Tag Archive | beauty

Springing Into Action

iris 003I live in a part of Racine that dates back to the 1950s. All of the houses are different and most are well-kept. People in this area love their homes and their city lots and go to great lengths to take care of both. I am no exception. However, keeping a yard looking good on a small budget is more challenging than you might think.

On Saturday, I treated myself to exploring a new green house  about 30 minutes from my home. This place is in the middle of Nowheresville, but the flowers were amazing. I was in dangerous territory on a limited budget. I could do so much damage in there because when I’m around flowers, I’m like an alcoholic in a saloon. I had to restrain myself from filling up the entire back of my SUV with pretty plants, and I’m proud to announce I didn’t get drunk. . . only a little tipsy. With a few blooms in the back of my car, I turned up the oldies channel and sang with the radio all the way home.

Then yesterday was a perfect day. The temperature was in the mid 70s, with a light breeze, the sun was bright, and the sky was blue. If I ever find a genie in a bottle, I will instruct him to make everyday like yesterday. It was as close to San Diego weather as possible.

The first thing I did was purchased two cans of spray paint –one red and one sage green — for $3 each at Big Lots. Then I went home and started spraying. My old pots that had seen better days got to look like new with a fresh coat of the Rustoleum make-up. The rusty iron umbrella stand got a coat of the sage green (which matches the umbrella), and one of the old park benches got a new coat of pale yellow paint that I had in the basement. I felt like a little fairy going from one item to the next with my magic wand, spraying or slathering color where there was none. It was great! After things were dry, (and it didn’t take long on this warm, breezy day), Ken and I celebrated out patio with a glass of ice tea.

I was so happy with my accomplishments, that is, until I sat down in my chair to watch 60 Minutes and within a few minutes, I couldn’t move. The arthritis in my body let me know it wasn’t happy. Even my fingertips were screaming that I had made them work too hard. But tough. I was happy. I spent my day doing things I love to do, so I got out the Advil and let myself recover.

I love this time of year when I can watch things grow and colors fill my yard. It’s just too bad I’m getting older and have to pay for my efforts. I just have to learn to take small sips of spring excelsior.


Over the weekend I read several blogs about character development. Doing this reinforced my belief that without strong characters, the story will be flat. No one will care. No one will identify with the big picture because you forgot about the most important element–A STRONG CHARACTER who carries the story.

And as I’ve said before, it’s the small details that resonate their humanity. How they look, feel, think, react, and respond are key. Then there’s the surroundings they live in and how they are perceived by others characters.

Since sending off FINDING GESSLER, I’ve become totally immersed in STEPHANIA COMES TO AMERICA–the next novel I  plan for publication in about six months. So once again, I must face Stephania.

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know the trouble this character, Stephania, has consistently given, She’s beautiful and willful. She likes getting her own way. She’s selfish and scheming. In a word, she’s a bitch. Stephania

But I can’t write her as a one-dimensional character, so I have been looking for ways to make her vulnerable  I’ve searched for ways for readers to feel empathy toward her, even though she does outrageous things. And that my friends, hasn’t been the easiest thing  to do.

I finally realized the problem lies with me. Because I’m a “What you see is what you get” person, and I’ve never put on a false face to do anything, come hell or high water. I don’t understand Stephania. She’s not in my “wheelhouse.”  Even my vivid imagination has failed me.

So after working on this book for almost a year now, I was pleasantly surprised recently when I had a breakthrough. I let Stephania take control. I stopped driving her and let her take me on the journey she must travel. And it’s working. She’s finally in my head, creating herself as she must. I even had a friend interview me as Stephania  and discovered I know her better than I ever thought I did.

So, hopefully Stephania is not just pulling my leg and letting me take a peek at her right now. I’m praying she doesn’t turn off and tune out in the coming months just to frustrate me further. After all, she could do such a thing; it’s part of her nature. Remember, she is a bitch.