January 30, 2009

Survey: Ebook or Print?

I'm tired today so thought I'd pose a few questions and see what everyone thinks.

There's been quite a few discussions lately on "green" reading - ebooks - electronic books.

Yes, my book Searching For A Starry Night is available in ebook form (and is a finalist in the 2009 Eppie Awards in the ya/children's category.)

I've read ebooks and like them. For one, they're cheaper. Too bad the e-readers are so expensive yet. Maybe I'll get one at some point.

So the questions today:

* Got an e-reader? Which? What do you like about it? Have a Kindle? Do you like it or why not?

* Why do you or don't you like ebooks?

* Print or electronic, and why?

* Feel free to share your thoughts on electronic and print publishing.

January 29, 2009

Roast Me! at Book Roast Blog Today

Hear that sizzle?

I'm being roasted, grilled and whatever else today at the Book Roast blog.

Stop by and read a new excerpt from Searching For A Starry Night, A Miniature Art Mystery.

** Take a chance! Answer a question at the Book Roast blog and you may win a copy of Searching For A Starry Night, A Miniature Art Mystery or get a copy from Quake.

See you at the grill and bring your chef's hat.

** Be sure to comment! Then check back in later. I'll be popping in after 1 p.m. Central to see what everyone is talking about and find out why my ears are burning. ha-ha!

January 28, 2009

Happy Meme: Tag I'm it!

Jacquelyn Sylvan, author of the book, SURVIVING SERENDIPITY (which has one of the coolest, most striking covers I've seen - see it at her Serendipitous Times blog - just tagged me for the "Happy Meme."

Hey we all need happiness, right?

The idea of the "Happy Meme" is to list six things that make you happy.

That can vary, of course, depending on the day (or hour), but the six things that give me joy (in no particular order) are:

1. Chocolate
2. My dog
3. When the writing actually "clicks"
4. Miniatures
5. Family, friends
6. Reading a good story or book

Now I have to pick six people to list their six favorite Happy thoughts, and they'll pick six people, and so on. Hopefully I haven't picked someone already tagged.

I tag:

Norm Cowie (FANG FACE)



Publisher Karen Syed

Authors Evelyn David (THE STILETTO GANG)

Emma Larkins

January 27, 2009

Writing Tip 16: Story Elements by Sunny Frazier

Californian Sunny Frazier, author of the mystery, FOOLS RUSH IN, ( Wolfmont Publishing) featuring astrologer and Sheriff's Department employee Christy Bristol, is also an award-winning short story writer.

Whether she's reading, or writing, short stories, Sunny looks for certain elements. These elements can also apply to novels, as well.

Writing Tip 16: Story Elements

Sunny says, "there are three elements I always look for in a short story.

1. The Best Line. "I have my students locate what they believe is the best line. It makes them aware that not every line has to be golden and a writer certainly doesn't want to lose a reader in self-indulgent prose. However, there should be one line that absolutely pops the piece. Like the finest accessory in the closet. This is the line to let readers know 'I'm a writer to be reckoned with.' I love it when I come across a sentence that makes me say, 'I wish I'd written that!'

2. The Universal Message. "Every prize-winning story has one. It should be subtle, not the moral-of-the-story. If a story doesn't have a sub-text, then it has no staying power in the reader's mind. I look for stories that have something I can identify with and will walk away thinking about. Give me a story I have to read twice--once for enjoyment, the second time to go deeper.

3. Tell-Me-Something-I-Don't-Know. "This one element takes a story out of something just conjured in the mind. I want the piece to include a fact that I didn't know. I want to say to someone in a social conversation, 'Did you know such-n-such? I read it in a short story.' It gives authenticating detail to written material. Do your homework, writers."

-- SUNNY FRAZIER is author of the Christy Bristol mystery series. Her first novel, FOOLS RUSH IN, won the Public Safety Writers Best Novel 2007. Her next book, WHERE ANGELS FEAR, also draws on her past work in the Sheriff's Department. It debuts in February '09.

