December 31, 2008

Writing Tip 9: Write it Down Says Terrie Moran

Author Terrie Farley Moran offers some sage advice she learned from another author.

"My writing tip comes from author Gillian Roberts (ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS). Her advice is: DON'T WRITE IT RIGHT, WRITE IT DOWN.

"I have that phrase stuck to my monitor on what is probably the tenth or twelfth grungy looking 3x3 sticky. This one is written in blue ink. The predecessors have been in black, brown, green, red, and even pencil. Some were written in script, but I find block letters work best for me."

Writing Tip 9: DON'T WRITE IT RIGHT, WRITE IT DOWN

Moran says the phrase stops her from interrupting her work.

"It stops me leaving my work in progress to check the thesaurus, or the dictionary, or to 'search' some exotic point. Side trips are distractions that interrupt my flow, and can lead to a less than stellar story all because I stopped to research at exactly the wrong moment."

** Good idea! How many times do we get up to check the fridge or just wander around to avoid - writing?

** What are your "side trips" that keep you from getting your story down on paper?


-- Terrie Farley Moran is author of numerous short stories. Her latest, "Just Call Me Nick," is in the Wolfmont Press anthology of holiday crime stories, DYING IN A WINTER WONDERLAND. All proceeds are being donated to the USMC Toys for Tots.

December 30, 2008

Eye Candy: Miniature Chocolate Shoppe



Nothing beats chocolate. It's been called the food of the gods and better than... well, better than anything.

Agreed. I love chocolate!

Besides eating chocolate, the fun is seeing it interpreted in miniature.

My friend Kitty has been working on making a fancy Chocolate Shoppe sure to make any chocoholic drool. The chocolate box kits and furniture kits are from Lisa's Little Things, (a real addiction in itself!)



Kitty makes her own chocolate and cakes from FIMO polymer clay. She also is making some of her own chocolate boxes from vintage labels. Convincing, huh?

You can see other pix of her food and more of her chocolate shop items at her blog.

From the supreme Godiva Chocolates, to Hershey's chocolate, there's something for every taste. (Check out the tiny Hershey's logos on the front page.)

For miniaturists, the fascination is in making a scene look real. Dollhouse printies are always fun to make - and see.

* Check out these modern chocolate candy wrappers (full size). (The Belgian chocolate link below also has small labels.)

* Or how about the perfect 1900's era Hershey bar wrapper. (full size).

** What's your favorite chocolate? I'll take Belgian chocolate anytime.

* See Part 2

December 29, 2008

Writing Tip 8: Plan says Roberta Isleib

Back to the Writing Tips today. Hope everyone had a nice holiday!

Writing is something that you have to plan. It doesn't always come naturally. It seems that if you don't make yourself sit and write, you'll find that there is always a reason NOT to do it. Procrastination is not a writer's friend.

Roberta Isleib, author of ASKING FOR MURDER, (Berkley) the latest in her new advice columnist series, has some simple, direct advice for writers.

Writing Tip 8: Set up a regular schedule and stick to it--do not wait for the muse to strike!

** More advice on novel writing

** Other basic writing tips, the things that are often overlooked

** Your Turn: What's your writing schedule?


-- In ASKING FOR MURDER, Rebecca's good friend, a social worker who does sand play therapy, is found beaten and left for dead. Rebecca searches for clues in her patients' sand trays to track a would-be killer.

She can only hope the clues are buried within easy reach.

December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!



Wishing everyone a wonderful, blessed Christmas!

See you on 12/29 for more Writing Tips!

December 24, 2008

Blog Award - Honest Scrap Award

I'm taking a break from the Writing Tips until after Christmas. They will resume on Mon, 12/29.

Morgan Mandel passed this Honest Scrap award on to me. Thanks, Morgan.

The award is for “scrappy honesty.” To accept it, the recipient has to:
1. List 10 honest things about him/herself (make it interesting, even if you have to dig deep!)
2. Pass the award on to 7 bloggers (I hope I don’t pass it to someone who already has it! If I do, I apologize).


