March 29, 2011

Favorite Miniature: Totes, In Miniature Style II

I love making these tote bags - great for carrying things or make a smaller handbag version. I love the faux "leather" fabric with a contrasting cloth interior.... yes it's in the book, In Miniature Style II ** BUY: In Miniature Style II ebook (pdf) ** Author page (eBook Vol 1 and II) ** Download other formats: Smashwords In Miniature Style II ebook ** See project info and photos In Miniature Style II

March 28, 2011

Miniatures Monday: In Miniature Style II Mini Eats!

Thought I'd share some recent foods I made. I love miniature salads! The green salad uses FIMO canes I bought. I made the lettuce from plastic snow painted with leaf green acrylic paint. Cut into small pieces and glue in bowl. The miniature potato salads are made with egg canes I made from FIMO polymer clay and a "secret" ingredient per my how-to from In Miniature Style II. Very easy and you'll be amazed at what it is! Any guesses?



** BUY: In Miniature Style II ebook (pdf)

** Author page (eBook Vol 1 and II) ** Download other formats: Smashwords In Miniature Style II ebook

** See project info and photos In Miniature Style II

March 25, 2011

In Miniature Style II Coming Soon: See Completed cover! EBook links available!



Finally! My new miniatures how-to book, IN MINIATURE STYLE II is on its way! The first copies will be coming soon and it'll soon be available for sale.

** BUY: In Miniature Style II ebook - Author page (eBook Vol 1 and II)

** Download other formats: Smashwords In Miniature Style II ebook

** See project info and photos In Miniature Style II

Stay tuned for the launch party with sales links, prizes and who knows what else!

Here's a better look at the back, featuring my food table and the fabulous paint can scene by miniaturist Fern Rouleau, who's also featured and supplied a really neat how-to! Love her imaginative work!

March 23, 2011

Goodbye to Legend Elizabeth Taylor



Elizabeth Taylor was always one of my favorite actresses. Such beauty and grace. A wonderful actress. I was just watching Cleopatra recently and the costumes are astounding! Another Hollywood legend gone...

March 15, 2011

Welcome Linda O. Johnston, author of Beaglemania! A mystery with bite!

Today I welcome Linda O. Johnston, author of the new doggie mystery, Beaglemania (A Pet Rescue Mystery).

About the Book:
Lauren Vancouver is the head of HotRescues, a no-kill animal shelter north of Los Angeles, but it's often human nature that puts her in the path of danger. Just like when she helps rescue four adorable beagle puppies that were dumped down a drainpipe at a nasty puppy mill. One of the mill's employees has a history of dog abuse-and a bone to pick with Lauren. And when he's found dead at HotRescues after threatening her, Lauren will have to sniff out the real killer to keep herself out of a cage...

Review:
Having received an arc of the book, I have to say that the first thing that struck me was the book's cover picture. Wow! This has to be not only one of the prettiest, but the cutest book covers I've seen! Who can resist a bunch of puppies?

The inside is just as good. Lauren is a likable, strong investigator who will stop at nothing to solve the crime and protect animals. What's neat is that the author also works in pet rescue, bringing an air of reality to the series. Definitely something to bark about!

Dogs, Mysteries and More
By Linda O. Johnston

As you probably can see while reading this, The Candid Canine blog says it’s about "All the Dog, Book and Minis News Fit To Bark About."

I’m here to bark about my new Pet Rescue Mystery series. It combines two of those topics--dogs and books! The series debuted this month with BEAGLEMANIA. It starts off at a puppy mill rescue where, yes, beagle puppies and others are saved.

The series is a spin-off from my Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mysteries. Both are from Berkley Prime Crime. You can read one without reading the other, but I of course suggest you read both.

I consider Kendra an alter-ego of mine. She’s a lawyer who lives in the Hollywood Hills with her Cavalier King Charles spaniel, Lexie. I’ve been a lawyer, and I live in the Hollywood Hills with my two Cavaliers, Lexie and Mystie, as well as my husband. I’ve fortunately never become a murder magnet, though.

The protagonist of my new Pet Rescue Mystery series is Lauren Vancouver, the director of HotRescues, a no-kill animal shelter. She was introduced in HOWL DEADLY, the eighth Kendra mystery, and also appeared in FELINE FATALE, the ninth. I adore Lauren and her obsession with saving animals, but I didn’t think she’d become an alter ego of mine, too.