Her short stories have won multiple awards. The latest anthology, NEVER SAFE, features two stories from Sunny, "Ditched" and "Life is a Cabernet."

Author Carolyn Hart says, "NEVER SAFE lives up to its name with dark tales of desire, madness, cruelty and despair. Gritty and gripping."

January 26, 2009

Eye Candy: Shabby Chic Miniatures

Is it real or is it miniature?

Today, I'm sharing some pieces that make me think of those interesting little second-hand shops where you can find all kinds of unique things for your house.

My friend Kitty first tried her hand at "shabby chic" decorating in her charming French Country-style "Brocante House," part of which I shared here previously.

She is continuing her fascination with the "shabby chic" style by constructing a new "Brocante Shop."

Can't you picture this neat hutch in your home or at your favorite store?

Make yourself at home. Looks comfy, don't you think?

Kitty made a great "faux" tray using everyday items.

* Make your own Miniature Tray *

1. Glue a scalloped or lacey paper trim to a round piece of wood or a Woodsie.
2. Paint paper and wood silver.
3. Make a tray filled with candle cups and candle holders: Fill the finished tray with silver bead caps and small crystal beads to resemble candle holders and cups.

* See more photos of Kitty's other work at her Minis by Kitty blog.

January 24, 2009

Blog Award Again!

Thanks to Debbie at Debbie's Tiny Treasures and Jody at Mini Leaps and Bounds for giving me this blog award. This award is making the rounds, as this is the 2nd (and 3rd) time I've received it.

The rules state that you are to pass the award on to 15 people. (Would that be 30 this time?) I only named seven the first time and will probably only name a few more this round since I know a lot of bloggers don't like to bother with the awards, and I fear that I'll be repeating some blogs the others mentioned. But thank you ladies for your regards and good wishes!

A few blogs and bloggers of note - Please check them out!

* Donna of Hager Bears. Cute work.

* Tracy at Minis on the Edge for all the cool miniature dollhouses she creates. Great inspiration!

* My cool fellow authors of QUAKE at the Teen-Seen blog.

January 23, 2009

Friday Rants: Britney, Thain, and all that junk

I'm tired of thinking, so I'm going to post today on all the ridiculous things I come across. Feel free to add your own rants, too. Get it off your chest and have a good weekend!

Heard: What? Britney to get millions for a book (well a three-book) deal? (Can she write? Meow.)

Huh. Well Searching For A Starry Night is only $10. Ebook is $6. A bargain and I wrote it myself. I'm not making millions so please buy one.

Heard: Greedy Bank of America CEO John Thain ousted. But not before spending millions (gee, remember the bailout??) on office redecorating, an $87,000 rug, and, oh the best - something like $37,000 for what's being called a "commode on legs."

Let's call it what it is - a toilet. The question: why is it that ill-spent money always goes towards lavish lavatories? Remember Saddam Hussein's gold toilet? I know there were others who did much the same whom I can't think of at the moment. I'm sure there's enough tar and feathers left for him and Madoff.

Heard: Names we've already heard too much of barely a month into 2009: Madonna, Tom (and Katie), Clint's rehash of Dirty Harry without a horse; spoiled Hollywood kids; Brangelina and their brood; stars who died and now are elevated to sainthood. Enough already. RIP.

Okay rant over (for now). Feel free to add your "favorites."

January 22, 2009

Inaugural and Other High Fashion by Designer Jason Wu

Besides the Inauguration itself, there was plenty of anticipation over what First Lady Michelle Obama would wear to the Inaugural Balls Tuesday.

While Obama's choice of the pretty, sparkly white gown by designer Jason Wu has been both applauded and derided, what's interesting is that there has been little mention of the young designer's previous experience.

Although he came out with his first fashion collection in 2006, not many people realize that Wu has been a recognizable name in the collectible fashion doll world since 2001. These are not "toy" dolls, as one columnist sniped. Far from it.

Wu's Fashion Royalty line features poseable fashion dolls with originally designed wardrobes that would fit right in any life-sized fashion show.

Of note is the new Hollywood Royalty line featuring dolls with amazing likenesses.

