This is So Cool–and it’s Free!

tumblr_inline_o1mdsxa1zz1rs13co_500Doing a little U.K. research this morning, and I ran across a terrific freebie that is practically unrelated to my research (well, it is England-related) but it is fun. It is also Free– a lovely coloring book filled with art images from the Middle Ages to bring out the artist in everyone. Click This Link–2016-Bodleian-Library-Colouring-Book to get your own PDF copy of the coloring book to download from the Bodleian Library. Don’t bother clicking the lovely GIF at the right–it’s just showing off to get your attention. Love this–especially because it’s free. So, grab your colored (or should that be coloured?) pencils, fun inks, or crayons. Download and print your own copy to spend the weekend coloring up the Middle Ages. Have fun, everyone!



What’s New and Free Wednesday?

Am just making a brief stop today as I am knee-deep in marketing tasks and edits on a summer short story and the content edits for Abstract Aliases, book three in the Bodies of Art series. But I have a free short story to report on at the moment. Tonya Kappes is getting everyone ready for Valentine’s Day by offering Color Me Love (an Olivia Davis paranormal mini-mystery) right now. Don’t know for sure how long this mini-mystery is free, so grab a copy while you can 🙂

Color Me Love

Stuff Builds Characters

What Stuff SaysI revamped out my office this weekend, exchanging one desk for another. My dog loves it because she can take over every inch of the middle of my office floor (and is doing so right now. And snoring). But this changeover got me thinking about a kind of quiz I do each time I start brainstorming characters for my series. Since I’m a week away from the Henery Press release of Counterfeit Conspiracies and Marked Masters, I thought I’d spend a few minutes today talking about how “stuff” builds Laurel Beacham’s character.

  1. Laurel Beacham is likely to keep…things that fit in her huge purse and help her get into and out of trouble on a daily basis as she attempts to keep art masterpieces from disappearing into the “ether.” In her public persona, she’s more likely to use her cell phone to connect with someone who can provide the “open sesame” she needs to get into exclusive events. In her private persona as a reclamation angel, she uses the slick little gizmos and lock picks she’s bought and received from Nico and others to give her the edge needed to “reclaim” stolen art. She’s also prone to stashing costume jewelry, travel guidebooks, business cards, and alarms that warn when someone might be trying to sneak up behind her (yes, this happens a lot).
  2. Travel luggageSpring may be right around the corner but before Laurel can switch out her wardrobe she needs to…Well, usually she needs to find it. Her luggage may be tagged with her contact information, but more and more often she finds her bags disappearing and she’s left washing outfits in the bathroom sink each night or sending them down for hotel laundering. While that may not sound organized, losing her luggage is never her fault. And since she’s “out of the office” and somewhere in Europe about 200 days each year, she’s learned to be pretty self-sufficient when her belongings go AWOL and her credit cards are maxed out.
  3. Going to the grocery store is…pretty much an unknown for Laurel. Even if her mother hadn’t died when she was four, whenever she found her way into the kitchen of her grandparent’s mansion the cook usually just patted her on the head and handed her a cookie or piece of cake. By the time Laurel’s father inherited everything, then gambled it all away, her means of managing a meal was firmly established in deciphering a French menu rather than actually cooking a meal using a French cookbook. So grocery stores are still a mystery and a marvel to her, and she usually leaves with half her needs because she has no idea what ingredients are necessary for favorite meals. However, she does know where to find all the ingredients for a killer martini.
  4. poker tableIf Laurel ever forgets keys or a combination to a safe…it doesn’t fluster her. Thanks to training by some not-so-conventional friends, she can pick a lock or crack most safes. Because of this “training to stay calm under pressure” she is also an excellent poker player–a skill that comes in handy far beyond the gaming table.
  5.  art masterpiecesBecause Laurel’s life was pretty much an exercise in perpetual “loss” from her teens to early twenties, and she’s still saddled with debt incurred due to her father’s squandering practices before his demise, she’s a pro at pulling herself up and charging on–despite all new challenges or losses. The only time she won’t tolerate something going missing is when public art is involved. In those cases, she will do everything in her power to locate and gain back the missing masterpieces, and put the perpetrator behind bars if possible.

So what does your stuff say about you? 🙂

Counterfeit Conspiracies and Marked Masters can be pre-ordered now and will be released Feb. 2nd. You can find all the bookseller links for both books at Where to Buy My Books


Weed Out and De-Clutter Wednesday — January 20, 2016

WOW memeQuick tip to start de-cluttering: Give away one item every day.

  • grab an extra pantry item to give to a food bank,
  • take an gently used sweater to Goodwill,
  • leave a finished paperback on the train for someone else to read,
  • scoop up the tub of crayons & markers your kids don’t use anymore and give to a daycare facility or children’s Bible class for art supplies.

Doing just this one simple thing every day means 365 less items in the house at the end of one year (366 in 2016, since this is leap year). Besides giving you more room because unused items won’t be cluttering your space, this simple practice will help other people at the same time.

Try it. Let me know about your success 🙂



Tuesday Travel Tips — January 19, 2016

TTT meme
When packing, add a dryer sheet to clothes to keep everything smelling fresher and cut down on static. Need to pack chargers and earbuds? Clam-shell closing eyeglass cases work perfectly to keep everything packed but still easily accessible if needed–or wrap earbuds around a binder clip to keep cords from tangling. Forget the wall plug for phone charger? Check the back of the nearest flat screen TV for an empty USB slot to use instead.



Monday Morning Motivator – January 17, 2016

MMM memeAs early as possible, write down the most important tasks of the day. Not everything can be a priority. Knowing what absolutely must be done–and when–helps you focus better on goals for the day and not get sidetracked.