it is, yet. Not until I get the book written. This blog will only tell you about my progress as I go along and how I am working it out. I hope it will inspire some of you to join me!

I am reading several books to get me started on this project:
  1. The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing by Evan Marshall. I bought both the book and workbook for this one. This provides very practical suggestions on how to go about writing your book. Excellent. I'm working on Chapter 3: Creating your Lead. 
  2. Story Engineering by Larry Brooks. I'm also working through this book, SLOWLY! Just started and I can already see that this will be very helpful.
  3. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. I've read through chapter four, and I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to write, not just fiction, anything! Very good for motivation as well as practical instructions.
  4. Broken Arrow, The First Hundred Years by Steven L. Stapleton, J.D. (This is for background information on my setting, which will be Broken Arrow, OK)
  5. Writer's Guide to Character Traits by Linda N. Edelstein, PhD. I'm using this as a reference to help me develop my characters.
  6. I'm also reading lots of cozy mysteries as that is the genre I am working on and the type of book I read the most for entertainment.
So that's my reading list for right now. I have several more books I want to read, but I want to get through these first. Since I can't find an online class to help me, I'm depending on book for now. There are classes out there, but with my schedule, I'm not ready to attack them. I might do this in the summer. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Bucket List - Write a Mystery

I've been threatening to write a mystery for quite a while now. I completed a children's picture book (Garrett the Ferret, the White House Exterminator (never published), a children's mystery, The Moundbuilder Mystery (never published), and now I want to write a cozy mystery for adults. I don't really care if it gets published, although that would be awesome. My main goal is to complete the task and learn something in the process. So, here are the steps I'm taking:

1. I joined Sister's in Crime and SIC-Guppies. I need some help figuring out how to write a mystery!

2. I purchased a couple of books on fiction writing. I will review these as I complete them. I also hope to find a class on fiction writing that would help me. Still looking for that.

3. I'm spending part of my writing time trying to develop a character for my story. I'm also researching my potential setting. I don't have a plot yet, but I thought if I could develop a good character in a fun setting, perhaps the plot will come. I probably won't write much about the actual story line on this blog until much later. I don't want to talk it to death!

4. I'm trying to write more in general, just to keep my skills up and develop new ones.

5. I'm reading more cozy mysteries - as if that is a problem. I LOVE cozy mysteries!

6. Although I don't have a lot of time to do all this because of my teaching responsibilities and my role as chauffeur for Bill, I plan to commit to a minimum of one hour a day. I know I can keep that goal.

So that's the plan. More as I go.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Scrapbooking Christmas - Part I

Today, I spent all day creating a Christmas mini album. I really enjoyed my day! Here are photos. I still need to buy some gold rings and more gold grommets for pages.







Sunday, November 9, 2014

iPhone 6 Plus

Yes, I bought one! I couldn't resist. I thought this would be the ideal phone: I could use it as a phone and as an ebook reader. Since my AT&T contract was up, I was able to buy one a lot cheaper, so I did.

I've had it for about three weeks now. It took a bit of getting used to because of the size. I've had to learn to hold it differently than I did my other iPhones. In fact, I'm looking for a case now that will not only protect it, but also have a "kickstand" so I can prop it up. I think that will be helpful in many cases.

The new IOS system is awesome. I love the thumb print ID on the front of the phone - so much easier to use. The camera is exceptional. I can read my email, text messages, and ebooks SO Much better on this. I really do not need my iPad or Kindle any longer for ebooks. However, because my eyes are older, I can't play some of my games (hidden objects and puzzles) on the iPhone 6 plus. I just can't make the screen big enough to find all the objects. So, the bottom line is no, I'm not giving up my iPad or Kindle yet. I like my games too much.

However, I find myself using my phone much more with the plus. I love the recording feature on the phone. This is not a plus only feature, but I only discovered it with the plus.

I can't always fit it in my pocket, but it slips perfectly in my Vera bags with outside pockets. Makes it easy to carry and easy to retrieve. I purchased an arm band for working out - still looking for a better one since it flops around a bit, but it will do for now.