The line features Lana Turner (2008, 1000 edition, $89.99 for basic doll) and Josephine Baker (2009, La Baker, $99.99), along with some incredible costumes. The Premium Lana doll comes dressed in a gorgeous black-and-white embroidered gown from her movie. (500 edition, $179.99).

Pictured: Left, La Baker, basic Josephine Baker doll. Right, Premium Lana Turner dressed doll

See the Integrity Toys site for other fashion doll lines and dealers.

The dolls, available in limited edition collections of 300 to 1200 editions, (these dolls are usually 15-15.5" tall compared to the standard 11.5" Barbie doll size).

The wardrobes of these and other collectible dolls, like those from designer Robert Tonner of Tonner Dolls, are definitely tempting. Very tempting.

January 21, 2009

Writing Tip 15: Make friends, says Morgan Mandel

Morgan Mandel, author of GIRL OF MY DREAMS (Hard Shell Word Factory, Jan. '08), is a writer's writer.

She enjoys helping promote others; she reaches out to other writers. No lonely writer moping in the attic for her. She's a gregarious writer.

Writing Tip 15: Don't Do It Alone.

Morgan says, "writing is a tough business. Don't do it alone.

"Join a writing organization, such as Romance Writers of America (RWA), if you're writing romance; and Sisters in Crime or Mystery Writers of America (MWA) or both, if you're writing mystery.

"Support and mentoring will help you along and keep you sane. Without my local Chicago-North RWA Chapter, I never would have gotten published."

-- Christina Wantz Fixemer of Wantz Upon A Time reviews says of GIRL OF MY DREAMS, A Cinderella Story featuring an assistant turned reality show contestant:

“Blake Caldwell is furious that his plain-Jane assistant went behind his back to get on his show. Even worse, she's hands-down gorgeous when made up, and the show's millionaire star isn't blind.

"How can he get Jillian off the show when she is easily the most popular contestant, and maybe even the girl of his dreams?"

* Visit Morgan Mandel's blog.

* What's your favorite writer's organization and why? How has it helped you as a writer?

January 20, 2009

Promotion: How to Prepare for Radio?

Today's post is selfishly motivated. I want to look into doing some radio book promotion for Searching For A Starry Night, A Miniature Art Mystery. Having never done that before, I figured it'd be a good idea to do some preparation beforehand.

Besides the fear of sounding stupid, I also am not sure what questions would be asked. So if you have appeared on radio before, what questions do you advise being ready to answer? I will compile the answers in another post and add some others that I find.

* If you have appeared on radio, what did you think was your best answer or best move?

* Worst thing you did? How did you prepare?

* Do's and don'ts? Any tips?

Thank you!

January 19, 2009

Eye Candy: Magical Miniature Tables

Guess it's my turn to share since I actually got a couple things finished.

Many of you may (or may not) know that besides writing, I make and collect dollhouse miniatures.

I have been planning several projects including a greenhouse with odd plants and a witch's bakery. I also have a wizard's room to finish. You can see my wizard at the bottom of the link page.

For fun, I recently finished these magical tables. The grey table is two-sided with room for magical scrolls and a place to stash books. The top contains some potion containers, a magic "moonstone," a "glass" bowl of magic clear crystals and other potion bottles. The wood bowl holds essential quartz crystals.

Pictured: Top of grey table.Below, side of table has a medieval illustration from The Book of Kells

The red table is wood on a base of two carved plastic pillars. It contains several magical elements including one of my original handmade medieval spellbooks, an opal star, magic crystals and potion bottles. I made everything myself except purchased items like the beads, candlestick, etc. I enjoy making this and also sell them. Contact me for special orders. They can be personalized. (Items based on availability). The tables are both about 4.5" wide and 2 3/4" high.

Pictured: top of red magical table

(c) 2009 C. Verstraete, Candid Canine

January 16, 2009

Writing Tip 14: Map it Out - Larry Karp

Author Larry Karp (THE KING OF RAGTIME, Poisoned Pen Press), offers maybe one of the most unique writing tips.