10 Things About Me:
1. I like fruitcake, so there!
2. I'll take fish over meat.
3. I procrastinate.
4. Some women like shoes, I like purses. Never have enough.
5. I still like dolls and toys, but with grown-ups, it's called being a collector.
6. The dog is the boss.
7. I can't eat any meat with pink in it. Yuck!
8. I love to watch Smallville! Wish I'd saved those Superman comics I had as a kid!
9. I love old movies.
10. Clutter is my friend. ha!


Now I'm supposed to tag 7 people. I'll see how many I can come up with:

* Terrie Farley Moran @ Women of Mystery

* Evelyn David @ The Stiletto Gang

* Mayra Calvani @ Mayra's Secret Bookcase

* Beth Groundwater @ Beth Groundwater

* Rob Walker @ Acme Authors. Let's see if he bites.

* That's enough for me. See you after the holidays. Merry Christmas and Happy Hannukah!

December 23, 2008

Writing Tip 7: Character Guidance - Mary Cunningham

When you're writing, characters should come alive. The author often can hear the characters' voices. The question is, what are they saying?

Writer's Tip 7: Let Your Characters Guide You

Mary Cunningham, author of the young reader Cynthia's Attic series, (THE MISSING LOCKET, THE MAGIC MEDALLION, CURSE OF THE BAYOU, Quake/Echelon Press) readily admits her characters talk to her - and she listens.

"Authors sometimes complain that they have the characters nailed down, but the plot drives them crazy!," she says. "They get to a certain point and hit a wall.

"It made me think about how I wrote the plot for the first two Cynthia's Attic books. I also had my characters in mind, but, strangely enough, they told me where they wanted to go and what they wanted to do (anyone but a writer would think I'm nuts).

"For instance, in the second chapter of Cynthia's Attic: THE MISSING LOCKET, I still wasn't sure of the plot. I sat, hands poised on the keyboard. All at once, my fingers started moving. I looked at the computer screen and read what had been typed: 'Clara? Is that you?'

"Believe it or not, when I read those four words, the whole story fell out in front of me. It can happen that unexpectedly. Oh sure, you still have to write the story, but, if you get stuck, let your characters guide you."

** Good advice and it gives us a reason to talk to ourselves, right?

** What do your characters say to you?


-- Mary Cunningham is the author of the Cynthia's Attic series and co-author of the humor book WOOF: Women Only Over Fifty.

In THE MISSING LOCKET, best friends, Gus and Cynthia snoop in Cynthia's parents' attic, discovering an old trunk that leads them to various adventures. A fun time-travel/fantasy.

December 22, 2008

Writing Tip 6: Nicknames, Mary Reed/Eric Mayer

Writing Tip 6: A Rose By Any Other Name...


Authors Mary Reed and Eric Mayer know something about names, having written seven books in their John the Eunuch mystery series set in 6th century Constantinople, beginning with ONE FOR SORROW and the latest, SEVEN FOR A SECRET (Poisoned Pen Press).

Reed says, "In deciding what to call one's characters, nicknames can be very useful.

"Take for example stylites, holy men who lived atop lofty columns, standing there in all weather and never descending to earth.

"Two such stylites are Leo the Castigator and Luke of the Silver Tongue. Both, alas, came to bad ends.

"In the short story 'Leap of Faith,' published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Leo is murdered in full view of Empress Theodora and half the court while standing alone atop his pillar in an open air/locked room-type mystery. Luke is killed by spontaneous combustion under similar circumstances in our second novel, TWO FOR JOY.

"We venture to suggest their nicknames -- based upon their respective ways of addressing the faithful -- not only add color to their brief appearances, but also indicate their personal characters by employing what we recommend as a useful sort of literary shorthand."


-- Mary Reed and Eric Mayer, authors of the John the Eunuch Mystery series.

In the current, SEVEN FOR A SECRET, Lord Chamberlain, John spends his days counseling Emperor Justinian while passing the small hours of night in conversation with the solemn-eyed girl depicted in a mosaic on his study wall.

He never expected to meet her in a public square or afterwards find her red-dyed corpse in a subterranean cistern. Can he find the truth in time?

