For some reason I can add sidebars, but not new posts. Please check back later. I have been working on a variety of things including switching my blog soon from this one, which was set up with my now-defunct West Wisconsin Telcom account. I hope to have my new blog through Gmail up soon. I will provide a link and announcement when I've got everything straight. 7/2/11

Friday, November 28, 2008

Frantic about eating too many holiday foods? Never fear—Janice Taylor is here!

Holidays are always a time to fuss about weight gain. At my house we do, anyway. Janice Taylor will help you out this time of year with her Christmas Diet plan. Read details here:

And don’t forget to sign up for free at Our Lady of Weightloss for your Kick in the Tuss Club emails to help you stay svelte this winter. I love Janice Taylor, Our Lady’s Spokesperson On Earth. She’s a hilarious writer and artist, as well as an inspiring weightloss coach—what more could you ask for? Visit her at

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday

Once again, Americans gather around the table to give thanks in what has its roots in the ancient Harvest Festival tradition. Family, friends, and food—about as good as life gets.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Writer’s Retreat with Jennifer Louden

Jennifer Louden

Louden is another writer and coach that has inspired me over the past several years. And she’s holding her Luscious, Nurturing Get Your Writing Done While Laughing Your Butt Off and Maybe Crying a Little Too Writer’s Retreat in 2009. Sign up and pay in full by November 30, 2008 on her 46th birthday and you’ll get a FREE hour of coaching. The retreat is in Taos, New Mexico Sunday, July 26 through Saturday August 1, 2009. I am REALLY tempted by this! I have a number of her books and she has had a huge impact on how I live my life as well as keeping me writing. Besides, how can anyone resist a workshop with that title! See her web site for more information at

Monday, November 24, 2008

Recently read: Randy Wayne White’s The Man Who Invented Florida

I enjoy this series with marine biologist Doc Ford, which takes place in the watery Gulf Coast area of southern Florida. In this one, Ford’s eccentric old uncle takes center stage along with his Indian buddy and some other geriatric pals. Three men are missing, large amounts of money and land are at stake, and the press is beating a trail to the dying coastal village where Uncle Tucker has big plans. Oh, and did I mention there is a love interest? Fun and light reading, but I don’t agree with other reviewers that White is comparable to Carl Hiaasen—White’s eccentric characters seem much more forced, and I have never laughed out loud like I have with Hiaasen.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Today is . . .

Crimson streaks with golden bursts of pride and the ring of chimes, not to be sipped but to be gulped with gusto like a Falstaffian reveler. Tasting of mulled cider and vanilla, with the counterpoint of marching feet, bedecked with bittersweet and birch logs, crackling with the season of ice shards striking bare wood, ringed with cardinals and white pine.

See September 21, 2008 for the genesis of my “today is . . . ” postings.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Literature fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts

NEA Literature Fellowships: 40 Years of Supporting American Writers. You can order through the NEA web site (see link below).

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is a government agency designed to support arts of all kinds. It funds the arts in all 50 states and in all venues, from rural areas to inner cities to military bases. Most of its grants require the applicant to be an organization (like a school or nonprofit agency). However, it does have individual literature fellowships for published creative writers and translators. Creative Writing Fellowships are up to $25,000 to help recipients write, research, travel and other activities. Translation Project Fellowships are $12,000 or $25,000 and help recipients with translations of work into English. Visit the NEA’s Writers’ Corner for more information at

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Another site for book lovers includes not only rare books and current books, but also keeps an up-to-date NY Times best seller list available, and offers suggestions for every taste and interest with categories like large print and “featured today.” See In the Rare Book Room, you can not only see prices on recent sales (George Bernard Shaw’s typewriter sold for $7,979 and Ernest Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea sold for $6,000), but you can learn how to care for old books, join their reading communities and forums, and do some of your own book selling.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Recently read: Victoria Moran’s Lit from Within

Moran is one of my favorite authors whose books always inspire. Lit from Within, like her other books, is an easy-to-read collection of brief essays designed to encourage the reader. The subtitle for this book is Tending Your Soul for Lifelong Beauty, but don’t assume it is a fluff piece about applying blush for a “youthful flush.” Instead, Moran provides ideas about raising your spirits, rituals that soothe you after a trying day, and living your life the way you’d like it to be.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Writer’s Eye

Check out The Writer’s Eye Magazine. This is an excellent site for artists and writers to get information, inspiration, and ideas: You can network, read, research, and learn—all essentials in the creativity business (and all OTHER kinds of business, too).

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Nonfiction and the Writers’ Digest workshop

The auditorium of the Mabel Tainter Memorial Theater

I have finished my 14-week online workshop titled “Writing the Nonfiction Book Proposal.” See for all the workshops they offer.