Karp says, "looking for a way to add authenticity to your historicals? Try Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps. These are accessible online, but you'll need a card from your local library to do the work at home.

"Once logged in at your library's site, choose Sanborn Maps from the list of databases and web sites. It's then an easy matter to choose a state, city, and year. Not all years are represented, but there's usually one close enough to serve the needs of an historical novelist.

"There will be an overview map of the entire city, a list of streets to key the user to maps of specific regions, and a list of major businesses and public buildings.

"Not only can you locate particular streets, but many buildings are described as to dimensions and type of construction, and in many cases, the occupant at the time and his/her type of business. In addition, there are useful details, such as the location of alleys, where nasty work could be carried out.

"You can print copies of the maps for continued reference away from the computer

"I learned about Sanborn maps from Jeanne M. Dams, author of the Hilda Johansson series (INDIGO CHRISTMAS), set in South Bend, Indiana a century ago. South Bend jumps off the pages into the reader's mind, in full color and in three dimensions.

"The maps tend to be more useful for smaller cities. They were a tremendous help in setting scenes and following characters around Sedalia, Missouri in 1899, in my novel, The Ragtime Kid. The maps were less helpful for New York City in 1916, for The King of Ragtime, but came back into heavy use for Sedalia and Venice, California in 1951, for The Ragtime Fool, my current work-in-progress.

"Give these maps a try. You may be surprised and pleased."

--Larry Karp, author of THE KING OF RAGTIME (Poisoned Pen Press, Oct. '08) opens the window to the world of ragtime.

Scott Joplin leaves a major musical composition with Irving Berlin, but Berlin claims he never received it. Then, Joplin is found in Berlin's company offices, crouched over a blood-soaked body.

Music publisher John Stark and his strong-minded daughter, Nell, need to get around their edgy relationship to find the manuscript and exonerate Joplin.

Check out Larry Karp's blog.

January 15, 2009

Miniature of the Month: Miniatures of Christa Chayata

Today I'm featuring the charming miniatures of Dutch dollhouse collector Christa Chayata.

Looking at her work, which is full of character, you'd never know that Christa has only been collecting and creating dollhouse miniatures for three years. The work shown is in the standard 1-inch scale (1" = 1 foot).

Finding herself unable to do much becase of an injured arm, Christa decided to look on the Internet. She found a site with little bears and decided to try to make one. Then she made a real discovery.

"I looked more on the Internet and discovered that the bears could live in dollhouses," she says.,"Wow! What a discovery. I wanted that too, but wanted to try and make everything myself."

She wasn't sure if she could, so she decided to try to do something smaller. Her first project was this
beautiful Rose Garden.

The flowers look real, don't they?

She did make everything herself, such as the bricks from egg cartons, flowers from paper, a painted pond, and soldering the seats, table and bow from metal. (Not bad for a beginner!)

Go to her workshop page to see how to make the water lilies and more. (Her pages are in Dutch, but the pictures show the steps and what she did.) *

Victoria Miniland also has some tutorials on how to make stones and bricks from egg cartons.

Christa's dolls, though, have a charm all their own. She says the beautiful lady in black (at top) is probably her favorite, but she is also drawn to making child dolls.

Christa says, "I try to do my best on making the dolls look as alive as possible."

I think she succeeds, don't you?

* See Christa's amazing Alice in Wonderland and be sure to check out the rest of her website and blog .

January 14, 2009

Crime and Punishment, Fiction and Real Life

Money talks, huh? Especially when it's other people's.

Every time I see that crook Madoff on TV - he who swindled millions - like old people and charities - and tried to mail $millions in jewelry to family and friends - it gives me an idea of why such seemingly awful punishments once flourished.

The first thing that comes to mind as I see his smirking face, trying to duck TV crews, is tarring and feathering.

I used to think, how barbaric. It is an awful punishment, but now I understand. How do you punish one of the worst thieves in society who sneers at everyone else from his penthouse jail? (Justice? An ankle monitor? What was wrong with that judge?)