** Do you give your characters nicknames? How much do they reveal their character?

December 19, 2008

Writing Tip 5: Camille Minichino's Take on Time

Time is in short supply these days. We're rushing to stores, rushing to prepare for the holidays, rushing to... write?

Not exactly. You can be eager to write, but take your time about getting to it. More realistically, it can be hard to devote the time to writing, especially when it's a larger project like a novel.

Camille Minichino/Margaret Grace author of The Dollhouse Mystery Series, MURDER IN MINIATURE, MAYHEM IN MINIATURE and the upcoming MALICE IN MINIATURE (Berkley Feb. 09), says you don't need a lot of time to write.

Writing Tip 5: Use Every Minute

She says, "learn to use small amounts of time to further your work in progress. If you wait until you have 'the ideal' setting or block of time, you'll never finish!

"Even if you have only fifteen minutes, make use of it to reconnect with the book."

Good advice! Every minute can add up.

** Your Turn: how/when do you squeeze in writing time?


-- Camille Minichino/Margaret Grace, MAYHEM IN MINIATURE: In Book 2, Gerry and granddaughter Maddie try to help one of Gerry's students who's accused of murder.

In Book 3, MALICE IN MINIATURE, Gerry is going to a reunion at the high school where she taught for more than two decades. But trouble makes an appearance when a former student is accused of murdering an old flame. Gerry and granddaughter Maddie, now 11, find their lives turned upside down as they try to find the answers.

December 18, 2008

Writing Tip 4, Description, Author Norm Cowie

We think in pictures. A book with just the right words can conjure up the perfect image in our minds. But too much "color" and too much setting can leave the reader...

Well, let Norm Cowie, author of THE NEXT ADVENTURES OF GUY (Draumr Publishing 2007) and the upcoming funny (yes, funny) Young Adult vampire book, FANG FACE (Echelon Press, Aug.'09) tell it his way:

Tip 4: Cut the Description

"Too many people put way too much description in their stories, and run the risk of boring their reader," says Cowie.

Cowie points to author Elmore Leonard who once said the following about writing: "I try to leave out the parts that people skip."

"So, don't describe it unless it needs to be described! It sounds easy, but..."

We know, try it, right?

** What's your take on it?

-- Norm Cowie, THE NEXT ADVENTURES OF GUY, a zany adventure/fantasy continuing the quest of Guy and his college buddies taking on sinister forces and working to save Earth from aliens.

December 17, 2008

12 Days of Writing, Tip 3, Make it Count

Go to a grocery store or anywhere else and it seems that everyone is talking and talking. People everywhere are on the phone or texting. What do they have to talk about?

These days, talk is cheap - and plentiful. When it comes to writing, though, too much verbiage can be a problem.

Tip 3: Make Every Word Count

"Challenge every word," says Joanna Campbell Slan, author of PAPER, SCISSORS, DEATH (Midnight Ink).

"When I worked in advertising, we had so little space that I learned to 'challenge' every word, to ask each word, 'Can you be deleted or replaced?'

"In school, most of us pad to meet the assigned word length. Our papers are bloated with excess. We are rewarded for being verbose. That model is all wrong.

Unless you are being paid by the word, you should make every word pay its own way by being lean, clean and specific."

** Look for more tips for writers at Joanna's blog

-- Joanna Campbell Slan, author of PAPER, SCISSORS DEATH, A Kiki Lowenstein Scrap-N-Craft Mystery (Midnight Ink).

Kiki Lowenstein, scrapbooker, mother, killer? Now she must find who killed her husband - and his girlfriend - before the killer closes in on her.

December 16, 2008

12 Days of Writing, Tip 2: When the Blues are Good

Writers all have those days when they wonder if they're on the right track. It's easy to get the blues when the writing isn't going well, the naysayers are talking, and manuscripts are going nowhere.

Today's guest Peggy Ehrhart, author of SWEET MAN IS GONE (Five Star/Gale/Cengage, July 2008), has sang the blues. Like many writers, she knows about discouragement - and success. Her advice?

