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Sarah at Christmas

Friday, November 29, 2013

That sign said what?

All writers make mistakes once-in-awhile.  Published authors are fortunate to have good editors who catch most of them.   I've been blessed to have multiple editors and each one made valuable contributions to these books. 
 
Sarah a Mission of Love. 
Sarah: Laney's angel.
Sarah and the Widow's Mate.
 
 
The signs below someone left for us to read bring a smile. I didn't compile them, and I don't know who did. I'm glad I found them because they are funny!
 
***
Did I read that sign right?
TOILET OUT OF ORDER. PLEASE USE FLOOR BELOW

In a Laundromat:
AUTOMATIC WASHING MACHINES: PLEASE REMOVE ALL YOUR CLOTHES WHEN THE LIGHT GOES OUT

In a London department store:
BARGAIN BASEMENT UPSTAIRS

In an office:
WOULD THE PERSON WHO TOOK THE STEP LADDER YESTERDAY PLEASE BRING IT BACK OR FURTHER STEPS WILL BE TAKEN

In an Office:
AFTER TEA BREAK STAFF SHOULD EMPTY THE TEAPOT AND STAND UPSIDE DOWN ON THE DRAINING BOARD

Outside a second hand shop:
WE EXCHANGE ANYTHING - BICYCLES, WASHING MACHINES, ETC. WHY NOT BRING YOUR WIFE ALONG AND GET A WONDERFUL BARGAIN?

Notice in health food shop window:
CLOSED DUE TO ILLNESS

Spotted in a safari park:
ELEPHANTS PLEASE STAY IN YOUR CAR

Seen during a conference:
FOR ANYONE WHO HAS CHILDREN AND DOESN'T KNOW IT, THERE IS A DAY CARE ON THE 1ST FLOOR

Notice in a farmer's field:
THE FARMER ALLOWS WALKERS TO CROSS THE FIELD FOR FREE, BUT THE BULL CHARGES.

Message on a leaflet:
IF YOU CANNOT READ, THIS LEAFLET WILL TELL YOU HOW TO GET LESSONS

On a repair shop door:
WE CAN REPAIR ANYTHING. (PLEASE KNOCK HARD - THE BELL DOESN'T WORK)
 
Proofreading is a dying art, wouldn't you say? How about this one?
Man Kills Self Before Shooting Wife and Daughter

Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Expert Says
Really?                     
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers
Now that's taking things a bit far!
-----------------------------------------------------------
Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over
What a guy!
---------------------------------------------------------------
Miners Refuse to Work after Death
Good-for-nothing' lazy so-and-so's!
------------------------------------------------------
Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant
See if that works any better than a fair trial!
----------------------------------------------------------
War Dims Hope for Peace
I can see where it might have that effect!
----------------------------------------------------------------
If Strike Isn't Settled Quickly, It May Last Awhile
Are you sure?                  
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures
Who would have thought!
----------------------------------------------------------------
Enfield(London ) Couple Slain; Police Suspect Homicide
They may be onto something!
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges
You mean there's something stronger than duct tape?
----------------------------------------------------------
Man Struck By Lightning Faces Battery Charge
He probably IS the battery charge!
----------------------------------------------
New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group
Weren't they fat enough?!
-----------------------------------------------
Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas in Spacecraft
That's what he gets for eating those beans!
----------------
---------------------------------
Kids Make Nutritious Snacks
Do they taste like chicken?
****************************************
Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half
Chainsaw Massacre all over again!
***************************************************
Hospitals are Sued by 7 Foot Doctors
Boy, are they tall!
*******************************************
And the winner is....
Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead
Did I read that right?
***************************************************

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Sarah and the Widow's Mate now available!

 
 
Just in time for Christmas
Give Sarah as a gift to you or someone you love
 
Set the Mood
 
Light the tree
 
Sit by the fire
 
Drink Hot Chocolate
 
Laugh at Sarah
 
Feel happy
 
 
Available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble
Other fine retailers
Other online sellers
 
 
 


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Thanksgiving Decorating Tips




 
Have you ever wished Thanksgiving and Christmas didn’t fall near each other on the calendar?  The proximity makes it difficult to decorate for each one.