All in all, I'm a very happy customer.


Retirement Home Shopping

Yes, it's that time of life for us. Perhaps a bit early because of our situation, but it is time. My husband and I have decided that we need to move out of our 3,000 square foot house into a smaller place and a place where he can get some of the help he needs to be more active. Since he cannot drive (he is legally blind), he depends on me and friends to get him around. Because of this, we are looking into independent living communities. 


Our first stop was the Methodist Manor in Tulsa, Beautiful place, but out of our price range. You have to have more than $200K just to walk in the door! That one was out without looking! 

Next stop was Silver Arrow in Broken Arrow. This is a beautiful campus. The dining facilities is the star attraction as far as I could see. They have chefs on staff and serve five(?) course meals. I'm not sure how many courses, but it was a lot and it took a lot of time. The food was delicious, but I can't see myself spending two hours a day sitting around a lunch table. If you have nothing else to do, that would be excellent. But, I still work. So, that one is out for us. The cottage had lots of room which was a plus. No shuttle service, which is something we need. So another reason this one wouldn't work for us. Beautiful, though. 


Our next stop was Country Club of Woodlyn Hills where we met with T.R. Jones. As soon as we began walking around the campus, we could see ourselves living here. It's older and has been around for 25 years, so it's mature. The campus is cozy. The staff has been around for several years. Not a lot of turnover in staff or residents. You can sense that they have system and it works. There are two choices in living options: the cottages and the apartments. They provide all meals except Sunday dinner, transportation to bank or Dr., all utilities, once a week housekeeping and linen laundry, and if you need it, they provide help with medication monitoring, bathing, and other daily living activities. The price is on par with other independent living communities as well, but there is no buy in. You have a month to month lease. In addition, if you need more care than they can give, you will have to move to a different location, such as University Village, which is owned by the same company. 


We also considered a new facility that is just moving into the Tulsa area, Tapestry of Woodlyn Hills. This facility is an "in-between" facility - in between an apartment and an independent living facility. When completed, it will have a pool, outdoor walking trail, dog park, an exercise room, a library, craft room, movie theater, and a pool hall. They are planning to have activities for the residents, and you can reserve a room for private parties. They do not offer dining. The cost is about half to two-thirds of the cost of independent living, depending on your options. 


We put a deposit down on Country Club of Woodlyn Hills as this is the one that best meets our present needs. There is a waiting list, so while we wait, we will continue to see what else is out there. But I'm pretty sure this is where we will end up. 


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Day Trip

Last week, my husband Bill, Oreo, and I went on a day trip to Shiloam Springs, Arkansas. I wanted to visit the scrapbook store there called, Creative Corner on Broadway. We had a wonderful time!

On the way there, we stopped at Natural Falls State Park. What a beautiful park! There are all kinds of walking trails there from easy ones for strollers to the all-terrain trail of Dripping Springs that take you back to the falls.


The trails to the falls were nice, sometimes with boarded bridges:



At the end of this trail, it leads down several hundred feet to a waterfall:


It was cool and beautiful here. From there, we took an even more rustic trail around to a "lake" and back. In some places, the trail was climbing rocks! In addition, there were several steep climbs, not an easy trail. 


BRING WATER! I decided to do the trail a 2nd time and left Bill at the top. On my way down, I got dehydrated and almost passed out. Lucky for me, a nice couple came by and gave me some of their water! 

After our hike, we stopped for lunch (and met the couple who rescued me!). Then we went to the scrapbook store. The owner there was extremely helpful. I told her I wanted to make a mini album for a friend's baby. I picked out some super hero paper and she patiently explained what I needed and how to do it. If you live near this store, you must visit. She is a gem! 

I thought I'd add a photo of my finished product so you could see the results:






All in all, it was a fun day! 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Scrapbooking Bags

During the past two weeks, I have been learning how to make gift bags out of scrapbooking supplies. I made three so far, each one turned out better than the last one. Next week, I'm going to learn how to make a scrapbook photo album. I sure am having fun this summer!