Tip 2 – Never Stop.

Sure, we've all been told never to give up in our quest to become published --I wrote five books before I sold my blues mystery, SWEET MAN IS GONE to Five Star, Ehrhart says.

"But there's another sense in which 'never stop' is good advice. I found that revising as I went along often meant that I spent weeks on one chapter, and it might be a chapter that I discarded in a later version of the project!

"Now I plough ahead, not striving for perfection but just getting my story told.

"I outline the whole thing in advance so I know where I'm going, then I write four pages a day and focus on piling up those pages.

"If I write every day, I don't even need to reread the pages from the day before because the material is still fresh in my mind. (If I pause to reread, I can't resist revising. Then I'm fussing over what I already did rather than moving ahead.)

"When the whole story is told, I go back and tinker to my heart's content-and that's fun too."

-- SWEET MAN IS GONE by Peggy Ehrhart - Blues-singer Maxx Maxwell is smart, talented, and gorgeous, with a band that's taking off. Then her guitarist plunges to his death and Maxx fears her career is over. When the death is ruled a suicide, Maxx vows to find the answer.

December 15, 2008

12 Days of Writing, Tip 1: Inspiration & Rewriting

Now that the 12 Days of Christmas in Miniature is over, I thought I'd follow up with another series, this time on THE 12 DAYS OF WRITING (and maybe more if I get enough advice to share.)

The series will be a few short thoughts and a writing tip from myself and other authors. Be sure to come back daily and see who is offering up their pearls of writing wisdom.

Writing as Work

Writing can be one of the most enjoyable and rewarding things you'll ever do. But don't let anyone kid you. It can also also be one of the hardest and most frustrating of occupations, as well.

Once the aura of the byline and getting published wears off, the writing becomes work. It's putting one word after another and constructing one sentence after another until you reach the desired word count.

Forget muses. Deadlines don't wait for inspiration. If you are getting paid to write, whether it be fiction or nonfiction, the writing has to be done, period. But that is only the beginning.


Tip #1: Write and then rewrite.

By Christine Verstraete, author of Searching For A Starry Night, A Miniature Art Mystery

You may polish as you write or go back and fix things up later, but don't expect the first draft to be your last. Good writers know that writing means rewriting. It may mean getting feedback from one editor, fixing things, then getting feedback from another editor, fixing them some more, and so on. It means re-reading until you can't see the words on the page. The best advice: write, let the manuscript sit for a couple days if possible, then go back to it. Rest and rewrite. Write, spruce, polish.
--

For other thoughts on writing inspiration, check out these Mystery Writing Lessons from author PD James.

** Your Turn: Share your view on inspiration and rewriting.

** Be sure to come back tomorrow and see who's dropped in.

December 13, 2008

12 Days of Christmas in Miniature - Postscript

I mentioned in one of my previous posts on French Country during the 12 Days of Christmas in Miniature, (see post 1 to start), that I'd share my friend Kitty's French Country/Shabby Chic-inspired Christmas.

** (Go to Day 1 of 12 Days of Christmas in Miniature)




She's finished her miniature Christmas decorating, so I thought I'd share her recent work.



You can see all the photos of her Brocante house at her blog. Enjoy!

December 12, 2008

12 Days of Christmas in Miniature, Day 12, A Christmas Story Part 2



(** Go to Day 1 of the 12 Days of Christmas in Miniature)

Part 2: Continued, "The Thief of Christmas Present"
By Robert W. Walker

(** If you missed the beginning, read Part 1 of The Thief of Christmas Present here.**)

(Photos: Christmas Santa House by C. Verstraete, see more pix here - click miniatures; Festive gold and white holiday scenes featuring the miniatures of Lissu, used w/ permission. See more pix and visit her blog)

Today we conclude our original Christmas tale by Robert W. Walker, author of 36 novels including the latest gaslight thriller, CITY OF THE ABSENT, featuring his detective, Ransom, and the psychic novel, PSI (Psychic Sensory Investigation.

