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Posts Tagged ‘eShort’

 The snow outside is just deep enough to make a planned trip to the grocery store out of the question, so I decide to do some “office work.”

The business side of writing is necessary, but bothersome for me. Nevertheless, I pull up a couple of things that need to be printed out. Argh! The printer tells me it’s not connected to the computer.

Such techie things I usually leave for my husband to sort out, so I decide to register for a few smaller urls for some of my free stories and poems from www.tinyurl.com (A site I highly recommend. Smaller urls are a blessing!)

All goes well until I try to check for my story, Angels, published in the latest issue of Ensorcelled Magazine (from Berkeley). My computer tells me I’m forbidden to access the magazine from this server. I try several different ways to locate the magazine or story to no avail. (Update: The 4 free poems and 2 free stories that were listed here are no longer available. So, even more things went wrong since this post was written. Good news though, Angels is included in The Greener Forest and For the Good of the Settlement has been updated and published as an eShort).

I decide to check my eShort publisher to see how my eShorts (Bells, Sideshow by the Sea, and Assassins) are doing, only to find the website is down.

Hmm. I have a call into an editor and am awaiting her call-back. I check my phone to make sure it’s working. It is, but the back left burner on the stove seems to have a problem when I try to warm up some soup for lunch. Does this mean I’ll have to start making dinner a little earlier than usual?

Forget the soup. As I make myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, I decide today is the perfect day to finish some illustrations. As long as my spectacles (a far more interesting word than “glasses”) don’t break and I have water for painting, I’m good to go. Of course as I type this, I know the studio area of the basement remains unfinished and I’ll be wearing my Bob-Cratchett-style fingerless gloves to keep my hands warm as I draw and paint.

Perhaps, I’m meant to research a new story I’m working on. I can read snuggled down in a comfortable chair by the fire and jot notes on a pad. If I’m truly inspired, I can even return to the computer and type as long as I don’t want to print anything out.

What’s the point of this blog? You can always find excuses NOT to write (or illustrate), but if you’re going to have something for publication, you must push yourself to work. Research, write, draw, paint, edit, tiddy-up websites & blogs, register new tiny urls, revise… the list could go on — but keep busy! A writer writes. An illustrator illustrates. A wanna-be finds any excuse to turn on the television and set aside their creative dreams.

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vwc-b-cvr[1] My ghostly holiday eShort, Bells incorporates some of the Christmas traditions of my extended family. Gatherings of friends and family to share in a holiday meal is a tradition that I’ll be celebrating several times again this year. There are always too many of us to sit around one table, so we spread out across the house sitting where ever we can locate a chair or stool or nook by the window. We share memories, the latest news, dreams for the future, love, laughter, and sometimes, tears.

 When I was young, my father, Nathan Winslow,  meticulously put up a HO gauge train garden. He even got my grandfather, an accomplished oil painter, to realistically paint plaster mountains. His was a train garden of exactness and beauty. My husband’s family also put up a train garden. The George Crist family Christmas train garden was so exciting for my husband and his brothers when they were boys, that they’d ignore the gifts and rush for the trains.

My husband, Ernie, and I continued the train garden tradition. On Christmas morning, our kids would run to see the trains. When they became older, they’d help their dad throughout December fix up the train garden for their younger cousins to see when they came to visit. Last Christmas, Ernie and I were lucky enough to have our grandson with us at Christmastime. And little Nathaniel was inspired to crawl his first few feet trying to grab a miniature train that circled around under the Christmas tree.

Sleigh bells on door knobs, watermelon pickles, patched-together trees, and carols playing in the background are other traditions mentioned in Bells we continue in my family. Another Christmas tradition is baking cookies. I baked them with Granny and Mom. My kids baked them with me, and maybe my grandson will sprinkle some colored sugar on my cut-out cookies. (For ”Granny’s Sugar Cookies” recipe, see end of blog).

 I encourage each of you to celebrate the holidays with those you care about. Make good memories and establish family traditions, remembering you’re born into a one kind of family — but you can also build a family of dear friends. And especially at this time of year, treat others with a little more kindness and love. For as Aesop so wisely wrote in his tale of “The Lion & The Mouse” — No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.  Update: Bells can now be read in Owl Light, one of my books from Cold Moon Press.

Granny’s Sugar Cookies:

1) In a large bowl, cream together: 1/2 cup margarine and 1 cup granulated sugar. 2) Blend in: 1 large egg. 3) In a separate bowl, sift together: 2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. 4) Next, add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and blend well. 5) Chill for 1 to 2 hours.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Dust a pastry cloth with flour and roll dough out to 1/8″ thickness with a lightly floured rolling pin. Cut out holiday shapes with cookie cutters. Put cut-out shapes on a cookie sheet that’s been coated with a vegetable shortening spray (allowing room between cookies). Decorate with colored sugar. Bake in oven for 5 to 8 minutes. Remove cookies from oven when edges are lightly browned and using a spatula, scoop the cookies onto a rack to cool. Watch Granny’s Sugar Cookies carefully during baking, as they burn easily.

I usually double this recipe. Granny’s Sugar Cookies are a family favorite and disappear quickly! They also freeze well in sealed containers.

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