But that was before I started researching her stories. I met with pet rescuers of many kinds. I visited shelters, both public and private. I talked to people. Met animals.

Now I volunteer at a private shelter, Pet Orphans of Southern California. I’m a dog adoption counselor, which means I both screen potential adopters and introduce them to dogs they might fall in love with. It’s always such a thrill when a match works and the people I’ve first screened bring a dog to its new forever home. I’m also the Los Angeles Pet Rescue Examiner for the Examiner.com website.

Lauren’s way of dealing with animals is different from mine. She’s in charge at HotRescues, her private, no-kill shelter, and does a great job of helping the animals with whom she comes in contact. As I mentioned, BEAGLEMANIA begins with a rescue from a puppy mill. Some of Lauren’s later adventures will involve an animal hoarder and a shelter that takes in unadoptable pets.

I can still identify with her and her obsession. Check her out, and let me know what you think. Maybe you’ll identify with her, too. And I most certainly hope you find her fun enough to bark about.

By the way, in the Pet Rescue Mysteries, “no-kill” means pets, not people....

Please come visit me at http://www.lindaojohnston.com/ and at http://www.killerhobbies.blogspot.com/ on Wednesdays. Friend me on Facebook. I’d love to hear what you think of pet rescue--and BEAGLEMANIA!

March 14, 2011

Miniatures Monday: Cupcakes!



A few of my friend Kitty's new cupcakes (and cookies)!





My friend, Kitty is fantastic at making miniature foods. She's on a cupcake kick now and well, she's got me hooked, too! She made a bunch of teapots for me before and we both made a tea shoppe. So this time we're both going to make a cupcake shop. The fun part is trading things back and forth between the US and Holland, and seeing how we both do our shops. I have to decide yet whether to put it in a house or a shadowbox. We both like shabby chic, so we're leaning in that direction for colors.

March 09, 2011

Welcome JQ Rose, author of mystery, Sunshine Boulevard


Today I welcome new author JQ Rose, whose debut mystery, SUNSHINE BOULEVARD, has just been released!









* BUY for Kindle:


* BUY: Other eBook formats

About SUNSHINE BOULEVARD:

Who or what is killing the seniors on Sunshine Boulevard? Jim and Gloria Hart are snowbirds who annually migrate to Florida for warm sunshine, fun, and golf with friends in snow-free winters. However this season, Jim Hart, a volunteer First Responder in his retirement community of Citrus Ridge, is drawn into the investigation of the mysterious deaths. Even in the midst of the unfortunate demise of the residents on Sunshine Boulevard, the Harts try to get together with friends. They don't realize that their friends are getting together for their own kinds of affairs with each other. The neighbors are in a dither over the deaths, but perhaps more intrigued by the gossip about the affairs and why the naked lady was found lying in the geranium bed.

Excerpt:

As they stepped into the bright kitchen, Jim turned to her. Looking straight into her eyes, he said, “Royce called this morning. George’s death was peculiar. I guess, that’s what the Medical Examiner is saying.” Jim was friends with the county M.E., Royce Williams. They worked together on investigations involving the First Responders Unit. Living in a retirement community, the Medical Examiner and medics were frequent visitors. An ambulance at a home was not a significant event at Citrus Ridge. It was part of life and death.

“Royce told us George’s body did not rot. It couldn’t have decomposed that quickly because Miss Lottie checked on him every day when she brought him the mail in the afternoon. She delivered it the day before he died. He was alert and talked about the weather.

“When Lottie called 9-1-1 at one o’clock yesterday, she was so upset she couldn’t even speak. They traced the call to her house. When the police arrived, she only pointed to George’s house.”

Jim stopped a minute. Gloria saw the anguish in his face. “They discovered George sitting in the living room in his recliner[. His body was mustard yellow."

* Check out JQ Rose's blog


Writers Are Observers

Watch out! Your conversation with your girlfriend in the local coffee shop may end up in a story. The little old couple walking hand in hand along the beach may be the fodder to develop into murderers, child snatchers, or lovers escaping from their spouses in a mystery/suspense novel. A writer’s creative mind can make up stories from observing everyday scenes. Go to Walmart and discover a gentleman who will become the beloved uncle in a children’s story. The lady checking out in front of you would be a great model to be the crazed hooker in the next mystery.