To recap: the family are watching the film to see who is stealing the Cluewellens' Christmas from Julia's dollhouse. (Part 1 is in the previous post, the 11th Day of Christmas)

Shortly after, Stevie entered the room, asking, "What kinda movie is this?"

"The movie that's gonna prove you stole the Cluewellens' Christmas!"



"I didn't touch that stuff! I didn't do it, mom!"

Joannie came down from her room and asked, "Are you still blaming that on Stevie? He wouldn't do that!"

"We got you on tape this time, Joannie...or Stevie...whichever one of you guys did it, so there!" Julia set her jaw, determined to watch every hour of the unmoving movie frame by frame. "Mom and me...we gotcha good now. Liar."

Joannie came at her sister. "Who're you calling a liar? Me?"

"If the shoe fits!"

"Enough, both of you! Stop it. Either sit down and watch the tape or leave the room, but please, no more accusations, Julia, and no more shouting, Joannie-and you, Stevie, stop crying."

"I didn't do it," he complained through tears. "I always get blamed for everything!"


"All I know is somebody stole the Cluewellens' Christmas tree now!" Julia shot back.

"Hey, what's that?" asked Joannie, pointing at the screen. "I saw movement-a shadow-back of the miniature."

Julia, Stevie, and Mother Waldron stared at the slight squeaking noise, too, and in a moment, they all watched a pair of whiskers and a brown button nose rise over the back of the miniature at the chimney.

"It's Newton, my ferret!" shouted Stevie. "He's escaped again."

Newton lived up to his name, always finding ways to escape his cage, and often, Stevie allowed him 'free run time' but Newton always returned to his cage. Newton had even found a way out of the house one night.

"What's he doing?" asked Julia. "OMG-he's going down the chimney."

"Like Santa," said Stevie.




"No...more like The Grinch," replied Joannie. "There's your Christmas thief, Julia!"

"But...I mean how...why?" she asked. "Why's he terrifying the Cluewellens and destroying their Christmas?"

"You really think Newton is thinking along those lines, Julia?" Joannie couldn't hold back her laughter.

"Shhh...watch him. Look, look," said Mom. "The little thief! He's dragging the entire tree out the front door."

With the tree clear of the door, it snapped closed, and Newton scurried away with the five-inch high tree, ornaments trailing. He truly did look like a miniature version of The Grinch except that he was brown and not green.

"Stevie's pet's the thief...the whole time," Julia muttered in disbelief.

"What's he doing with all the stolen goods?" asked mom. "Shall we find out?"

"I think you're gonna need a ferret whisperer or a pet shrink to figure that out, Mom," replied Joannie, still laughing.



"Nothing funny about that little rat destroying the Cluewellens' Christmas!" countered Julia.

"Why don't we all just go on a scavenger hunt?" began Mom. "To see where Newton is stashing all the decorations and presents."

"And stockings!" added Julia.

The four of them started for Stevie's room where Newton lived in a cage. Everyone in the family had gotten so used to Newton's escapes and escapades about the house that no one took great notice of him of late.

"What's going on?" asked Jack Waldron, their father, who'd caught them gathered at the foot of the stairs as he came through the door, home from the office.

Everyone spoke at once until Anna calmed them and pointed to the still action shot on the TV. "We caught Newton red-handed. "He's Julia's Christmas thief."

"Must be the shiny stuff attracts Newton, eh?" asked Jack.



"But he's never done this before!" Anna replied. "Any rate, we're heading up to Steve's room to see where he's stashing the goods."

"Say, did anyone read that book that came with the ferret when you bought Newton at the pet store?" asked Joannie, who was browsing the book for any clues.

"Who's got time to read?" asked Julia.

They all went for Stevie's room, and looked into Newton's cage, a made-over fish tank. There, amid the usual sawdust and toy shelters and fake greenery, was a stash of Christmas miniatures, from the tree, to the presents and the stockings. All of it lay in a neat, orderly circular design. The look on Newton's face said, "I confess."



Joannie handed the paperback book on ferrets and ferret behavior to her mother. "Take a look at the last section on page sixteen."