With the wide range of hurt and financial devastation this man caused by his own greed and lust, you can see the anger simmering. No, I didn't have anything invested and yes, vigilantism is wrong. Hopefully the courts do better at sentencing than this judge who thought a penthouse a fitting jail cell before the trial.

Does this relate to writing? Yes. Most fiction stems from real life. Seeing a real life incident play out, you can easily imagine the feelings that go with such an act. You can see how one crime can initiate others. You can feel empathy with the victims. You can put a fictional face on the suffering. It can inspire a host of other stories and plots.

** What do you think? What real life crimes or incidents have inspired your writing?

January 13, 2009

Writing and Non-Payment - What would you do?

Many publishers, like other businesses, are facing financial difficulties. I came across an interesting situation that I thought was worth some discussion.

The dilemma: what would you do if a magazine published your story and then said they had no money to pay you?

This happened to one writer, as described in a letter published in a recent Funds for Writers newsletter. The company, which publishes several children's magazines, shall remain nameless.

The writer was told after her story was published that the magazine was having some financial problems and had no money to pay her. Would you accept that?

My take: sorry, but the publisher is a business. If they chose to publish a writer's work, that writer should expect to be paid as the guidelines state and not have the editors suddenly say, gee, sorry, we can't pay you.

The editors likely knew the financial situation before they chose to publish the writer's work. Ethically, the editors could have been honest and told the writer upfront, giving her the option to pull her work or let it be printed gratis. They didn't do that. But even if they didn't know about the budget problems until later, unless the publisher is legally bankrupt, the writer is still owed.

Angela Hoy with Booklocker.com also recently addressed this same issue of nonpayment in one of her newsletters. Her point was that you can be sure other staff and bills were getting paid. I'd ask the editor if he/she got a check that week. (You bet they did). Did the printer and other vendors get paid? Were the lights and cable still on?

Writers shouldn't let themselves get pushed to the bottom of the pack. If a publisher is still doing business, they are paying their bills (or at least some of them).

Unless writers choose to write for free, they should be paid for their work, just like anyone else. And they should keep asking - via emails, certified letters, etc. - until they get that check.

** What do you think?

January 12, 2009

Writing Tip 13: Exercise, says Clea Simon

My guest author today is the real "cat's meow."

Clea Simon, author of the four-book "cat-centric" mystery series featuring freelance writer Theda Krakow, likens writing to exercise. Use it or lose it, right?

Writing Tip 13: Write every day, Monday through Friday

Simon says, "the ability to write is like building a muscle. The more you exercise it, the easier it will become.

"Set a goal for the day – 500, 1,000 words, two pages, three, or five – and make yourself do that every workday, five days a week, even when you have other things due. Do it even when your day job goes into overtime.

"Some days you'll have absolutely no ideas and you'll end up trying to come up with a space-filler scene in which your protagonist eats donuts and watches TV. But some days you'll have something to write – and you'll have the discipline to do it.

"If you keep at it regularly, you will cobble together enough raw text to make a first draft. And that's when the fun starts."

** How much "writing exercise" do you do each week?

-- Clea Simon is the author of CRIES AND WHISPERS, and the upcoming PROBABLE CLAWS (Poisoned Pen Press, April '09).

In PROBABLE CLAWS, the fourth Theda Krakow mystery, cats start getting sick and feline-loving freelance writer Theda Krakow suspects an accident is to blame. But her shelter-owning buddy says the kibble was poisoned.

When Theda starts looking at shelter politics, she finds a litter of suspects. Now she must find the real killer before she, and Musetta, become the next victims.

* Previous: Writing Tip 12: What Inspires You?

January 09, 2009

Writing Tip 12: What Inspires you?

For a change of pace, I'm going to open the floor today strictly to other writers to share their thoughts on writing. Some possible questions:

* What makes you write?

* What keeps you writing?

* How do you decide what story to tell?

* Share your best writing memory.

* What was your "other" profession before you turned to writing? Or what is your other job now?

* Advice to young writers. Where did you start?

* What happened when you finally "got" it; what was it that made you think you finally had crossed a plateau in your work?

* What are your writing habits?