Watching people is one of my favorite things to do. I don’t mind waiting in the car or mall because I can see all kinds of stories developing as the shoppers walk past. They have no idea who they could become in my author’s mind. What is more fun than combining the features of a gentleman with the quirky habits of your Uncle Leroy and throw in some pet sayings of your grandmother to develop one funny guy for a story? Or how about choosing your favorite celebrity to be the main character in your latest romance work-in-progress (WIP)?

Writing is an escape into another world of familiar but new characters. Have fun with your creative side. If the Muse leaves you for awhile, go out to the mall or restaurant and just observe humanity. Your excursions will result in all kinds of ideas for character development, settings, plot, etc.

March 04, 2011

Welcome to Mary Cunningham, author of Cynthia's Attic: The Magician's Castle


Today, I welcome Mary Cunningham, author of the fun "Cynthia's Attic" children's book series.

In her latest, THE MAGICIAN'S CASTLE, book four in the series, Sebastien the Great, a magician whose fiancĂ©e, Kathryn, disappears through the magic trunk, vows revenge. If Cynthia and Gus don't find a missing page from the “Book of Spells,” Cynthia’s family could face financial and personal ruin. Follow this time-traveling duo high into the Alps and then 50 years into the future to a shocking discovery.

* Follow the blog tour.

Cynthia's Attic: Going to the "Dark Side?"
"Vampires and Werewolves"
By Mary Cunningham

In 2004, fresh off the excitement of my first two-book contract for Cynthia’s Attic, I began establishing an online presence. One of my first tasks was to explore author websites and chat groups. Believe it or not, I didn’t find one blog! Blogging had not reached the manic stage of today, with most bloggers simply writing online journals; but networking sites were hot.

I joined a children’s chat group in order to schmooze with other young reader ("tween") authors and immediately related to one particular author. Both of us had first-time multi-book contracts, the idea for our series’ sprang from recurring dreams, and our stories were fantasy/fiction. A perfect networking match.

We chatted, online, for several months, and then lost touch. I can’t quite remember why, but I’d guess it was because I was in the middle of editing my first book, The Missing Locket (Cynthia's Attic Book One), deadlines approached, and time management was crucial. I’m sure it had nothing to do with Stephenie Meyer’s schedule. Wonder what ever happened to her? I do hope she had some success with her series about…vampires, I think.

Speaking of vampires, I was recently asked why I chose to write books for "tweens" that are lighter; vampire-less, werewolf-less, zombie-less…you get the drift. I can’t really say. It just happened. Cynthia’s Attic does delve into magic and spells and such, but the scariest monster, so far, is Stony, a rock monster who attacks 12-year-old Gus, in an enchanted garden in The Magician’s Castle. Other than that, a nasty, bad-breathed clown, a sinister stranger on horseback and a friendly alligator are as menacing as Cynthia’s Attic gets.
Until book number five.

Yes, I’m crumbling. In the next book (title TBD), a werewolf pops into the lives of best friends, Cynthia and Gus. Not your typical werewolf, mind you…a more congenial, helpful type, but a werewolf to be sure. Stay tuned!


March 03, 2011

Welcome Spring! An amazing look outside...



Forget groundhogs. I know it's spring when the redwinged blackbirds return.

This was the scene outside by door last night near sunset, which will be repeated at sunrise, and again at sunset, each day (and night) up until sometime in the fall. Shades of Hitchcock!

Read more on what the birds also reminded me of today at Fatal Foodies.

March 01, 2011

More than Collectibles: Dr. Ruth's Dollhouses

I happened to catch designer Nate Berkus's show yesterday and was glad I tuned in.

It turns out that famous therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer is a dollhouse collector!

The 82-year-old had asked the designer to clear up some 50 years of clutter and collectibles, so she could entertain in her dining and living rooms.

Besides an assortment of different miniatures and small collectibles, among her treasures were her favorite items: two open-front dollhouses. Having lost her family to the Nazis in World War II and sent to a children's hometo live, Dr. Ruth says the dollhouses symbolized her way to have something she could control when she had no control growing up, and that she loved playing with them.

Isn't it great that dollhouses can not only be an enjoyable pastime and a way to express your creativity, but collecting can bring a calming, healing element into someone's life? And yes, the updated rooms were very nice, too!

* See makeover photos of the rooms and the dollhouses here.

* Read the New York Times story
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