She glanced at the page. "Oh, dear...then this means..."

"What is it?" asked Julia. "Nothing in that book could possibly excuse this rodent's behavior, and as for you, Stevie-this is all your-"

"No, Julia!" countered her father, who'd now read page sixteen. "No way is this Stevie's fault!"

"You owe Stevie and me an apology," Joannie said to Julia, having closed in on her, nose-to-nose. "And all our friends, too!"

"You do owe everyone an apology, Julia," her mother agreed. "In the meantime, Newton is going to need a new name."

"Whataya mean?" asked Julia.

"New name?" asked Stevie.



"Newton is a girl, and she's stealing shiny objects to make a nest, because she's going to have baby ferrets."

"OMG!" replied Julia. "That's it! That explains the mystery."

"But if Newton's not a boy...what're we going to call Newton?" asked Stevie.

"Newtonia?" suggested Joannie, a snicker escaping.

"Why don't we make it Madame Curie," suggested mom. "I think she outsmarted us all. In any event, case closed."

Stevie lifted the flimsy lid and started to reach in to retrieve the Cluewellens' Christmas stuff-his sister's stuff, but Julia stayed his hand. "No, Stevie. She-Madame Curie-she needs it now more than the Cluewellens."

"Aren't you ahhh worried about the Cluewellens?" asked Anna of her daughter.

"They'll understand when I explain it to them," Julia replied and shrugged, "and besides, there's always next year."

Anna hugged Julia and Jack put a hand on his daughter's shoulder, and with the entire family looking on at Newton-now Madame Curie-every one smiled, and if ferrets can smile, Madame Curie smiled back, a knowing glint in her eye.

"I have an idea for the Cluwellens' Christmas," said Stevie.

"What's that? asked Julia.

"Why not give them a front row seat for Christmas?"

"Meaning?"

"Put their house under our tree!"



Everyone agreed it was a wonderful solution, and that Julia had a lot of apologies to make, and that she'd tell and retell Newton's story between now and Christmas quite often indeed.

The End.
(c)2008 RW Walker published by http://candidcanine.blogspot.com


** I hope you enjoyed this Christmas tale and the 12 Days of Christmas. Merry Christmas and the best in the New Year to everyone! As Tiny Tim said, "God Bless us, every one!"

** Monday, 12/15 I begin the 12 Days of Writing, so please stop by!

December 11, 2008

12 Days of Christmas in Miniature, Day 11, A Christmas Story



On the Eleventh Day of Christmas, someone gave to me…

An original Christmas story!



Today I have the pleasure of presenting an original Christmas tale by Robert W. Walker, author of 36 novels including the latest gaslight thriller, CITY OF THE ABSENT, featuring his detective, Ransom, and the psychic novel, PSI (Psychic Sensory Investigation).

Never fear, this story, which will run in two parts, is rated PG. Merry Christmas!

(Go to Day 1 of 12 Days of Christmas)

The Thief of Christmas Present
By Robert W. Walker

(Photos: Christmas Santa House by C. Verstraete, see more pix - click miniatures)



Julia rushed into her mother's room, her eleven-year-old arms flapping as she said, "Joannie stole my Christmas presents! I just know it was her!"

"Your big sister wouldn't do that, Julia."

"Then its one of her girlfriends."

"I've talked to Joannie, and she's given the third degree to every friend who has been visiting the house since Thanksgiving."

Julia's eyes filled with tears. "Musta been that boyfriend of hers then!"

"He seems like a nice, respectful boy, and whatever would possess him to steal your miniature Christmas presents from beneath your miniature tree?"

Anna Waldron hugged her daughter to her. "We'll find the stolen goods. They're likely somewhere on a shelf. Thoughtlessly moved by one of your little friends."

"No, no mom! I don't let anyone reach into my dollhouse and take out anything, not the figurines, not the furniture, and certainly not the presents under the tree."

Anna wondered how this could keep happening to her daughter. Julia had put heart and soul into her miniature house this year. In fact, she'd begun creating the tree, the ornaments, lights, stockings hanging over the fireplace, and the presents beneath the tree since last Christmas.