January 08, 2009

Writing Tip 11: Presidential Prose

Writing in Top (Presidential) Form a la Barack Obama

Being a native Chicagoan, I have a special interest in President-elect Barack Obama.

As the President-elect prepares for his Jan. 20th Inauguration, it seemed fitting to include some tips on writing in top form, a la writing presidential prose.

1. Be prepared to lead. No one is born ready to be president. There is a lot of briefing, training, and discussions going on behind the scenes. The same goes for writing. Some writers may be born, others are made. Writing a book or short stories means putting in the time to learn your craft. Don't short-change yourself. Take online or other courses. Continually invest in your skills and keep them in good working order by writing daily.

2. Be ready to make mistakes. Even the President-elect has to learn along the way. He may stumble a little, he might even make some mistakes, but there is no room in the job for unsureness or self-reproach. He will continue to move forward.

So should writers. There will be stories you look at later that you know could've been improved or where maybe you made a mistake. It can happen. Don't let it rattle your self-confidence. Move on to the next story.

Each day, each month, each year you continue to write, you will see your work evolve and improve. Be proud of your accomplishments. Make new goals and meet them.

3. Put in the grunt work. Beyond the glitter of the Inaugural balls and the prestige of meeting with other world leaders, are a lot of days filled with the ho-hum, reading papers, writing reports, having meetings. It's all part of the job. Writers have those days, too. See next tip.

4. Meet the day in anticipation. Leading, and writing, are work. Some days, the President will probably wish he could stay in bed. There are days when writers groan and wish they didn't have to write.

To keep your writing fresh:

* Try out different styles and markets. Challenge yourself.

* Study your rejections. See what you could have done better and then do it.

* Study the work of other authors. See how they end or begin their stories. Try their approach, but make it your own.

5. Enjoy yourself. Even the President has to unwind and have some fun. Barack Obama likes to play basketball and enjoys spending time with his family. Don't neglect your own down-time. Sometimes you have to step back from the work and relax. Read a book for fun, without analyzing it. Play a game with the kids. Spend time with a hobby. You'll come back to your work refreshed and renewed.

As a writer, usually once the words get flowing, the writing becomes less work and more fun.

To keep the flow going:
* Make an outline or some kind of chart so you know where your story goes next.

* Stop where you can restart. When you stop for the day, always try to leave your writing at a point where you can jump in and continue without having to brainstorm a new section and maybe stall your progress.

-- Christine Verstraete is author of SEARCHING FOR A STARRY NIGHT, A MINIATURE ART MYSTERY, where bffs Sam and Lita, along with a nosy, mischievous Dachshund named Petey, face a cranky housekeeper, dog-hating gardener, and an ancient family curse as they search for the lost miniature replica of Van Gogh's famous painting, Starry Night. Will they find it in time?

** Did you vote? Searching For A Starry Night is part of the annual Preditors-Editors readers poll ending Jan. 14.

I'd appreciate your votes for: Best Book art/cover and Best Mystery.(click corrected links so right one shows up)

January 07, 2009

Favorite Writing and Miniature Posts: 2007-08 Review

I thought I would recap a few of my favorite posts from the past two years I've been blogging. Posts include short stories, miniatures and writing. Enjoy!

Suspense short story, featuring Dachshund Sophie by Tim Wohlforth, Part 1

Suspense short story, Sophie by Tim Wohlforth, Part 2

Miniature of Van Gogh's Starry Night, inspired by my mystery, Searching For A Starry Night, A Miniature Art Mystery

Vincent Van Gogh in miniature

Miniature of the Month: The Vet's Office

August Daily Writing blog: The 7 Deadly (Writing) Sins

Art come to Life in Miniature

Halloween witches in Miniature

Writing tips and markets for kids and teens

12 Days of Christmas in Miniature, An Illustrated Christmas story: The Thief of Christmas Present, by Robert W. Walker, Part 1.

January 06, 2009

Writing Tip 10: Make a Timeline, says LJ Sellers

Every author has their own way of working.

Some outline; some don't.

