Monday, February 22, 2016

Fun Stuff

Usually, the winter months of January and February are so very dreary they seem to drag on forever, but that hasn't been the case this year. Some of the credit goes to El Nino for making the weather tolerable--even pleasant--for a few choice days, but the real honors go to the fun stuff on my calendar. Pictured at the left: me with the Crystal Lake Book Club in late January. What a fun Sunday afternoon I spent with them! We had an interesting discussion of major themes and characters in my books, preceded by a fantastic brunch. These ladies are smart, charming, and terrific cooks. (When did you say you'd like me to come back?)

In mid-January, I was also a guest speaker at the Lake Bluff Library Book Club. Once again, I was flattered and honored to be asked to talk to this group of intelligent, thoughtful readers. Only a couple of members are pictured with me here because I got so caught up in the great discussions, I totally forgot to get pictures until after the event when most people had already left. Again, this is a group I would love to return to when I have another book to discuss. They asked so many excellent questions and clearly picked up on some of the subtler themes in my stories.

Another big event in January was the publication of an article about the writers' group I founded and facilitate in Lake Forest. My thanks to Nicki Koetting at The Lake Forest Leader for a great write-up! Out group has been going for nine years, now, and though we've had ups and downs with membership, we currently have a great group of highly skilled writers. Each meeting, we read manuscripts from one or more members, and I provide an exercise prompt to hone writing chops between our monthly meetings. This month's prompt is to write about something you've never noticed before. To add an extra element, there is also a challenge to use two or three words that are not in your usual vocabulary. I've chosen "niveous" and "hamate" as my two words. (Trolling the dictionary for these gems is amazingly relaxing.)

Finally, the greatest event of the winter (and the most distracting) was the birth of my third grandchild and first granddaughter, Sarah.
She's now two weeks old, and I'm just getting back to work on a regular basis after happily dropping everything to welcome her and help tend to her 18-month old brother, Graham.
Now, however, the characters in my next book are jumping up and down, screaming at me to pay attention to them and leave the real people to the real world.

This week, as a last blast of winter weather is approaching the Chicago area, I've done the grocery shopping, cleaned the house, and organized myself to hunker down and get to work. And that sounds absolutely delightful.