She'd got it in her head that her dollhouse ought to have all the ornaments and decorations of any home, that Mr. and Mrs. Cluewellen and their three children who lived in the miniature house ought to have a wonderful Christmas too.





Julia had worked so hard to make it happen, and now, day-by-day, all her work was coming unraveled. The day before she noticed an ornament missing from the tiny tree. The day before that one of the stockings she'd labored so hard to make was gone from the mantel. Poof. Now two of the tiny presents from beneath the tree-gone. Stolen.

"At this rate," moaned Julia, "by the time Christmas gets here, the Cluewellens won't have anything left."

Anna patted Julia's hand. "And The Christmas Crook of the Present will have won!"

"We can't let that happen, mom!"

"We must act, set a trap."

"A trap?"

"Yeah, we'll wire up a trap that will snap on those sticky fingers."

"Then you think it's Stevie?"

"I hope not, but your little brother is at that age. I sure hope he hasn't lied about this."

"Well...it's not a ghost. I asked the Cluewellens if they'd had any problems with anything like a poltergeist, and they said no."

"You believe them?" Mother Waldron laughed, but Julia stared at her, eyes saying, 'not funny'.

"They don't lie, cheat, or steal, mom."

"Neither does your brother or your sister for that matter, young lady."

"Well I'm not lying about it! Someone's stealing the Cluewellens' Christmas right under our noses."



"You set the trap," suggested Anna. "I'm going to set up a concealed camera, so we can get to the bottom of this before..."

Julia looked up at her mother, wondering why she'd stopped talking. "Before all of the presents and decorations are gone?"

"Before you make your sister and your brother angrier with you than they already are."

"Angry with me? I'm the victim here. Me and the Cluewellens."

"Honey, you have accused both of them of stealing and lying about it. Then you accused their friends."

Julia nodded, and for a moment Anna thought her child understood and agreed, but then Julia said, "It could've been one of Stevie's dumb friends."

"Well now, we're going to find out, aren't we?"

"You think it'll work, mom?"

"At the rate things are disappearing, my hunch is that whoever's behind the theft will be back."

They put the trap into play.

They wisely left the miniature house untouched and unmoved, the same enticement as ever.

An entire day and most of the evening went by with young Julia wanting to check the Cluewellens' living room and tree every hour, while her mother insisted they wait and see. When Anna decided the camera's battery would be in need of help, mother and daughter went into her room to determine if anything had been taken. They found the front door closed. Julia gasped when she looked in through the windows. The entire tiny Christmas tree had been taken! All about the front door and steps, glitter appeared like colored snow. Whoever was behind the theft, cleaning up after him-or herself-wasn't a concern.

"It's got to be Stevie or one of his goofy friends," Julia said, tears forming. "Maybe Stevie's too chicken to tell on Tad."

"Let's reserve judgment and see what the camera says."

They made popcorn and popped the film into the USB port of the TV and sat down to watch the unfolding events. Unfortunately, during the first hour, nothing unfolded.

"This is a real snore and a bore," Julia complained, tiring of the popcorn as well.

After a while, Julia began making up a storyline to go with the miniature people inside the house on the screen, and it was so vivid that her mom could almost imagine that the little Cluewellen family was as real as Julia believed them to be. She began to see Mrs. Cluewellen move that feather duster in her hand. But clearing her head and eyes, Mother Waldron thought better of saying she'd begun to see the miniature people roaming around inside their miniature house. Maybe the miniature was haunted at that....

(** Part 2 of the Christmas Story, The Thief of Christmas Present, by Robert W.
Walker is continued here.)


(c)2008 RW Walker published by http://candidcanine.blogspot.com

December 10, 2008

12 Days of Christmas in Miniature, Day 10, French Country Christmas

On the Tenth Day of Christmas, someone gave to me....

**(Go to Day 1 of the 12 Days of Christmas in Miniature - Next: Day 11 - A minis-illustrated Christmas story)


A White Christmas


(Pictured: White Christmas tree from Remodeling Myspace gallery Check out the peacock feather tree!)