Some prefer note or index cards. I like to make a grid on a sheet with 5 boxes across and 4 down, where I can see major points per chapter at a glance.

LJ Sellers, author of the Detective Jackson mystery series, THE SEX CLUB (Spellbinder Press) and the upcoming SECRETS TO DIE FOR, says she likes to create a timeline to keep her work in progress in order

Writing Tip 10: Make a Timeline

Sellers says, "for every mystery/suspense story, I create a timeline of significant events, including day and hour.

"I draft it when I write the outline, then update it and fill it in as I write the novel.

"The timeline:

* helps me pace the story;

* helps me coordinate simultaneous events;

* keeps me from writing too many events into one day;

* saves me the embarrassment of having characters refer to events that
haven't happened yet."

--- THE SEX CLUB by LJ Sellers: When a bomb explodes at a birth control clinic and a young client turns up dead, Detective Jackson is assigned both cases. Could they be connected?

Kera, the nurse who discovers the girl’s Bible group is really a sexual free-for-all, thinks they are. But can Jackson uncover the killer’s identity in time to stop the slaughter?

January 05, 2009

Eye Candy: Miniature Chocolates Part 2

Chocolate Dreams

My friend Kitty has been busy as a little bee making more chocolates.

This is one of those projects you can't help but look at again and again. One way to cure chocolate cravings?

She made all the chocolates and cakes from polymer clay. Look good enough to eat!

(See part 1 of the Chocolate Shoppe here.)

The fantastic furniture kits are from Lisa's Little Things, an addiction for sure!

January 04, 2009

New Blog Award!

-- Thanks to my publisher Karen Syed for giving me this new Premios Dardo Best Blog Award. Gee, ain't it pretty?

The rules:
1) Accept the award by posting it on your blog along with the name of the person that has granted the award and a link to his/her blog.

2) Pass the award to another 15 blogs that are worthy of this acknowledgement, remembering to contact each of them to let them know they have been selected for this award.

I would like to present this award to the following sites in appreciation for all the effort, knowledge, and encouragement they offer to their readers.

The blogs I named were picked because they are informative, inspiring, funny, fun, or just plain enjoyable. Not all are writers, but I think others will enjoy the artists I've chosen who happen to work in miniature, or who inspire readers with their ideas. Here's what I picked:

Blogs (and their writers) of Note:

* Terrie Farley Moran, Women of Mystery

* Camille Minichino, Killer Hobbies

* Katie, Katie's Clay corner

* Kim, It's a Miniature Life

* Gayle Trent, Fatal Foodies

* Marsha Mees, Sassy Mini Dolls

* Dani, Blog Book Tours

* Daisy, Daisy Pink Cupcake

* Rachel, Miniature Cakes

January 02, 2009

Dachshunds on Parade, Dogs having Fun

I couldn't resist dressing up Petey the Dachshund from Searching For A Starry Night, A Miniature Art Mystery, for New Year's. (Looks like he had more fun than I did. All I've done is cough for two weeks).

Dogs like to have fun. You can tell. Take a look at these Dachshunds at a parade in Florida and tell me they're not having fun!

Now imagine gathering more than 100 Dachshunds in one place. See Dachshund pic 2.

Of course, the real news in the past week was the dog thief!

No, not someone stealing dogs. If you didn't see this video on TV, then take a look. It's not every day that you see a German Shepherd come in to a store and help himself!

Maybe no one got him what he wanted for Christmas so he took matters into his own paws!

It makes you wonder, though... did he live nearby? He must've been in the store before as he knew just where to go. Was he coached? Did someone drop him off and pick him up outside? This might be the best (and funniest!) mystery of 2008!

** What do you think? How did the canine crook get away with it?

January 01, 2009

Happy New Year 2009!!

I wish everyone a Happy New Year!

Thanks to the generous friends I've made in the past year. I want to thank all the great people who have shared their author tips and miniatures and allowed me to share them with you on this blog. I look forward to sharing even more fun topics with you in the coming year.

Wishing everyone health, happiness, success and God's blessings despite the tough economy and in the midst of all the doom and gloom.