Why not put up a Thanksgiving tree?  A few days after the guests leave and you recuperate from the crowd, convert the tree to Christmas.

The tree above was simple to do.  Garlands of fall leaves don’t require much time, and placing scarecrows among the branches add to the charm.  Anything works. 

Before I became a published author with my Sarah series, I worked as an interior designer/decorator. I will always remember a certain client. Her home was quite beautiful, but she’d decided her living and dining area needed a bit of tweaking, so she hired me as a consultant.

Her hobby was decorating for each holiday.  She kept two huge trees up all year long—one in the living area and one in the master bedroom.

When a new holiday came around, she changed the decorations.  Think of all the monthly occasions.  In January, her tree looked like a miniature winter wonderland.  February—it was hearts everywhere. From the reds and pinks of February, came the greens of March and Saint Patrick’s Day. In April, she decorated the trees with spring time flowers.  May and June—Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.  She had all kinds of babies and children ornaments and included pictures of her own family among the limbs.  In July, it was time for flags and anything red, white, and blue. August and September, her trees possessed all things summer—picnic tables, watermelons, boats. October, the trees took on Halloween. In November, fall and Thanksgiving appeared, and December, she brought out the reds and greens of Christmas.

She ushered me into a room she’d converted to stockpile her bazillion decorations.  It resembled a store with aisles.  The lady could literally push a buggy up and down as she selected items for her trees. Not only did she place ornamentations on trees, they also went everywhere—fireplace mantle, dining table, occasional tables—anywhere there was a surface.

Her question to me was how best to show off these diverse decorations.  I suggested she remove wallpaper and replace it with a simple, neutral paint color.  I also suggested new indistinct furniture patterns.  The focal point would then be the adornments. Her color palate changed on a monthly basis with the holidays.

I don't keep a tree up through the year, but I enjoy it for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I also enjoyed my career as a designer.

 

In Sarah: Laney’s Angel, I wrote from personal experiences.  However, designer Laney did not work with individuals. She attempted to build her design firm by working solely for a Houston builder—a very handsome builder—and she wanted to deny his charismatic effect on her.  If she failed to deliver floor plans on the agreed contractual basis, her job would end. When Cannon Carlson decided to pursue Laney and mix business with pleasure, Laney’s angst grew by leaps and bounds.

Sarah: Laney’s Angel is the second book in the Sarah series.  Sarah: A Mission of Love is the first, and the third one, Sarah and the Widow’s Mate arrives in time for Christmas 2013.

 

Thursday, November 14, 2013


CHOOSING A DESIGN PROFESSIONAL

By Gay N. Lewis

 

Before I became a published author with Prism Book Group, I worked as an interior designer. Sarah: Laney's Angel, my second book in the Sarah series, is about a Houston designer who works for a builder.  I drew from my personal experiences as I wrote the book.
 
When I worked in the profession, I found that choosing a design expert was a daunting experience for most people.  I wrote the following criteria to help clients choose the appropriate specialist.


When choosing a design professional, one needs to consider experience, personality, budget, style and fees.
 
 
EXPERIENCE.  How long has the professional been in the design field?  Does he or she have access to manufacturers, retailers, and contractors?  Does a portfolio exist?  Can he or she give references? 

 
PERSONALITY.  Is the professional willing to work with the client’s personality?  Does the professional have an agreeable personality?  Does the professional comprehend the needs the client presents?  Is he or she critical of existing surroundings?  Does he or she make the client feel inadequate?  Is the professional’s personality one the client is comfortable with?

 
BUDGET.  After deciding the budget, the client should make sure the professional understands the financial guidelines.  Understanding a budget can prevent heart aches later.  Some professionals present furniture, accessories, and other ideas that are too costly.  Clients sometimes find it embarrassing to say, “That isn’t in my budget.”  When a professional presents ideas outside the budget guidelines, a client often feels let down because it is something they cannot have at that time.

 
STYLE.   Is the professional current and comfortable with a variety of styles?  If the professional doesn’t enjoy working with a preferred style, or doesn’t seem to recognize that style, have him or her recommend another designer.  If the client doesn’t have a design preference in mind, is the professional willing to help the client define a style?  