My friend Kitty's Brocante House inspired today's post.

Kitty decided to decorate her Brocante House for the holidays, adding this charming Christmas meal in the kitchen. Makes you want to pull up a chair, doesn't it?



Next, she wants to decorate a gold and white tree for the house, which I'll add when she gets done.

The French Country-Shabby Chic look is something I want to try on a half-scale house I have. It's a Colonial style house, which has a country feel to it and would be perfect, I think. It has a beautiful paneled living room with fireplace. I painted the walls a yellowish-white and may repaint them again to the more pale white.

Looking around, I found a few other photos for inspiration.

This French country room decorated for Christmas looks real, doesn't it?

Here is the perfect pretty white Christmas tree at Margie's Petite Palette .

Or how about some French signs and furnishings? Perfect for your house? These signs would give any home that European touch.





You can tour the real thing for ideas, also. Take a look around this $14.6 million estate in Seattle, Washington.

** Tomorrow and Friday I'll have a special Christmas tour and a fun Christmas treat by a guest author. So be sure to come back!

December 09, 2008

12 Days of Christmas in Miniature, Day 9, Christmas Gifts



*** (Go to Day 1 of the 12 Days of Christmas in Miniature - Next: Day 10)

With the Christmas tree all decorated, it's time to go shopping. What will be under your tree this year?

I talked to Santa and he found a few Christmas miniatures that might look good in your dollhouse.

How about a pretty screen kit?



This screen/divider kit from A Small Affair would give any room a Christmasy feel.

Some people relax by knitting or crocheting. These pretty handmade Christmas doilies made by Minna at Minna's Doll World are a nice idea to try (if you're not all fingers. ha!)




A Winter Wonderland

After shopping, take time to visit friends and stop for a treat.

First stop is Mary's house for some Christmas festivities. Don't forget to wipe your feet! Doesn't this scene make you feel like having a hot chocolate and humming Christmas carols? (Looks just like a Christmas card, doesn't it?)

This gingerbread and sweets table is sure to make the season bright.



How about a special gift? Don't forget a copy of Searching For A Starry Night, A Miniature Art Mystery for under your tree!


Deck the Halls

For fun, watch this miniature dollhouse get decorated on YouTube. Quite a party!

Ho-ho-ho! See you tomorrow for more fun Christmas miniatures!

December 08, 2008

12 Days of Christmas in Miniature, Day 8, O Christmas Tree



**(Go to Day 1 of the 12 Days of Christmas in Miniature - Next: Day 9)

On the Eighth Day of Christmas, someone gave to me...

The perfect Christmas Tree. (Pictured: Miniature Christmas room, Smithsonian Museum Store)

If you truly want to celebrate Christmas in miniature, then getting the perfect Christmas tree is a must. What kind of tree to get or how to decorate it? I found some great sources for Christmas trees and decorating ideas.

The Smithsonian Museum Store has a beautiful parlor set that'll have you in the Christmas spirit in no time. A chorus of "O Christmas Tree" and a mug of Wassail anyone?

Or how about something more original?

This 9" tall, one-of-a-kind "Peace" Tree by Alice Zinn at Mini Christmas features 50 lights and handmade ornaments. It features that "new look" using larger than normal ornaments I've been seeing on real trees.

Do you feel creative? Try making your own tree. Victoria Miniland has a great video on How To Make A Miniature Christmas Tree.

A Patriotic Christmas


What better inspiration than the gorgeous White House Christmas tree? See the 2008 White House Christmas tree and the beautiful decorations in this video.

Visit the White House web pages for history on the National Christmas tree, more about the decorations, (check out the gingerbread White House!) and even a hot chocolate recipe!

The George Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas, hosted the incredible Miniature White House last Christmas season. See photos of the miniature rooms here.

The amazing house, which I'd love to see in person someday, represents more than 30 years of work by the Zwiefel family. The house, 55' long and 20' wide, presents up-to-date views of all the rooms in the White House. I wonder if they'll do the Obama administration changes, also.

*Come back tomorrow for more Christmas in miniature!
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