My instructor was Gloria Kempton. She was a wonderful editor, instructor and provided moral support as well. In addition to her own writing career and serving as an instructor for Writers’ Digest, Kempton is an independent writing coach. Visit her web site at

This was an extremely productive experience and WELL worth the reasonable cost. I now have a list of potential publishers, a query letter, and my first four chapters of my book, Ready for Act Three: the Restoration of the Mabel Tainter Memorial Theater. In addition, I have completed the book proposal consisting of an overview with hook, markets for my book, subsidiary rights, spin-offs, my platform, promotion plan, and complementary/competing books identified. I also have a brief outline and a complete outline with photos identified. I have an estimate for the number of pages my completed book will be, including the back matter. And I’ve got someone (Dr. James Miller) to write my foreward. How great is all that?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Recently read: John Lescroart’s The Suspect

I’ve been reading Lescroart’s legal thrillers steadily for years. He’s fortunately a prolific writer and he never disappoints. Most of the books are focused on San Francisco lawyer Dismas Hardy. In this one, Hardy only pops up in what is barely even a cameo role, but the book is still an excellent read. Attorney Gina Roake decides to get back to the courtroom when a high-profile case triggers her to offer her services. A dead wife by the hot tub, an eye witness, and a disturbed daughter are all trouble for popular outdoor writer Stuart Gorman. Roake’s first order of business is to get him to keep his mouth shut when the police are around. Well worth reading, even though the coincidental fishing scenes are a bit of a stretch in Chapter 1.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Creative hero: Marney Makridakis

The masthead of The Artella Daily Muse at

I have mentioned many times in this blog how much I enjoy the Artella web site at and the Artella Daily Muse (now free to everyone) at . I first stumbled on the site back in the spring of 2007 and have been addicted ever since. The entire world of Artella, which combines art and words (telling) is the first born “child” (Kai is her first-born son) of Marney Makridakis. Like many people, I’ve been lucky to have many heroes throughout my life, from my inspiring parents and family, from my many friends and mentors, teachers, writers, and on and on. In just the last 18 months, I have been accruing dozens and dozens of new heroes—all in the realm of creativity. Marney is one of the best. I just read an interview with her where she was asked what her studio looked like. She replied that it looked like it was colored outside the lines. Is that a wonderful image or what? And I think it is also a perfect description of how I see Marney—someone who paints life with broad brushstrokes, unafraid and generous. I want to live my life outside the lines!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Pausing for creative moments

I have been exploring creativity in daily life over the past few months. As a result, I’ve been alert to instances of how others, especially those with busy lives, find inspiration and the time to act on it. I always listen to Michael Barone’s program Pipedreams on Minnesota Public Radio (he’s carried nationally through American Public Media). On Sunday, October 26, his program featured the young organists studying at the Curtis Institute of Music. Their teacher, Alan Morrison, is not only a professor at the Institute, but also a composer and a performer who has two daughters—one is three and the other is one year old. During the interview part of the program, Morrison commented how much of his evenings are spent putting his daughters to bed, and that one night, as the littlest one successfully fell asleep, he sat watching her face. During those peaceful moments at the end of a busy day, Morrison mused on what his daughter’s dreams were like. That inspired him to compose his latest piece. I thought, if someone so caught up in an international career as a concert organist, an instructor, and a father can still notice those moments of inspiration and act on them to create, then why am I waiting for the perfectly peaceful stretch of time? Inspiration and creativity can happen regardless of a crowded agenda or daily tribulations. To hear the program and the interview with Morrison, listen at

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

President Obama: Yes we can!

Photo from Obama/Biden web site

We’re celebrating at our house as President-Elect Obama ushers in a new era of hope and wisdom. His election returns America to our true spirit of respect, unity and pride in our country.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Recently read: Holly Harrison’s Mixed-Media Collage

This is yet another of the beautifully illustrated art books that I’ve become addicted to since starting to collage. The subtitle of this one by Harrison is An Exploration of Contemporary Artists, Methods, and Materials. Like the other art books I’ve reviewed, this is a visual feast. The book starts with profiles of five contemporary mixed-media artists: Bedingfield, Di Pirro, Grasdal, MCartney and Moore. A question & answer format is blended with in-depth studies of their techniques. The second part of the book takes a look at a broader range of artists and techniques, and includes a chapter on artists and the Internet—handy in this day and age!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Today is . . .

Photo by Al Clare

Today is . . . light brown and crisp around the edges, crow calls and locusts, warm wood and water, light of feet and heavy of heart. Time is drifting heavily on slow water, hanging in the still air like mist, promise is in the far distance glowing faintly like fireflies in a summer night.

See September 21, 2008 for the genesis of my “today is . . . ” postings.