 
FEES.  This is important. Ask the designer how much the fee is and how and when it is to be paid.  Some designers “double dip,” that is to say they charge a fee on top of commissions they receive from vendors.  A few choose an hourly rate. Others markup purchases they make for a client and their fee is the difference in price.  Agree on the fee.   Is there a contract to be signed?  Is there a retainer required for the professional’s services?  Understand from the beginning the designer’s charges, and include them in the budgeting process.

 
Working with a design professional is a rewarding experience.  It saves money, relieves a client of distasteful choices, and saves the client time.  The designer is able to give the client an aesthetic surrounding that accommodates the client’s style, is pleasing to the eye, and well within the client’s budget.


 I'll post future design tips, and I hope you'll read Sarah: Laney's Angel.  It's a lighthearted work of fiction based upon the life of a designer. 

 

Monday, November 11, 2013

November 11, A Time To Honor Our Veterans.


 
Veterans Day, Remembering and honoring  men and women who served our country. 

 I salute Mr. Tom Moore.  A POW in WWII in Germany, Mr. Moore received a Purple Heart after his release.  He is a faithful member of our church. This 91 year old man continues to serve God, Country, and Church.  Although his body is frail now, his spiritual strength for the Lord is strong and his compassion for America relentless. He prays for the troops daily.



 
 

I don’t know who wrote the following observations, but they are good ones.

It is the VETERAN, not the preacher,

who has given us freedom of religion.
 

 It is the VETERAN, not the reporter,

who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the VETERAN, not the poet,
who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the VETERAN, not the campus organizer,

who has given us freedom to assemble.
 

It is the VETERAN, not the lawyer,

who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the VETERAN, not the politician,

who has given us the right to vote.
 

 It is the VETERAN who has earned

the right to stand under the flag.

 

 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

More on the Amish Visit



While in Pennsylvania, I asked an Amish farmer about Rumspringa.  My question brought a bit of annoyance from my host, but the charming gentleman hid it well.  Many Amish fiction novels are written with the theme from the Pennsylvania Dutch term, Rumspringa—the period given to adolescence where young people, usually at about age fourteen receive freedom to explore the world of the English.  The Amish refer to Americans outside the community as English.

Young men and women during this period may investigate a lifestyle outside their gentle environments.  Many drive cars, experiment with alcohol, choose contemporary clothes or hairstyles and hang with English friends.

Once the young person accepts the Amish faith, he or she is baptized into the church. If they decide to leave the community after this rite, they forfeit their place with family and community.  They are ostracized or shunned—never to be forgiven.

As the Amish farmer escorted us to his farm in Lancaster County via horse and wagon, he replied, “Rumspringa isn’t as big a deal as novelists make it.”

I detected he preferred his people to be known for other reasons than wayward youth. A few of his children were of Rumspringa age.  This stage is often a headache for any parent—Amish or English.

I smiled inwardly. I have yet to write an Amish romance but I enjoy these novels immensely.  The beliefs of this community, their daily routines and history generate fascinating ideas.

I write Christian fantasy about a petite angel who comes to earth to help humans and goofs a lot in the process.  But my stories, although they possess bits of theological truth, contain fantasy.

The Amish lifestyle is real—no fantasy.

The farmer escorted a rather large group of us to his farm.  Along the way, one of the Americans spoke quietly and reverently to us about a tragic Amish school shooting that had occurred about seven years ago. The Amish community extended a spirit of mercy, kindness and forgiveness toward the perpetrator and his family.

Another lady softly marveled. “How could they forgive someone who killed their children, but will not forgive a child who denounces his faith?”

Respect for our host did not allow us to ask such things, and the farmer did not hear the discussions in the back of his wagon. For that fact, I’m grateful.

By the way, we later learned that the lady who marveled at the Amish’s ability to shun a child is a Buddhist. A statue of Buddha resides in her garden.

My brief time with the Amish is history, but I came away thinking about allegiance.  Who or what we commit our lives to should be real, accurate, and truthful.  For me that is Jesus Christ, not Buddha.

Rather than the simple existence of the Amish, I choose to live in the modern world and enjoy the conveniences of it.

Sometimes I’m able to show mercy, kindness and forgiveness, other times I fall short.

Like the Buddhist lady, or the Amish farmer, it’s my goal.